Welcome, Class of 2016

Emory dream becomes a reality for third-generation freshman

By Paige Parvin 96G

Portrait of Stephen Fowler

The new kid: Stephen Fowler 16C grew up around Emory alumni, but he plans to make his experience his own.

Kay Hinton

In many ways, Stephen Fowler 16C is just as new to Emory as the rest of his freshman class: he’s attending orientation, signing up for classes, getting to know his roommate, and finding his way around the library and Cox Hall.

But Fowler, who is from McDonough, Georgia, has a lifelong connection to the university through his mother and grandmother. He says he grew up in a home with Emory Magazine on the coffee table (and he even claims he read it). His grandmother, Janice Astin 65C 66G, earned a master’s degree in mathematics and went on to teach math at Georgia State and Oxford College; his mother, Catherine Astin Fowler 92C, was a music major who became a band director and chorus teacher. “Emory has always just been there, a part of my life,” Fowler says.

Although he considered other colleges while a student at Union Grove High School, Fowler eventually decided to follow the family legacy—and to accept the prestigious Emory Coke Scholarship, an Emory-specific award funded by George Overend 64C and Carol Overend 64C since 1991. Administered through the Coca-Cola Scholars Program, the Emory scholarship provides $20,000 total over the scholars’ four years as undergraduates.

“When I found out I was the Emory Coke Scholar, I almost dropped the phone,” Fowler said in a statement for the program newsletter. “Emory has always been my dream school and to get a scholarship specifically to go there was surreal. I distinctly remember laughing like a maniac and pinching my arm to see if I was dreaming.”

In high school, Fowler was heavily involved in music through marching band and other ensembles and also served on the student council, becoming school president his senior year. A French horn player, he plans to double major in music and political science at Emory and began connecting with faculty in both departments even before school started.

“Emory just has this aura of community and learning, and basically there is no stereotypical major or stereotypical student that I felt I had to fit in with,” he says. “There’s a lot of academic and social diversity.”

Fowler joins a class of some 1,371 currently enrolled for Emory College as well as about 470 for Oxford College. The first-year students come from five continents and from across all regions of the United States.

“The Emory College Class of 2016 is spectacular—by almost any measure the strongest, most interesting, talented, and diverse class we have seen,” says Emory College Dean Robin Forman. “Based on the contact we have had with them, they are just as excited as we are. It’s going to be a phenomenal fall—followed by a wonderful four years with them.”

Forty-six percent of Emory College freshmen were admitted and enrolled through early decision, indicating a rise in those who made Emory a first-choice school. Oxford also offered early-decision admission for the first time, and 24 percent of the class entered through that option.

“We’re also seeing an expansion of the Emory footprint with increased numbers of students coming from the West and New England, and notable increases in international students,” says John Latting, dean of admission.

The first-year class comes to Emory College from more than forty states. About 16 percent of the class is international, and it also exhibits racial and ethnic diversity, with 43 percent Caucasian; 34 percent Asian, Asian American or Pacific Islander; 8 percent African American; 8 percent Latino/Hispanic; and 3 percent multiracial, with 4 percent not reporting.

Oxford College’s first-year students come from 367 high schools in thirty-eight states and twenty nations, and 75 percent came from outside Georgia. Total enrollment is about nine hundred for Oxford’s freshman/sophomore program located on Emory’s original, historic campus.

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