August 30, 2004
Whitworth Opens New Academic Building in Time for Record Freshman Class
Weyerhaeuser Hall, Whitworth's landmark new academic building, is open in time for the largest freshman class in the college's 114-year history, many of whom will be moving into campus residence halls on Sept. 4.
Whitworth has experienced an 80 percent increase in freshman applications since fall 2000, resulting in a record total of 2,003 applications for this fall's incoming class. Increased demand has resulted in a record freshman class even as the college has sought to control enrollment growth in order to preserve small class sizes and its historically low student-faculty ratio. Although enrollment figures won't be finalized until the 10th day of classes, Sept. 18, projections indicate that Whitworth will enroll 480 freshmen this fall, exceeding 2003's record of 438 first-year students. Overall enrollment growth is expected to increase three to four percent, according to Registrar Gary Whisenand.
Despite the modest growth, the college has achieved and maintained all-time highs for freshman retention and graduation rates. U.S. News & World Report includes Whitworth in a list of schools with the highest graduation rates in a section of its "America's Best Colleges 2005" guidebook.
The 2004 freshman class brings high academic credentials as well as high numbers. The average SAT score is 1165 and the average GPA is 3.65.
Dean of Enrollment Services Fred Pfursich credits Whitworth's strong academic reputation and distinctive educational mission for the rising number of applications. The strong retention and graduation rates are, in turn, a reflection of the college's ability to be more selective in admitting students who are academically strong and who are a good fit for Whitworth, Pfursich says.
In addition to seeing many new faces, returning students will set foot for the first time in Whitworth's recently completed $7.13 million academic building, Weyerhaeuser Hall. The 33,000-square-foot facility includes classrooms, computer-lab space and faculty offices. It is also home to the School of Global Commerce and Management and the departments of politics & history and sociology, as well as the Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith and Learning and the Regional Learning and Resource Center, which will serve as a contact point between the campus and the community for research and service related to poverty and other issues. The building's opening celebration will take place Saturday, Oct. 2, at 10:30 a.m. in Weyerhaeuser Hall.
Whitworth's fall convocation, an annual celebration which brings students together with staff and faculty in full academic regalia, to mark the beginning of the year, will take place Wednesday, Sept. 8, from 10:30-11:15 a.m. in Cowles Auditorium. In addition to celebrating with music and worship, Whitworth President Bill Robinson will deliver a convocation address.
Whitworth's student leaders and athletes are already on campus for training. The residence halls open for new students at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 4. Returning students will arrive on campus Sept. 6. Final registration will take place Sept. 7, with day and evening classes beginning Sept. 8.
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.
Fred Pfursich, dean of enrollment services, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4348 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greg Orwig, director of communications, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4580 or email@example.com.
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