Wittenberg's class of 2013 numbers 548 men and women hailing from 30 states and another 10 countries (in addition to the United States).
Collectively, the students in the class have an outstanding academic profile, thanks in large part to 84 students who compiled a high school grade point average of 4.0 or higher, including 11 who earned valedictorian honors. Of note, the class boasts a cumulative high school grade point average of 3.419, the second straight year Wittenberg has seen a significant improvement in that area.
A total of 55 minority students will start classes on Monday, Aug. 24. A year ago, the recruiting class included 46 minority students. Within that number is a significant increase in the number of African American students, which jumped from 20 in 2008 to 36 in 2009.
"We are pleased to have attracted so many outstanding students who are sure to enrich our campus," said Director of Admission Karen Hunt. "It is clear that even as our nation experiences difficult economic times, Wittenberg University continues to attract quality students."
Wittenberg, which has been affiliated with the Lutheran Church since its inception, also welcomed students from many different religious affiliations, including 80 Lutheran students, representing a slight increase from 2008.
It all adds up to the start of a very promising 2009-10 school year, starting with new student move-in day. The newest members of the Wittenberg community were welcomed much as they were recruited – with a personal touch – as a large contingent of Wittenberg faculty and staff members joined nearly 100 orientation assistants – students hired to lead New Student Days activities to help first-year students become acclimated to campus – helped the new arrivals move into their residence halls.
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.
"This is the kind of place where members of our faculty and staff become lifelong mentors and friends to our students," Erickson said. "It begins on the first day they arrive on campus and continues for a lifetime."
Classes are scheduled to start Monday, Aug. 24, but first the new students will spend several days getting to know one another and the campus 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: Erin Pence
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