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Saint Mary’s first- year class expands diversity

Kaitlyn Rabach | Sunday, August 25, 2013

When first-year orientation began Thursday, the Saint Mary’s Class of 2017 officially became the most diverse class in Belles history.

Director of Admission Kristin McAndrew said 23 percent of the 441 first-year students come from historically underrepresented groups within the United States.

“We have been very thoughtful about what high schools we chose to visit and where we led our recruiting efforts to make sure we reached as diverse of a population as we could,” McAndrew said. “We also had a lot of help from our current multicultural students and encouraged them to reach out to students in their hometowns and states.”

The class represents 29 states and four countries outside the United States, including China, Nigeria, Turkmenistan and Vietnam, McAndrew said.
“This international community fits well with the College’s commitment to global education,” McAndrew said.  

The Class of 2017’s average GPA ranges from 3.51 to 4.05, while its average SAT ranges from 1550 to 1890, McAndrew said.

While she was pleased with the first-year students’ scores, McAndrew said the admissions office looks at more than academics during the recruiting process.

“There is no one definition of a Saint Mary’s woman,” McAndrew said. “Some of these students who moved in on Thursday are athletes and some are musicians. Some are here to become teachers and others hope to start their own businesses. But having read their applications, I can tell you that they share a common passion for community service and a love of learning.”

McAndrew said 17 students from this class had a leading role in a production in high school and 101 students completed over 100 hours of community service.
She said one student founded “The Birthday Project,” a program that provides underprivileged children with birthday presents, while another organized her high school’s Dance Marathon to benefit the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

“Community service is big for this class,” McAndrew said. “This is a class that I think will fit well with Saint Mary’s core value of social justice because they are a group where we saw an enormous commitment to service.”

Several members of the Class of 2017 stood out as athletes on the national and international level.

“Twenty-seven students in this class were captains of a varsity sport,” McAndrew said. “This class has World Champion Irish Dancers, softball state champions, state-ranked tennis players and even a girl who played on the boy’s varsity soccer team and was the first girl to score a goal on the team.”

McAndrew said the College also attracted some proficient writers this year.

“At Saint Mary’s we have done a lot of talking this year about the senior composition projects and our writing proficiency classes,” McAndrew said. “Just from reading their essays during the application process, I could tell we have some very strong writers in this class that will be able to take advantage of our writing opportunities here on campus.”

Saint Mary’s first-year class this year is the first to be offered the “Four Year Graduation Promise.” The promise guarantees students who follow the program’s guidelines will graduate in four years or the College will pay for any additional courses a student needs to finish her degree, McAndrew said.

“Our students have always worked closely with their advisors and professors to stay on track and achieve their goals,” Saint Mary’s College President Carol Ann Mooney said. “We offer the courses they need, when they need them, led by exceptional faculty who are dedicated to teaching.”

She said about one quarter of this class is a legacy or has a family tradition at Saint Mary’s and has the most students out of all the classes on campus.
“It is actually the largest class we have had in the past five years,” McAndrew said.

McAndrew said she was happy to welcome this class to the campus Thursday and looks forward to seeing their accomplishments throughout their four years at Saint Mary’s.

“This is an exciting time,” McAndrew said. “We finally get to see the young women we have come to know over the year by visiting their high schools, answering their questions and reading their essays, join the Saint Mary’s community as Belles.”

Contact Kaitlyn Rabach at [email protected]