Scripps College was awarded the Bess Garner Historic Preservation Award for outstanding stewardship in preserving its celebrated campus. Claremont Heritage, a non-profit organization devoted to the preservation of the history of the city of Claremont, presented the College with the distinguished honor at a June 14 ceremony held in Scripps’ historic Revelle House Garden.
“What is it about the Scripps campus that people love?” asked James Manifold, former College vice president and treasurer, who, along with Scripps Vice President and Secretary of the Board of Trustees Denise Nelson Nash, accepted the plaque on behalf of Scripps College President Lori Bettison-Varga.
“It is certainly the architecture and the landscape. But there is a unique feel about the campus that resonates with most people. Sarah Denison, one of Scripps’ architects, identified one of these elements,” Manifold said. “She said most land use and development codes regard buildings as ‘objects in landscape.’ She said Scripps was just the opposite. Scripps is using buildings to shape the landscape. This is why people feel comfortable on the campus.
“Claremont Heritage has been a great resource and source of support in preserving the Scripps campus,” Manifold said. “On behalf of the Scripps community, we are pleased to accept this award from Claremont Heritage.”
Nelson Nash, a Scripps alumna, shared her personal memories about how the Scripps campus helped shape her educational experience: “I first visited Scripps as a 15-year-old, and one year later I made the decision to become part of the Scripps community. Like so many Scripps women before me and many of the Scripps women of today, I found the campus magical.
“I became immersed in the cultural traditions of Scripps that were intertwined with the College’s educational mission. From entering campus through Honnold Gate and being inspired by our founder’s aspirations to afternoon tea in a lovely courtyard and stimulating conversations with faculty and students sitting in a classroom or outdoor space, I experienced Ellen Browning Scripps’ vision that intellectual work would be cultivated in the quiet spaces and beauty of campus architecture and landscape.”
The Bess Garner Historic Preservation Award recognizes individuals and organizations whose contributions demonstrate excellence in preservation. Claremont Heritage, a community-oriented membership organization, is the city’s largest membership organization devoted to the preservation of the history of Claremont.
Scripps College, a private women’s liberal arts college, has appeared in national rankings for its campus beauty, in addition to its academic standing. National publications such as Forbes, The Princeton Review and Business Insider have named Scripps one of the most beautiful campuses in the world.
In addition, the campus was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Campus administrators have taken painstaking care in ensuring that building renovations and improvements adhere to the standards of the Office of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, and that new construction is in keeping with the design and aesthetic of the original campus.
The College was carefully planned by Gordon Kaufmann, a world-renowned Los Angeles-based architect, who designed the Los Angeles Times building and Hoover Dam. He was responsible for the campus’ general plan, including its four original residence halls, Denison library and the Margaret Fowler Garden. Edward Huntsman-Trout of Hollywood was the landscape architect.
The College’s overall layout creates an artistic connection between buildings and landscape. Meticulous care was taken to link walkways and vistas to notable architectural points. Huntsman-Trout placed many rare species of shrubs and trees and used deciduous trees so that the campus would experience the turning of the leaves in the fall, leading to an inviting ambience.
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