BY PAUL LEIGHTON
---- — Students are descending on local college campuses in record or near-record numbers this week.
Salem State University, Endicott College, Gordon College and Montserrat College of Art are all expecting high enrollments when classes for the 2012-13 academic year begin this week and next.
Endicott College in Beverly will have its largest class in history, college officials said. Gordon College in Wenham has a record number of freshmen, while Salem State will welcome one of its largest freshman classes ever.
“We’re at absolute capacity, to the point where 60 of our incoming freshmen are going to be living in Marsh Hall,” said Karen Cady, a university spokeswoman.
Freshmen traditionally live in Peabody and Bowditch halls on the main campus. Marsh Hall opened three years ago on the central campus. Although a “handful” of freshmen lived in Marsh Hall last year, the number this year is much larger, Cady said.
The 1,174 students in the freshman class help boost the total number of undergraduates to 6,200, also one of the largest undergraduate student bodies in years.
Endicott College in Beverly will have its largest class in history for the 20th straight year, according to college officials.
Endicott is anticipating an enrollment of 2,360 undergraduate students, with about 2,000 living in campus housing. To accommodate the increase, the college has built two new parking lots with 300 spaces and purchased a house overlooking the campus where 12 students will live.
Endicott has opened a satellite campus in a building on Commercial Street in Gloucester and is constructing a $17 million life sciences and business building that is scheduled to open next fall.
The school will also become the first college on the North Shore to offer a doctorate program, in educational leadership.
At Gordon College, a record 534 new students have enrolled at the Christian liberal arts school, a slight bump over last year’s 525. Gordon’s total enrollment is 1,520, an increase over last year’s 1,487. New students moved into dorms on Saturday, while returning students began to move in yesterday.
This fall marks the second year for the college’s new president, D. Michael Lindsay, and the 50th year for Marvin Wilson, biblical studies professor, author and scholar in the area of Jewish-Christian relations.
Enrollment at Montserrat College of Art is up to about 400 students, close to its all-time high, officials said. About two-thirds of the students live in on-campus housing near the downtown Beverly campus.
Classes begin at Gordon College tomorrow; at Montserrat on Friday; at Endicott on Tuesday, Sept. 4; and at Salem State on Wednesday, Sept. 5.
Staff writers Tom Dalton and Bethany Bray contributed to this story. Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.