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Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Sarah Billmeier - a member of the Dartmouth Class of 1999, a Paralympic gold medalist in alpine skiing, and a fourth-year student at Harvard Medical School - will deliver remarks at Dartmouth's Convocation on Tuesday, Sept. 20. Officially opening the College's 236th year, the Convocation activities will begin at 11 a.m. in the Berry Sports Center's Leede Arena.
Billmeier, who graduated from Dartmouth in 2001 due to her demanding ski schedule, will address an audience consisting primarily of the incoming Class of 2009. Dartmouth President James Wright will deliver the main address, and Noah Riner, member of the class of 2006 and student body president, will also speak.
Billmeier dominated disabled skiing for ten years, winning thirteen medals in four Paralympics and tying the record for most medals won in four Games. The Yarmouth, Maine, native started skiing in Mount Sunapee's adaptive ski program at age eight, three years after losing her left leg above the knee to bone cancer. At age fourteen, she took two gold medals and a silver at the 1992 Paralympics in Albertville, France. Billmeier went on to win six World Championship gold medals and finished with a gold and two silver medals at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. At Dartmouth, Billmeier balanced competition and education, graduating with a degree in biology modified with chemistry in 2001. Currently, she lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, where she is in her fourth year at Harvard Medical School.
Of her return to Dartmouth as convocation speaker, Billmeier said, "A Dartmouth education is a multifaceted gift, lifelong and wonderful. I am extremely excited to have the honor of welcoming the Class of 2009 to the beginning of their own Dartmouth adventure. I hope to share my enthusiasm for the journey of precious new experiences that lie around the corner for Dartmouth's newest class, from gaining the unending wisdom of classmates and professors, to finding a unique place within this community."
Selected from a record 12,756 applicants, the Class of 2009 is a group of 537 women and 541 men - a total of 1,078 students. Sixty-one percent come from public secondary schools. They represent 49 of the 50 United States and 25 foreign countries. Thirty percent of the class represent African American, Asian American, Latino, Native American or multi-racial backgrounds. Thirty percent of the students were high school valedictorians and their median SAT is 1,470. Forty-seven percent of the students in the class will be receiving need-based scholarships from Dartmouth, totaling $13 million.
The Class of 2009 already boasts a wealth of experience and extracurricular interests. For example, fifty-four percent performed community service during secondary school, thirty-three percent are musicians, ten percent were publication editors, and seven percent were class presidents. In total, members of the class speak 33 different languages. In addition, the class includes political activists, entrepreneurs, engineers, dancers and artists.
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