August 24, 2015 | By Jake Weber
As classes begin this week, Albion College celebrates the opening of a new academic year, a year that includes an entering first-year class that is one of its largest and most diverse in recent history.
An unofficial count of 459 first-year students are expected in class, an increase of more than 100 over the entering class in fall 2014. Nearly 25 percent of the Class of 2019 identify as students of color or are international students. One hundred students come from 19 states outside Michigan.
Students transferring from other institutions (not counted in first-year numbers) are also up significantly compared to last fall, and will add 35 more students to campus.
"I am thrilled with our largest incoming class since 2008," says Admission Director Mandy Dubiel. "There's so much great stuff happening on campus and these students want to be part of that excitement. Our alumni were critical in our success this year—they referred 154 of the enrolling students."
Debra Peterson, director of the Center for International Education and Off-Campus Programs, notes that the 15 incoming international degree seekers will nearly double the number of international students on campus. The new students come from China, Germany, Haiti, Kosovo, Mongolia, Peru, Romania, Russia, San Marino, the United Kingdom and Vietnam (a first-year student from Ghana will arrive in the spring). Exchange students from the Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines outside Paris and American University in Cairo, along with native speakers in the Modern Languages and Cultures department, push the number of new faces on campus from places outside the U.S. to 24.
"Our newest Britons bring diverse personal, cultural and academic experiences with them and teach us about their backgrounds and cultures," said Peterson. "It's especially fun to see Albion through their fresh eyes, and we often see things in a new light. It's amazing to observe the growth and confidence these students gain as they prepare to engage in their Albion College experience."