RICHMOND, Ky. (FOX 56) — It’s back to school all over the bluegrass today, and that includes colleges and universities.

On Wednesday, Eastern Kentucky University welcomed a record-breaking freshman class.

Days like today are what so many students look forward to in the “best four years of their lives,” and today EKU is welcoming incoming freshmen for the 2023–2024 school year.

There are a lot of firsts when students start college, like being on their own and meeting new people. For EKU freshman Lucas Brownstead from Ashland, Kentucky. He said he’s looking forward to making a lot of new friends.

“I’ve already made one friend and my best friend from my town. We actually moved in together, so that made things a little easier. I’m looking forward to getting classes started and learning how to study, move around campus, and live the college life,” Brownstead said.

For freshman Kayleigh Bartley, when deciding between different colleges, it came down to stepping onto campus to know if it was the right fit for her.

“I’m just ready to start my journey with life and see like where it’s going and what my career is going to be,” Bartley said.


EKU President David McFaddin said this is the day the whole college community gets to celebrate incoming freshmen making their way to campus.

“I love graduation day. I love homecoming, but really the excitement and really the anticipation of this day, is the day I wait for all year long,” McFaddin said.

Resident assistant Adam Stone said the biggest piece of advice he has for incoming freshmen is time management.

“Stick with it, definitely. It’s a first time being on your own, and it’s really hard to kind of work through how everything works and get used to the college life because you’re by yourself and you have to set aside time for your own things to do study and to actually eat,” Stone said.

As EKU welcomes what could be its largest freshman class in 40 years, McFaddin said the school is bursting at the seams.

“As of this morning, 4660 students living in 4660 beds, and so we have got everyone off the waitlist. Everyone who wanted a room has got a room, but we are at full capacity,” said McFaddin. “We always have some, you know, emergency overload capacity in the event that we would need.”

Officials said that their goal is to move students into their hall in under 15 minutes.

“We’ll know on Monday when first day of classes start. But we are anticipating this being one of, if not the largest, class in the last 40 years,” McFaddin said,

The enrollment at EKU has increased nearly 30% since 2020 despite a decline in national enrollment, but the campus can’t wait to kick off the school year with its new class.