Temple Times Online Edition
    SEPTEMBER 1, 2005
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Princeton Review: Temple 2nd in diversity

The 2006 edition of The Best 361 Colleges, the annual guide from the Princeton Review that hit bookstores last week, has one clear message about Temple: The diversity of Temple’s student body is one of the University’s greatest strengths.

Best Colleges, which is based on surveys of students, ranked Temple No. 2 on its list of most diverse student populations. In the guide’s main entry on Temple, one student was quoted as saying, “We call it Diversity University.” Other students called Temple a “huge melting pot” in which “everyone’s differences become their connection to other people.”

That wasn’t the only good news about student diversity at Temple last week. According to projections from Temple’s Office of Enrollment Management, this year’s freshman class — a group that began moving in last Thursday — is more ethnically diverse than last year’s.

Among the 3,950 students who were projected to enroll, about 700 are African American, up 5 percent from 2004–05. The percentage of Latino and Asian freshmen rose even more sharply: Approximately 150 Latinos were projected to enroll, up 15 percent from last year; and 450 Asians were projected to enroll, up 10 percent from last year. (These statistics do not capture many students of color, such as international students, who often identify themselves as “Other” when asked about their race.)

“I’m pleased by the cultural and ethnic diversity of Temple’s freshman class, a class that also has stronger academic credentials than any other class in our history,” President David Adamany said. “The diversity of Temple’s student body, as well as the growing diversity of our faculty and staff, is part of what makes this University great. It enriches the Temple experience for all of us, and we’re committed to maintaining it.”

Last year, about 31 percent of Temple students reported themselves as something other than white. That was more than three times higher than the percentage of students in the rest of Pennsylvania’s higher education system, which includes Cheyney University, a historically black institution. Temple has jumped to fifth in the nation on the list of schools granting the most bachelor’s degrees to African Americans, and three of the schools ahead of Temple are historically black colleges.

The diversity of Temple’s student body is a major drawing card for recruits of all kinds, from prospective students to faculty members.

“I wanted to go to a school with more diversity than a typical small or suburban school,” said Peter Chomko, a freshman Honors student from Allentown, Pa., who scored 1510 on his SATs. “When I was at orientation, I met people from all sorts of backgrounds from all over the United States and all over the world. That’s one of the things I’ve been looking forward to at Temple.”
Temple’s diverse student body helped lure philosophy professor Lewis Gordon from Brown University last year.

“I consider Temple to be an excellent institution through which to develop a viable response to the catastrophic decline in the number of racial minorities pursuing graduate degrees,” said Gordon, who directs Temple’s Institute for the Study of Race and Social Thought.

Last year, Temple created the Office of Multicultural Affairs, an administrative body reporting directly to Adamany. The office’s new leader, Rhonda Brown, is charged with attracting and retaining minorities at all levels of the institution. She says that Temple’s work to create a diverse educational community doesn’t end with the enrollment of a diverse group of students.

“We have a wonderful freshman class, and it’s great to be ranked No. 2 by the Princeton Review, but the task here is always to improve,” said Brown, who came to Temple after serving as the first director of the Office of Institutional Equity at the University of Notre Dame.

“For example, we will do a significant disservice to the students we admit to Temple if we don’t also strengthen our push to recruit and retain diverse faculty members. It’s critical for minority students to be taught and mentored by people who look like they do.”

- By Hillel J. Hoffmann

More from Princeton Review’s ‘Best Colleges’
    The diversity of Temple’s student body isn’t the only attractive feature about Temple, according to The Princeton Review’s Best 361 Colleges.
    This year’s “Survey Says” entry on Temple praised the University’s “great computer facilities,” “great library” and “great off-campus food.” Students in the Princeton Review’s surveys also said that the “campus feels safe” and the “athletic facilities are great.”
    Temple’s academic rating improved compared to last year. According to Best Colleges, “Temple students love their school for its ability to integrate ‘a good education with significant life experiences,’” and Temple “has earned a ‘great scholastic reputation’ while prioritizing ‘real-life, hands-on experience with internships, co-ops, and experiential learning that prepares you for life beyond college.’”
    Best Colleges also highlighted the urban appeal of the Temple campus: “Though the school organizes ‘free good food, movies, guest speakers, parties, festivals, and cultural bus trips,’ most students choose to make their own fun in surrounding Philadelphia, ‘which is easy because we are directly connected to public transportation.’”

- Hillel J. Hoffmann