Rhodes Marks Its 169th Academic Year with Opening Convocation; Welcomes Class of 2021

a student in a robe holding a banner in front of a large assembly of students, faculty, and parents

Rhodes College, a leading national liberal arts and sciences college that stands out for academic excellence combined with a commitment to service, will have its Opening Convocation on Friday, Aug. 18, at 3:00 p.m. to mark its 169th academic year and welcome the Class of 2021. President Marjorie Hass will preside over her first convocation at Rhodes, which will take place in the multi-sports forum of the Bryan Campus Life Center on campus and will stream live at www.rhodes.edu. Classes begin Wednesday, Aug. 23.

Of the 534 incoming students committed to attend Rhodes College for fall 2017, 516 are first-year students who make up the Class of 2021. Members of the Class of 2021 have standout academic credentials, with 51 percent ranking in the top 10 percent of their class and 82 percent earning a grade point average equal to or above 3.5. In addition, 13 students were valedictorians and six were salutatorians.

“I am excited to be joining Rhodes with the Class of 2021. We will begin our adventures together as the newest members of the Rhodes community,” says President Hass, who took office July 1. Dr. Hass will address the class, and Dr. Marcus Pohlmann, professor of political science and 2017 recipient of the Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Teaching, will deliver the convocation address titled “Learning to Learn.”

Since joining Rhodes in 1986, Pohlmann has become a beloved professor who has served as chair of the Department of Political Science and coached the college’s highly competitive intercollegiate mock trial team to four national championships. He will speak on how students can use the vast array of information and opportunities available to them at Rhodes to think about today’s pressing issues and come up with solutions.

Also at the Opening Convocation, Dr. Milton Moreland, dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs, will present the Jameson M. Jones Award for Outstanding Faculty Service. The award honors a current faculty member who has rendered exemplary service and provided leadership to the Rhodes community. Engagement in work and effective implementation of programs that advance the college’s position within the larger Memphis community, or within higher education at regional or national levels, is included among the considered service achievements. The award is presented in memory of Dr. Jameson M. Jones ’36, who served as professor of moral philosophy and dean of the college from 1955 to 1971.

“The Class of 2021 comes from 41 states, and 69 percent come from outside of Tennessee. Texas has the largest representation with 57 students, followed by Georgia (26), Louisiana (25), Florida (20), and Missouri (20). Top subjects of study interest for the entering class include pre-medicine, business, biological sciences, and international studies,” says Carey Thompson, vice president for enrollment and communications and dean of admission. “Rhodes College is in the top 10 percent of all U.S. baccalaureate colleges for the percentage of its students who earn Ph.D.’s in the sciences. We are among the top five in the Southeast.”
Rhodes offers more than 50 majors and minors and a 10:1 student to faculty ratio. The college has 224 faculty, 95 percent of whom hold the highest degree within their field. The Rhodes experience combines the best of the classroom and the real world—through internships, service, research and other opportunities in Memphis and far beyond. It is one of a very few prominent, nationally ranked liberal arts colleges located in a major metropolitan area.