In keeping with a Mizzou tradition, new Tigers arrived on campus a week before the start of the semester and immersed themselves in Fall Welcome events. They painted the rock M on Faurot Field. They heard the band Never Shout Never perform on Carnahan Quad. They watched a step show. They joined sororities. They refueled at a midnight barbecue, a picnic/spirit rally and a campus pizza party. And they topped off the week with Sunday evening's Tiger Walk, a mass run through the Columns. Remember to go to class today, new Tigers! The fun is just getting started.

Mizzou began its 2016 fall semester with an accomplished freshman class. Of the university's 4,799 freshmen, 134 were high school valedictorians, and the class's mean ACT score ties a Mizzou record high at 26. And last year's freshmen have returned in droves. This year's retention rate, 85.4 percent, is the third-highest in the history of the university and remains higher than the state average (78 percent) and the national average (80.8 percent). Welcome back, Tigers!

Painting the M

Giant rock M on the football field, surrounded by students.

Mizzou freshmen surround the rock M in Memorial Stadium Friday to give the rocks a traditional fresh coat of white paint. Photo by Rob Hill

Students kissing the yard line.

Before the Memorial Stadium rock M is touched up with paint, Mizzou freshman have a chance at another tradition, the kissing of the 50 yard line on Faurot Field. Photo by Rob Hill

Student painting a rock with a marker.

Freshman Jalyn Powell, signs a miniature rock M he decorated at Memorial Stadium. Photo by Rob Hill

Student whitewashing rocks with a mop.

Brittany Billington slaps paint onto the rocks in Memorial Stadium. Photo by Rob Hill

Fall Welcome Concert

Photo by Mikala Compton

Students enjoy the opening act, Tidal Volume, at the Mizzou Fall Welcome concert. Photo by Mikala Compton

Singer with guitar and microphone.

Never Shout Never lead singer Christopher Drew performs for Mizzou students at the Fall Welcome concert on Tiger Plaza Saturday. Photo by Mikala Compton

Drummer performing on stage.

Hayden Kaiser, the drummer of Nevershoutnever, performs at the Fall Welcome Concert on Saturday night. Photo by Mikala Compton

Students sitting in the grass.

From left, Emily Bainbridge, Jen Perritt, Samantha Kummerer and Megan Sheets sit in the grass and listen to the Fall Welcome Concert on Saturday at Tiger Plaza. Photo by Mikala Compton

Bid Day

Photo by Mikala Compton

Potential new members of Greek Life stand in line as they wait to enter Faurot Field and learn which sororities have invited them to join their ranks on Bid Day, the Sunday preceding the start of the fall semester. Photo by Mikala Compton

Photo by Mikala Compton

Members of Gamma Phi Beta sorority walk back to their house from Faurot Field as they welcome new members. Photo by Mikala Compton

Photo by Mikala Compton

New members of Phi Mu Sorority hug each other after opening their bid cards and learning which sororities have asked them to join. Photo by Mikala Compton

bid-day-kissing-50

New members of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority complete the Mizzou tradition of kissing the 50 yard line on Faurot Field. Photo by Mikala Compton

Photo by Mikala Compton

Members of Phi Mu sorority welcome their new pledge class. Photo by Mikala Compton

Photo by Mikala Compton

Members of Alpha Chi Omega sorority cheer as they walk back to their house. Photo by Mikala Compton

Tiger Walk

Stacks of ice cream cartons.

Tiger Stripe ice cream awaits freshmen Sunday at Tiger Walk on Francis Quadrangle. Photo by Rob Hill

Students running between Columns.

Speeches end, balloons fly and freshmen run to mark the opening of the 2016 school year at Mizzou. Photo by Rob Hill

Tiger Walk

Mizzou's class of 2020 runs through the Columns. Photo by Nicholas Benner

Students with cell phones walking through the Columns

Freshmen document their passage through the Columns. Photo by Rob Hill

tiger-walk-sitting

Clara Beaman and Alex Hackworth take an ice cream break among their fellow freshmen. Photo by Rob Hill

Sousaphone

The Columns are reflected in the sousaphone on Francis Quadrangle during a concert by Marching Mizzou. Photo by Rob Hill

Strong Retention, High Quality Freshman Class Drive Mizzou’s Fall Enrollment from MU News Bureau on Vimeo.