Recently, I had the pleasure of welcoming the Class of 2016 to Middlebury. They are now full-fledged members of our wonderfully vibrant community. For some of them, it may seem like a long way from home and a stark contrast to all that is familiar. But I believe they will find their time here to be both challenging and rewarding.
When I first came to the College in 2006, I felt instantly at home. One wouldn’t think that a Dominican woman from Brooklyn, New York, would find in rural Vermont what I found here—an inviting and supportive community that demands the best from us. I want every student to feel as much a part of this community as I do.
I’d like to introduce the newest class: Chosen from an applicant pool of more than 8,000, it represents 44 states, D.C., and 50 countries. Five percent of its members didn’t have to travel too far from home because they are already Vermonters, and 12 percent are first in their families to attend college. Out of approximately 690 students, 72 are internationals and 142 are U.S. students of color.
But the numbers only tell part of the story.
They don’t show the diversity that comes from all of the layers that make up who we are as individuals and what we bring to the table collectively. So here are some other facets of the class: Among them are—
- out-of-the-box thinkers
- a bee-keeper
- a unicyclist
- spoken word poets
- a maple sugar maker
- a budding meteorologist
- environmental advocates
- multisport athletes
- a Guinness World Record setter for kayaking
- scientific researchers
- young entrepreneurs
Middlebury has a long-standing tradition of attracting all kinds of students and of supporting and fostering student leadership in community service, creativity and innovation, activism, excellence in athletics and academics, spiritual and religious engagement, and encouraging personal and social responsibility. The Class of 2016 is now part of this rich legacy. And the unique voices they bring will add depth and texture to our community.
Please join me in welcoming them to campus and helping them feel at home. I look forward to seeing you and engaging with you over the course of the year. I want everyone to bring their energy, ideas, and life experiences to make us shift and change and create more learning opportunities for all.
My office, the Office of the Dean of Students, and your Commons offices are always open to support you and to hear about your ideas, achievements, and proud moments, as well as your challenges.
—Shirley M. Collado