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August 30, 2007


Bryn Mawr Greets the Class of 2011

Erin Glaser and her mother, Maureen Glaser, show Customs Person Anna Gadzinski how much cargo can fit into a Volkswagen Beetle.

On Wednesday, Aug. 29, Bryn Mawr College welcomed the 355 members of the Class of 2011 to its campus, along with six transfer students and six Katharine McBride Scholars (students beyond the traditional college age). Teams of students — hall advisers and "customs people," who lead orientation activities for first-year students — helped the newcomers and their families haul bags and boxes into dormitory rooms and begin the adjustment to campus life.

A group of hall advisers relaxes on Taylor Hall's Senior Steps

"We had a few families lined up when the doors opened at 8 a.m.," said Nithya Vasudevan '10, a customs person serving the Pembroke West dormitory. Early arrival was perhaps the best way to beat the weather; the mercury reached 86 with high humidity as students and their families made repeated trips to their heavily burdened cars. At about 10 a.m., admissions officers offered a respite from the rigors of moving-in day under the tree-lined avenue beside Taylor Hall, where they served Philadelphia-style "water ice" to passersby.

The Admissions Office reports that 310 secondary schools — 66 percent public, 32 percent private and two percent parochial — are represented by the new class. Sixteen percent are first-generation college students and 11 percent hold foreign or dual citizenship. Of the 94 percent who live in the United States, 44 percent hail from the Mid-Atlantic states, 17 percent from the Northeast, 14 percent from the West and Southwest, 11 percent from the South and eight percent from the Midwest. Forty-seven percent identify themselves as white or Caucasian, 11 percent as Asian-American/Pacific Islander, six percent as black or African-American, three percent as Latina or Hispanic, and six percent as bi- or multiracial; 21 percent declined to report a race or ethnicity.

At a gathering of new students and their families in Goodhart Theater Wednesday afternoon, Stephanie Wujcik '08 and Kelly Harrell '08, who lead the five-day orientation known as Customs Week, greeted the newcomers with an Anasa Kata, the Bryn Mawr College cheer. President Nancy J. Vickers reassured anxious parents, "You are not losing a daughter; you are gaining a college." Acknowledging the student organizers of Customs Week, Vickers pointed to Bryn Mawr's tradition of student initiative and self-government, noting that "Bryn Mawr's commitment to taking student work very seriously is remarkable." Dean Karen Tidmarsh, before introducing several key members of the student-services staff, noted that Bryn Mawr will challenge its new students and expects that "you, in turn will challenge us on your way to challenging the world."

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Jenny Rickard offered the Class of 2011 a tongue-in-cheek overview of some of its salient characteristics:

  • You are all very smart and very impressive women.
  • You come from a lot of states and a lot of countries.
  • The most popular major of this illustrious group is our world-renowned and highly acclaimed "Undecided" major.
  • The most common first name is "Sarah."
  • The most common middle name is " Elizabeth."
  • And for the first time in six years, we have a five-way tie for the most common last name. The names are: Kim, Miller, Park, Wang and Young.
  • We thought it would never happen again, but for the second year in a row, we actually have a student with all three of the most common first, middle and last names in the one and only Sarah Elizabeth Young.
  • And now, to the statistic that I'm sure you have been wondering most about — I know I have. The most common astrological sign is Virgo.

Rickard summed up with what she claimed was a genuine Virgo horoscope for this week: "The events of this week are all important, because they're like guiding lights, directing you into the most important passage of your life. Saturn is going to spend his time in your sign asking you to show him that you are who you truly want to be. He won't settle for halfway measures, but embrace this lesson of self-mastery now and you'll end up where you've dreamed of being by the end of 2009."

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