Big Freshman Class Helps Make History at BVU
Thanks in part to new programs, Buena Vista University welcomed 282 freshmen, transfer students, and international scholars to campus. The group represents the second largest collection of new students since 2010.
The largest freshman class in six years joined a sizeable contingent of transfer students and international scholars in arriving at Buena Vista University on Friday, marking the unofficial start of the 2019-20 academic year.
Some 231 freshmen joined 38 transfer students and 13 international exchange students in giving BVU its second largest collection of new students–282–since 2010. The freshman class alone represents growth of 15 percent compared to 2018.
“What an incredible group of new students,” says BVU President Joshua Merchant. “Students from all over Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota, are joining students from a host of other states and countries in discovering the momentum that comes with the incredible investments we’ve made at BVU in new buildings, new programs, accomplished faculty members, and so much more.”
This large class of newcomers arrives on the heels of a $15.1 million renovation of the Dr. Harold Walter Siebens School of Business/Siebens Forum, a project completed last January; one paid for entirely by benefactors and designed with the changing needs of today’s students in mind.
“We’re committed to providing our students with state-of-the-art facilities to match cutting-edge instruction that we constantly work to pair with both service and work experience.”
BVU President Joshua Merchant
The new class steps on campus at an historic time as the University launches new programs and majors with its new Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Resource Management, as well as the Center for Criminal Justice Studies.
“We’ve listened to the needs of our current and prospective students and we’ve taken bold steps to position them for emerging careers amid a variety of fields,” Merchant says. “We’re committed to providing our students with state-of-the-art facilities to match cutting-edge instruction that we constantly work to pair with both service and work experience.”
“I’m so excited for the new opportunities I’ll have here, and the ability to make connections right away and give back in service,” says Deanna Schaffer, a freshman from Alta.
“We’ve never moved a student into college in less than one hour,” says Julie Kockelman, who joined her husband, Dan Kockelman, in moving their third son, Benjamin Kockelman from their home in Shakopee, Minn., on Friday. “It was a great experience. Everyone from Admissions to the Orientation Team was so helpful. They really made it easy for us and allowed us more time to spend with Ben and take it all in with him.”
Friday’s welcome began with a traditional procession of students from Siebens Fieldhouse through the Victory Arch and into Schaller Memorial Chapel for a convocation led by Merchant and keynoted by Dr. Andrea Frantz, the University’s 2018 George Wythe Award winner.
The weekend continued with events that ranged from a scavenger hunt through Storm Lake to a bonfire to a Sunday evening outdoor concert by the Johnny Holm Band in which returning students joined the newest group of BVU Beavers in ringing in the new year on campus.
While enrollment numbers aren’t yet deemed final as data continues to be recorded at BVU locations across Iowa and via online programming, staff members express confidence that key indicators such as retention will also show healthy increases when official census counts are recorded and released in early September.