September 15, 2003 at 12:46 pm #21410
08/25/03 NEW STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENTS GO BEYOND ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE
Welcome. It is so great to look out and see you all come together here after the thousands of manila file folders, letters of recommendation, LSDAS reports, e-mails and, yes, Princeton Review discussion board messages that we’ve been dealing with for so many months. It’s also been fun for our staff to meet with many of you during these past few days as we’ve fondly recalled initial meetings when you interviewed here, or attended a law school fair, our Day at Northwestern Law in April, or one of our private dinners in your home city. Friendships have already been formed among you, and the characteristic Northwestern Law camaraderie is clearly evident.
My purpose is to tell you about who you are and where you come from. I’ve done some research on all of you, both individually and collectively, and one thing is clear. You are an impressive group.
But even though you are just beginning at Northwestern Law, you already have a history with us. One of you disclosed to us that you applied to 29 law schools. Another of you submitted with your application a family recipe for artichoke dip. One of you informed us that you once performed a rendition of the Britney Spears dance from the Pepsi commercial to emphasize a tax strategy for a client.
There was the nervousness of the interview and LSAT. And then there was the personal statement. Did I remember to replace the name Northwestern in that generic essay? Unfortunately, one of you didn’t and I wonder if you know who you are. But you’re all here and we’re glad you made it.
You’re a group that began with about 25,000 people who requested our application, more than 3,100 who interviewed, and more than 5,000 who applied for your spaces today. That’s almost 20 percent more than the number who applied last year. One applicant this past year at a law school forum commented to Johann Lee on the increasing selectivity by stating, and I quote, “I heard that Northwestern can enroll only one applicant in twenty. Will it help my chances if I apply with 19 dumb friends?” Another unsuccessful applicant tried to intimidate us by submitting a recommendation from none other than the terminator himself… Arnold Schwarzenegger, and that was before he decided to run for governor of California.
You represent 111 colleges and universities; 40 percent of you majored in History and the Social Sciences; 20 percent in the Arts and Humanities; 24 percent in Business and Economics, and 16 percent in Engineering and the Applied Sciences.
According to academic measures, you’re our strongest class ever. Collectively, you scored better than 97 percent of all LSAT test takers worldwide with a median LSAT of 169, our highest median LSAT ever. You also performed well as undergraduates, achieving a median GPA of 3.6, and at least 17 of you were National Merit Scholars.
But before your egos get too inflated, let me share with you some of the courses that our Admissions Committee members found listed on your transcripts:
· One of you padded your GPA at the University of Florida in their class called, “Grow Fruit for Fun or Profit” while another of you perfected your slurping and sipping techniques at Pepperdine in “Chado: The Way of Tea.”
· I’m afraid that one of you may be entering with some excess bitterness because at the University of New South Wales, you successfully completed course called, “Fear and Hatred of Everyday Life.”
· Thankfully, one of you only achieved a B at the University of Illinois in their class called, Drug Use and Abuse.
· We’re not sure what science had to do with one of your classmate’s courses at Wellesley called, “The Physics of Whales and Porpoises.”
· And what was the link in the subject matter for one of you at Loyola who excelled in “Hermits, Virgins, and Martyrs?”
· One of you must be an excellent decision-maker because you achieved an A in Brown’s class called, “Hard Choices.” But your classmate from Penn may drive you crazy because he took their class called, “How Do You Know?”
· One of you who graduated from Oberlin improved your GPA in two of their classes called, “Acting in Suburbia” and “Hiking in Arizona.”
· But this year’s favorite among our Admissions Committee goes to the one of you who must be very good at watching your waistline because you achieved an A and, therefore mastered, Howard’s class called, “Slimnastics.”
Dean VanZandt already shared with you the gender, ethnic, geographic and work experience statistics for your class. Additionally, according to the surveys you returned this summer, 14 percent of you are married, and the average age of your class is 25.24.
Now for some of your individual accomplishments.
Our international law concentration and International Team Projects courses will be popular for many of you. We’ve been struck this year by the range of international experiences represented in your class. In fact, from the surveys you returned this summer, we learned that 48 percent of you have spent at least three months abroad on academic study or a work assignment.
· Seated among you are a former Consultant with the Monitor Company in London, a Tax Consultant at Deloitte & Touche in Beijing, an Assistant Manager of the Isthmian Investment Corporation of Panama, an International Trade Specialist with the U.S. Department of Commerce, and a Diplomatic Attaché at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in China.
