Allegheny Welcomes ‘Outstanding’ Class, Most Diverse in College History

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Donald “Ozzy” Osborne made it his business to be a game-changer, on and off the football field.

He was a team captain each of the four years he ran the ball for the Buccaneers of San Diego’s Mission Bay High School. But Osborne also served as vice president of his student body and of his senior class and as president of the school’s 3 Point Play Club, a group for student athletes that recognizes both academic excellence and good citizenship. He participated in the prestigious Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and graduated with a GPA of 3.5.

Osborne plans to continue that same course as a first-year student at Allegheny, playing for the Gators football team and, potentially, serving in student government.

“If I want to see a change, the only way I can make it happen is to do it myself,” said Osborne, 18.

His Allegheny classmates are athletes and artists, scientists and writers, creative problem-solvers and community leaders.

Together, they are the Class of 2020 — the most diverse in the college’s history.

For a second consecutive year, increased class sizes, record diversity and rising national prominence reflect the college’s growing reputation in America, Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions Cornell LeSane II said.

The incoming class, welcomed at a convocation and matriculation ceremony today in Raymond P. Shafer Auditorium, represents a record 417 high schools in 37 states and 24 countries in addition to the United States, including Pakistan, New Zealand and the Micronesian island of Yap. The top 10 states from which enrolled students originate are Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, California, New Jersey, Illinois, Florida, Maryland, Virginia and Massachusetts.

Twenty-eight percent of incoming students, including Osborne, identify as students of color, topping the 2015 record of 25 percent.

President James H. Mullen, Jr. welcomed the class at the ceremony.

“To each and every one of you who join us as part of the Class of 2020, I offer not only welcome but appreciation, gratitude for who you are and the gifts you bring to Allegheny. You join us from across the nation and around the world — many who have traveled from afar; some who are from our home city of Meadville and our surrounding area; some who are part of our many scholarship programs. … Each of you in this class enriches our community and, as we welcome you, we are most thankful for all you will mean to us.”

Sixty percent of the incoming class graduated in the top 20 percent of their high school classes, with an average GPA of 3.64. Sixty percent participated in some form of civic engagement in high school.

“We are very proud of our new students who demonstrate the core values of our mission for academic excellence and developing the whole person for successful and meaningful lives,” said Ron Cole, provost and dean of the college. “The students in the Class of 2020 are in for four great years of learning that go far deeper than the commodity of earning a degree.”

LeSane called the incoming class an outstanding group.

“During a time where we are experiencing a decline in the number of high school graduates in this region, we are extremely pleased to have another year of continued growth in new students,” LeSane said. “This says a tremendous amount about Allegheny, and it is reflected in our overall percentage of students coming from outside the state of Pennsylvania, which is almost 60 percent.”

Allegheny is celebrating the Year of Mindfulness in 2016–17, a series of events and a challenge to the campus community to live this year with mindfulness and intention. For more information and the full lineup of events, visit sites.allegheny.edu/yearofmindfulness/. This year also marks the launch of the college’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access and Social Justice (IDEAS) Center, formerly the Center for Intercultural Advancement and Student Success. The center is a resource for all students, creating and supporting programs and initiatives that seek to inspire community-wide dialogue and understanding of diversity, inclusion and social equity.