This fall, Otterbein welcomed the first-year students of the Class of 2024, which has the distinction of being the most diverse in the University’s 173-year history. The 133 students of color and of non-Caucasian ethnicity make up nearly 27% of the class — a 98.5% increase from the 67 ethnically diverse students entering class in 2012, when current Vice President for Enrollment Management Jefferson Blackburn-Smith came to Otterbein. He says the growth is about community and not numbers.
“It’s about the environment. We want this to be a home for students, not just a place they go to school. Otterbein is, and always has been, a college of opportunity. We want to meet students and families where they are, see them as a person first, and then help support their journey to where they want to be,” said Blackburn-Smith.
Targeted admission campaigns and scholarship initiatives are key drivers in how Otterbein has been increasing student diversity year after year. Efforts began in Columbus City Schools in 2013, then expanded to other central Ohio urban districts in 2015 and became the Opportunity Scholarship for Ohio residents earning less than $60,000 per year in 2018.