Members of Northwestern's Class of 2019 took the first steps of their college journey Sept. 13 when they paraded in a purple procession in the March Through the Weber Arch as Wildcat Welcome went into full swing.


Cheered on by parents and friends, the 2,029-member class surged through the Weber Arch to mark the traditional start of their time at the University.


Clad in purple T-shirts and led by the Northwestern University Marching Band, first-year and transfer students marched to Deering Meadow to hear advice from President Morton Schapiro, to pose for their class photo and take some final selfies with their families.


“Welcome to Northwestern,” President Schapiro said, standing on the sun-drenched steps of Deering Library as thousands assembled moments before students would say their goodbyes to parents, siblings and friends.


“I have a request for you,” he added. “When your loved ones hug you, or text you, or call you, and they tell you they’re proud of you and say they love you, say the same thing to them.”


It was an emotional day for many parents and students, but the beautiful late summer weather and the support of families, friends and more than 200 peer advisors took some of the sting out of parting at the “Kiss ‘n’ Bye” on Deering Meadow.


Sponsored by the office of New Student and Family Programs, the 10-day Wildcat Welcome program is packed with events to keep new students busy, help them navigate the transition and orient them as they start taking a Northwestern Direction.


Read more about March Through the Arch in the Northwestern News Center.