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Presentation of the Class of 2014

Tony Cabasco, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid

Good afternoon. It's my pleasure to add my welcome to the new students and their families. We are delighted that you and your families are here to begin your Whitman experience.

Today is an exciting time for us at the college. However, today is also a bittersweet time for us in the admission office. For the past six to 18 months, we’ve been the primary contact for the new students. The admission staff and I have gotten to know you, interviewed you, read your essays and applications, and advocated for you. Now our formal contact officially ends as we welcome you to the Whitman community.

As I look out and see the new students, I reflect on the process that led you here today. From the students who received an initial mailing from us, to the 32,000 who contacted us at some point during the process, then finally to the 4,000 or so who started an application, it’s come down to the 441 new students today.

As my colleagues and I read your applications, we looked for students:

  • who love academic challenges
  • who have a passion for making a difference and getting involved in their community, and
  • who would provide a different perspective in and out of the classroom.

Crafting a class of students is a labor intensive and challenging task, but I would like to think that we were successful in finding students who demonstrate these characteristics.

I cannot share fully the diversity of experiences, talents, and interests represented in the class in the limited time I have, but I’d like to share a few general details about the new students to give you a flavor for the mix of individuals who are joining the Whitman community:

  1. They are academically very talented.
  2. They are a diverse group — nearly 30 percent are students of color or international students and one in eight are first-generation students.
  3. They bring perspectives from different parts of the world — 35 states and 14 countries — from South Africa to China, Maine to Hawaii, and Sofia to Seattle. Members of this entering class speak about 20 languages.
  4.  This entering class is made up of students who are accomplished not only in the classroom, but beyond it as well. Nearly half of the class held a leadership position in student government, athletics, a school publication, or founded a club or organization. Nearly 80 percent did some sort of community service in high school.
  5. Finally, members of this entering class also include individuals who are:
    • a cancer survivor
    • a finisher in the Los Angeles marathon
    • the author of a children’s book
    • an international elections observer during the presidential elections in El Salvador last year
    • and a student who owns a collection of footed, onesie pajamas
  6. These students are quite impressive.

In closing, let me say to the new students, “welcome” and “best wishes.” Cherish the four years that you will spend on this campus and the friendships you will develop with classmates, faculty, and staff.

To members of the Whitman community — faculty, staff, current students, alumni, and friends — I proudly present the new transfer students and the class of 2014.

Thank You.

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