Students walking toward their dorms on campus by the library

UD Welcome Days 2023

August 16, 2023 Written by Jessica Downey | Photo by Evan Krape

When new students arrive on campus next week, they’ll be ushered into a new era; 1743 Welcome Days have officially rebranded as UD Welcome Days.

As one of the oldest universities in the country, the University of Delaware has traditionally touted its opening year as 1743, when Reverend Dr. Francis Alison opened the first iteration of the school to educate clergy members in New London, Pennsylvania. (Like Alison, you can still spot the names of its famous first class on campus buildings, including Thomas McKean, George Read and James Smith.)

But it took more than 200 years for UD to evolve into the institution it is today, becoming co-ed in 1921 when it merged with its women’s college, and desegregating in 1950 to admit African American students.

UD Director of Orientation and Transition Programs Kelli Murray said the newly named UD Welcome Days don’t diminish its storied past, but instead acknowledge how far the University has come in the last three centuries.

“The biggest reason for our name change was to provide a program that further supports and includes students who currently attend UD,” said Murray. “While we don’t want to erase the history of the University, changing the name allows us to ensure all students feel welcome, including students who have been historically marginalized.”

The rebrand—which has been in the works for awhile—takes effect this year with the Class of 2027. But Murray assured incoming students and families that the spirit of Welcome Days is the same as ever.

“Same great events, just under a different name,” she said. “In fact, we’ve even added events and opportunities for engagement.”

Starting Friday, August 25 and running through Wednesday, August 30, UD Welcome Days offer opportunities for new students and their families to enjoy games and activities, food, tours, football and more, as well as keystone events like the Twilight Induction Ceremony and the Involvement Fair.

Also new this year, attendees are invited to the Center for Intercultural Engagement (CIE) Welcome Reception in Perkins Student Center.

“With the recent opening of the CIE, we’ve added some exciting new events to welcome students into that space,” said Murray. “We also provide an engaging learning opportunity for students to learn more about equity, inclusion and wellbeing at the University.”

1743 is no longer mentioned in the event title, but the most important word hasn’t changed: welcome.

“We want all incoming students to know that UD is the place for them,” said Murray.

For the full schedule of UD Welcome Days events, visit sites.udel.edu/nso/welcome-days and download the UD Connect App.


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