Freshman Week began at the University of Minnesota in 1926. The program was described as a time for freshman to “go through the routine details of registration and then take part in a series of exercises designed to introduce them to university life, to the university establishments in which they will study, and to the ideals of behavior and work with which a new student should approach an institution for higher education.”
The June 1928 issue of Minnesota Chats, a University newsletter for parents, declared that the University “is making every preparation to provide a hearty, but chiefly a useful, greeting to the freshmen when they arrive on the campus next fall. Freshman Week has proved to be a great success during the past two years, and the administration is planning to make it even more effective this time.”
What did students think? The Gopher yearbook for 1928 noted that “an event was initiated (in 1926) which promises to become one of the most valuable and worthwhile activities in the University.” Freshman students meeting returning students before classes begin “is now emphasized as an important element in college life at Minnesota by the activities of Freshman Week…”
Now known as Welcome Week, activities originally organized as Freshman Week have continued through the decades in various forms, adapting to changing perspectives and expectations for “a useful greeting to campus.”
As a way to welcome everyone to campus for the start of the academic year, University Archives would like to share glimpses of Freshman Week and Welcome Week from our collections. Best wishes as the fall semester begins!
—Erin George is the University Archives Research Services Archivist. To learn more about the University of Minnesota Archives, please visit www.lib.umn.edu/uarchives.