WALLA WALLA, Wash.-- When Whitman’s 430 first-year students arrive for “move-in day” Thursday (Aug. 28), they will assume their own special place in the college’s history.

            The entering class of 2008 (which will graduate in 2012) is the college’s second-largest first-year class in its history (in 1978, 438 new students entered), said Tony Cabasco, dean of admission and financial aid. “The 430 first-years who arrive this week were selected from the largest applicant pool in Whitman’s history,” he added. “With almost 3,300 applicants this year, we were able to admit only 45 percent of those who applied; that’s the lowest rate in our history.”           

            Significant growth in interest from students in New England, the Midwest and the Southeast resulted in the most geographically diverse class ever, with 38 states represented, and the traditional attributes of academic excellence and extracurricular activities are strong in the group. Among the 430 students are 188 who served as class president, student editor, varsity captain or founder of an organization; 47 who are the first in their family to attend college; and 187 who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class.

            The entering class also continues the recent trend of academically talented students who are also already intellectually engaged and active contributors to their school, community  and the world as a whole. Members of the class have: 

            ● organized a soccer equipment drive for Brazilian orphanages;

            ● completed an independent research project in Ecuador on fair-trade standards in   

                 Ecuador’s chocolate industry;

            ● completed an expedition to Mt. Kilimanjaro;

            ● been recognized by the National Wildlife Federation for an independent study  

                  in emissions trading;

            ● written an opinion piece on diversity that was subsequently featured in The

                       New York Times;

            ● starred in an episode of “CSI Miami”;

            ● worked as a U.S. Senate page;

            ● attended the Global Youth Leadership Conference;

            ● worked on a dairy farm in the Swiss Alps;

            ● organized a petition advocating (gay) civil unions and sent it to Karen Minnis,  

                  speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives;

            ● interviewed Holocaust survivors in Poland as part of a documentary.


            Convocation ceremonies Friday, Aug. 29, will formally welcome the students and their families. Classes begin Tuesday, Sept. 2.


Contact: Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156