This year marks the fifth consecutive year that the University of Vermont has seen record-breaking enrollment numbers. Approximately 13,100 students will begin classes on Monday, Aug. 31, a number that includes 10,200 undergraduates, 1,450 graduate students, 450 medical students and 1,000 non-degree students. Also breaking records in numbers this year are UVM’s ALANA (Asian-American, Latino, African-American, Native American and multi-racial) students. Approximately 1,090 ALANA students are expected to enroll this fall, a 13.8 percent increase over last year. That gain is in large part attributed to a 51.9 percent increase in first-time, first-year ALANA students, up to 313 from 206 last year, making the Class of 2013 the most diverse in UVM history.The evening before classes begin, the university will celebrate the new academic year with a convocation ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. in the Patrick Gymnasium. This year’s keynote speaker is Tracy Kidder, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World. The event is free and open to the public, however, tickets are required.Visit the convocation website: http://www.uvm.edu/~presdent/ceremonies/convocation/(link is external) to learn more about the event and acquiring tickets.After convocation, which will also include remarks from campus leadership, participants are invited to process down Main Street to a candlelight induction ceremony for the Class of 2013 on the UVM Green. The ceremony is just one of the events the approximately 2,620 first-year students will participate in over Opening Weekend, an annual program that helps acquaint new students to college life. The incoming first-year students, who will arrive on campus for Opening Weekend on Friday, Aug. 28, are one of the brightest classes to enroll at UVM; 29 percent were among the top 10 percent of their graduating high school class and 66 percent were among the top 25 percent.Several changes in academic programming are new this year. The Area and International Studies Program has become the Global and Regional Studies program, an expansion of the program that will allow students to complete a major in one of six areas of study ranging from Asian studies to Latin American studies and/or a minor in one of eight. UVM students will now be able to pursue a bachelor of arts in engineering, allowing for more educational breadth in the liberal arts than is possible with the various engineering bachelor of science degrees. Other new degree and certificate options include a minor in public communication, a master’s degree in accountancy, and a certificate of graduate study in complex systems. Also new this fall: students are no longer required to complete two credits of physical education.Students will return to campus to find progress on James M. Jeffords Hall, the $55.7 million, 97,000 square foot research, laboratory, and classroom building scheduled to be completed in March 2010 and two completed construction project: the McAuley Hall renovation on Trinity Campus which returned the building to its former state as a residence hall and the infill of the Given Courtyard, which added 30,000 square feet of space for College of Medicine faculty and staff. All three projects are registered for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification.