Westmont Magazine Westmont Welcomes a Diverse Group of New Students
Westmont welcomed more than 400 first-year and transfer students this fall, one of the most diverse groups of new students in college history. They represent eight countries and 31 states, and 37 percent of them identify as Hispanic, Asian American, African American, Hawaiian Pacific Islander, Native American, and/or mixed-race. Nearly 18 percent say they’re the first in their family to attend college.
“We’re encouraged that our student body reflects a growing diverse community that strengthens our college’s commitment to a global focus,” says Irene Neller, vice president for enrollment, marketing and college communications. “Our highest priority is shaping effective and compassionate global citizens to serve in all spheres of society for the common good.”
Westmont has awarded academic scholarships, ranging from $6,000 to $37,510 annually, to 92 percent of the first-year students, who earned an average GPA of 3.80 and an average SAT score of 1230.
The third class of Augustinian Scholars, a select group of 56 students from around the world, received a scholarship worth 85 percent of tuition. The Augustinian Scholars Program offers a four-year scholarship and honors curriculum to students committed to academic excellence and Christian formation. They study the work of St. Augustine of Hippo and other key thinkers in the Christian intellectual tradition because a rigorous pursuit of truth grows out of our pursuit of God. Rather than a separate honors college, the program operates within Westmont, providing support and intellectual fellowship to the scholars and enhancing their engagement with the broader community. The new students join two previous Augustinian Scholar cohorts, bringing the number to 145 in three classes.
“In three years of the Augustinian program, not one Augustinian scholar has left the college after their first semester,” says Mark Sargent, Westmont’s provost. “That level of retention is quite remarkable for honors programs at colleges and universities. These exceptionally high-achieving students are thriving at Westmont.”
The incoming transfer students arrive from four-year schools such as the University of Arizona, Texas Christian University, California’s community colleges, and many other private and public universities.
More than 40 Orientation Team members and dozens of returning student volunteers unloaded each vehicle bringing new students to campus and delivered all their belongings to each campus room. “What an incredible opportunity we have to welcome these students and their families or guests to campus and provide them with exceptional service the moment they arrive,” says Angela D’Amour, director of campus life. “They’re all now part of the Westmont family, and this is our way of saying, welcome home.”