Invitational kicks off
Beginning yesterday, over 100 high school seniors, who describe themselves as students of color, traveled from 18 states to get a sense of Bowdoin beyond what the guidebooks and rankings say. The Bowdoin fall invitational for prospective class of 2007 students kicked off yesterday after long days of waiting around in airports, bus trips, and shuttle rides for the invitees.
"All of the 118 visiting students are very talented young people who have so much to contribute to the Bowdoin community," said Erby Mitchell, director for multicultural relations and the head of planning for the weekend. He hopes that students will settle in and experience what Bowdoin has to offer.
"This weekend is a chance for people who haven't had a chance to look at the college to do so. It's the most important thing we do all year for our student of color recruitment," said Dean of Admissions James Miller.
This weekend will mark new leadership for the program with Mitchell taking the post held the past four years by Fumio Sugihara, now assistant dean of admissions. Speaking about his predecessor, Mitchell said, "Fumio has been instrumental in diversifying this place. He has invested four years of his life to his alma mater to make this place more diverse."
"Bowdoin has become increasingly diverse in the broadest sense in the last few years," said President Mills. "This is the result of the committed effort across the entire community to make Bowdoin accessible to the best and brightest regardless of race or income."
This inclusive focus is marked by what Mitchell called, "a uniquely personal feel." Wil Smith, director of multicultural student programs, added, "The broadening to where the entire campus hosts this population, not just students of color hosting students of color, is a big deal. This embrace is positive and offers the students a realistic view of Bowdoin."
President Barry Mills extended the invitation, "To come and get to know our community. When we say we are diverse and committed, visitors need to get a sense of how true it really is. This small college in Maine is a picture of what America is."
The weekend will be full of activities and opportunities for prospective students to get to know the Bowdoin community. Students can attend an art lecture, Common Hour with Dr. Robert Vilas, a play in Memorial Hall, hypnotist Dale K, Gospel Fest put on by the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship, a dance sponsored by the African-American Student Organization, a Korean dance performance, and a salsa-merengue dance sponsored by the Latin American Students Organization.
All visiting students will also have admissions interviews which caps off the newly instituted application process for acceptance to the November invitational. "We had 143 applicants and will only have 118 attendees. Our goal this year was to get the most serious students to come because the college makes a huge commitment and investment to bring them here," said Mitchell.
"I didn't know anything about Bowdoin before I got here," said Jerry Edwards '04, a product of the invitational in Fall 1999, "I definitely made the right decision to come here. I was impressed by the passion of the people around me here regardless of what they look like. I'm growing and Bowdoin's a great place for me to do this."