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802 enrolled at Culver Academies as 118th school year opens

August 26, 2011
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08/29/11 CMA cadet Ian Bardwell salutes Commandant Col. Kelly Jordan at the Academies Matriculation Ceremony Monday evening (Aug. 23). Ian is a first-year student (fourth-classman) in Company A and the son of Michael and Dr. Susan Bardwell of Plymouth. Photo by Doug Haberland

08/29/11 Culver Academies began its 118th school year Tuesday (Aug. 23) with 802 students, the  highest enrollment for the college prep boarding schools in almost 30 years and an increase of 11 from a year ago, according to admissions officials.

Enrollment for the 2011-2012 school year is the highest since there were 812 students in 1982, reported Admissions Director Mike Turnbull.  Culver’s student body hails from 41 states and 32 countries. Drawing primarily from the Midwest, there are 249 students from Indiana, followed by 88 from Illinois, 37 from Michigan, and 32 from Ohio. There are 161 foreign students, with 52 from Mexico and 42 from China. Other countries represented are Korea, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Guatemala, and Germany.

The Academies’ school began traditionally Monday with the Matriculation Ceremony for all new students and the all-school Opening Convocation in Eppley Auditorium.

At the Matriculation Ceremony each of the 261 new students walked through the Logansport Gate and was welcomed by the Head of Schools John Buxton and his wife, Pam Buxton, CGA Dean Laura Weaser, CMA Commandant Col. Kelly Jordan, CGA Senior Prefect Lindsay Haller (Willmette, Ill.), and the CMA Regimental Commander Jack Mitzell (Westfield, Ind.).

Incoming students are grouped by their CGA dorm or CMA unit, but each is introduced and welcomed individually as he or she crosses the first portal in their Culver journey. In his remarks at the Opening Convocation, Buxton said this “reminds us that not only that group identity and teamwork are essential, but also that individualism is equally important at Culver. Becoming a part of the Culver community means becoming a part of something larger than oneself.”

Passing through the Logansport Gate to begin their Culver experience is also symbolic of how each boy and girl will end their Culver experience four years later by graduating through The Iron Gate or Graduation Arch, respectively.

“Tonight we begin to define ourselves as one school, and we will begin a new journey together,” Buxton said.

Monday morning the 147 new CMA cadets were bused to Logansport to see firsthand the site where nearly a century ago cadets helped to save residents from the flood of 1913.

“This is a centerpiece of Culver history for us,” Commandant Jordan told the Logansport Pharos-Tribune newspaper. “It really is a great example of serving others, of leadership, of partnering with the community and working together for a common good.”

In March 1913, Logansport officials called upon the school to help rescue residents trapped by the frigid waters of the Wabash River that had swollen out of its banks. Culver responded by sending some 40 cadets who were experienced in handling the summer Naval School’s four cutters, each about 25 feet long and weighing more than a ton. Over a 48-hour span the Culver cadets carried hundreds of people to safety who were stranded on rooftops and on second stories.

A campus landmark, Logansport Gate was a gift of the city Logansport in 1914 in gratitude for the rescue efforts provided by Culver cadets.

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