Fresh Faces: BVU’s Class of 2026


Cassidy Weide, Staff

This year’s incoming class of 2026 is the largest to be seen by Buena Vista University in the last 10 years. 

When talking numbers with Director of Admissions, Conner Ellinghuysen, he brought up that the university welcomed approximately 235 freshmen, 35 transfer students, and 4 international students, adding up to 274 fresh faces on campus.  

On the topic of growth, Ellinghuysen says, “I think there is a lot of excitement here at BV. There’s a lot of new programs that are starting to come online, and our admissions staff just did a really great job of recruiting last year with help of all the faculty and staff here.” 

Ellinghuysen has been working with the admissions team to generate a good system for the admissions department on campus. He elaborated by saying, “We have gotten more used to our systems and processes. We are going to be heading into our third or fourth recruitment cycle with our system that we use and ironing out all of the processes. At this point, we know what we are doing, and we feel like we have a pretty well-oiled machine.” 

When it comes to the full Beaver experience, Ellinghuysen has also been working with the admissions team to create and maintain those interpersonal relationships with students throughout the admissions process. This year, the department is starting to use the video messaging app, Covideo, allowing them to send personalized video messages to prospective students and families. 

2004 Alum and Vice President of Enrollment and Marketing, Brandon Johnson, credits co-curriculars, athletics, and strong academics for the growth. “Programmatically we continue to provide co-curricular experiences that students desire and find attractive, so they are coming to us for some of those.” 

On the flip side, students have close to the same to say. Freshman Kristen Davis from Pocahontas, Iowa, throws for our track and field team and is an accounting and agriculture business double major with a concentration in business management. Her deciding factor for coming to BVU was the smaller campus size and the strength of the business program.  

When comparing BV’s business program to others, Davis said “I chose BVU because they have a very strong school of business. I saw this in both their professors and internship opportunities.” Davis continues on about the professors by saying, “BVU has multiple business professors (Ex. Jennifer Hecht and Elizabeth Kluver) who have real-world experiences in their area of teaching which makes them extraordinary professors.”   

Freshman Cody Fuller, a soccer player from Omaha, Nebraska, agrees that BV’s small size, athletics, and academics are what drew him to become a Beaver as well. “I clicked really well with the coaches when I came for my visit,” says Fuller, “and I’ve heard and seen the placement rate after graduation is really high, so that is definitely a plus as well.” 

 Ellinghuysen says, “It’s a good time to be at BV right now.” The voice of students and representative data have both proven that to be a fact. Only time will tell if our numbers continue to reflect this in the amount of recruitment levels and student appreciation here at BVU.