NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Next week, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will welcome the Class of 2020, more than a third of whom will come to the campus from states other than the Commonwealth. Together, they represent 16 states, including Alaska, Hawaii, Minnesota, Texas and Illinois. Others will arrive on campus from other countries, such as the Bahamas, Mexico and India.

“We are eager to welcome all students back to campus this fall, when they will be engaged in a number of exciting opportunities as they further their education on our campus,” said MCLA President James F. Birge.

“We also are pleased to welcome our incoming freshmen, 27 percent of whom self-identify as coming from diverse backgrounds,” Birge continued. “With their wide range of interests and activities, along with the many talents, skills and perspectives they will bring, these freshmen will provide an added measure of energy and excitement not only to our campus, but to the Berkshires.”

According to Denise Richardello, executive vice president at MCLA, nearly 100 of these incoming freshmen will enter MCLA with college credits through dual enrollment courses, Advance Placement (AP) credits, or International Baccalaureate credit.

MCLA expects to enroll close to 440 new students this fall, with the Class of 2020 representing a nearly 20 percent increase over last year. About 65 percent will come to campus from Massachusetts, and more than 80 percent will live in the College’s residential halls.

“In addition to being an asset to MCLA, we expect this group of freshmen to benefit the greater community,” Richardello said. “On their college applications, more than half of the Class of 2020 listed community service as an interest, and many bring volunteer experience from service to their local communities.”

These students will major in a wide variety of disciplines, including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) majors. In fact, 30 percent of the Class of 2020 selected a STEM discipline as their major.

Trevor Wheelock ’20 of Schenectady, N.Y., a member of the Adirondack Soaring Group, enjoys flying small planes and piloting gliders. His fall semester course lineup – which will earn him a total of 21 credits – will include “The Physics of Superheroes” and “The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History,”as well as classes in music, public policy, and philosophy.

Sebastian Phillips ’20, a recent graduate of the Eagle Hill School in Hardwick, is from Mexico City, Mexico. He plans to study fine and performing arts. And, Ava Zigmand ’20 will come to MCLA from New Delhi, India. An American, she previously lived in Egypt, until the overthrow of the Mubarak dictatorship.

Jade Schnauber ’20 of Pittsfield enjoys skiing, reading, blogging and exploring the Berkshires with her friends. She will double major in elementary education and in English, with a concentration in literature. Upon her arrival at MCLA, she plans to join Yorick, the campus’s Shakespeare theatre club.

“When I began my college search I visited many different campuses,” Schnauber explained. However, the moment she stepped onto the MCLA campus, it “felt like home.”

“MCLA also offered me many awesome opportunities,” including the 4+1 program, which will allow her to earn not only her bachelor’s degree and teaching license, but also her master’s degrees – all in just five years. 

Programs like the 4+1 and the Dual Enrollment Program, Schnauber said, brought her to MCLA.

Like Schnauber, Morrison Robblee ’20 of Hopkins, Minn., aims for a career as an educator.

He also will participate in MCLA’s Honors Program, and had his heart set on MCLA long before he heard about the 4+1 program.

“It’s an incredible opportunity,” Robblee said. “It certainly confirmed that MCLA is the perfect school for me.”

MCLA will welcome the Class of 2020 and all returning students as they move in over the weekend. Classes begin on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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