More than 400 new faces are on campus this year at the University of Saint Mary.
The university held its annual matriculation ceremony Monday in Annunciation Chapel, where 310 freshmen and 100 transfer students were officially welcomed into the university family.
Classes for the fall semester at USM begin Tuesday.
As part of the ceremony, students walked to the altar to light their small candles, then formed a “circle of light” around the interior of the chapel.
The light of their candles symbolizes each student’s potential and the university’s mission to carry that light out into the world.
“You have entered your name in the roll,” said Sister Diane Steele, president of the university. “You join a family that is celebrating over 90 years of educating students and stretches across the globe.”
Steele added, “This day, you become Saint Marians.”
According to a press release, the University of Saint Mary is one of only a handful of American universities with a formal matriculation ceremony. The tradition of a matriculation ceremony dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries, according to the press release.
The University of Saint Mary began holding its version of the welcoming ceremony in the 1980s.