Director of Admissions' Remarks
Opening Convocation Remarks
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Chris Markle, Director of Admissions
Good afternoon. As Director of Admissions, I have the honor of presenting the Susquehanna University Class of 2016, our new transfer students, and new exchange students.
Today, we expect 685 new students—637 first-year, 38 transfer, and 10 exchange students—to arrive for the opening of our one hundred and fifty-fifth 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 two percent of you ranked in the top 10th of your high school classes, Forty seven percent ranked in the top fifth, and seventy five percent ranked in the top two-fifths. Seven of you were the valedictorian or salutatorian of your high school classes. The average of your critical reading and math SAT scores is 100 points above the national average.
Seventy two new students are enrolling as members of Susquehanna's Honors Program, which is beginning its 30th year.
Our best estimates show that combined, our 685 new students traveled over 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 23 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and 12 countries. Forty seven percent of you are from Pennsylvania. You also represent the great states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. We are also very pleased to welcome you from Brazil, Burma, Canada, China, Iran, Japan, Macao, Morocco, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. 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, elementary education/liberal studies, English, graphic design, history, international studies, music, political science, and psychology. About 10% 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 six percent of our new students are women. There are 30 students whose parents or grandparents are graduates of Susquehanna. About 17 percent 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 1993 or 1994 which means for you, the best part of waking up has been less about Folgers and more about Starbucks, Redbull or Monster. You probably sat on your big comfy couch watching The Big Comfy Couch. History has always had its own channel, Amazon has never been just a river in South America, and Arnold Palmer has always been a refreshing beverage. An American Girl has been less about a Tom Petty song and more about a $100 doll. You have always known an NFL team in Jacksonville, but not one in Los Angeles. And for you, a dose of reality probably includes a Kardashian, a housewife or Snookie.
Twenty seven of you share five birthdays—April 28th, May 5th, July 6th, July 25th and August 4th. And…a special hello to five of our incoming students celebrating birthdays today—Leonard Armeau, Ted Benoit, Dylan Glassmire, Michael Salach and Jennifer Wendt. Happy birthday!
Also, we’re very pleased that five Veterans Affairs Educational Benefits recipients are joining us as new students—Sarah Chaffee, Alexa Fawcett, Johanna Green, Tom McLoughlin and Erin Shedden.
Among the women, 26 percent of you share 15 first names—Amanda, Ashley, Elizabeth, Emily, Erin, Jennifer, Katherine, Kristen, Laura, Michelle, Rachel, Rebecca, Samantha, Sarah, and Taylor. Men—35 percent of you share 16 names—Andrew, Anthony, Brandon, Christopher, Daniel, Eric, John or Jonathan, Jordan, Joseph, Matthew, Nicholas, Robert, Ryan, William, and Zachary.
From Abrams to Zimmerman, this class has it all from A to Z. Your class includes 3 Campbells, 5 Johnsons, 4 Jones, 5 Millers, 5 Wilsons, and the Baynum, Iacovone and Soltis twins. Apparently, this may be a group of potential leaders….we have Bush, Hayes, Hoover, and Jackson as well as Taylor and Wilson. A few things we wonder: Will Sweet and Spicer meet near the Mongolian Grill in the Dining Hall? Will Ernst and Young take the same accounting course? Will Smith and Reed live in Smith and Reed? Will Brady and Manning try out for our football team? Are Brando and Eastwood potential theatre majors? Will Crowe steer clear of Fox, Wolfe and Puma? Should our public safety officers get to know Macivor and Matlock? These answers are yet to come.
Students, you bring exceptional extracurricular accomplishments with you to Susquehanna. Eleven percent of you were student government or class council members, with 17 of you having served as president or vice president. Twenty two percent of the class was inducted into the National Honor Society, and 24 led the organization as president or vice president. Eighty four of you were dramatic or musical theatre performers, with 19 having had leading roles. 1118 class members participated in band or orchestra, and 93 joined vocal organizations. Eighty four of you wrote for or edited your yearbooks, newspapers, or literary magazines; 19 were editors-in-chief.
Four hundred and thirty two of you, 68 percent of the class, played varsity sports, and 132, 21 percent of our first-year class, captained or co-captained your varsity athletic teams. Eight of you are Eagle Scouts, and three earned the Girl Scout's Gold Award. Fourteen percent of the class did volunteer work through your schools, 56 percent volunteered your time and talents to your community and 25 percent have been active in religious activities.
Combined, your admissions essays total nearly 450,000 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 third 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 2016, our new transfers, and new exchange students.
Will our new students please stand and be recognized?