Beyond the Numbers
September 16, 2011
The story behind our admissions success.
The competition among colleges to recruit talented students is now so intense and widespread that the Chronicle of Higher Education recently dubbed it “intergalactic.” Using that adjective as a starting point—hyperbolic as it may be— I can say that our achievements this year boldly take Lewis & Clark into uncharted territory of success and opportunity.
From the largest number of applicants in its history, the College of Arts and Sciences is enrolling the largest first-year class on record: 611 students in the class of 2015 plus 54 students transferring from other schools. Most importantly, these new students join us with the same high academic distinction as other recent classes. Their grades and test scores continue to be the envy of many of our peers.
The incoming class also sets records for diversity. We are welcoming the college’s highest-ever percentage of U.S. minority students, including the largest number of African American students ever, and the largest number of students eligible for Pell Grants.
Additionally, we made significant progress in our other admissions priorities, reaching greater gender balance (43 percent male versus 37.5 percent last year) and enrolling an impressive roster of student-athletes. More than 100 new Pioneers will compete this year.
Our law school and graduate school are also experiencing strong enrollments, evidence that our excellent faculty and innovative programs continue to attract dedicated professionals despite difficult job markets.
A larger-than-expected incoming class demands we use our resources even more wisely than before. The students we seek are passionate to learn in a place where learning is as personal as it is global. They join us because they are eager to study and collaborate with our renowned faculty. So we have spent the summer working to ensure that close interaction between student and professor continues to be our hallmark.
I’m pleased to announce that moving forward our College of Arts and Sciences admissions and financial aid offices will operate as an integrated unit under the leadership of Oregon native Lisa Meyer. Lisa joined us in July after serving as vice president of enrollment at Whittier College in California. We’re excited to have her on board and to learn from her proven expertise.
And we’ve already begun implementing some strategic changes in undergraduate admissions: Assistant Dean Peter McKay is now based permanently in New York City, championing Lewis&Clark year-round among East Coast students and families, and helping them navigate the college-selection process.
Enrolling a new class is always a comprehensive and collegial endeavor, the result of effort by scores of faculty and staff. But surely this year’s gain is also representative of something else as well. Highly qualified students from all walks of life choose us for many reasons, not least of which is the success of our alumni—the generations of students who have come before the class of 2015.
When each of you talks about your own experiences on Palatine Hill with your family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues, you strengthen Lewis & Clark. When you tell them you know where to find people who believe that advancing knowledge goes hand in hand with being engaged in local communities and around the world, you increase our ability to attract the most promising students.
This year’s admissions results tell me that we are well on our way to becoming known as a top destination for students and scholars from across the Northwest, the nation, and the globe. Please continue spreading the word about Lewis & Clark on your travels and through your own social and business networks. Only together will we create opportunity for the next generation of leaders.
On behalf of the entire Lewis & Clark community, thank you.