Some of you may be reading this and scratching your head, thinking, “Hey, that guy doesn’t look like Steve Syverson.”
Most of you have grown accustomed to reading from Steve, my predecessor and mentor in this space. Many of you were admitted to Lawrence on his watch—an easy statement to make considering he served Lawrence University as the dean of admissions and financial aid for 28 years before retiring June 30 of this year, handing me the “keys to the kingdom.” (Seriously. It’s a ring with four keys on it.)
Having worked with Steve for the past seven years, I have learned much from him. I am confident that what people have come to expect from our admissions and financial aid offices—a high integrity, smart, friendly and student-centered approach—will still be the hallmark of our work with current and future Lawrentians and their families.
Our Newest Lawrentians
In September we welcomed a group of 361 new Lawrentians to campus. They are, as you would expect, an extraordinary group. Here are some highlights:
• Our 326 freshmen1 come from 263 high schools. Neenah High School sent us the largest group of students this year: six, marking the first time since 2005 that a Fox Valley school topped the list. Perhaps more interesting: 217 of the freshmen were the only ones from their high school to enroll.
• Our 35 transfer students come from as near as University of Wisconsin–Fox Valley and as far as Lima, Peru.
• Our new Lawrentians come from 26 states, the District of Columbia and 21 countries.
• Wisconsinites make up the largest cohort of students (about 30 percent), followed by Illinois, Minnesota, New York, California and Colorado.
• About 15 percent have parents, grandparents or siblings who have attended or currently attend Lawrence.
• Ten percent are the first students in their families to attend college.
• Of the domestic students who reported their ethnic backgrounds, about 14 percent are students of color.
• They are musicians, varsity athletes, artists, scientists, actors, writers, chess clubbers, debaters and math geeks (sometimes all in the same person).
• By all academic measures, they are as impressive a group as any to have enrolled at Lawrence.
Whoever they are, whatever they look like, and wherever they came from, we are delighted they have chosen Lawrence University as the place to develop their talents and pursue their aspirations.
Sound Your Lawrence Yawp Over the Roofs of the World2
Lawrentians will often ask me and my colleagues in the admissions and financial aid offices, “What can I do to help raise Lawrence’s visibility?” Alumni representing Lawrence at college fairs and participating in our Adopt-a-School program3 have greatly expanded the reach of the admissions office, which can’t be everywhere, due to limits of staff and finances (not to mention those of the time-space continuum).
Beyond those, there is one simple yet profound way you can help raise Lawrence’s visibility: let people know you went to Lawrence. Don’t be shy about it. Make sure your colleagues, friends and neighbors know you are a Lawrentian. Forward them one of your weekly “This Is Lawrence” videos. If you’re social-media-inclined, post Lawrence links and news to your account. If you have Lawrence gear, wear it from time to time. Shout Lawrence from the rooftops—or at least politely bring it up in conversation when the occasion presents itself. And if you meet prospective students you think we’d be silly not to be recruiting, let me and my colleagues in the admissions office know about them. (You can find the admissions counselor from your part of the world at lawrence.edu/admissions/connect.)
All of you—one Lawrentian at a time—can raise Lawrence’s visibility.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid
1 If you keep and consult back issues of Lawrence Today, you will notice that this year’s freshman class size is considerably smaller than last year’s. That was intentional. Because of the unusually large class last year—452 freshmen—we targeted a much smaller freshman class to lower our total enrollment to a size that allows us to offer the kind of academic and residential experience people expect from Lawrence.
2 Shameless adaptation of Walt Whitman from Leaves of Grass (IHRTLUHC).
3 Alumni coverage at college fairs has tripled over the past several years, but we can always use more help in more places. The Adopt-a-School program allows alumni to adopt one (or more) school(s) in their area, drop off Lawrence admissions materials at the guidance office in the fall and offer to be the local point of contact for students throughout the year. Contact Linda Fuerst (email@example.com) if you’d like to volunteer.