Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, September 2, 2011

Coleman tells new students 'endless opportunities' await Class of 2015

For the Class of 2015, the Internet always has existed. Cellphones are commonplace. Electric cars are an option.

It's a new world, and the incoming freshmen have "endless opportunities" that await them, President Mary Sue Coleman said at New Student Convocation.

  President Mary Sue Coleman (right) is joined by Michigan Student Assembly President DeAndree Watson at the New Student Convocation. (Photo by Eric Bronson, U-M Photo Services)

"College is about ideas and viewpoints and questions, and the myriad directions they take your mind," Coleman told the crowd gathered Thursday at Hill Auditorium. "A Michigan education is about the firing of synapses and the connections you make — in the classroom, the coffee shop, the library and the laboratory. It is about endless opportunities, countless possibilities and the willingness to follow new, different paths."

Ted Spencer, associate vice provost and executive director of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, welcomed a "very diverse" class with strong representation from every racial, ethnic, social and religious background.

"You will join students coming from 1,800 different high schools, 49 states and 60 countries — giving you an opportunity to learn alongside classmates from many diverse backgrounds," Spencer said.

U-M set another record for applications this year — nearly 40,000 — for some 6,000 freshmen spaces, he said. More than 23,000 of those applications were from out-of-state; the largest number of international applications came from China, India, Singapore, Korea and Canada.

Phil Hanlon (left), provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and Ted Spencer, associate vice provost and executive director of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, sing "The Victors" during the New Student Convocation. (Photo by Eric Bronson, U-M Photo Services) 

Spencer offered a snapshot of the Class of 2015:

• In terms of academics, the average high school grade-point average for this year's class is 3.8.

• Nineteen percent of the class achieved a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.

• Thirty-four percent had an ACT composite score between 31 and 36, while only 4 percent of students nationwide achieved that high level.

Many of the students have served in student government offices, participated in band or orchestra, engaged in community service efforts, or worked at a family business or after-school job. Others have been involved with such things as tutoring or mentoring, fundraising efforts, environmental activities, leadership camps and various clubs, assembling care packages for our troops and victims of disaster, internship opportunities and shadowing professionals in a particular field of interest.

"I'd like to offer my congratulations to both you and your parents on your outstanding achievements," Spencer said. "You are now part of the Michigan family — the Leaders and the Best — where incredible opportunities await you."

Saying she wanted to hear about the students' aspirations, Coleman invited the class to attend an open house at 4 p.m. Sept. 20 at the President's Residence.

Coleman also welcomed the students to join hundreds of thousands who have taken part in the Michigan Difference, including notable alumni President Gerald R. Ford, comedienne Gilda Radner and actor James Earl Jones. She also mentioned U-M graduates with famous accomplishments, such as those who created the iPod, Google and JetBlue.

"All are part of the Michigan heritage you are about to experience and shape," she said. "We are known for our learning communities, our research programs for undergraduates, and intimate seminars for first-year students. We are proud of our commitment to public service. And we celebrate our remarkable students — students like you, who are ready to explore, explain and change the world."