Nov. 4, 1999
Vol. 19 No. 4

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    [frederick wiseman] by Lloyd DeGrane
    Ted O’Neill, Dean of College Admissions, watches on as Jeremy Posadas takes questions from alumni of the University. Posadas and two other students from the Class of 2003, Emily Peters and Julie Ward, described why they chose Chicago at a recent alumni breakfast at the University Club in downtown Chicago.

    First-years share common choice at alumni breakfast

    By Jennifer Leovy
    News Office

    At this time last year, first-years in the Class of 2003 were making decisions about their college of choice, which ultimately became Chicago.

    Not only did they write excellent application essays and rank among the top students in their high schools, these first-years set records for the highest average SAT scores in a College applicant pool and competed against the greatest number of applicants in the College’s recent history––all of which made the application process more competitive than ever.

    The pressure of college applications is now a distant memory, replaced with new ideas, new friends and new exams.

    During an alumni breakfast on Tuesday, Oct. 26, Dean of the College John Boyer reported on the state of the College, and Ted O’ Neill, Dean of College Admissions, introduced three first-year students, who reflected on their choice and explained to their predecessors why, they too, know Chicago is the right school for them.

    First-years Emily Peters, Jeremy Posadas and Julie Ward like it here.

    “When I visited campus, I discovered that the primary goal of the students here is to learn––I didn’t get that from any other college,” said Peters, an Illinois native who began her college search with a list of 25 contenders and who planned to attend an out-of-state college. Peters loves math––“anything theoretical”––and her high-school math teacher told her Chicago would provide a supportive and challenging setting. Studying the geometry of Euclidean space notwithstanding, it was the geometric penning of a personal note from O’Neill that clinched her choice.

    The note O’Neill attached to her acceptance package impressed her. “Ted O’Neill remembered me. This College knew me and recognized me on an individual level.”

    Posadas was introduced to the University’s commitment to education while attending a school in the state of Washington that incorporated the University’s School Mathematics Project, designed to raise the level of U.S. students’ performance in mathematics to that of their counterparts in other countries.

    Posadas likened the University to a Great Book, noting that the College experience “raises enduring questions, embraces multiple levels of meaning . . . and empowers us to discover and ask our own questions.”

    Ward, also an Illinois native who chose Chicago, said, “I wanted small classes, good professors and a place where I would be challenged to do my best.” A varsity soccer player and already the team’s fourth-leading scorer, Ward noted how much she appreciated the personal attention she received and continues to receive from Head Coach Amy Reifert. “Our coach knows that learning comes first,” said Ward. “I know already she is someone I want to stay in contact with for life.”

    After their formal presentations, the students heard from alumni who asked a variety of questions, ranging from “How did you hear about the University?” to “How can we, as alumni, help you?”

    “The fact that you are here and survived gives me hope,” Peters responded to the alumni jokingly and sincerely.

    Ward added that knowing a professor who is a friend of her family has helped her tremendously in her first quarter.

    The three students agreed that a connection to alumni while attending college is worthwhile. “Though separated by time, we are united by place,” said Posadas, who ideally would like to see each student have an alumni mentor, “someone who is removed enough to have a different perspective and yet appreciates our common experience.”

    The event was hosted by Boyer at the University Club and was attended by more than 50 alumni who give leadership gifts the College Fund and live in Chicago.