Menlo College Ranked Highly in Diversity Study by U.S. News & World Report

Menlo College Ranked Highly in Diversity Study by U.S. News & World Report

In a report on student diversity issued by US New & World Report, Menlo College, a small, private, non-profit Silicon Valley college, ranked second out of 31 in regional colleges in the West, and fourth in the country. Menlo has embraced diversity throughout its 89-year history, and it is steadfast about preserving this ideal.

The four-year undergraduate school focuses on business education. In addition to the recognition garnered for its ability to attract a diverse student body, Menlo has also been recognized as being among the “Best Colleges in the West” by The Princeton Review seven years running, and as a U.S. News “Best Regional College” for each of the last five years.

The ethnicity of students includes 30% white, 23% Hispanic, 17% Asian, 7% Black/African American. 52% of students are of color. From the 1970s, when Saudi princes were counted among the student body (some are still present today) the diverse community has grown to include international students from more than 30 countries, comprising 17% of the Menlo community. Nearly a quarter of the faculty are from countries other than the US.

Among the many cultures represented on campus, Hawaiian students feature prominently. Throughout the past seven decades, a steady stream of Hawaiian students have joined our community, and many Hawaiian families are proud Menlo alumni. Just under 15% of last year’s entering class came to Menlo from one of the Hawaiian Islands.

The Spirit of Ohana at Menlo is vibrant with the Hawaii Club, which brings a slice of Hawaii to the campus. The club hosts a dazzling array of activities, including an annual luau every spring, in which most of the Hawaii students participate. The food is authentic, and the event attracts over 750 families, friends, and alumni from Hawaii, the West Coast, and beyond.

The Black Student Union serves as a social, intellectual, & cultural community for Black students and other represented ethnicities through awareness, education, entertainment, and action. Apollo Night, a beloved night of comedy, music, and dancing, is an annual feature event that draws a packed house of fans.

The Black Student Union also helped to produce Menlo Dialogue: A Common Humanity, a moderated discussion at Menlo College in the summer of 2016, which included several experts who provided background and different perspectives on social issues. Provost Terri Givens, organizer of the event said, “We feel it is important that educational institutions like Menlo reach out to our communities and find ways to work through these difficult issues with an open dialogue.”

In an opinion piece published in the San Francisco Chronicle shortly after the community forum, Provost Givens and Professor Melissa Michelson observed that “We must work with our students, colleagues, and community to find common ground in our pursuit of knowledge and understanding. The first step is acknowledging that these issues exist, and not to sweep them under the rug as just a part of our American history.”

The Diversity Task Force at Menlo includes students, staff, and faculty, and promotes a transparent and comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of the campus. The group identifies a variety of ways in which diversity, inclusion, and equity at Menlo College can be enhanced. They encourage individuals to practice cultural humility—to develop an attitude of listening, and to be vocal about potential shortcomings in their knowledge about cultural issues.

The Menlo network reaches across the globe. More than 35 on-campus clubs and organizations reflect the diverse passions of Menlo students. Menlo alumni live and work in more than 88 countries around the world, forming an international network of support and advice. “Being part of the Menlo family has opened doors with other alumni in business and otherwise,” said says Ben Efraim ’80. “The Menlo bond goes very deep.”

Speaking to Menlo’s ability to be responsive to students from many different backgrounds, Accounting and Finance Professor Donna Little added, “The advantage of being here is the close relationship between students and faculty, the small, highly participatory classroom environment, our curriculum in business and psychology, the opportunities for student leadership, and the amazing cultural and career opportunities in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley.”