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Welcome Class of 2017!

August 28, 2013

Seth's view from the stage in Big Bridges as he waits to welcome the new class.

This past Sunday was one of the best days of the year as we welcomed the new Class of 2017 to campus.  Those of us who work in higher education enjoy and look forward to the annual rite of a new class on campus.  Like the turning of the seasons (not something we see a lot of on Claremont!) the new class signals change and renewal. 

This year’s first-year class is composed of 398 students—209 females and 189 males. We also have 13 transfer students, Pomona’s recipient of the Pomona College-Cambridge University Downing College scholarship who will be joining the first-year class for the year, and one recipient of the Brazilian government’s “Science without Borders” Undergraduate Scholarship Program who also joins us for the year.

While you can find out the profiles of the Pomona's classes here, what’s often missing is the narrative; those personal stories we discovered about our newest Sagehens during the admissions process.  The tales and feats, small and large, that captivated us, engaged us, and enchanted us during the bleary-eyed reading season last winter and spring.  So permit me to share an excerpt about those stories from my welcome on Sunday to more fully dimension the Class of 2017.

  • Just for the heck of it, one of you decided that your local library (coincidentally, also the nation’s second busiest library) needed to improve efficiency in their book return system. So, you developed a computer model based on simple mathematics to track and improve book flow. You reached out to the library’s board of directors to see if they were interested in using your model, and lo and behold, they were!
  • One of you had such a love for your local minor league baseball team, that you started your own one-man sports casting business to broadcast their games. You became the only youth radio broadcaster in the region and gained thousands of regular listeners. Even hall of fame broadcaster, Joe Buck, hailed you as a “fantastic up and coming sportscaster.”
  • One of you started your own baking business when you were 12 with your twin sister which you named SugarRush. Your pumpkin white chocolate drops and cookie pizzas became one of the biggest draws at your town’s weekly farmer’s market for the next several years. By the time you graduated high school, you’d won your state’s Gingerbread House Competition 3 times.
  • One of you formed the debate team at his school, with nothing more than a pack of ball point pens and five of your friends. You ended up making it such a successful school club that many of the star football players began hanging up their cleats to join you. When the school tried to shut you down, you kept it going through late night meetings at your town’s Arby’s restaurant, and eventually became one of the top debaters in your entire state.
  • You also spent much of your time after school working a part-time job at Wendy’s, where you developed a new, more efficient method--now adopted as franchise policy--for flipping burger patties.
  • Another of you founded three different high school branches of a club to combat Leukemia; you recruited donors, organized drives, and raised dollars, all to help save lives.
  • One of you decided to write his college essay in the form of a calculus equation used to explain his personality, which you describe as the “area between the curves of social exuberance and nerd-vana”. By the way, we checked the math with one of our faculty members here, and it checks out.
  • One of you spent six years building a working R2D2 replica which you take to local charity events in your town. Eventually, you took your R2 all the way to the national C4 Robotics convention and showed it to none other than George Lucas himself.
  • Though you don't plan on becoming a television host, to push yourself out of her comfort zone, one of you hosted "The Green Show" on local television.
  • One of you mounted a six year long global campaign to eliminate unsustainable palm oil products from use in Girl Scout cookies. Despite the efforts of the Malaysian government to shut you down, you were successful in getting the Girl Scouts to change their policy, the first policy change ever driven directly by the efforts of a scout in the organization’s 100 year history.

Of course these are only a few of the stories of the Class of 2017.  Each member of the new class has an impressive story all their own.

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