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AQUINAS WELCOMES NEAR -RECORD FRESHMEN CLASS - Aug 20, 2002

August 20, 2002 - Aquinas College is ready to welcome what could be the largest freshman class ever. Members of the class of 2006 will arrive on the Robinson Road campus Wednesday to begin a week of orientation activities. While enrollment figures are not official until the fourth Friday of September, preliminary numbers indicate that Aquinas expects more than 360 new freshmen, a jump of more than ten percent (10%) over last year's enrollment figure. Admissions officials noted a couple of factors for the increase.

Tom Mikowski, director of admissions, cited a 20 percent rise in the number of enrollees from the local area as a contributing factor. In addition, he noted a significant increase in the number of students registered for the Aquinas Nursing program, which operates in conjunction with the University of Detroit Mercy and St. Mary's Mercy Health Center.

Admissions officials also believe that more students are looking for small colleges, like Aquinas, that practice and provide the foundational core values that are becoming more important in their lives. The largest freshmen class was in fall of 2000 when 362 new students enrolled.

The College's residence halls are also feeling some pressure. Aquinas is at near capacity with more than a third of its estimated 2,450 students living in campus housing. Non-resident freshmen and sophomores who are required to live on campus occupy most of that space. Still, College officials say they feel they will have sufficient room to accommodate everyone who needs housing.

Once settled into their dormitories, students will begin a week of orientation. On Thursday (Aug. 22), the freshmen will take part in Project UNITE, a traditional community service project designed to involve new students in the local community. On that day, the students will walk to Congress Elementary School (940 Baldwin SE) where they will work on a variety of projects from 12:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Aquinas students will clean classrooms, move furniture, and ready the playground for a year of activity. In addition, they will spread woodchips, pull weeds, wash windows, sweep the walkways, remove brush, assist teachers in classrooms and, weather-permitting, apply paint to playground games, a U.S. map and an outdoor diversity/unity mural.

"At Aquinas, learning is not confined to the classroom," says Eric Bridge, project coordinator. "Our whole purpose in education is for students to utilize and implement their knowledge, skills, gifts and abilities in the community to make a better world. We want students to get involved in their communities now, instead of waiting until after they graduate."
Classes for the entire Aquinas campus begin on August 26.

Consistently ranked one of the top liberal arts colleges in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report, Aquinas College offers an approach to learning and living that teaches students unlimited ways of seeing the world. Founded in 1886 by the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids, the College's Dominican tradition of working, service and lifelong learning remains alive today in a diverse student body. Students from more than 22 states and 15 foreign countries are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs. Within six months of graduation, nearly all graduates are in full-time jobs, enrolled in professional schools of law, medicine, or dentistry, or in a master or doctoral program.

CONTACTS:
Marty Fahey, College Relations - 616-459-8281, Ext. 4422
Sally Reeves, College Relations - Ext. 4418
Tom Mikowski, Director of Admissions - Ext. 5188