Kenyon Welcomes the Class of 2015GAMBIER, Ohio (August 23, 2011)
An organizer of a political conference, a speaker of five languages, an unexpectedly large group of ukulele-players: these are just a handful of the 470 members of the Class of 2015 and sixteen transfer students joining the Kenyon family this week.
They bring a breadth of experiences-and perspectives on their experiences-and have impressed Dean of Admissions Jennifer Delahunty as "a class mature beyond their years."
"These kids have done interesting things, they have thought deeply about their life's purpose and what they want to accomplish in life," said Delahunty. "There's a quality of 'old-soulishness' about them."
"These students know who they are," said Dean for Academic Advising Jane Martindell of the class as a whole. "They show a high level of self-awareness about their own strengths and weaknesses. They're funny and talented."
Well beyond the statistics (see below), this class enriches the Kenyon community with the range of their experiences. Various members of the Class of 2015 can be described as:
- Enterprising and serving: Eleven students founded new clubs and service organizations in high school, ranging from a direct-assistance program for women in an impoverished Kenyan village to a relief organization to help flood victims in Pakistan, an Asian Arabic affinity club, and a Mongolian club. One class member is a wolf rescuer.
- Political: One student planned and carried out a two-day conference on political and social activism that included former Weathermen, Tea Party activists, and evangelical Christians among its speakers. Another has been a Capitol Hill lobbyist for LGBTQ rights. Students have founded organizations ranging from a Feminist Club to Students for Responsible Government.
- Literary and artistic: One student has already written several novels, while another came recommended for literary talent by novelist John Irving. Many more participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and another is a Navajo artist and writer.
- Musical: Besides the interesting concentration of ukulele-players among numerous instrumentalists and singers, we have a steel drummer who performed at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. A cellist who, notably, played Carnegie Hall (and presumably knows the meaning of practice, practice, practice) may join an ensemble with the violinist who practiced for 2,004 consecutive days. Vocalists include a barbershopper, a singer in Handel & Haydn's Young Women, and many a cappella singers.
- Multilingual: A number of students know three or more languages ranging from Russian to Dutch to Korean, with one taking honors as a speaker of Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, and English. Another member of the class was selected as Jane Goodall's interpreter when she visited the World Peace Day event and is learning Chinese sign language.
- Mindful of the earth: One student rode a mountain bike for an hour nightly to help power a cabin at Chewonki, and another lived the first half of his life "off the grid" in a remote part of the Southwest. Several class members have participated in Envirothon and one, a Green Team member, has completed National Outdoor Leadership School in Alaska. Also with us is a goat cheese-maker who has lived on the largest organic farm in Virginia.
- Researchers: One class member performed biomedical research at the University of Pennsylvania, another transcribed the journals of French artisan Henri Viver at the Smithsonian Institute, and a third undertook original research on the need for a new model of education. A young scientist performed independent research on the effects of Vitamins A and E on free radicals, and another class member's research explored film depictions of ideological movements in pre-WWII France.
- Movers and shakers (literally): Beyond varsity athletes, this class includes members adept at geo-caching, ice hockey, motocross, figure skating, competitive table tennis, Tae Kwon Do, fencing, and riflery as well as a national champion in ballroom dance and a state champion in Nordic skiing.
- Having stories to dine out on: One student got trapped in a porta-potty while volunteering in Belize and also loves punning. The class boasts a glassblower, a student who worked on the show Family Guy, and interns at the National Institutes of Health, National Public Radio, Deutsche Bank, and various film sets. One student volunteered to live in a homeless shelter for a week to learn about homelessness. Two are triplets.
Statistically, the class is the most qualified and talented to be admitted to Kenyon. They were selected from a pool of nearly 4,300. The overall admittance rate was 33 percent. About 45 percent of the class applied as early decision candidates.
Women compose 55 percent of the class, men 45 percent. Domestic students of color make up 17.4 percent of the class. The students hail from thirty-nine states, with 28 percent coming from the Mid Atlantic states, an equal 28 percent from the Midwest (14 percent from Ohio), 19 percent from the West and Southwest, 11 percent from the South, and 10 percent from New England. California , for the first time, held the number two spot among states with the largest enrollments, trailing only Ohio. New York came in third. Nearly 10 percent of the class is international, representing twenty-four countries.
Thirty-nine percent of the class applied with a high school grade-point average above 4.0. The middle 50 percent of combined SAT scores was 1890-2160 and middle 50 percent of ACT scores ranged from 28 to 32. The average number of AP courses taken was 4.8. There are more National Merit finalists than ever before in an entering Kenyon class.
"This is one of the most interesting classes we've seen come to Kenyon," said Delahunty, "and we just can't wait to see what they accomplish here."
View the Opening Convocation photo gallery.