Distributed August 17, 2000
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Mary Jo Curtis

The Class of 2004

Opening Convocation to welcome 1,420 students in Class of 2004

Interim President Sheila E. Blumstein will officially open the new academic year during the 237th Opening Convocation Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2000, at 11 a.m. on The College Green. Associate Professor of Comparative Literature Meera S. Viswanathan will be the keynote speaker for the ceremony.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Interim President Sheila E. Blumstein will declare the academic year officially open and welcome 1,420 members of the Class of 2004 during the University’s 237th Opening Convocation Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2000, on The College Green.

The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. with a procession of faculty, administrators and students through the Van Wickle Gates. By tradition the gates are opened just twice each year – inward in the fall to admit new students and outward each May as graduates take their leave of the University.

Meera S. Viswanathan, associate professor of comparative literature and East Asian studies, will deliver the ceremony’s keynote address, “The Monumental Miniature,” in which the title serves as a metaphor for the process of teaching. Viswanathan is a recipient of Brown’s Barrett Hazeltine Award for Outstanding Teaching and Service and the John Rowe Workman Award for Outstanding Professor of the Humanities. She is known and respected for her passion in research and teaching. Viswanathan has taught numerous courses in medieval and modern Japanese literature and philosophy, travel literature and Old English and Middle English since coming to Brown in 1983; her work encompasses the history and political, social and cultural development of Japan, women’s writing, Japanese theater, poetry and literature of the court. She has also been a frequent mentor to students outside the classroom, serving as a student advisor and in other mentoring roles.

About the Class of 2004:

  • Brown welcomes 1,420 first-year students to the Class of 2004, 40 more students than in last year’s entering class. They were selected from a pool of 16,806 applicants, the largest ever.

  • Women comprise 54 percent of the incoming class.

  • The class includes 178 high school valedictorians and 80 salutatorians.

  • Forty-eight U.S. states and 42 foreign countries are represented in the Class of 2004. The greatest number of students hails from New York (14 percent), followed by Massachusetts and California, each accounting for 11 percent of the class.

  • Minority students make up 29 percent of the class. Fourteen percent are Asian-American, 7 percent are African-American, 7 percent are Latino and 1 percent are Native Americans.

  • Thirty-seven percent of the new freshmen intend to study science and math, 27 percent humanities, 19 percent social sciences and 7 percent engineering. Ten percent of the students have not yet chosen a field of study.

In the event of rain, the Opening Convocation will be held in the Pizzitola Sports Center.