Sept. 21, 2000
Vol. 20 No. 1

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    Orientation events welcome Class of 2004

    By Jennifer Leovy
    News Office

    The University welcomed the Class of 2004 when 1,035 freshmen arrived for College orientation Saturday, Sept. 16. Orientation events have included a class photo, placement tests and the 38th annual Aims of Education Address, delivered by Robert Pippin, the Raymond W. & Martha Hilpert Gruner Distinguished Service Professor and Chairman of the Committee on Social Thought. A visit to the John Hancock building on Saturday allowed the class to view Chicago from the building’s 94th floor.

    The Class of 2004 represents students who have excelled both in and beyond the classroom. Members of the class include an Afghan refugee who started a school for women in Pakistan; a quiz bowl captain who co-authored research published in the Journal of Optical Science of America; and two of the top-10 scholarship winners of the Intel Science Talent Search.

    According to John Boyer, Dean of the College, the Class of 2004 is poised to take advantage of the College’s challenging curriculum, its expanding study-abroad programs and fully dedicated, professional internships. “These students will explore the College’s range of global academic opportunities, from our classrooms and laboratories to learning Afrikaans in Cape Town, to working with members of the European Parliament in Brussels,” Boyer said.

    In addition to the study-abroad programs offered in 16 different countries, Boyer said the Class of 2004–more than any previous class–will pursue internships created exclusively for University undergraduates. The College plans to increase these professional positions from 200 to 300 within three years. Boyer also expects more than one-third of the class to graduate fluent in a second language.

    In the meantime, Chicago’s freshmen have arrived with excellent academic credentials. An overwhelming majority (76 percent) earned combined SAT scores between 1,300 and 1,600. Of the students who were ranked by their high schools, 94 percent graduated in the top one-fifth of their classes.

    The majority of freshmen attended public high schools (61 percent), more than one-third went to private schools (34 percent) and a small minority attended foreign schools (5 percent).

    The class represents 45 states and 32 countries. Forty percent of incoming students hail from the Midwest, 18 percent from the Mid-Atlantic states, 11 percent from New England, 11 percent from the West, 9 percent from the South and 6 percent from the Southwest. International students comprise the remaining 5 percent and will come from as far as New Delhi. There are slightly more women (51 percent) than men (49 percent) in the class.

    “This year, we have seen substantial increases in the numbers of students of color and international students, and we plan to see those increases continue,” said Michael Behnke, Vice President for Enrollment. The enrollment of African-American students has increased by 51 percent compared to last year’s incoming class. Likewise, Hispanic student enrollment has increased by 55 percent, and the number of international students has increased by 27 percent.

    Both Behnke and Ted O’Neill, Dean of College Admissions, expect the number of applicants to remain steady in the coming years. “We are reaching excellent students who think creatively and independently,” said O’Neill. “Our continuing goal is to appeal to that student who embraces the challenges and joys of a Chicago education and for whom Chicago is the right fit.”