Hendrix attracts largest incoming class in its history
Enrollment climbs above 1,300
By JAMIE FOTIOO
Enrollment Communications Manager
Hendrix College was full of energy and excitement as it welcomed a record-breaking 447 new students to its campus this August.
“You are making history today, as you are the largest class to enroll at Hendrix in the history of the College,” Karen Foust, vice president for enrollment, said during the opening convocation for new students on Aug. 19. “The Hendrix community is excited to welcome you to this wonderful place that you will call home for the next four years.”
The class of 2012, consisting of 433 first-year students and 14 transfer students, also represents one of the most geographically diverse classes to join the Hendrix community. Making the relatively short drive to Conway on Move-In Day were 178 Arkansas students. The rest of their new classmates traveled farther distances from 32 different states—from Maine to Washington—and eight countries, including Bangladesh, China, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Rwanda, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. In all, 60 percent of Hendrix’s new students arrived from places other than Arkansas.
Hendrix’s newest class brought with it an outstanding academic profile. More than 75 percent of new students scored 26 or higher on the ACT, with more than a third scoring 30 or higher. In addition to Hendrix, members of the new class were accepted to other nationally ranked institutions such as Carleton College in Northfield, Minn.; Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.; Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa; Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.; and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.
When choosing among colleges and universities each with an equally impressive list of academic and post-graduate statistics, many students selected Hendrix based on factors unique to the College.
“I spent a lot of time debating between Swarthmore College [in Swarthmore, Pa.], Johns Hopkins University [in Baltimore], University of Chicago and Millsaps College [in Jackson, Miss.], each a renowned institution and full of qualified students and teachers,” said Sarah Thompson, a freshman from Picayune, Miss. “In the end, I found a spirit and honest excitement on the Hendrix campus that couldn’t be encapsulated by ACT/SAT scores or graduate-school acceptance rates. Teachers and students were sincerely friendly, the opportunities available through the Odyssey program floored me, and the financial aid was phenomenal.”
In high school, Thompson founded Girls Excelling in Mathematics and Science (G.E.M.S.), a program that engages fifth- and sixth-grade girls in monthly experiments that aim to prevent the erosion of interest in mathematics and science that girls often experience during this transitional period in their lives. Currently trying to organize a G.E.M.S. chapter in Conway, she ultimately hopes to secure Odyssey funding to help establish chapters throughout Arkansas and her home state of Mississippi.
Expanding G.E.M.S. is only one of numerous projects Thompson plans to complete during her Hendrix Odyssey. A pre-med student who’s interested in studying chemical physics and bioethics, she also aspires to study abroad at the Regenerative Medicine Institute and the Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis at the National University of Ireland in Galway.
“It is rare to find a college that not only encourages participation, but provides enormous financial support for these kinds of [Odyssey] experiences,” Thompson said. “And the opportunities available aren’t simply limited to a handful of prescribed programs—any passion can be explored and expanded.”
Freshman Adam Stewart of San Diego, Calif., was also impressed by Hendrix’s Odyssey program.
“The Odyssey program was one of the biggest factors that led me to choose Hendrix,” he said. “It provides so many opportunities for cultural immersion and academic growth, and Hendrix makes it unbelievably easy to participate in these opportunities.”
Interested in African aid and awareness activities, Stewart led the Invisible Children club at his high school. Invisible Children is a San Diego-based non-profit organization with the mission to improve the quality of life for the war-affected children of Uganda by providing access to quality education, enhanced learning environments, and innovative economic opportunities for the African community.
Stewart, who plans to create his own African Development major, intends to further pursue his passions through the Odyssey program. He hopes to study abroad at the University of Ghana, conducting in-field research on rural development, and is currently working on obtaining a summer internship at Justice Africa in London. A talented double bass player, Stewart is also already an active member of the Hendrix Chamber Orchestra and Hendrix Quartet.
“It amazes me that I have the ability to design my own major, study abroad in Africa, travel with the Hendrix Orchestra, and conduct my own research, all at the undergraduate level,” he said. “I cannot imagine doing all of this at any other college.”
The class of 2012 joins three returning classes to create the largest enrollment in the College’s history, with 1,342 undergraduate students enrolled.