Wittenberg's class of 2012 numbers 557 men and women hailing from 29 states and another 20 countries – spanning five continents. Collectively, the students in the class have an outstanding academic profile, thanks to 18 high school class valedictorians and average standardized test scores that are significantly better than last year.
Just as importantly, the 33 international and 49 minority students who will start classes on Monday, Aug. 25, emphasize Wittenberg's goal of increased diversity in its student body. A year ago, the recruiting class included 15 international students, while the percentage of minority students increased five percent.
Also of note, nearly 40 percent of the class of 2012 comes to Wittenberg from another state.
"We are excited that we were able to achieve a modest increase in our academic profile while also being able to improve our selectivity," said Director of Admission Brad Pochard, noting that applications increased 26 percent in 2007-08 and Wittenberg's selectivity improved more than 10 percentage points. "A highlight for the recruiting year was the big increase in international students, who will enrich our campus and add to the educational experience of all of our students."
Wittenberg, which has been affiliated with the Lutheran Church since its inception, also welcomed students from many different religious affiliations, including 71 Lutheran students. In addition, 17 members of the class of 2012 have one or more parents who attended Wittenberg previously.
The students reporting on Thursday will join the student-athletes participating in fall sports who have already reported for preseason training and the international students who started orientation earlier this week.
"This group of international students brings great diversity and energy to Wittenberg," said Assistant Director of Admission for International Recruitment Susan Welker. "The community could not be more thrilled to welcome them to campus."
The tradition was started by President Mark H. Erickson in 2005, less than two months after he became the university's 13th president. It is part of what makes Wittenberg special – developing close personal relationships that make the educational process that much more satisfying.
The message is that Wittenberg isn't just a beautiful place to visit – as most of the new students did at least once during the college search process. Wittenberg offers students a perfect setting for an academic journey that will prepare them well for the future.
Classes are scheduled to start Monday, Aug. 25, but first the new students will spend several days getting to know one another and the campus that they will call home for the next four years. New Student Days, a series of activities organized by the Office of Student Development and the orientation assistants, opened with a procession from newly renovated Commencement Hollow, the site of these students' future graduation, to the Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Center for a welcoming convocation led by Erickson.
New Student Days continues throughout the weekend and includes meetings with professors, social gatherings, activities and presentations on campus living. On Saturday, new students will also sign the Honor Roll, a formal document through which Wittenberg students acknowledge they will abide by the university's honor code, a policy of academic integrity.
Written By: Ryan Maurer
Photos By: Robert Gantt
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