Rhodes Welcomes More than 500 First-Year Students, Marking the Opening of the College’s 170th Academic Year

Resident assistants were among the helpers during new student move-in. 

Hundreds of students from around the U.S. and across the world moved into their dorm rooms in a matter of hours Aug. 17, as Rhodes College began its 170th academic year. The move-in got underway around 8 a.m., with campus security directing the long lines of cars to locations where staff and student volunteers would help unload boxes and other belongings into the residence halls. 

Incoming first-year student Mackenzie Sawyer of Clarksville, TN, says her moving experience was very smooth, and she is looking forward to other activities throughout the day, including Opening Convocation, where she will get to meet other members of the Class of 2022. Family and friends also are invited to Opening Convocation in the Bryan Campus Life Center, which marks the first official academic event of their student’s career at Rhodes. Says Mackenzie’s father, Tim Sawyer, “We love the beautiful campus, and folks were so friendly during our tour. Mackenzie just felt at home when she was here, and that’s why we are here.”

Of its more than 2,000 students, approximately 547 first-year students are making Rhodes their new home. The Class of 2022 comes from 38 states (plus D.C.), with Tennessee having the largest representation, followed by Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Alabama.

Matthew Kenny from Birmingham, AL, says he choose Rhodes because its emphasis on small classes fosters an environment for students to have interaction with professors. “It feels much like a close-knit community, where you will have the support you need in order to obtain your academic success,” he adds. “I don’t think there is any other place I could be happier.”

Kenny says he is interested in political science, which is one of the top subjects of interest for the Class of 2022. Other academic areas of interest are biology, commerce and business, and biochemistry and molecular biology.

Members of the Class of 2022 have standout academic credentials, with 55 percent ranking in the top 10 percent of their class and 90 percent earning a grade point average of 3.5 or greater. Multicultural and international students make up 32 percent of the Class of 2022. 

“The Rhodes community is thrilled to welcome a new class to campus,” says President Marjorie Hass. “We have enrolled a diverse group of high-achieving students, and I am excited for them to get to know our campus and our city.”

Jesús Avina, who graduated from Ridgeway High School in Memphis, is one of the new Clarence Day Scholars. He says Rhodes has a reputation for community service, and he, too, wants to give back to the community and make a difference. “I just can’t wait to get started with the school year,” he says. 

“These young people represent the best in this country and from around the world,” says Carey Thompson, vice president for enrollment and communications and dean of admission. “Not only do they stand out academically, but also they have extraordinary experience and talent in the arts, research, athletics, and service. They will make a tremendous impact on the campus community almost immediately, as well as on the Memphis community for years to come.”

The Rhodes experience combines the best of the classroom and the real world—through internships, service, research, and other opportunities in Memphis and far beyond. The college ranks No. 10 for Most Accessible Professors and No. 16 for Students Most Engaged in Community Service in The Princeton Review’s most recent college guide The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. Classes begin Wednesday, Aug. 22.