WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Whitman College welcomed about 1,400 new and returning students to campus at its annual convocation ceremonies earlier today (Saturday, Aug. 30) in Cordiner Hall.

Following welcoming remarks by Whitman College president Thomas E. Cronin, professor of physics Craig Gunsul gave the convocation address. The convocation program included an academic procession, musical offerings and remarks by college officers.

Residence halls, which opened for new students on Friday, Aug. 29, opened this morning (Saturday, Aug. 30) for returning students. Opening activities continue through the following week; registration is Monday, Sept. 1, and classes begin Tuesday, Sept. 2.

Tuition for the 2003-2004 academic year is $25,400. Nearly half of Whitman's students demonstrate financial need, and approximately 86 percent receive financial assistance, said John Bogley, dean of admissions at Whitman. Whitman, which will spend $12 million of its own money this year to provide scholarship money to its students, is committed to providing access to academically talented students who seek the challenging education Whitman offers, added Bogley.

The entering "Class of 2007" numbers about 400 students from 29 states and 12 countries, said Bogley, and is an "extraordinarily strong" class with high academic achievement. More than 60 percent of its students were ranked in the top 10 percent of their classes and 14 percent were valedictorians of their classes. Seventeen members of the class are national merit scholars, 11 were named Washington Scholars and many more were Washington Education Foundation scholars.

In addition to their academics, class members have an array of other achievements. Two of the top seven high school debaters in the United States will attend Whitman this fall, as will the young man who was a four-time defending state champion for boys' tennis. Several students are published writers, one designed and built a sea kayak, another organized and ran a Child-Share Summer Theater for under privileged students and another was semi-finalist in the Quarter Horse Association Youth World Show.

Six members of the entering class graduated from Wa-Hi; one graduated from DeSales; and two class members are from Pendleton, Oregon.


Lenel Parish, Whitman News Service,
509 527-5156; parishlj@whitman.edu