LaGree addresses enrollment concerns

by Letter to the editor

Your editorial (“High enrollment compromises quality of normal college life,” Sept. 5) raises the legitimate concern of whether this fall’s increased enrollment will compromise the quality of a Simpson education. I understand your concern, and I write to suggest the recent history of the college provides a reassuring answer.

Last fall, as part of our preparation of a grant proposal for the Lilly Endowment, we looked at Simpson in the fall of 1981 and in the fall of 2001.

In 1981, Simpson’s enrollment of full-time students was 773, while in 2001 it was 1307, an increase of 69 percent. In 1981, the average ACT of the entering class was 20, while in 2001, it was 24, a 20 percent increase. In 1981, the retention rate (the percent of entering freshmen who stayed and graduated) averaged 43 percent; in 2001 the retention rate averaged 67 percent, an increase of 56 percent.

Over the past twenty years, Simpson has grown in size and in the quality of our student body, faculty, facilities, and staff.

Our recent history illustrates Simpson can have both quantity and quality, and we intend to continue combining quality with quantity in the years ahead.

R. Kevin LaGree

President of Simpson College