• Credit: Lance Hayashida

Welcome Caltech Class of 2017

This year, September 30 brings 249 undergraduates to Caltech to begin their careers of study, research, extracurricular activities, and, of course, the perpetuation of many Caltech traditions to which they will soon be introduced. The class of 2017—the Institute's newest undergraduates—promises to raise an already high bar even higher given their achievements prior to arriving on campus.

The incoming freshman class is composed of 88 women and 161 men. Thirty percent of incoming freshmen (74 students) share a birthday with another freshman.  With six students named "David", this is the most popular freshman name. Nearly one-third of the entering undergraduates (32 percent) were born outside the United States, representing 11 countries; domestic undergrads come from 28 states. Fifty-eight percent of Caltech's class of 2017 has already performed research—one has designed a radio interferometer, while another has a patent on an alternative toilet valve. Nearly half the group (49 percent) has participated in athletics, either intermural or intramural.

Apart from science, technology, and athletics, the incoming Caltech undergraduates have other skills. There are ballerinas and break dancers, salsa dancers, and writers. If you are interested in scuba diving, there will be a freshman on campus who can tell you all about it. And should you see someone in a full-body chicken suit or a student surrounded by charcoal cockatiels, don't be surprised: it is just this year's avian-oriented students pursuing their personal passions.

"This is another amazing class, not only in terms of academics but also in the diversity of their talents. It includes a student who is in training to become a pilot, another who serves as a USA Archery instructor, an orienteering champion, and two sets of twins!" says Anneila Sargent, Caltech's vice president for student affairs and the Ira S. Bowen Professor of Astronomy. "We welcome the Class of 2017 enthusiastically and wish them a wonderful time at Caltech."

Written by Cynthia Eller