Students in the Class of 2027 pose for a group photo

W&J matriculates new class, experiences second year of enrollment growth

Created: August 23, 2023  |  Last Updated: January 29, 2024  |  Category:   |  Tagged:

WASHINGTON, PA (August 23, 2023) – Washington & Jefferson College held its annual Matriculation Ceremony Tuesday, Aug. 22, officially welcoming the Class of 2027 and beginning the 2023-24 academic year.

The ceremony in the Ross Family Recreation Center included remarks by President John C. Knapp, Mathematics Professor Jeannette Kline and Student Government President Joseph Ioli ’24.

The Class of 2027 represents W&J’s second consecutive year of enrollment growth and includes a record number of transfer students.

The new class is represented by 16 states, the District of Columbia and eight international countries. Among the states, Ohio, Maryland and Texas drew the most students outside of Pennsylvania.

One-quarter of the class are first-generation college students, and just over one-half of the class expects to be involved in W&J Athletics.

In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Knapp highlighted noteworthy statistics unique to the incoming class, who come from over 340 secondary schools worldwide:

  • More than 100 students have been active volunteers in community organizations
  • 38 students are involved in church groups
  • 15 students were student body presidents
  • Two students are Eagle Scouts
  • 70% of students have participated in sports
  • 52 students are musicians
  • One student is the founder of a nonprofit organization

“It will be exciting to learn more about all of you and for you to discover new things about yourselves and each other,” shared Dr. Knapp. “I know I speak for all of us in saying again we are delighted to count you as W&J students.”

Dr. Knapp continued by encouraging students to work diligently during their college years and challenged them to take responsibility for “fostering a respectful, inclusive and compassionate campus community.”

“As you participate fully in the busy life of the college, I hope you will make it a priority to care for yourself, to nurture your own spirit, to take time out on a regular basis for personal contemplation and renewal of your spirit,” he concluded.

As is a W&J tradition, the previous graduating class selects a faculty representative at commencement to address the incoming class at matriculation.

This year, W&J’s Class of 2023 chose Dr. Kline, professor of mathematics, as the 2023 faculty representative.

In her speech, “F Words for New Students,” she offered advice through the words of forget, focus, faculty, failures and friends to challenge students to begin their college experience with a fresh mindset and not be afraid to build relationships on campus and call upon them for growth now and beyond college.

Ioli, a senior psychology major with an emphasis in human resources management and a dual minor in marketing and conflict and resolution studies, led the new class in the peer-to-peer affirmation of community values as the Student Government Association (SGA) president.

The W&J Statement of Community Values, established by W&J’s SGA, serves as the foundation for a life together in the W&J student community that shares a commitment to:

  • Promote a culture of respect throughout the College community;
  • Respect the privacy, property and freedom of others;
  • Practice personal and academic integrity and expect it from others;
  • Respect the dignity and work of all individuals; and
  • Promote the diversity of opinions, ideas, and backgrounds of others.

Ioli also encouraged students to do more than the minimal effort and “find your deep-rooted desire to accomplish something extraordinary.”

“Focus on the process – the process of learning, growing and discovering who you are,” Ioli shared. “Embrace the twists and the turns, the unexpected detours, for they often lead us to the most profound experiences.”

Following the Ceremony, students participated in the “Crossing of the Seal,” a longstanding tradition at W&J that symbolizes the start of a student’s journey at the College. The next time students cross the seal will be during their Commencement Ceremony.

First-year students moved into their residence halls Wednesday, Aug. 16, and started a week-long orientation process, along with transfer and commuter students.

The College’s Forge Your Foundation Orientation featured programming across the following themes: transitioning to college, beginning your academic journey, creating connections and building a strong community.

Classes for the entire campus community began Wednesday, Aug. 23.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pennsylvania, is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.