· One of you interned for the British Parliament and another of you was a State Department intern for NATO in Brussels.
· One of your classmates was a Peace Corp volunteer in Quito Ecuador; another of you participated in a July, 2001 protest at the Japanese Embassy in Korea on behalf of powerless women; one of you has completed 5 missions to the Dominican Republic; one of you was a Health Worker for the Mexican Ministry of Health; and still another of you volunteered as an ethno-musicologist in Papua New Guinea.
· Finally, we salute those of you who have served our nation overseas through the armed forces, including one of your classmates who served in the Navy in the Persian Gulf during the USS Cole bombing.
Given the many artistically talented students among you, Wigmore Follies, our annual variety show, is certain to be entertaining during the next three years.
· Seated among you is a former Associate Producer for MTV, a Producer for Food & Snacks productions who worked for the renowned producer, Dean Pareskevopaelos, the Stage Manager for ERS Productions in New York City, and the Director of the University of Virginia’s 2000 production of “Grease.”
· One of you worked as a background actor on ER and another of you played the role of the son of Woody Allen and Bette Midler in Tri Star Picture’s “Scenes From a Mall.” But with a less notable cast, you also appeared in a Taco Bell commercial as an attendant taking an order from a Taco Bell Chihuahua riding Godzilla’s tail. By the way, you may not be aware of this but one of your current classmates out there might have been at least partially responsible for that because she worked as a Media Planner for Foote, Cone, & Belding specifically for the Taco Bell Account.
· We could assemble an impressive orchestra or jazz band among you. One of you was the Stage Manager and Assistant to the Operations Manager for the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood and a cellist for the Berkshire Symphony; another of you is an accomplished violinist – you majored in music at the New England Conservatory, served as their symphony orchestra’s Concertmaster, and once performed at Carnegie Hall for the Queen of Jordan; also out there are a violinist from the Amherst College Orchestra, a flutist from the Northwestern University Concert Band, a pianist from the Valparaiso Jazz Band, the President and trombonist of the Stanford Jazz Orchestra, the lead Tenor Sax from Kansas State’s Jazz Ensemble who has performed on stage with the Count Basie Orchestra, and a keyboardist and songwriter for the band, Redshift 6, which has cut a full-length album and toured nationally.
· Also among you are a former member of the Bryant Ballet Company of Chicago, the Principle Dancer of the Washington University Dance Theater, the Color Guard Captain for Northwestern’s Wildcat Marching Band, and a Dancer for Yale’s Rhythmic Blues hip-hop modern dance group.
· There are skilled athletes among you and we could assemble an impressive cross-country team, given that your classmates have completed the marathons of Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Cincinnati, and St. Louis; one of your classmates completed the Los Angeles triathlon and another was the captain of Duke’s cross country team.
· Also out there are the former captains of the University of Rochester baseball team, the Amherst College track, ski, and sailing teams, Howard University’s football team, Trinity University’s volleyball team, the Chapman University and Macalaster College tennis teams, the water polo team of Holy Cross, the rugby team of the University of California Davis, Brown’s gymnastics’ team, and the University of Pennsylvania’s ski team.
· One of you was an All-American swimmer for Harvard’s varsity swimming team and you were also a member of the Olympic Select Team; another of you was a professional soccer player and goalkeeper in the Dutch Soccer League who was only the 5th American ever to play soccer professionally in England.
· One of you filled in as an emergency on-the-field producer for ESPN to cover the tragic death of Daryl Kile, a former pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals; one of you is a former Music Supervisor for Fox Sports Net, and also out there is a former salary cap analyst for the National Football League who, also more recently, served as Assistant Director of Enforcement for the NCAA, where you conducted investigations against member institutions accused of violations.
You should also be well-protected by your classmates, given that one of your classmates is a black belt in karate; another is a black belt in Taekwondo; another of you claims to have met and been punched by Muhammad Ali; one of your classmates owns a Rottweiler; and one of your more goal-oriented classmates disclosed in her personal statement the following quote, “When I was 6 years old, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grow up. I was going to be Wonder Woman.” Our Career Center is very good but I’m not sure how much they can help with that one.
