Faces at convocation

First-year students have arrived on campus to begin the transition into college life and are diving head-first into the Whitman experience.

Through Opening Week and Orientation activities, the students have kept busy meeting with faculty advisers, setting up their residence hall rooms and making new friends. Today, the 419 members of the class of 2014 as well as 22 transfer students – from such distant campuses as UCLA and from as near as Walla Walla Community College – begin their first day of classes, although the course for their academic journey was set when they selected Whitman.

“The class is characterized by diversity and achievement,” said Tony Cabasco, dean of admission and financial aid. Here is a look at the class through numbers:

  • nearly 277 of them ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class;
  • 56 are first-generation college students (first in their families to attend college);
  • 90 were captains or co-captains of a varsity athletic team;
  • 46 served as editor or co-editor of their high school newspaper or yearbook;
  • 23 were ASB or class presidents;
  • 50 founded a club or organization while in high school;
  • and they represent 35 states, 14 countries and speak over 20 languages.  

The talent, drive and well-roundedness that characterize the Whitman student body are reflected in the variety of activities of members of the Class of 2014. Among examples, one student:

  • completed a 50,000-word novel in 30 days as a part of the National Novel Writing Month Challenge;
  • completed the Los Angeles Marathon in 7th grade;
  • survived brain cancer;
  • has 27 family members who have graduated from Whitman;
  • translates English bibles into Mongolian at the local Mongolian Community Church in Seattle;
  • assisted an NGO in Mumbai to help educate street children on hygiene;
  • has raised and trained eight guide dogs;
  • served as the International Elections Observer for the El Salvador Presidential Election in 2009.

The new class was culled from 3,322 applicants.  During the 2010 Convocation, Cabasco presented the class to the faculty, saying “As my colleagues and I read your applications, we looked for students who loved 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.”