By Mary Ellen Alu and Christina Tatu
Early Thursday morning on the Mountaintop Campus, Lauren Ferreira '27 posed for a photo with family behind white, waist-high Lehigh letters–a freeze-frame moment as she joined hundreds of incoming first-year students in the excitement of Move-In Day.
“It’s a very proud moment,” said Ferreira, a first-generation student. “My parents immigrated here [from Brazil], and their one dream was to give their daughters what they never had, which was an education. We made it happen. … “It’s just a dream come true.”
Under a light rain, streams of first-year students made their way into Iacocca Hall, where they received keys and orientation packets, before heading to their assigned residence halls on the Asa Packer Campus to unload their bedding, clothes and other belongings and set up their rooms. Volunteers in red or white T-shirts greeted them–some offering high-fives, some waving oversized foam fingers, others cheering.
Ferreira arrived from Connecticut with older sister, Tiffany, a recent Fordham University graduate, and parents Andrea and Welington. “Very bittersweet moment because we’re so happy for this new chapter in her life,” said Tiffany, adding that her sister had worked so hard to earn a scholarship to attend Lehigh. "We're so very happy," said her mother.
Ferreira admitted to feeling some flutters at the prospect of leaving behind her sister and parents and starting her studies in computer science. “I’m very family-oriented,” she said. “They’re my base for everything. It’s going to be a little hard but we’re just two hours away.”
This year’s incoming undergraduate class includes 1,541 students, some of whom had arrived on campus earlier this week. The undergraduates come from 39 different countries, including India, Japan and Vietnam, and 48 different states. They will be joined by nearly 500 new graduate students.