President Mary Marcy Welcomes Students to 2011-12 Academic Year

As a new academic year gets underway this week, Dominican University of California welcomes 430 freshmen and transfer students to the Dominican community. Total enrollment exceeds 2,100 undergraduate and graduate students.

The incoming freshman class is the most academically accomplished and diverse group of students in Dominican's 122-year history. The average high-school GPA of the class was 3.47. More than 50 percent of the students joining the class of 2015 are students of color, and 40 percent are first in their families to attend college. The students also have demonstrated a strong commitment to community service, contributing more than 15,000 hours of service while in high school.

President Mary Marcy welcomed new students during last week's orientation activities. She encouraged students to seek challenges, expand their intellectual and cultural horizons, and embrace the Dominican way.

"You are a select group, and you are part of a distinctive community," President Marcy said. "Ours is a community that has the highest educational aspirations and yet recognizes you as an individual; a community that offers a full range of challenges in and out of the classroom but builds strong, caring relationships."

President Marcy urged her audience to make the most of the many opportunities that await them at Dominican.

"Soon, you will be engaged in the classroom with our outstanding faculty mentors who are committed to innovative teaching strategies that enhance student research, scholarship, and creative activity."

Dominican's unique first-year seminar is one example of Dominican's commitment to innovation in teaching. All freshmen will spend the year exploring the origins and evolution of the universe in an interactive, multi-disciplinary course based on "Big History."

Big History is an emerging academic discipline that provides a unifying overview of the 14 billion-year history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the present day. Big History synthesizes history, astronomy, chemistry, biology, geology, sociology, and other fields to provide a cohesive picture, to scale, of the history of the human race and its relationship to the planet. Dominican's Big History seminar will provide freshmen with the writing and research skills that will enable their success in core courses and beyond. The seminar will feature interactive activities designed to emphasize students' critical and creative thinking.

President Marcy also shared with her audience a snapshot of Dominican's recruitment efforts. Last year, the admissions team visited 400 high schools, attended 150 college fairs, and spent 30 weeks traveling to meet with prospective students.

"The members of our admissions team were looking for the perfect fit. They know how Dominican can transform lives, and they were seeking - and found - students with the intelligence, dedication, and potential that will thrive here."

Dominican received a record number of 4,458 applications - 10% more than last year - for a place in the freshman class. Dominican's 285 new freshmen and 135 transfer students come from 190 high schools and 80 colleges and universities throughout the United States and overseas, including China, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, and Canada.

And, another first for Dominican: This year's class includes three sets of twins.


MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Gardner, Director, Communications & Research, Dominican University of California, 415-485-3239,