Saturday was move-in day for the Olin Class of 2021. It was wonderfully warm and sunny and campus was alive with the nervous anticipation and excitement that comes with starting something new. I have the pleasure and honor of introducing the new class on move-in day. It’s one of the highlights of my year. An excerpt of my remarks is below; I think it gives you a peek into our community. Enjoy!
My job today is to present you, Olin Class of 2021, to each other and to the Olin community! As I got to know you through your applications and at Candidates’ Weekends, I was incredibly impressed: academically your preparation and potential rival any top college and university across the country. But beyond that: you are funny and creative and innovative and kind. You- and your families- should be extremely proud!
The Class of 2021 represents students from a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, identities and cultures. You represent 29 states, Washington DC and 10 countries (including China, Nigeria, Slovakia, and Vietnam). Eight of you are first-generation college students (like me!). 43% of you are students of color. The Class of 2021 is balanced at 49% female by legal sex. (Who run the world?)
We are proud to call all of you Oliners, and while your academic and demographic metrics are striking, it is your personality, your interests, your Olin-ness, that makes you truly remarkable and is what led us to choose you. Every offer of admission at Olin is a choice, an affirmation of what you bring to the college. We took a diverse and talented pool and created the dynamic and intentional community that is Olin. And…
As a group:
- You are altruistic: 82% of you participated community service
- You are athletic: 52% played at least one sport
- You are entrepreneurial: at least 4 of you founded a business
- You are scholarly: at least 12 of you did research at a college or company
- You are creative: among the Class of 2021 you will find musicians (both instrumental and vocal), dancers, woodworkers, actors, creative writers, and visual artists
- You are responsible: 52% of you held a job in high school
- You are interested in connecting across cultures: as least four of you taught English as a second language
- And you love robotics! Which makes so much sense- we are Olin after all!- over half of you participated in competitive robotics in high school.
- One of you is a cat socializer.
- One of you is a professional magician.
- One of you is involved in riflery and marched in the 127th Rose Bowl Parade.
- One of you founded and led the only high school team that constructed a nanosatellite for the NASA CubeQuest Challenge… and you won third place!
- One of you is a street skater.
- One of you developed an app for Parkinson’s patients, which won the first annual World Series of Entrepreneurship.
- One of you managed a sustainable, organic quarter-acre farm and at least two others worked as farm hands.
- One of you is the CEO and Founder of a company that created devices to help folks with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
- One of you did the set design for a haunted house.
- One of you started a FIRST Lego League team for students with disabilities.
- At least two of you hosted a radio show.
- One of you is a lock picker (maybe this is a good time to note that at Olin we try to use all of our skills for good and not evil…).
- One of you danced with Beyonce, Bruno Mars and Coldplay in a Super Bowl Half-time show.
- One of you build a prosthetic arm AND played the bagpipes at the World Pipe Band Championship.
- One of you took a month-long, 180 km canoe trip.
- One of you started a mentorship program for elementary-aged refugees.
- One of you is a blacksmith.
- One of you is a birdwatcher.
- One of you built a house this summer.
- One of you created an app that aims to address cultural divisiveness by creating a platform that allows people to share their cultural experiences.
- One of you rides a 5 foot tall bicycle. For reference, I’m 5’1”.
- One of you spent your gap year working with AmeriCorps VISTA spreading STEM to underserved students throughout Virginia.
Each and every one of you made an impression when you were here for Candidates’ Weekends. And as a whole you are the next generation of engineering leaders! Welcome to Olin, Class of 2021!