by Chandra Joos deKoven, director of Admission
Each day I am reminded of Elizabeth Blodgett Hall for many reasons.
New Student Arrival Day is one of my favorite times of the year. Months (and sometimes years) prior, the Office of Admission is busy identifying and reaching out to prospective students, cultivating these new relationships, and getting to know each student through the application process. While it’s a distinct privilege to get to know each individual, their aspirations, passions, and interests, words cannot describe the overwhelming feeling of looking out into the crowd to see how each individual fits together to create a class.
Betty Hall likely experienced this phenomenon when she welcomed the first class of 50 female pioneers. While each new class brings in its own signature style, impressive accolades, and interesting passions and interests, I cannot help but look at this year’s class and take a mental snapshot. 50 years ago, we welcomed 50 female pioneers; just last month, Provost Ian Bickford welcomed our 50th class: 148 new College and 27 new Academy students, hailing from over seven countries and 29 states.
“Whether you were the first class or the fiftieth, you are part of the legacy of Simon’s Rock. That legacy continues strong, filling a desperate need for a different approach to higher education, thanks in large part to individuals like you who generously introduce the concept to friends, colleagues—and most importantly, to the young intrepid scholars who choose to come here.”-Chandra Joos deKoven,
Director of Admission
Fifty years later, our class snapshot looks entirely different from what I can decipher from the 1966 photo; but both classes share the common thread of “Why Simon’s Rock.” While different in demographics, each class before has had a direct influence on future classes, and for that I’m deeply grateful.
Looking out into a packed (beyond capacity) McConnell Auditorium at a distinctly diverse class of individuals, I see a 50th class composed of multiple legacy students and referrals from current and past parents, alumni, and friends. Whether you were the first class or the fiftieth, you are part of the legacy of Simon’s Rock. That legacy continues strong, filling a desperate need for a different approach to higher education, thanks in large part to individuals like you who generously introduce the concept to friends, colleagues—and most importantly, to the young intrepid scholars who choose to come here.
This year’s class includes the children of numerous alumni parents from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, and one student who is the fifth person in the family to attend. Rockers came back not only with their own children but also with their children’s friends. I recognized new students that had been introduced to us by current and past parents, recent alums, and current students.
Though we just welcomed our 50th class, the Office of Admission has already begun recruiting and selecting members of our next class. Members of our admission team are traveling throughout the United States and world to identify future Rockers. They’ll meet some amazing young people; but each year, we find that some our very best candidates are referred by people who know Simon’s Rock better than anyone—our Rockers. I’m reaching out to you today to encourage you to partner with us in shaping the entering class of fall 2017.
Today I ask for your assistance as we work collaboratively to identify and educate the next generation of courageous students who are in search of a greater challenge. You can make a difference in a student’s life by sharing your experience.
Many of you have planted the idea, and it’s our role within the Office of Admission to nurture this. If you know of a student who could benefit from a Bard Academy and/or Simon’s Rock education, I invite you to contact me personally by email or by phone at 413-528-7499. I would be happy to reach out to the student personally, invite them to an off-campus event, or encourage them to take a closer look by visiting campus.