WALLA WALLA, Wash.-- Whitman College will welcome approximately 1,450 new and returning students and their families to the college’s 123rd academic year at Convocation ceremonies Saturday, Aug. 28, at 10:30 a.m. in Cordiner Hall. Professor of English Jean Carwile Masteller will present the Convocation address, President Tom Cronin will make opening remarks, and senior violinist Julia Doe will play a selection from "Baal Shem" by Ernest Bloch.

The formal opening of the 2004-05 academic year will be celebrated with opening week activities that run from Friday, Aug. 27, to Sunday, Sept. 5. The college, which begins classes on Tuesday, Aug. 31, begins this academic year on the heels of its strongest recruiting year and second-strongest fund-raising year and with one of the top five graduation rates west of the Mississippi.

The college has seen a 33 percent increase in applications in the past three years, said Tony Cabasco, dean of admission and financial aid, with the college receiving an all-time high of nearly 2,600 applications for this year’s entering class. "The quality of the admitted pool is the best we’ve ever had."

The entering class this year, said Cabasco, contains an interesting mix of scholastic and extra-curricular achievement. The class, which includes nine Eagle Scouts, 17 student body or senior class presidents, and 270 students with community service experience, has a median SAT score of 1340 and a median ACT score of 30. The student body as a whole will number approximately 1,450 and hale from about 45 states and 30 nations.

Whitman students, ranked by the Princeton Review as among the most satisfied in the country, continue to support Whitman with an ever-increasing retention rate. The retention rate for first-years (freshmen) who return to Whitman as sophomores is currently at 95 percent, and the college’s graduation rate is 86 percent, statistics envied by colleges and universities across the country.

Whitman’s tuition for the coming academic year is $26,870, but approximately 70 percent of Whitman’s students will receive some kind of financial aid, said Cabasco, with the average need-based aid package including scholarship, loan and work study coming in at around $17,500; the average scholarship package will be about $13,300.

Even the full tuition amount represents only about 40 percent of the cost of an individual education at Whitman, according to John Bogley, vice president for development and college relations. "The rest of a Whitman education, which includes an average class size of 15 and a faculty-to-student ratio of 1 to 10, is covered by income from the college’s endowment and the support of people who believe in what we do here. This group includes alumni, friends of the college and foundations and corporations.

"What we do at Whitman is provide a personalized, rigorous and engaging liberal arts education, and we are fortunate to have the kind of support we do from many sources." Whitman raised approximately $14.1 million dollars during the last fiscal year (July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004), said Bogley, with more than $13.5 million coming from private donations.


CONTACT: Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service
Email: parishlj@whitman.edu