Cal Lutheran undergrad numbers hit high: New Rolland Art Center open for first week of classes

The fall semester begins this week at California Lutheran University, where the largest undergraduate student body to date will find a new $8 million William Rolland Art Center open for classes.

The new two-story, 20,000-square-foot building on the Thousand Oaks campus brings all of the art classrooms and faculty offices under the same roof for the first time. They had been scattered among three of the campus’ oldest buildings, two of which will be torn down. The new building also houses the Multimedia Department. The art center has drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, sculpture and watercolor/design studios along with lecture classrooms, a screening room, and computer, multimedia and editing labs. Filled with light, the building features high ceilings with exposed beams and ducts and many environmentally friendly features.

About 575 freshmen and 250 transfer students arrived on the Thousand Oaks campus Saturday for the four-day New Student Orientation. They will begin classes with the rest of the traditional undergraduate students on Wednesday. A total of about 255 Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals program students began classes Monday in Oxnard, Thousand Oaks and Woodland Hills.

Total undergraduate enrollment is at a high with an estimated 2,930 students. The growth is a result of the return of most of last year’s record-setting freshman class and an increase in retention rates among juniors and seniors. The rates of retention for students who started as freshmen increased over last year by 3 percentage points for third-year students and 1 percentage point for fourth-year students.

More than half of this year’s freshmen are in ethnic groups that are traditionally underrepresented on college campuses. Almost one out of five are first-generation college students. Nearly 40 new international freshmen and transfer students hail from 18 countries including Bangladesh, Ecuador, Ghana and Russia.

After moving into residence halls, new students began participating in orientation traditions like painting the CLU rocks on Mount Clef Ridge and working together on a service project in Ventura as well as new activities including a session for the families of first-generation college students and a movie night for commuter students.

At Opening Academic Convocation on Monday, the new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Jessica Lavariega Monforti, spoke to the students. She and 10 other new faculty members were introduced.

Most of the roughly 1,300 graduate students, including those in the new master’s degree program in financial planning, began classes Monday. Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary will start classes Sept. 5 at a new location in downtown Berkeley after moving from the hilltop where it stood for 65 years.

William Rolland Art Center is attached. Photo credit: Karin Grennan/Cal Lutheran

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