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Duquesne University Welcoming One Of Its Biggest Freshman Classes

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - It was the march of the freshmen Tuesday morning as hundreds of bright-eyed students filed into their dormitories.

More than 1,500 freshmen will arrive on Duquesne University's campus this week for move-in and orientation.

KDKA talked with Duquesne University President Ken Gormley about what makes this incoming class so special.

duquesne move in day
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

"It's one of the biggest classes ever in our history and it is also one of the most diverse classes," said Gormley. "We're welcoming over 1,500 freshmen from all over the country, all over the world."

He's talking about freshmen like Margot Pessy, who grew up in France and just arrived in Pittsburgh for the first time. Pessy will join the women's tennis team this fall.

"I was looking for a great school with great academics and a tennis team and this just sounded like the right fit," said Pessy.

Duquesne volunteers and staff emptied out dozens of minivans and SUVs, packed to the gills with back-to-school supplies. They filled roll-away carts and headed straight into the dormitories, despite the heavy morning rainfall.

"I'm excited to meet a lot of new people and all the girls on my floor," said Kaylee Fisher, an incoming freshman.

Fisher's car overflowed with necessities for her dorm room, but thankfully she grew up only 20 minutes away. Unlike Pessy, she can run back home if she forgot anything.

Kaylee's parents, Tina and Todd, said they're glad she chose to continue her Catholic education. Amid the scandal in the Pittsburgh Diocese regarding the grand jury report and predator priests, Tina Fisher said it was something she talked about with her daughter.

"We did talk to her about it and that helps in the decision when she chose the school," said Fisher.

Gormley said he addressed the recent grand jury report in a message to the campus community.

"I sent a message out to the campus community and to students and faculty and staff obviously expressing our sadness about the recent events and deep sympathy for the victims," said Gormley.

He said he wants the focus on campus to remain on the students and Duquesne's reputation as one of the nation's top Catholic universities.

"They come number one in everything we do," said Gormley. "In terms of their security, in terms of making sure that they get the very best education and that's what the Spiritan priests that founded this place were all about and so that's where all of our focus is on those students and we take that very seriously."

University classes begin on Monday, Aug. 27.

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