The Class of 2022 sits together on the Quad as an aerial photo is taken.

Class of 2022 Is Welcomed to Campus

They're told to “Go Big, Stumble, Learn, Pivot, Repeat”

September 14, 2018
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As is true of every incoming class, the Class of 2022 is made up of remarkable individuals who followed different paths to 100 Institute Road. These newest members of the campus community, numbering 1,280, are from big cities and small towns across New England and around the world.

They all have proven themselves capable of hard work, through rigorous courses in high school and participation in extracurriculars like athletics, clubs, hobbies, volunteering, and part-time work. They have started after-school programs, invented devices, founded companies, and won championships. They are innovators, entrepreneurs, athletes, and creative doers.

As brilliant as they are, they should also be prepared for challenges … and even failures.

College is a time to try new things and to take academic risks, President Laurie Leshin said during her recent welcome to the class. “Really, there is no safer place to learn how to take a leap even if, occasionally, you end up in a heap. In fact, our curriculum was built to support this—like the safety net below a high-wire act.”

The important part, she noted, is to learn from the failure and try again.

“Really, there is no safer place to learn how to take a leap even if, occasionally, you end up in a heap. In fact, our curriculum was built to support this—like the safety net below a high-wire act.” -Laurie Leshin

“Go BIG, stumble, learn, pivot, repeat,” she said, telling them that “WPI students have always been explorers and risk-takers, BIG thinkers and doers.” She reminded them of Robert Goddard and his early failures that led to ultimate success in developing the liquid-fueled rocket, and of her own failures: “I was on live TV when my Mars mission crashed on the surface. Not fun. But here I am—because I spent 24 hours sulking, shook it off, got help, and kept going. Frankly, if everything were easy, I don’t think it would feel so good when things go great.” 

Leshin also told the class to embrace the WPI Plan and all it offers (noting the $5,000 Global Scholarship they each received), and to be open to discovery. As with their predecessors, members of the Class of 2022 will forge unique paths through their time at WPI, continuing their individual trajectories that brought them here.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the incredibly talented group of high-achieving students in the Class of 2022 to campus,” said Andrew Palumbo, dean of admissions and financial aid. “They are bringing a diverse set of skills, experiences, and interests that will have an immediate impact on the WPI community.” Thirty-four students in the class were valedictorians and 24 were salutatorians of their high schools; 13 percent are the first in their families to attend college. The class’s high school GPA average is 3.89.

The Class of 2022 already has numerous creative accomplishments under its belt; it includes a student who built an electric flying vehicle that he “road-tested” on his way to Worcester, one who performs yearly in the Nutcracker Ballet in Boston, one who's a national ballroom dancing champion, one who hiked across Armenia, and one who founded a company to help others create resumes. 

- By Lauren Curran