The University of Saint Mary (USM) welcomed a modern record of new students Aug. 26 with matriculation ceremonies in Annunciation Chapel on the main campus in Leavenworth. About 150 freshmen and 115 transfer students were invited to participate in the long-standing ceremony. The size of the incoming class required the university to – for the first time – split the event into two sessions.

Following a greeting from USM President Sister Diane Steele (pictured above at lectern), students lit candles at the altar and then formed a “circle of light” around the chapel’s interior. The candlelight symbolized the potential of students and the university’s mission being carried out into the world. USM is one of only a handful of American universities with a formal matriculation ceremony. The higher education tradition dates to the 15th and 16th centuries. USM began holding its version in the 1980s.

As is tradition, matriculation preceded the official start of fall classes on Aug. 27. 

Photos compliments of Marketing Department, University of Saint Mary