COLUMBIA — With few clouds and a cool, summer breeze washing over the Francis Quadrangle, MU freshmen made the first steps of their college careers. The Tiger Walk, an MU tradition for more than a decade, takes first-year college students through the six pillars known as the Columns and toward Jesse Hall. “The symbolism is great,” said Mike Middleton, deputy chancellor of MU, who gave a speech prior to the walk.
This year is a record-breaking Tiger Walk, with more than 5,860 freshmen having paid the enrollment deposit as of June, an all-time high according to the MU news bureau. MU stopped accepting freshmen applications for the fall semester on June 16. That fact was not lost on the MU Alumni Association, which had prepared 10 large tables filled with cups of Tiger Stripe ice cream.
But Middleton showed no signs of intimidation at the record number of students.
“We love it,” he said. “It tells us we’re doing something right.”
It took several minutes for all of the incoming students to squeeze through the pillars to their reward of ice cream and live entertainment.
“I think it’s a good experience for freshmen to get a look at the diversity,” said Jared Thomas, a junior at the university and the recruitment chair for the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. “It’s pretty cool to start it off like this; a nice tradition for the university.”
Craig Lalumandier, president of the MU Alumni Association and one of the speakers at the event, shared Thomas’ sentiment.
“I think it’s a great way to gather all the freshmen, to reinforce family and community,” he said.