Opening Days 2023: Welcome Home Bearcats!
Hotchkiss Opening Days 2023


View our Opening Days photo gallery

By Darryl Gangloff

There is a great deal of excitement in the air at Hotchkiss.

Last week, proctors, orientation leaders, and fall varsity captains arrived early to prepare for the influx of new Bearcats. Proctors trained for their important yearlong roles as dormitory supervisors, while orientation leaders—wearing bright yellow shirts with the lyrics of Fair Hotchkiss, the School song, printed on the back—worked together to create a welcoming environment for the Class of 2027. These same dedicated students also defeated faculty members in a friendly game of dodgeball.

New students and their families from abroad gathered under the Harris House tent for a welcome reception on Friday. The following morning, new Bearcats (as well as fall varsity athletes and mathletes) arrived on campus and received a warm welcome from cheering classmates. “As of this moment, you have embarked on a journey that will be part of who you are for the rest of your life,” Head of School Craig Bradley told the crowd of new students and families. “This was among the most selective years for admissions in Hotchkiss’s history. Each of you was hand-picked to be part of this community because of your gifts and talents—gifts and talents that we want to see you fully realize and share with Hotchkiss.”

Preps kept busy with a variety of orientation activities, including events at Hotchkiss's Fairfield Farm. They bonded while harvesting 1,340 pounds of potatoes! Students in our Bridge Program lived at the farm for a few days and enjoyed fresh produce, scenic hikes, campfire songs, and the rising supermoon.

The campus fully sprang back to life as returning students arrived on Monday and settled into their dorms. Bearcats enjoyed varsity team practices, class meetings, an advisory barbecue, and the Contra Dance—a beloved Hotchkiss tradition. Orientation ended with a rousing game of Bearcat Trivia in Walker Auditorium. An excited group of new students won by correctly answering the final question: What is the oldest club that still exists at Hotchkiss? The answer is St. Luke’s Society, founded in 1892 to promote community service.

The Hotchkiss Black Student Union hosted a gathering for new students yesterday, and students of color enjoyed a lunch today that included introductions to the faculty members on the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion team.

Last night the community formally welcomed new members during the annual Matriculation ceremony. Bearcats announced their names and hometowns and stated their pride in joining their class to loud applause. Following this once-in-a-lifetime moment, students celebrated at the Blue & White Dance.

Classes started today and campus is once again buzzing with energy and Bearcat pride!

Hotchkiss Matriculation 2023

The crowd sings Fair Hotchkiss during Matriculation on Tuesday, Sept. 5.


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