Freshman class of 2015 most diverse

The 2011-12 freshman class is by far the most diverse freshman class Mercyhurst College has ever seen, with 60 freshmen from outside the United States, according to the Mercyhurst Fall 2011 New Student Report.

The international students are from countries such as Canada, Honduras, China, Jamaica and Vietnam.

Director of Admissions Christopher Coons said, “The freshman class became so diverse for a number of reasons. Throughout the nation, more students from multicultural backgrounds are attending college. The United States is becoming more and more multicultural as a country, and thus there are more students from a variety of ethnicities enrolling at many colleges across the country.”

Moreover, Coons explained that “Mercyhurst College provides a welcoming campus for multicultural students—students find the necessary support here as a whole.

“Since the demographics of college-aged students in our primary area has decreased, we have looked at other areas of the country, such as the mid-Atlantic and New England areas, that may be seeing a rise in students attending college.”

Senior Ifran Haider, a Pakistani native, said, “I came here because I was an exchange student at Iroquois High School in Erie. I later visited Mercyhurst College and decided to come back here for college.”

Haider said, “Erie is a small city, and usually the trend is that small city people are usually narrow-minded, but it’s totally not the case with Erie. People here welcome you and are really open towards anyone. That’s what I like about it. So it wasn’t really a hard task to adapt to the American way of life.”

Haider plans to go to pharmacy school in the U.S. and will be taking the exam to get into pharmacy school this coming January. He plans to stay in the U.S.

Coons explained that there wasn’t anything specifically done to ensure that this freshman class was the most diverse.

“We didn’t do anything in particular to assure that this was the most diverse class at Mercyhurst, but a lot of the credit should go to Eric Evans, director of international admissions, the athletics department, Trina Marrero, director of the Multicultural Center and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for their outstanding work throughout the year and at our various summer orientations,” Coons said.

Coons thinks this trend may continue as more and more students from multicultural families begin to attend college.

“As long as Mercyhurst continues to be the welcoming and supportive institution that our mission speaks of, then students from all cultures and backgrounds will choose to enroll here,” he said.