September 2, 1998
KALAMAZOO -- The freshman class of 2002 which began classes this week at Western Michigan University, will approach and possibly eclipse 3,700, according to preliminary enrollment data.
"This year's class will be the largest number of beginning freshman ever enrolled here," said Dr. Timothy Light, WMU provost and vice president for academic affairs.
The 1998 freshman class will be significantly larger than the 1997 class, when 3,341 beginning freshmen enrolled for the fall semester. Years in which WMU has recorded other large freshman classes and those class sizes are: 1989 (3,375), 1974 (3,448), 1970 (3,430) and 1967 (3,451).
WMU officials noted that the exact size of this year's freshman class plus detailed information about its demographic and programmatic composition will not be available until University census data is compiled late next week.
Why is this a record year? Light has a couple of theories. "First, I believe we benefited from good economic times that tend to favor enrollment in four-year universities over community colleges. In addition, we've stepped up our marketing efforts under Dean of Admissions John Fraire and have probably benefited from the successes that our Bronco athletic teams have had."
Media contact: Matt Kurz, 616 387-8400, email@example.com
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