The Westmont class of 2022, which arrives for Orientation Thursday, Aug. 23, is among the most diverse in college history. Around 420 first-year and transfer students represent eight countries and 31 states, and 37 percent of them identify as Hispanic, Asian American, African American, Hawaiian Pacific Islander, Native American, and/or mixed-race. Nearly 18 percent identify as the first in their family to attend college.
“We’re encouraged that our student body reflects a growing diverse community that strengthens our college’s commitment to a global focus,” says Irene Neller, vice president for enrollment, marketing and college communications. “Our highest priority is shaping effective and compassionate global citizens to serve in all spheres of society for the common good. The incoming class, an impressive group of high-preforming students, excels in the classroom and in their communities.”
Westmont has awarded academic scholarships, ranging from $6,000-$37,510 annually, to 92 percent of the first-year students, who earned an average GPA of 3.80 and an average SAT score of 1230.
“Westmont continues to attract the brightest academic scholars in the nation,” Neller says.
The third class of new Augustinian Scholars, a select group of 56 students from around the world who competed for the 85 percent tuition scholarship, are committed to integrating Augustine’s ideas with a contemporary conversation about how committed people of faith honor their convictions while being deeply engaged in the wider issues of our society. Augustine, recognized as the most significant Christian thinker of his time, argued that Christians had not contributed to the demise of Rome, instead, he identified them as the moral thread holding the empire together. The new students join two previous Augustinian Scholar cohorts, bringing the number of these top scholars to 145 in three classes.
“In three years of the Augustinian program, not one Augustinian scholar has left the college after their first semester,” says Mark Sargent, Westmont’s provost. “That level of retention is quite remarkable for honors programs at colleges and universities. These exceptionally high-achieving students are thriving at Westmont.”
The incoming transfer students arrive from four-year schools such as the University of Arizona, Texas Christian University, and many other private and public universities and also from California’s community colleges, especially those located in Santa Barbara.
During Thursday’s move in day for new freshmen and transfers, more than 40 Orientation Team members from the campus life office together with dozens of Westmont returning student volunteers will welcome new students and their families by greeting each car upon arrival to campus and directing them to their residence hall where they will unload each vehicle, delivering new student belongings to each room so all the student and parents have to do is park and unpack. “What an incredible opportunity we have to welcome these students and their families or guests to campus and provide them with exceptional service the moment they arrive,” says Angela D’Amour, director of campus life. “The Orientation Team looks forward to making this critical transition go smoothly for them. Having so much to think about and do during these first few days of college can be overwhelming, so a nice touch of hospitality can ease the angst of the move-in day experience. They’re all now part of the Westmont family, and this is our way of saying, welcome home.”
President Gayle D. Beebe welcomes them and their families and guests and two Westmont students offer advice on how to make the best of the Orientation experience from 2-3 p.m. in Murchison Gym.
On Friday, the Service of Commitment, a formal ceremony of tradition for Westmont with robed faculty, welcomes students to the college community at 3 p.m. in Murchison Gym; followed by the First Walk led by bagpipers through the Formal Garden to Kerrwood Lawn. This Westmont tradition anticipates student’s Last Walk at Commencement and is always an unforgettable moment to book-end the beginning and closing experiences of college life at Westmont.
Classes for all Westmont students begin Monday, Aug. 27.