The class of 2022, graduating in less than one week, came to Taylor in 2018 as the largest freshman class in Taylor history.
536 freshmen arrived on campus in August of 2018. Now, on May 21, 2022, 456 students will walk the stage and receive a diploma.
“The largest class in Taylor history is graduating having experienced one of the most interesting and unique set of circumstances of any cohort in Taylor history including three University Presidents in four years and a global pandemic that interrupted their sophomore year and impacted their junior and senior years,” Jeff Aupperle, director of Calling and Career said. “To capture this class in one word: Resilient. A group of students that has experienced disappointment and frustration, but has also fully embraced what we know here as life together.”
The class will graduate with 344 of the same students who entered Taylor as freshmen and stayed for four years. The class is made up of 245 women and 211 men, a slight shift from their 2018 statistic of being nearly 50-50 male and female.
Overall, 33 states and 15 foreign countries are represented in the class: Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Honduras, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, South Korea and Zambia.
The state most strongly represented by this group of graduates is Indiana, with 190 students calling it their home. 74 students come from Illinois, 47 from Ohio and 31 from Michigan.
Despite many travel restrictions due to COVID-19, 65% of the senior class participated in at least one study abroad opportunity through semesters abroad, Lighthouse Trips and Spring Break Mission Trips.
293 seniors will graduate with honors. 17 students — Elisabeth Burchfield, Katie Herschberger, Mallory Hicks, Caleb Hoogerheide, Kyrie Lewis, Alexander McFarland, Bailey Miles, Jordan Nichols, Audrey Nourse, John Pugsley, Kendra Roth, Aubri Skaggs, Delaney Strash, Timothy Swanson, Ellie Tiemens, Mitchell Toth and Joshua Zeidan — graduate with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
A total of 293 graduates have received baccalaureate honors.
After the 2021 inauguration of President Michael Lindsay, the class of 2022 experienced the leadership of their third university president in four years.
Other changes such as the building of a new campus store — The Bishop’s Nook — changes in meal plans, sports teams and campus administrators, dialogue surrounding racial protests, presidential elections and COVID-19 marked their Taylor careers.
“This group of seniors has had to be innovative to preserve traditions and live in community with one another,” Aupperle said. “I have consistently been impressed by how this senior class has responded to change and not allowed circumstances that are outside of their control to determine their college experience.”
Grace Miller, dean of sciences, education and social sciences and professor of biology has many hopes for the graduating class.
“My hopes: They will be salt and light wherever they go; representing the love and truth of Christ,” Miller said. “They will take what they have learned in their Christian Liberal Arts education and be leaders in their field. They will have the aroma of Christ. They will take lessons learned during the pandemic which was more than half of their college years and manifest them as ambassadors for reconciliation and resilience. I hope they come back often and tell us about their adventures!”
As the class of 2022 gets ready to walk the stage and say goodbye to Taylor, the newest incoming freshman class, the class of 2026, looks forward to their next four years at the university.
On May 1, Lindsay announced the class of 2026 to be the third largest incoming class in Taylor history.
“We have some amazing news to share,” Lindsay said. “We are very excited to be able to announce that we will have the third largest incoming class in Taylor’s history. It will be over 500 incoming students, and it is the number one, top — in the history of 175 years — the largest growth, year over year, (of) incoming students in the history of the university. This is truly astronomical, and we’re really grateful for what the Lord has done.”
The graduating class of 2022 will be joining a network of over 25,000 previous Taylor graduates.
For more information and to watch the live webcast of graduation, visit taylor.edu/events/commencement. More statistics on the graduating class of 2022 can be found in the graphic accompanying this article.