Home Bridgewater College welcomes Class of 2026

Bridgewater College welcomes Class of 2026

Rebecca Barnabi

bridgewater college Approximately 1,500 students returned to Bridgewater College as the 2022-2023 academic year began on Tuesday.

Among these students was more than 500 new students, including first-year freshmen, transfer students and graduate students from 19 different states and seven different countries.

Students, faculty and staff gathered in Nininger Hall, according to a press release, on Aug. 22 for the college’s Opening Convocation ceremony to welcome the Class of 2026.

“We celebrate the opportunity and potential each academic year brings, with new staff and students bringing their unique experiences. It’s how we keep a diverse and vibrant community strong,” Bridgewater College President David Bushman said in his concluding remarks at the convocation. “We’re here to learn with and for and about one another. That’s what community is — we belong together.”

Faculty and staff created an Echelon after the ceremony by clapping and cheering members of the Class of 2026 as they walked from Nininger Hall to the Campus Mall while the Screamin’ Eagles Marching Band played. The press release stated that walking through the Echelon signifies students’ entrance into the Bridgewater College community. They will walk through the Echelon again when they graduate.

Alumni came to campus on Aug. 18 for an annual tradition, Eagles We-Haul, and aided upperclassmen, SOAR mentors and staff in helping first-year students move into their residence halls. Returning and transfer students moved in Aug. 21.

The first week back at Bridgewater College includes meet and greet opportunities for students and their families with Bushman and his wife, Suzanne, information sessions about resources on campus, and recreational activities such as dodgeball, board games, trivia and Bingo.

Founded in 1880, Bridgewater College is a private, four-year liberal arts college in the Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and was the state’s first private, coeducational college. The college offers nearly 60 undergraduate majors and minors and four graduate programs within three distinct schools.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.