Story by Director of Media Relations Brian Zimmerman
RICHMOND, Indiana - Earlhamites are bursting with school pride, according to a national survey given to members of the Class of 2021.
Eighty-two percent of the nearly 300 students polled reported having "very much" or "quite a bit" of school pride before even taking a class or moving into their dorms. The average student score was a 4.3 on a five-point scale.
"I feel like I'm part of something big here," says Jordan Blackburne '21, who came to Earlham from Indianapolis and plans to major in Global Management and English.
"When I came down for my second visit, everyone was just so kind and friendly and the people were all so unique," she says. "It felt so inclusive."
The students' enthusiasm seems especially important today as the first day of classes of the 2017-18 academic year begins, says Bonita Washington-Lacey '78, the College's senior associate vice president for academic affairs and director of accreditation activities. The new academic year also marks the beginning of Alan Price's '88 presidency and the launch of a new experiential learning initiative, the EPIC Advantage, providing an opportunity for students that is virtually unparalleled in higher education.
"As this class of 2021 enters with this enhanced sense of EC pride, we want to celebrate that," Washington-Lacey says. "We want to celebrate them and the new administrative team and all of the new faculty. There's a lot of energy on campus and it is important to capitalize on it over the next four years and beyond."
Joining Price for his first year at Earlham are two new arrivals at the leadership level: Priscilla Alicea, vice president for enrollment, and Hagi Bradley, vice president for student life and dean of students. Welling Hall, a longtime professor of politics, has been appointed vice president for academic affairs. The College is currently conducting national searches for a vice president for institutional advancement and vice president for finance.
If the pride of undergraduates is one side of the college affection coin, appreciation of alumni might be the flip side. Earlham is represented there as well, as demonstrated by its inclusion in the Forbes' 2017 Grateful Grads Index, released earlier this month. The highly selective list ranks the 200 colleges and universities in the U.S. that produce happy and successful alumni.
The colleges and universities included on this "best-loved" list are ranked by two primary factors: median private donations and gifts per student over 10 years and, second, the "alumni participation rate," or the percentage of graduates that give back in the form of donations to their alma mater, regardless of dollar amount.
Gratitude was likewise one of the major reasons for the the largest-ever alumni gift given to the College received earlier this year. The $7.5 million gift from Alan '74 and Peg Kral Scantland '74 launched the EPIC Advantage, an opportunity for all students to receive a funded internship or research experience before graduation. Earlham is one of only a handful of institutions across the United States to make such an offer.
"Like a lot of alumni, Peggy and I have benefitted tremendously from our Earlham education," says Alan Scantland. "We have supported research in the past and believe that Earlhamites are doing an incredible amount of good in the world."
Earlhamites also were generous during the third annual Earlham Day. Over a 27-hour period of giving, 1,188 alumni, friends and supporters of the College gave $482,989.94 to the Earlham Fund for student scholarships, off-campus study, faculty-student research and campus enhancements.
Blackburne, who will play for the women's soccer and lacrosse teams, will be among the first students to compete at Matlack-Messer Stadium, Earlham's new soccer complex which will officially open this fall.
"The new stadium is amazing," she says. "Every time I walk in I'm just in awe. The locker rooms are just state of the art. I've seen some Division I school locker rooms and ours are just as nice. Just knowing that Earlham is willing to invest in a program like ours gives me so much confidence in my future success."