The class of 2023 brings a list of academic successes and accolades to campus

Every fall, colleges and universities across the United States welcome new students to their campuses — young people eager to get away from their parents and experience life outside of their home and begin their higher education studies.

Allegheny College welcomed 511 new students to the class of 2023 during its annual matriculation ceremony on Aug. 24. Of the students, 26 countries are represented, including Brazil, China, Kazakhstan, Korea, Peru, Liberia and Sudan. Students represent 41 states, including Hawaii, Idaho and Wyoming — and even the U.S. Virgin Islands. The top five most represented states include Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, California and Maryland. These numbers indicate that over half of the incoming class are coming to Allegheny from outside of Pennsylvania.

Admissions received approximately 5,000 applications for the class of 2023 —  the second highest number of applications ever received. The competitive first-year class boasts an average GPA of 3.53, with 70% graduating in the top 25% of their high school class. The average SAT score is 1258.

The class of 2023 also has an extensive list of extracurriculars and accolades. One student represented Kenya at the Under-19 Cricket World Cup. Another student, Lydia Giannini,  was named the 2019 Times Observer Student of the Year. A student placed first in biology and second in math in the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering Academic Challenge. And Kaitlyn Davis-Bonilla was named Meadville’s Person of the Year. More than 50% of incoming students have participated in some type of civic engagement while in high school.

Eileen Petula, executive vice president and chief operating officer, said this is an exciting time for the new class.

“I think that they are an amazingly strong class that’s coming to Allegheny at a very exciting time for us,” Petula said. “This is a transformative moment with the new president and capital improvements including restroom renovations, the new turf, and the Bentley renovations.”

Cornell LeSane, vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions, spoke about the strength of the class of 2023.

“What these students have done outside the classroom is not only going to add to the academic environment, but also the social environment,” LeSane said.

LeSane said that, despite fewer high school graduates in Western Pennsylvania, he has seen Allegheny students thrive.

“During a time when we’re experiencing a decline in high school graduates in this region,” LeSane said, “we’re extremely pleased to see growth in our new students over the last year. This says a tremendous amount about Allegheny.”

Students shared their experiences in their first week of classes, such as Grace Connelly, ’23.

“I’ve had more homework (at first) than I expected,” Connelly said. “I understand now why time management is stressed because I was good at it in high school. Now, I start homework early in the day, but I’m still doing it at night.”

New students have also acclimated to the social aspect of living on campus, including Claire Marsh, ’23.

“I like my roommate a lot more than I expected, and we’re already really close,” Marsh said. “I’m most looking forward to making more friends and being more independent.”

Tighe Raymond, ’23, said that he is beginning to feel apart of the community.

“All of my professors (have been) very helpful and welcoming,” Raymond said, “as were many of the upperclassmen students. Although I’m still adjusting to the community, I feel like I am fitting into it nicely.”

LeSane said he is excited for the future prospects of the class of 2023.

“I’m looking forward to what (the students) will accomplish over the next four years, but more importantly, what they’ll do beyond,” LeSane said.

Provost Ron Cole echoed LeSane’s excitement and said that he is inspired by the class of 2023.

“They bring high academic ability,” Cole said. “They bring a breadth of diversity in terms of background and experience which enriches our campus. I believe that this class is committed to the pursuit of intellectual and personal growth that one can achieve at Allegheny, and that’s part of the heartbeat of an Allegheny education.”