LANGSTON — When Danny Wilson first set foot on campus at Langston University, he knew he was a long way from home — both geographically and culturally.
Wilson, a Langston freshman, came to Oklahoma from Los Angeles. It's taken some time to get used to the small Logan County town surrounded by fields, he said.
“This is the country and I'm a city boy,” he said.
Although he may feel out of place in his new surroundings, Wilson, 18, isn't alone. Langston saw its freshman enrollment balloon by 45 percent this year, driven in part by out-of-state students from California and Washington state.
Wilson, who is in Langston's nursing program, said he heard about the university from a cousin who attended the school and a mentor in Los Angeles who is an alumnus. When it came time to look for a college, he looked at Langston's nursing program and liked what he found, he said. After a few weeks at the university, he feels more at home there, he said.
“I just fit right in,” he said.
Langston's first-time freshman enrollment stands at 619 this semester, making it one of the largest classes in the university's history. The university's full-time equivalent for freshman enrollment also climbed by 45 percent, jumping from 422 in 2012 to 615 this year.
“This is very exciting news, and we are very proud of our efforts,” said Chauncey Jackson, the university's executive director of enrollment management.
University officials ran the numbers several times to make sure the 45 percent increase was real, Jackson said. When they got the same result each time, officials began talking about how to prepare for the larger freshman class, he said.