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St. Olaf welcomes Class of 2016

By Kari VanDerVeen
September 10, 2012

St. Olaf College recently welcomed the Class of 2016 — a talented, diverse group of 865 new first-year students from 516 high schools in 47 states and 51 countries.

They include 136 domestic students of color and 59 international students (the most of either that the college has ever enrolled in a single class), as well as 23 Davis United World College Scholars. The class also includes 33 National Merit finalists and four National Hispanic Scholars.

A significant number of this newest group of Oles — 116 — have siblings who are current students or recent graduates, and 104 have parents who attended St. Olaf. Thirteen were admitted last year and chose to defer, spending a gap year in places ranging from Poland to Ethiopia to the Caribbean.

And while these numbers provide some insight into the incoming class, each new group of students is more than just a compilation of statistics and figures. The Class of 2016 also includes:

  • One student who has played the highest-altitude Frisbee golf course in the world
  • Another who has helped build the St. Olaf Christmas Festival set every year for 15 years
  • A student who was the Eastern Washington chess champion — twice
  • One student who sang the national anthem at a Minnesota Twins game
  • And — not to be outdone — another who can play the tuba while riding a unicycle

"It's always rewarding for those of us who worked hard to bring these students to St. Olaf to actually see their faces on move-in day," says Vice President for Enrollment and College Relations Michael Kyle '85.

"This year was no different; they are a bright, energetic, and accomplished group of students who share at least one important thing in common — the desire to live and learn in community with others."

Watch a video of members of the Class of 2016 settling in on campus. 

Contact Kari VanDerVeen at 507-786-3970 or