August 26, 2021

Susquehanna University opened its 164th academic year with an in-person convocation that welcomed 580 new students to campus.

Khine Khant Ivan Zaw '22, president of the Student Government Association, addresses the Class ... Khine Khant “Ivan” Zaw ’22, president of the Student Government Association, addresses the Class of 2025.
Credit: Chad Hummel
“Convocation means ‘to be called together.’ We are called together to signal your entry into the life of this university and to celebrate the beginning of your matriculation,” said University President Jonathan Green in his address to the Class of 2025 and their families, as well as faculty and staff.

“In the past few years, we have seen our communities torn apart by disparate understandings of what constitutes justice, we have seen our nation torn apart by political rancor and strife, and we have seen our world torn apart by a pandemic and growing threats from climate change,” Green said. “When confronted with opposing positions, we are often asked to choose between personal gain and the common good. How can we build the discipline to play the long game, to commit to generosity, and to care for all of us instead of some of us?

“It can be really hard, but that is why we are here. We are here because deeply engaging in the life of the mind and opening ourselves up to the holistic world view that is the core of a liberal arts education prepare us to make good and often difficult decisions.”

Susquehanna’s Class of 2025 represents just 10.3% of a very strong pool of 5,464 applications, with a median grade point average of 3.66.

Other facts about the Class of 2025:

The Class of 2025 includes 42 students who were in the top 10 of their high school graduating class, seven valedictorians, four salutatorians, 25 students who have a parent or grandparent who has graduated from Susquehanna and 18 students who have at least one sibling who has graduated from or who is currently enrolled at Susquehanna.

The Class of 2025 hails from 20 states, with most coming from Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. Twenty percent of Susquehanna’s incoming students are from historically underrepresented groups (racial and ethnic populations that are disproportionately represented in higher education), 29 percent are the first members of their families to go to college and 25% are receiving Federal Pell Grants to support their Susquehanna education.

A Class of ‘Overcomers’

DJ Menifee, vice president for enrollment, described the Class of 2025 as “overcomers” in the face of a pandemic.

“Activities that used to be the norm – engaging freely in crowded spaces, spending time with loved ones and exploring the world – were on pause. You may have lost loved ones in addition to facing other challenges spawned by the pandemic. Regardless of what you were up against, the overcomers found other ways to live, to thrive and to soar,” Menifee said. “In this class, you founded your own companies; you went through training to earn your pilot license; you built your own 3D printers; you hiked the Andes Mountains and the Appalachian Trail. Regardless of the challenges that have come your way, you have proven time and again your ability to overcome adversity.”

Khine Khant “Ivan” Zaw ’22, a double major in political science and economics and president of the Student Government Association, focused on Susquehanna’s 2021-22 theme of adaptability. A native of Myanmar, Zaw arrived in the United States for the first time when he enrolled at Susquehanna.

“When I landed in the U.S. three years ago, I would have never imagined a global pandemic was in store for me, but I improvised, adapted and overcame, and you can too,” Zaw said. “There isn’t a right way to do college. College is what you make it. For some, that may look like taking on leadership roles. For others, it might be being out on the field with your teammates or making academic achievements in the classroom. And sometimes when dealing with unexpected hurdles, things won’t always go according to plan and that’s OK.”

For the second year, Green reminded students to take seriously the social contract they have entered into as they embark upon their college careers in the midst of an ongoing global health pandemic.

“It is critically important to recognize that we all join in the responsibility of maintaining a safe and mindful environment throughout the coming year,” he said. “Last year we proved our ability to take care of each other. That is part of being a Susquehannan.”