By Edward Weinman
Sarah Finger ’17 knew she was going to Whitman when she first set eyes on the campus.
“I felt silly visiting other schools, because Whitman is so beautiful,” said Finger, holding her new student packet tightly in her hands.
“I love the outdoors. So Whitman is perfect for me.”
Finger is one of 414 students in the Class of 2017 who are moving into dorms, unpacking boxes and setting up their new lives at Whitman College. Students in the class come from 31 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas.
The Class of 2017 also has 19 international students from countries including China, Mongolia and Kenya. Fifty-two of the members of the class are first-generation students and 44 have a sibling, parent or grandparent who attends or attended Whitman, including Finger’s roommate, Seana Minuth ’17, whose sister, Margaret Minuth ’15, is a current student.
“Other schools just don’t compare to Whitman,” Seana Minuth said. “The people are so friendly. The campus is so beautiful. There isn’t anything I don’t like about Whitman.”
Minuth is undecided about her major, but the first year from San Francisco plans to take pre-med classes. And while she’s apprehensive about “getting back into the swing of things” academically, she’s not nervous about the social adjustments of college, because she took part in a Scramble, an outdoor adventure geared towards new students who have the opportunity to meet fellow first years and older students who lead the week-long trips into the Pacific Northwest.
“I went on a Scramble to Smith Rock, so I already know a bunch of people,” Minuth said.
Whitman routinely attracts diverse students committed to community service. The Class of 2017 is no different: 82 percent of incoming students participated in community service while in high school, and 42 students founded a club or organization. The Class of 2017 is also academically proficient: 58 percent were in the top 10 percent of their classes, and 84 percent were in the top 25 percent of their classes. The Class of 2017 has 31 high school valedictorians.
“Move-in day is one of the most exciting days of the year,” said Chuck Cleveland, dean of students. “It’s always exciting to see the new students, but it’s the look of pride and joy on the parents’ faces. They are so happy that their kids are coming to Whitman College.”
One such parent is Liz Laverack, whose son, Sam Jacobson ’17, moved into Jewett Hall. While she is impressed by Whitman’s campus, ranked third in the nation by “Business Insider," Laverack feels her son is starting at a “fabulous school.”
“I’m totally excited for my son. Whitman’s academics are very impressive.”
Right now, Jacobson is more concerned about unpacking his boxes than Whitman’s academic profile. For the first year from Southwest Harbor, Maine, Whitman was the perfect college.
“When I visited Whitman, I just liked the feel of the place.”