Tuesday, February 20 , 2018, 12:26 pm | Fair 55º


Diverse Class of 2020 Arrives at Westmont

Westmont students take their first walk, which anticipates their last walk at commencement. Click to view larger
Westmont students take their first walk, which anticipates their last walk at commencement. (Westmont photo)

Orientation at Westmont College began Thursday for 348 first-year students and 54 new transfer students representing 17 countries outside of the United States. The first day of classes for all Westmont students is Monday, Aug. 29.

New students, including 24 international, missionary or third-culture students, come from Argentina, Australia, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Kingdom.

Thirty-two percent of the Class of 2020 comes from out-of-state, representing 23 different states. Fifty-five students come from Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura Counties.

Thirty-nine percent of the incoming class identifies as Hispanic, Asian American, African American, Hawaiian Pacific Islander, Native American and/or mixed race.

“I’m impressed by the global perspective and experience this new class of students brings, including their broad and varied interests in the sciences,” says Silvio Vazquez, dean of admissions. “We’re pleased to see their exceptional talent, compassionate spirits and strong work ethic. They also represent many hard-working families who see great value in the Westmont experience and appreciate our caring faculty, who will mentor and challenge their students as they grow in their intellect and Christian faith.”

More than 13 percent of first-year students are focusing their studies on biology, chemistry and pre-health fields, including pre-med, pre-dental, pre-vet and pre-nursing. Other popular majors are economics and business, psychology, kinesiology and communication studies. More than 13 percent have yet to choose a major.

The incoming class, which includes 30 Augustinian Scholars, has a middle 50 percent SAT score of 1060-1280 and an average ACT score of 26. The Augustinian Scholars, the first to benefit from annual scholarships funded by an extraordinary gift from a generous donor, earn $140,000 toward tuition in four years.

The college has also offered full-tuition to three of the Augustinian students, Alyssa Beccue of Westlake Village, Emily Mata of Carbondale, Colo., and George Mathen of Cupertino.

Transfer students come from a variety of acclaimed colleges, including Cal Poly Pomona, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA, University of Washington, Seattle University, Willamette University, Brigham Young University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Florida International University, Providence College, Pepperdine University, Vanguard University, Wheaton College and Richmond, the American International University in London.

Ten students have transferred from Santa Barbara City College. Eligible transfer students qualified for $9,000-$13,000 per year in academic scholarships as well as need-based Westmont grants.

During orientation Thursday, new students moved into residence halls during the morning. Students and their families then received an official welcome by President Gayle D. Beebe in Murchison Gym. 

Mark Nelson, professor of philosophy, examined the summer reading book, The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis in the First Lecture Thursday evening in Page Multipurpose Room.

The Service of Commitment, a formal ceremony with robed faculty, will welcome students to the Westmont community at 3 p.m. Friday in Murchison Gym.

Scott Craig is the manager of media relations for Westmont College.

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