Bertrand Library and 2024 sign on Malesardi Quad

Members of the Class of 2024, the University’s Largest Ever, Begin Bucknell Journey

August 19, 2020

by Bryan Wendell

A sign near Bertrand Library welcomes members of the Class of 2024 to campus. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

Representing 33 states and 37 countries, and with a range of passions spanning the arts, athletics, academics and beyond, the 991 students in Bucknell's Class of 2024 might seem to have little in common.

The class includes a five-time state champion gymnast and a beekeeper. There's a trombone player and a student who developed a method for using chemicals to recycle pizza boxes. There are actors and debaters, field hockey players and volunteer firefighters, yearbook writers and Yellowstone researchers.

But as they begin their college journey, these students will discover they're united by more than Bucknell orange and blue. They share a passion for solving problems, trying new things and fighting for what's right. And with access to Bucknell's passionate faculty and world-class resources from their first year on, the Class of 2024 has what it needs to reach its potential.

While there inevitably will be bumps along the way, the members of the Class of 2024 are uniquely equipped to handle those hiccups. They developed uncommon resilience through high school careers unexpectedly interrupted by a global pandemic. This quality, when paired with their natural talents, curiosity and innovative spirit, will serve them well at Bucknell and beyond.

At 991 students, the Class of 2024 is Bucknell's largest incoming class in history. But the University's holistic admissions process was just as selective as ever: Nearly 9,900 students applied.

While their years at Bucknell are full of promise and possibility — to say nothing of the impressive feats they'll achieve after graduating — the most illustrative way to explore the potential of the Class of 2024 starts with an examination of their high school accomplishments that goes far deeper than their 3.61 average GPA.

Helping Others

Through their high school résumés and application essays, members of the Class of 2024 painted a picture of selflessness.

They volunteered at animal shelters, assisted-living homes and with the Special Olympics. They joined clubs focused on mental health, student wellness, and diversity, equity and inclusion. They gave up evenings and weekends to build houses, march for LGBTQ+ equality and raise money for causes they care about.

One Class of 2024 Bucknellian built a milk factory in Tangali, Guinea. Another taught Braille to children. Still another convinced the Maryland legislature to create a Brain Cancer Awareness Day.

"I have no doubt the care, empathy and giving spirit of our incoming students will extend into Lewisburg and our surrounding communities," says Dean of Admission Kevin Mathes '07.

Sharing Their Talents

Bucknell is hardly the first institution to recognize these students' talents.

The class includes musicians skilled in the cello, harp and voice; athletes who excelled in alpine skiing, badminton and cheerleading; and students who tested themselves in chess clubs, mock trial and quiz bowl.

There's an equestrian ranked No. 29 in the country, a pre-professional ballet dancer and a student who competed in the VEX Robotics World Championship.

"My team and I were blown away by all this class has already accomplished," Mathes says. "I know they will continue their passions by joining existing organizations or creating something new for us to enjoy."

Telling Their Stories

Intent on treating applicants as more than numbers, Bucknell's admissions team looks closely at each student's personal essay.

Members of this year's class wrote about fighting female stereotypes in Cambodia, making their own prom dress and turning a passion for vintage toys into a successful business.

They wrote about growing up with seven siblings, overcoming a fear of fish, and developing a passion for cooking that started at age 4 with an Easy-Bake Oven and continues today with a perfect recipe for steak.

"While reading the Class of 2024's stories, I laughed, cried and learned," Mathes says. "These incredible students allowed me into part of their lives, and for that I am incredibly thankful."

Bucknell welcomed the incoming class with an online Convocation on Sunday, Aug. 16. Classes began the following day.


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