One of the largest and most diverse groups of new students in Westmont history arrives for Orientation Thursday, Aug. 22. More than 39 percent of the 461 first-year and transfer students identify as Hispanic, Asian American, African American, Hawaiian Pacific Islander, Native American, and/or multiracial. Twenty percent of new students are the first in their family to attend college. Twenty-two international, missionary or third-culture students arrive from El Salvador, Spain, Swaziland, the United Kingdom, Japan, Rwanda and France. “Graduates today need to gain a global perspective and international exposure to keep up to respond to the growing demands of our globally-interconnected workplaces,” says Irene Neller, vice president for enrollment, marketing and communication. “The incoming students reflect our commitment to shape effective and compassionate global citizens who lead lives of significance.”
Westmont awarded four-year academic scholarships ranging from $6,000-$37,510 each year to more than 90 percent of the first-year students. The incoming class of 2023 earned an average GPA of 3.88 and an average SAT score of 1220.
Fifty-six new Augustinian Scholars, a select group of students from around the world who competed for a scholarship worth 85 percent of tuition, and 14 Augustinian Fellows will integrate Augustine’s ideas with a contemporary conversation about committed people of faith honoring their convictions while being deeply engaged with the wider issues of our society. In addition, 20 Presidential Fellows will participate in a first-ever leadership initiative program with President Gayle D. Beebe.
About 40 new transfer students arrive from four-year schools from all over the world.
The top five majors are economics and business (13 percent), biology (12 percent), kinesiology (12 percent), psychology (11 percent), and communication studies (7 percent). About 11 percent have yet to declare a possible major.
More than 35 Orientation Team members and hundreds of returning Westmont students welcome new students by greeting each car and directing each one to the appropriate residence hall. These volunteers unload every vehicle and deliver belongings to students’ rooms so the newcomers only need to park and unpack.
“What an incredible opportunity to welcome these students with exceptional service the moment they arrive,” says Angela D’Amour, dean of student engagement. “The Orientation Team looks forward to making the critical transition to college go smoothly. The first few days of college can be overwhelming, and hospitality can ease the angst of moving in. The new students have joined the Westmont family, and we’re welcoming them to their new home.”
Orientation continues through Sunday, August 25, with a range of events scheduled for the new students and their families. See the Orientation schedule.
On Thursday, President Gayle D. Beebe welcomes new students and their families and guests at 2 p.m. in Murchison Gym. At 3 p.m., We Are Westmont allows guests to experience the richness of Westmont’s community through sight, sound and story.
The Service of Commitment, a formal ceremony on Friday with faculty wearing academic regalia, welcomes students to the college community at 3 p.m. in Murchison Gym. Bagpipe fanfare, a Westmont tradition of more than a quarter century, will then lead the new students on their First Walk through the Formal Gardens to Kerrwood Lawn, which anticipates their Last Walk that occurs at Commencement from Kerrwood to Carr Field. This unforgettable tradition begins and ends college life at Westmont.
Classes for all Westmont students begin Monday, Aug. 26.