Convocation ceremony officially opens 2008-2009 academic year 

President George Bridges officially opened the 2008-2009 academic year at Convocation in Cordiner Hall today (Friday, Aug. 29), welcoming a standing-room-only crowd of first-year students, transfers, family members and friends. 

At 431, this is the second-largest first-year class in the college’s history, seven shy of the record-setting 438-member entering class of 1978, said Tony Cabasco, dean of admission and financial aid, in his welcome to the Class of 2012. “You were selected from the largest applicant pool in the college’s history. About 3,300 students from almost all 50 states and more than 70 countries completed applications that were carefully considered by the admission committee,” he added.           

The class of 2012, he continued, can  be described as academically talented and diverse – 1/4 are students of color or international students and one in 10 are the first in their family to go to college. “You bring perspectives from different parts of the world, from Ecuador to China; Alaska to Alabama; Bangkok to Boston; and Sofia to Seattle…and social networking is a lifestyle for you. As of last night 332 of you were part of the Class of 2012 Face book group.” 

The students were also welcomed by Elliott N. Okantey ’09, president of the Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC); and Patrick K. Spencer, professor of geology, delivered the Convocation address, “Lessons in Stone.” Spencer was introduced by Lori Bettison-Varga, provost and dean of the faculty. 

Convocation presentations can be read here.