Iona University’s Class of 2027 Arrives Focused and Full of Optimism

Welcome Day Kicks Off Year Ahead

New Rochelle, N.Y. – Members of the Class of 2027 arrived at Iona University full of energy, excitement, optimism and focus this week. Whether studying biology or business, broadcast journalism or political science, students said they were eager to begin the year and explore all that is available to them both inside and outside of the classroom.

Vincenzo Gramaglia ’27 said that academically, he is interested in studying International Business in the LaPenta School of Business and he has his sights set on hopefully doing a study abroad trip in Italy. He is also especially honored to be part of Iona’s new Division I lacrosse team.

“It feels great to play lacrosse here — a lot of these guys worked really hard to get to this competitive level,” said Gramaglia, of Southern New Jersey, who has been playing lacrosse since second grade and will be living on campus.

Iona’s annual Welcome Day – a longstanding tradition on campus – brought all new freshmen and transfer students together on Monday around a full day of activities. In addition to performances from the pipe band, pep band, cheer and teams, the day also included remarks from campus leaders, an academic Q&A on what to expect as a college student, tours of campus and much more – including a class photo on Mazzella Field. The day concluded with a barbeque, photo booth, dunk tank and games on the Murphy Green for students to mix, mingle and meet their new classmates.

A school on the rise, Iona’s new student enrollment is up nearly 30 percent since 2019. This year’s incoming class is also one of its strongest, most diverse and most highly engaged across athletics, club sports, performing arts and other leadership activities such as student government.

Caroline Encarnacion ’27 is majoring in biology with the goal of becoming a dentist. She will be part of Iona’s Latin dance team, Bailando Con Sazón, as well as Campus Ministry. Her sister is also a sophomore at Iona, which made the decision to attend a lot easier, though the convenience of having good coffee shops and restaurants all around campus was definitely an added bonus, she said with a laugh.

“I see college as being one opportunity closer to establishing my life. And that’s what I want,” said Encarnacion. “I grew up very blessed and I want to create the life for myself that my parents gave to me. I am starting college and I feel like that’s the first big step toward making that happen.”

New friends Venus Melo ’27 and Stephanie Lazala ’27 came together at Welcome Day talking about how excited they are to be part of the cheer team.

“When I made the cheer team, I saw the bond the girls on the team had, and I really wanted to be part of that,” said Lazala, who wants to study political science.

In addition to the cheer team, Melo said she would also like to learn more about Greek life and mock trial, if her schedule permits. She came to Iona because she was interested in the Media and Strategic Communications program, where she wants to focus on broadcast journalism.

“Iona is close to home but it’s also close to the city and it offers a lot of good internships with news programs,” said Melo, of Yonkers. “To be a reporter, you really need that kind of networking.” 

Maria DelGiudice ’27, meanwhile, is committed to Iona’s 4+1 Bachelor’s/Master's program in Mathematics and Adolescent Education. She’s also excited to try out for Iona’s club volleyball team.

“The campus is really beautiful and I know a lot of people here – it’s really a great community,” she said. “I’m also excited to meet new people and make new friends.”

Iona’s festivities will continue over the next 50 days with “Killian’s Kickoff” – an action-packed guide of events happening on campus and off to help keep students active and engaged both on campus and beyond.

View the complete Iona calendar here

Founded in 1940, Iona University is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre New Rochelle campus and 28-acre Bronxville campus are just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of over 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is accredited by AACSB International, a prestigious recognition awarded to just five percent of business schools worldwide. The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2023.” Iona University also recently launched a new, fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility. In July 2021, Iona University and NewYork-Presbyterian announced the establishment of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, to be principally located on the University’s new campus in Bronxville, N.Y. Supported by a $20 million gift from NewYork-Presbyterian, the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences offers a new vision for collaborative health care education, modern workforce development, and community care. On July 1, 2022, Iona officially changed its status from College to University, reflecting the growth of its academic programs and the prestige of an Iona education.