Resilient Ravens Set Record
New Freshman Numbers Are Highest Ever

Monday, October 5, 2020

Freshmen process on the March of Light at Mary's Grotto, wearing facemasks

The new class of freshman at Benedictine College has already experienced more than their share of obstacles in their young adult lives. Through it all, they became Ravens and were welcomed into the community at the annual Convocation Ceremony at Benedictine College Aug. 25.

“It’s hard to sum you up in a single word,” said Benedictine College Chaplain Father Simon Baker during his Convocation address. “But a few get at what is true: resiliency, persistence, you might even say courage. Think of what it’s taken to get where you’re at here.”

“You planned on prom, or your final senior season, or you had studied the lines in the play that you were preparing. You had planned to do something great. To do something that you love and enjoy. You had planned on normalcy. And all those plans were taken away.”

And still, here they are, and remarkably, they represent the largest freshman class in the history of Benedictine College. The numbers become official on the 20th day of the semester, but more freshman Ravens stepped onto the campus of Benedictine College this year than ever before.

“Freshmen, having experienced the benefits of a Benedictine College tradition, and been welcomed into the Raven family, you are now fully incorporated into the college,” said Stephen D. Minnis ’82, President of Benedictine College. At that point, the freshmen removed the beanies they had been wearing for the past week. The beanie tradition is long-standing and serves to unite the freshman class and create a bond with all the Ravens who have passed through the college over many decades.

The one takeaway that Father Simon hopes will stay with the students for their four years at Benedictine College is the first word in the Rule of St. Benedict: listen, particularly to those who are here to impart wisdom upon them.

Freshmen pose for a photo in beaniesFreshmen in beanies listen to Father Simon Baker during the academic convocation

“Listen not only to their words, but to the way they live their lives,” Father Simon said.

As a group, the freshman class represent five foreign countries and 42 states. The class has one of the highest average ACT scores (25) and the highest average grade point average (3.5) in the college’s history. Many are participating in the college’s Programs of Distinction, including 25 Gregorian Fellows, 44 STEM Fellows, 16 Constitutional Fellows, and 23 in the Honors Program.

But even beyond their triumphs in the classroom — in person or through Zoom— the class of 2024 has already shown it is willing to go through trials to reach its goals. The Benedictine College community could not be prouder to count them among their number as Ravens.