Class of ’08 gets acquainted with its alma mater
Physics Professor Narendra Jaggi (above left) warmly greets members of the Class of
2008 and their friends and families during the annual First-Year Convocation in the
Shirk Center. Speaking on the lifelong value of a liberal arts education, Jaggi said,
“What is missing from most definitions of liberal arts is character. ... What good
is knowledge without character?” (Photo by Marc Featherly)
Fall Festival activities introduce first-year students to campus and to each other.
On Monday, Aug. 30, 569 registered first-year students began classes for the 2004-05
academic school year. But, in fact, their Illinois Wesleyan experience had started
the week before, as participants in Fall Festival, a program designed to help first-year
students make a successful transition to academic and social life at the University.
Created in 1998 to replace a four-session orientation program, Fall Festival allows
all first-year students to move into the residence halls during the week before classes
start. “We moved to this model because we found that first-year students needed some
time before the returning students were on campus to be able to find their way around
and to bond as a class,” said Angela Carver, assistant dean of students.
Over the festival’s four days, first-year students attended mandatory sessions addressing
everything from Illinois Wesleyan’s technology resources to how to register for classes.
They could also choose from a variety of informative sessions with titles such as
“The Goods on Professors: What They Really Want,” and “Preparing for Life After College
While You Are at IWU.”
The group was entertained by IWU theatre majors who presented “Real World 101,” a
collection of short dramatic pieces that touch on sensitive issues typically confronting
young people in college. They were also encouraged to attend optional events, including
the “Festival of Talents,” a showcase of first-year performers, and “Playfair,” an
activity-filled event that Carver described as a “huge ice-breaker.”
In the Shirk Center Performance Gym, new students complete their first day on campus
with Playfair (above). The program’s exercises are designed to help students make
friends and gain a sense of class unity and identity. (Photo by Marc Featherly)
IWU President Richard F. Wilson extended a personal welcome to the new students and
their parents at the Fall Festival’s First-Year Convocation in the Shirk Center. Wilson
told the audience that he felt “a special affinity to the class of 2008” because he
had begun his own tenure at Illinois Wesleyan less than two months previously. “We’re
going to begin this journey together,” he said.
Of the 569 students new to the University, 54 are enrolled in the School of Music,
31 in the School of Theatre Arts, 28 in the School of Nursing, and 14 in the School
of Art. The remaining 435 students have selected majors within the liberal arts or
are yet undecided.
Currently, the enrolled Class of 2008 includes 331 women, 238 men, 23 African-American,
18 Hispanic, 12 Asian, two Native American, and six multi-ethnic students. The class
has students from 24 states and six countries — Nepal, Japan, Germany, Brazil, Nigeria,
and Indonesia. For the total entering class, the average ACT composite score is 28.4.
Reflecting on this year’s class, Dean of Admissions Jerry Pope ’80 noted that “minority
enrollment has increased from last year’s 9 percent to 11 percent this year.” Pope
added that this growth is an encouraging sign that Illinois Wesleyan’s commitment
to multi-cultural expansion is having a positive impact.
Pope also commented on the enthusiasm of IWU’s newest class. “These students are both
multi-talented and excellent in academics, but their eagerness to be at Illinois Wesleyan
is what is most exciting.”
> To read a story about Narendra Jaggi's speech to the incoming first-year class, click here.