Our 3-time national champion National Trial Team and our trial advocacy programs should remain strong, given that your classmates include a former debate instructor at Stanford, Emory, and the University of Maryland, and the former debate team Captains and Presidents at Dartmouth, Bowdoin, the London School of Economics, and Yale.
Your class contains a number of people with promising political careers ahead of them, given that it includes the former student body presidents of the University of Chicago, Bennett College, Miami of Ohio, Washington University, and Ecole Nationale Superieure Polytechnique in Cameroon, West Africa.
There are many in your class who may be interested in communication and the law, given your journalistic backgrounds and five of you are entering our new joint MSJ/MSL program with the Medill School of Journalism. Seated out there is a former writer for the Wall Street Journal and Baltimore Post who also served as a Story Editor for ABC News’ Primetime and 20/20. Your classmates also include a former Reporter for the Baltimore Sun and the Peoria Journal Star, the Editor-in-Chief of the Stoneham, Massachusetts Independent, the Senior Production Editor for the Rockefeller University Press, reporters from the St. Louis Dispatch and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a staff writer for the Santiago Times, and the Executive Producer and Writer for National Lampoon’s Master Debaters comic strip.
Our Small Business Opportunity Center should be popular with your class, given the impressive list of successful entrepreneurs among you. One of you founded Trailworks.com which helps outdoor enthusiasts plan and research recreational activities. Another of you was the co-founder of the Border Collie Rescue Service of Georgia, a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing and placing Border Collies. One of your classmates was a self-employed freelance film producer who produced a one-hour documentary which aired on American Movie Classics this past Spring – the film portrayed the effects of sudden fame on reality-show participants. The list goes on. Seated among you are the former CEO of a sports memorabilia company called Brad’s Cards, the Director of Wholesale Operations for Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Company, the Director of Development for Curious Pictures who helped develop the Marco & Polo show which piloted in 1998 on Nickelodeon, and the Manager of Business Development for Buzzsaw.com.
Many of you have survived and overcome tremendous obstacles to be seated where you are today.
· Two of you have survived bouts with cancer and 3 of you have recovered from injuries that had initially caused you to lapse into a coma for a week or more.
· Another of you wrote about the trials of growing up in Yugoslavia during the strife there in the late 1980s while another of you was working for Sidley & Austin Brown & Wood located in Tower One of the World Trade Center on September 11th.
· One of your classmates never had the chance to graduate from high school, due to extreme family circumstances forcing your withdrawal; and another of you grew up as a ward of the state who lived in one shelter, 2 group homes, and 3 foster homes.
It is clear that you are achievers. You wrote with sometimes modest, sometimes not so modest, often quite serious, but an occasional humorous flair about your accomplishments.
One of you was a restaurant host at Boston’s Bull & Finch pub otherwise known as the Cheers pub; two of you have been granted top secret clearance; one of you has won the Pulitzer Prize; one of you has traveled the Trans-Siberian Railroad; one of you has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro while another of you has explored the Incan ruins and hiked in the Amazon Rain Forest while another of you has backpacked in Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Fiji, and Spain and still another of you once encountered a 15-foot crocodile while hiking in the Costa Rican rainforest; one of you took the LSAT in the same room as Monica Lewinsky; one of you speaks 6 languages while another of you claims that you can explain the theories of several modern political philosophies; one of you won our Day at Northwestern Law laptop raffle; one of you has somersaulted from an open airplane door at 13,500 feet over the Gulf of Mexico while another of you is a licensed pilot who has performed stalls, spins, rolls, and loops; one of you has played bridge with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates; one of you was once pictured in a print ad for Secret brand deodorant, and my personal favorite, one of you was the 2nd runner up in the Mr. Cooper City male beauty pageant.
And seriously, from the one of you who was a Drama Teacher at the Little Star School for Street Children in Varanai, India to the one of you who prepared meals for 5-10 families with children who are terminally ill to the one of you who was the House Supervisor of a residence for people living with AIDS to the one of you who was the Community Service Coordinator for Friends of Vision which provides eye care to indigent people living in under-developed countries to the one of you who donated an organ to a friend who suffered from a degenerative kidney disorder, we’ve seen plenty of evidence of the very personal, caring and human dimensions of your class.
We’re glad you’re here. From all of us in admissions, best wishes to you, and have a great experience here at Northwestern.
703.242.5885September 21, 2003 at 2:14 pm #25983
NW doesnt seem that imrpessive when you just look at the GPA and LSAT scores
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