College-bound students seeking a diverse student body now have reason to put Newman University at the top of their list.
According to a campus ethnic diversity study completed by U.S. News and World Report, Newman University is the top college for ethnic diversity in Kansas, and is ranked 23 out of 133 institutions in the Midwest.
The study factored in the proportion of minority students in comparison to the overall mix of students for the 2014-2015 academic year. Students were asked to identify themselves within the categories of Black or African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian, Pacific Islander, White (non-Hispanic) and multiracial. Based on the demographic results, schools were then ranked by the diversity of their student population.
As a private, Catholic college, Newman University is not always thought of as a school that would be highly diverse. But many Newman officials believe that ethnic diversity is one of the college’s strengths, as it gives students the opportunity to learn and build lasting relationships with students from all walks of life.
“This ranking by U.S. News says much about the Newman culture and environment,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management Norm Jones.
“It speaks directly to the Newman Code of ‘seeking to foster a culture of inclusion wherein every person feels valued,'” Jones said.
Director of Undergraduate Admissions Kristen English explained that the most recent freshman class shines a light on diversity at Newman University.
"Many people I meet are surprised to learn that our minority population for current first year students is about 40 percent. I believe that statistic illustrates Newman is a welcoming community that celebrates students from all backgrounds," English said.
Kansas Hispanic Education and Development Foundation Board President Yolanda Camarena is impressed with the university’s recognition in the study.
“These rankings reflect Newman’s commitment to provide Hispanic youth access to a future full of possibilities and opportunities,” Camarena said.
Camarena and her husband Gene have long been advocates for Hispanic students and programs to help them enter college. They received honorary doctorate degrees from Newman last spring.
Campus environment is just one of many things that today’s students take into account when choosing a college. Diversity appeals to minority groups who are looking for a support system as they enter college as well as students looking for a campus that has students unlike themselves.
According to bestcolleges.com, the number of Hispanic high school graduates who are enrolled at a postsecondary, public institution is at an all-time high. For many of these students, they are the first in their families to attend college. Knowing that a college encourages diversity and provides equal opportunities often provides comfort for these students, helping to make the transition to college easier.