As students of Lawrence University we have been told since day one that Lawrence is a very diverse place. But did you ever stop to think what that meant or just how diverse we are? According to the 17th annual “America’s Best Colleges” report, printed in U.S. News and World Report on Aug. 22, Lawrence is ranked 52nd out of 217 of the nation’s best liberal arts colleges.
We were noted in particular for our diversity, ranking 5th of the 217 for global outreach. This year, out of the 1,300 students that are in attendance, 160 are international students. They come from 45 different countries. LU has students hailing from as far away as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nepal, and Rwanda, just to name a few.
About 10 years ago Lawrence University Admissions made it a point to have at least 8-10 percent of the population each year be composed of international students. This year they have exceeded that goal, with 12 percent of the population at Lawrence coming from outside the United States.
It is obvious everywhere you look that diversity is a crucial part of Lawrence education. Scott Fuller of the Diversity Center said that diversity is a very important aspect of Lawrence. “It is important to understand and be exposed to other cultures,” he said. Having many different backgrounds in one place exposes students, international and domestic, to many different ways of thinking and learning.
Both Fuller and Rod Bradley of the Diversity Center said that it is very important here at Lawrence to recognize diversity because it has become such a big part of society. It is imperative that we learn and gain different perspectives from people of different cultures.
“We must focus on different perspectives to better learn and understand our society,” says Bradley.
Lawrence is constantly working to advance the diversity of the student body and continues to bring as many new perspectives as possible to our community.