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Director of Admissions' Remarks

Opening Convocation Remarks
Thursday, August 22, 2013 
Chris Markle, Director of Admissions

     Chris Markel at Convocation

Good afternoon. As Director of Admissions, I have the honor of presenting the Susquehanna University Class of 2017, our new transfer students, and new exchange students.

Today, we expect 624 new students—590 first-year, 31 transfer, and 3 exchange students—to arrive for the opening of our one hundred and fifty-sixth academic year.

First-year students—you are members of one of the largest Susquehanna classes ever. You were selected from an exceptionally strong applicant pool and admission was competitive. Yours is among the most well-qualified first-year classes in Susquehanna’s history. Twenty-eight percent of you ranked in the top 10th of your high school classes, 46% ranked in the top fifth, and 73% ranked in the top two-fifths. Seventeen of you were the valedictorian or salutatorian of your high school classes. The average of your critical reading and math SAT scores is 117 points above the national average.

Eighty two new students are enrolling as members of Susquehanna's Honors Program, which is beginning its 31st year.

Our best estimates show that combined, our 624 new students traveled nearly one million miles during the college search process. We are pleased to welcome you to your new home away from home. Geographically, we welcome our new students from down the street and around the world. You join us from 26 states, the District of Columbia, and 10 countries. Forty-four percent of you are from Pennsylvania. You also represent the great states of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. We are also very pleased to welcome you from China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Macau, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the UAE, Vietnam and Zambia. Our new international and foreign exchange students are represented by the flags in front of the stage.

You have selected majors from nearly every department at Susquehanna. The most popular choices include accounting, biology, business administration, chemistry/biochemistry, communications, creative writing, earth and environmental science, education, English, graphic design, history, international studies, music, political science, psychology and theatre. About 13% of you have chosen not to declare a major yet, preferring instead to begin as "undeclared." The majority of you are planning study beyond the Bachelor's degree.

Fifty-five percent of our new students are women. There are 25 students whose parents or grandparents are graduates of Susquehanna. About 19% of you say that you are a member of an underrepresented minority group, making this the most ethnically diverse class in Susquehanna’s history.

Most of you were born in 1995 or 1996 which means you came into the world about the same time as the DVD. Your association with Disney is more about Lizzie, Raven and Zach and Cody than Mickey or Minnie. You’re much more familiar with Johnny Depp the veteran character actor than Johnny Depp the teenage heart throb. And you’ve seen Malcolm in the Middle’s dad become a notorious meth dealer. Your favorite videos are all of 6 seconds long and you have mastered communicating in 140 characters or less. A tablet is no longer something you take in the morning, and Paypal has replaced a pen pal as a best friend on line.

Thirty of you share six birthdays—January 20, March 5, April 19, April 25, September 16, and December 27.

Also, we’re very pleased that two Veterans Affairs Educational Benefits recipients are joining us as new students—Colleen Magner and Nicholas Slaff.

Among the women, 26% of you share 14 first names—Amanda, Alyssa, Ashley, Elizabeth, Emily, Jessica, Laura, Mackenzie, Megan, Morgan, Nicole, Rachel, Samantha, and Victoria. Men—35% of you share just 15 names—Andrew, Benjamin, Christopher, Daniel, James, John or Jonathan, Kevin, Matthew (18), Michael, Nicholas, Ryan, Sean, Tyler, William, and Zachary.

From Abbott to Zuponcic, this class has it all from A to Z. Your class includes 4 Johnsons, 6 Millers, 3 Mitchells, 3 Moyers, 5 Smiths, 3 Williams AND the Garraway, Gee, and Graham twins. Apparently, this may be a hard working group….we have Taylor, Porter, Potter, and a Butler. A few things we wonder: Will Baker, Apple, Cherry and Danish have regular gatherings at the dining hall dessert bar? Should Flowers and Bloom stay away from Wildt? Will Christmas and Valentine first meet on January 20th? Will Woods or Deforest be able to help Bayer, Wolfe and Hawk hide from Hunt? Will Smith and Reed live in Smith and Reed? Will Firestone, Dale and Gordon hang NASCAR flags outside of their windows? Are Kimmel, Fallon and Carson bound to show up for open mic night at Charlie’s? Should the hand bell choir reserve spots for Ring and Bell? Will Sands and Schell spend spring break at the Jersey Shore? These answers are yet to come.

Students, you bring exceptional extracurricular accomplishments with you to Susquehanna. Thirteen percent of you were student government or class council members, with 19 of you having served as president or vice president. Forty percent of the class was inducted into the National Honor Society, and 15 led the organization as president or vice president. Seventy five of you were dramatic or musical theatre performers, with 21 having had leading roles. More than 100 class members participated in band or orchestra, and 80 joined vocal organizations. 80 of you wrote for or edited your yearbooks, newspapers, or literary magazines; 14 were editors-in-chief.

Three hundred and seventy five of you, 64% of the class, played varsity sports, and 88, 15% of our first-year class, captained or co-captained your varsity athletic teams. Twelve of you are Eagle Scouts, and four earned the Girl Scout's Gold Award. Twenty percent of the class did volunteer work through your schools, 46% volunteered your time and talents to your community and 19% have been active in religious activities.

Combined, your admissions essays total nearly 400,000 words. We learned much about you and your past challenges and successes, as well as your hopes and dreams. You told us about the thrill of visiting a new city for the first time, helping a friend work through a personal crisis, what you learned from hosting an exchange student in your home, and many of you wrote about the impact that your family has had on you and your development as a young adult. You wrote about your sincere interest in the cross cultural component of our central curriculum. About a quarter of you hope to spend time in Europe to fulfill your GO requirement. Others plan to travel to Australia, Africa or Asia or take part in a domestic experience.

Some envision themselves as successful physicians, journalists, financial managers, researchers, youth counselors and responsible regional or national leaders. Others expect to contribute through law, the arts, the ministry, or teaching. You believe that your enrollment at Susquehanna will make a positive difference in all aspects of your lives. At the same time, you recognize the role that you have in making that difference.

Students, you should be proud of all that you have accomplished up to this point. We have confidence that each of you has the potential and ability to distinguish yourself in a variety of ways while you are here, and we look forward to following your new accomplishments.

On behalf of all who helped bring our new students together, it gives me great pleasure to present the Class of 2017, our new transfers, and new exchange students. Will our new students please stand and be recognized?

Susquehanna University Architecture

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