Diverse class welcomed to College

The Class of 2012 was officially welcomed to the College following Monday’s convocation ceremony.

The incoming freshman class was embraced by College President R. Barbara Gitenstein, along with faculty, alumni and current students.

A “necessity of civil discourse” and an understanding of “different points of view” were stressed by Gitenstein.

Her overall message for College newcomers was to understand and appreciate their roles as both Americans and College students. Through lively discussion and debate, any College student can add their contribution to the world, according to Gitenstein.

Mark Woodford, associate professor of counselor education, posed a question for the Class of 2012: “What does it mean to you to be a TCNJ student?” Woodford said he wanted students to imagine what would define their time at the College.

Following Woodford, the tradition of passing the incoming flag to the students took center stage. Theresa Martinac, president of the Alumni Association and a member of the Class of ’73, handed the blue and gold banner to two freshmen. The banner will be placed in the Brower Student Center.

The last guest speaker to address the class of 2012 was Dan Scapardine, executive president of the Student Government Association (SGA). Scapardine spoke about the College’s recent rankings on the U.S. News and World Report. A “true believer of the public ivy,” Scapardine called for every student to try and challenge new obstacles during their time at the College.

The Class of 2012 is the most geographically diverse class in the College’s history.

It comprises the highest number of out-of-state students the school has ever had, with roughly 8 percent.

Applications for black and Hispanic students also increased from last year by 6.8 percent, and enrollment has undergone a 6 percent increase.

“These new citizens are remarkably talented in academics, athletics and

leadership,” College President R. Barbara Gitenstein said. “They are a wonderfully diverse group, ethnically and geographically.”

The average SAT score increased this year to 1288, while the average class rank was within the 93rd percentile. Applications to the College increased 13 percent from last year’s applications.

About 58 percent of the class was involved in the National Honor Society, and 21 percent are Edward J. Bloustein Scholars. Nearly 50 percent of the class were varsity athletes in high school.

More than 9,700 students applied for this year’s freshman class, including more than 1,000 out-of-state applicants. Only 1,300 were accepted into the College.

Mathew Golden, executive director of Public Relations and Communications, said, “This is a very strong class with members who have accomplished incredible things.”

“The class is extraordinary, as a group and as individuals,” Gitenstein said. “The individual talents, experiences and skills of the class of 2012 will surely add to the excitement and vitality of our community.”