Earlham College and the Earlham School of Religion embark on a new academic year today that will signify a return to something closer to normal.
“I am so excited that we will all be together again and return to what we do best: delivering a world-class, in-person living and learning experience,” Earlham President Anne Houtman said. “In keeping with our Principles and Practices, we are committed to the health and safety of our community and to caring for one another.”
Earlham has joined hundreds of colleges and universities across the country requiring students and employees to be fully vaccinated before arriving on campus, with exemptions for individuals with religious or health reasons. Due to the recent local uptick in COVID-19 transmissibility, mask-wearing in indoor spaces will again be required, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status.
The campus has re-opened to the public, with masking and vaccination policies in place for visitors of the Athletics and Wellness Center, Joseph Moore Museum and Lilly Library.
“We expect all members of the Earlham community and visitors to campus to continue to act with the common good in mind,” Houtman said.
Meet the Class of 2025
The Class of 2025 comes to Earlham from 33 states and 23 countries and exemplifies the kind of diversity and academic excellence that Earlham is known for.
The entering class earned an average 3.6 grade point average. Of those students reporting a class rank, 45 percent finished high school in the top 20 percent of their graduating class. Nearly 20 percent of the entering class identifies as the first in their families to attend college.
Beyond academics, these Earlhamites also have a strong commitment to community engagement and diversity in their extracurricular pursuits. The class has representatives from the Fort Wayne Cities International Program, Denver Zoo’s selective teen volunteer program and the United Nations Board of Pandemic Inquiry.
Nearly 10 percent of the class are legacy students, including Sophia Gilkey of Indianapolis. The third-generation Earlhamite is the seventh in her family to enroll at the College.
“I chose Earlham because its community fosters respect between everyone on campus, and puts students and professors on the same level,” said Gilkey, an undecided major who is interested in biology, social justice and 3D and textile-based arts.
“Earlham has always felt like home, as both of my parents went there, and I visited a lot throughout my life. I’m really excited to join everyone on campus.”
A return to off-campus study
After a one-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, Earlham students will resume participation in off-campus study in many locations around the world.
Longstanding programs in London, Spain, Germany, France, and the U.S./Mexico border are available with new programs in Ghana, Thailand, China and Boston debuting in the fall or spring. Popular programs in New Zealand and Japan have been canceled due to delays in processing visas for students. The Tibetan Studies program in India has also been canceled because of widespread cases of COVID-19.
“We are monitoring these situations all the time to ensure the safety orf our students, faculty and partners,” said Roger Adkins, executive director of Earlham’s Center for Global and Career Education. “We are plugged into information sources from the State department, the CDC, our partners on the ground and the various professional networks we are part of.
“In some cases, we have had to cancel programs far out in advance to ensure that our students maintain continuity in their studies,” Adkins notes. “If we wait until the last minute to cancel a program, it may be too late for students to find an alternative off-campus program to participate in or enroll in appropriate courses back on campus.”
Earlham students are eligible for semester-long experiences as early as their sophomore year and can participate in any program, regardless of their major or course of study. Earlham has one of the highest rates of participation in study abroad programs in the world.
Nearly 200 Earlham students also benefitted from College-supported career-discernment experiences this summer, most of which were conducted in person, including internships, service, research, and the summer wilderness expedition in the Uinta Mountains. An additional 70 seniors completed virtual internships last winter prior to graduation.
“There is profound learning that is happening here, even the virtual ones,” Adkins said. “We are moving forward cautiously, but it is very exciting to be able to offer these experiences again.”