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Dwan Light Sanctuary

The Dwan Light Sanctuary (DLS) was designed by Virginia Dwan (conceptualizer and funder), Charles Ross (solar spectrum artist), and Laban Wingert (planner-architect) and opened on October 25, 1996.

The DLS serves the UWC-USA campus and the public as a refuge from the pace, conflicts, and anxieties of daily living. The site was selected to capitalize upon the spectacular northern New Mexico light. The orientation and geometry of the building are derived from its alignment to the sun, moon, and stars. Projecting from a circular core are two apses each containing six large prisms mounted in sloping windows to capture light rays from sunrise to sunset.

Interacting with spectrums cast from the windows are spectrums from twelve prisms mounted in the roof that form broad ribbons of pure color. These ribbons move with the revolving of the earth. Lunar spectrum can be seen on full moon nights.

A third apse, facing north, houses a window which frames trees and sky during the day and the North Star at night. A line parallel to the axis of the earth goes from the center of the floor through the center of the North Star window.

The circular part of the building is 36 feet in diameter and reaches 23 feet in height. The floor dimensions represent solar and lunar proportions.

Meet Mzwakithi Shongwe, '12, who came to UWC-USA from Swaziland.

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DID YOU KNOW

UWC-USA is one of 16 UWCs on five continents. Other countries that have UWCs include Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Swaziland, and Wales.

DID YOU KNOW

UWC-USA students perform more than 18,700 hours of service every year through our association with 25 community partners. More than 2,500 people in Las Vegas, N.M. and the surrounding community have benefited from service projects led by UWC-USA students.

DID YOU KNOW

UWC-USA has 228 students representing more than 70 countries, from Armenia to Zimbabwe. Eleven students come from countries identified as conflict regions. Representation within our student body includes: Africa 10%, Asia 28%, Europe 29%, North America 23%, South America 10%.

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Students don’t apply directly to the school; they are selected by committees in their home countries based on academic achievement, leadership, and curiosity about and involvement with global events and cultures.

DID YOU KNOW

Philanthropist Shelby Davis has created a $40 million endowment that provides 50 U.S. students with full scholarships to attend a UWC every year.

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Our more than 3,357 UWC-USA alumni are spread across the globe: North America 26%, Latin America and Caribbean 16%, Africa 10%, Middle East 6%, Asia 14%, Europe 21%, Pacific 2%

DID YOU KNOW

UWC-USA offers the International Baccalaureate diploma program. Students can choose from IB classes in 28 subjects – a remarkable number given the size of the school.

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