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Lewis & Clark welcomes new students

October 08, 2001

Lewis & Clark College welcomed 421 first-year students and 80 transfer students at opening convocation, Aug. 30.

Peter Christenson, professor of communication, presented the convocation address on “Redefining Coolness.” Curtis Johnson, dean of the College and Dr. Robert B. Pamplin, Jr., Professor of Government, discussed the nature of truth as he accepted the new students into the Lewis & Clark community.

First-year students hail from 42 states, the District of Columbia and 11 countries. They have SAT score averages in the 1260s and ACT score averages higher than 27, placing them nationally in the top quartile. Moreover, 91 percent of the students had grade point averages higher than 3.0, and 72 percent ranked in the top quarter of their class.

“But these statistics alone do not tell the whole story of the quality and diversity of the entering class,” Mike Sexton, dean of admissions, reminded the audience. He offered a variety of examples.


  • A Barbara Hirschi Neely Scholarship recipient from Washington was a valedictorian who took Spanish but traveled to Russia—twice. She took calculus at a nearby university but wants to major in biology. She taught a science class at her middle school, led a Girl Scout troop and volunteered nearly 900 hours at the local science center.


  • A student from Washington, who wants to major in philosophy or Hispanic studies, has already published poems in four magazines. Her advanced placement English teacher wrote that she is the first poet whom she has ever taught. “In the past, some students fancied themselves as poets, but none truly were. She has the eyes of the seer, the passion of the wordsmith and the compassionate heart of the sage.”


  • Another entering student plays classical guitar and is an All-State lacrosse player. Following graduation from high school, he practiced his Spanish while working on a fishing boat off the coasts of Chile and Argentina.


  • An All-League soccer and lacrosse player used the resources of a local university to create an independent study program in medical ethics. She culminated her work at the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine.


  • A student from California was born in Nicaragua, studied in Japan for seven weeks, served on a congresswoman’s Youth Advisory Board and cochaired the Coalition for Anti-Racism.


  • One honor student is a champion mariachi performer who has traveled across the United States and Mexico to play in competitions.


  • Another student spent the past year as a research assistant studying brains in a biophysics group at Los Alamos National Laboratory.


  • A Bosnian war refugee, who fled to Germany and came to the United States with limited English language skills, transferred to Lewis & Clark from a university honors college because she wants even greater challenges.


“There are as many stories as students,” Sexton said. “We believe each student has what it takes to be successful at Lewis & Clark.

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