Diversity statistics decrease as Marquette welcomes largest freshmen class


Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Dr. Xavier Cole discussed RISE, an orientation for multicultural and underrepresented students, at a press conference Aug. 22.

Marquette University welcomed the largest freshman class in its history Aug. 23, totaling nearly 2,200 students. 

Provost Dan Myers said while the university is hoping to target underrepresented populations in each incoming class, the number of diverse students was less than last year’s freshmen.

“In terms of the incoming freshman class, initial projections indicate that approximately 27 percent of our incoming first-year student class come from diverse backgrounds,” Myers said in an email.

Myers said this indicates significant progress from where the university was as an institution five years ago, but is not quite the record-setting numbers from last year’s incoming class.

While demographic information has not been finalized, Myers said there is still work to be done each year.

“In fall 2018, we are projecting 2,284 total students of color, an increase of 454 from fall 2013. We’re proud of this progress, but, again, there is much more work to do,” Myers said. 

The goal to become a Hispanic Serving Institution still stands, President Michael Lovell said. HSI is an initiative launched in spring 2016 to make Marquette’s student population 25 percent by the 2026-2027 academic year.  Last year, the student population was 12 percent Hispanic.

If Marquette meets its goal, it will be able to apply for Title V federal funds. Along with recruiters, the university hired more staff and graduate students for multicultural engagement.

“A year ago, we launched an interdisciplinary Race and Ethnic Studies program that included an initial ‘cluster hire’ of five new faculty members hired for their expertise in this area across several different academic disciplines,” Myers said. “All five are from underrepresented backgrounds.”

Myers said this year, the university will be hiring nine additional faculty members to support the Race and Ethnic Studies program.

“We are also improving our hiring committee processes to ensure we are attracting candidates from diverse backgrounds and building diverse pools of potential candidates for future positions,” Myers.

RISE, an orientation for multicultural and underrepresented students, took place Aug. 21 to Aug. 22.

At the same press conference Aug. 22, Xavier Cole, vice president for student affairs, said he was happy to see families attend the RISE orientation.

“The main thing is to build community and to build connections to mentor the faculty and the staff, to have a good feeling coming into Marquette and a deeper affinity for the institution,” Cole said.

Forty-five students and their families attended the RISE orientation this year, he said.

“We’re very clear to these multicultural and first generation students that multicultural engagement is the base we want them to springboard into the Marquette community,” Cole said.

Cole said that last year, the university focused on first-generation students, African-Americans and drug and alcohol education.

This year, Cole said the university is keeping those foci, and adding Native Americans’ experience as well.

Lovell said another goal of the university is to ensure there are scholarships available to students who need them.

“We are continually trying to raise money for first-generation students and underprivileged students,” Lovell said.

This year, the application pool was over 14,000 students, according to the fast facts sheet provided by the university.  

Lovell said the university has been hiring new staff to attract different populations of students.

“(The new recruiters) are focusing on different populations of students,” Lovell said.