First-year class most diverse yet

DiversityBenOhene.jpgFor years, SMU has worked hard at diversifying the student body in many different facets. From ethnicity to origin and gender, the admissions office has made it a point of emphasis to diversify the faculty and student body to set the university apart from others.

This year’s first-year class reflects the hard and diligent work of SMU, as it has helped make SMU the most diverse it has ever been.

Wes Waggoner, dean of Undergraduate Admission and executive director of Enrollment Services, gives some of that credit to the work done by the admission officers as they have helped to spread the word about SMU.

“SMU has a number of strategies when trying to attract students to SMU,” Waggoner said. “Everything from visiting high schools around the country to tours around campus help to spread the word and increase diversity. The more places we visit, the more opportunities we have to attract people from all backgrounds.”

SMU Student Body President Ramon Trespalacios, who is a tour guide as well, makes it a point to tell prospective students about the diverse nature around campus.

“When I give on-campus [tours], I tell prospective students that diversity is something you experience everyday at SMU,” Trespalacios said. “Sometimes you will be a part of the majority and sometimes you will be a part of the minority, but your experience will always help you grow as an individual.”

Whatever the formula is, it seems to be working.

According to the SMU institutional research website, diversity among the student body has been at a steady increase. In 2004, SMU’s undergraduate student body was 71.23 percent caucasian. This fall, SMU’s undergraduate student body is 62.4 percent Caucasian.

Not only has diversity among ethnicities changed, but the origin of students has also expanded in recent years. This fall, 41 percent of the incoming class was from Texas, which is significantly lower than in past years. In comparison, 50 percent of the entire student body is from Texas.

While Waggoner feels that SMU has made vast improvements and is happy with how diverse the student body has become, he also believes that there is always room for improvement.

Waggoner also points out that there is no quota or goal when it comes to diversity and diversifying the student body is really about strengthening the SMU community.

“We hope that the more diverse the student body is, the more students will be able to take away from their four years at SMU,” Waggoner said. “We want to better prepare our students for life after college.”

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