A History of the Scripps College Presidency

Frederick Hard and students

Scripps has had eight presidents since its founding, from Ernest J. Jaqua, its first, to Lori Bettison-Varga, its current. Learn more about the legacy of Scripps leadership here.

Presidential Timeline

Lori Bettison-Varga (2009-present)

Lori Bettison-Varga

Lori Bettison-Varga became Scripps College’s eighth president in July 2009. She is recognized as an advocate for undergraduate research and a proponent of the liberal arts.

Frederick “Fritz” Weis (2007-2009)

Fritz and Mary Weis enter Revelle House

Frederick M. “Fritz” Weis became interim president of Scripps College effective July 1, 2007, as a national search was underway for its next president. Shortly after the search concluded in March 2009, the Board of Trustees voted to elevate his position to full president, making him the seventh president in the history of Scripps College.

Nancy Bekavac (1990-2007)

Nancy Bekavac

Nancy Bekavac became the sixth president of Scripps College on July 1, 1990, the first woman president for Scripps College and the first woman president of any school in the Claremont Consortium.

E. Howard Brooks (1989-1990)

E Howard Brooks

E. Howard Brooks had a long and storied history with the Claremont Consortium before becoming president of Scripps College in 1989. He began as provost of The Claremont Colleges in 1971 after more than two decades of service to Stanford University, where he worked in a variety of senior administrative positions and as consultant to several foundations.

John H. Chandler (1976-1989)

John H Chandler

Chandler took office in 1976 at a time when both higher education and Scripps College faced a tenuous future; declining enrollment, budget deficits, deteriorating infrastructure, and disenfranchised alumnae had made the College campus less a community than we realize today. His task? Restore Scripps College to health, both financially and institutionally.

Mark Curtis (1964-1976)

Mark Curtis and family, 1964

When Mark Curtis announced his resignation as third president of Scripps College in the spring of 1975, few could say they’d changed the landscape of the college — both aesthetically and academically — more than he had.

Frederick Hard (1944-1964)

Frederick Hard

“I believe the small, independent, privately-supported institution is the best way to get an education,” wrote Frederick Hard in 1955. As Scripps College’s second and longest-serving president, he had a unique opportunity to put his theory to the test.

Ernest Jaqua (1926-1942)

Ernest Jaqua

Born in Iowa in 1882 and educated at Grinnell College, Jaqua rapidly rose to positions of importance after receiving MAs from Columbia and Union Theological Seminary and a PhD from Harvard. He was named President of Scripps College in 1926 and quickly set out to build a name for the new institution.