New Student Welcome August 25, 2016

Good Morning new students and families! Welcome to Scripps College!

It’s wonderful to see the excitement, anticipation, and happiness on all of your faces because the moment you’ve dreamt about, worked toward, and imagined for so long is finally here.

I can’t help but feel an immediate and special connection with this class, because I too am just beginning my Scripps journey.  My name is Lara Tiedens and I just started at Scripps as its new president three weeks ago, on August 1.

I recently moved into a new home here on campus and began the process of making it my own with décor and objects that are meaningful reminders of my roots. Like you, I’m thinking about how to maintain my close relationships with cherished family and friends who I’ll no longer see on a daily or even weekly basis.

I’m also still navigating my way around the campus, the Claremont Colleges, and the city of Claremont while trying not to get lost! And most important, I’m trying to absorb as much as I can as quickly as possible because, while it may appear calm and quiet on the surface, Scripps is constantly humming with intellectual, artistic, and social energy – and I want to dive in and experience every moment!


As all of us mark the beginning of your Scripps journey this morning, I am reminded of the College’s motto:  Incipit vita nova, or here begins new life. All of us will have a new life here at Scripps.

Today marks the beginning of a lifelong pursuit of understanding, engagement, innovation, and impact. In your time at Scripps, you will be pushed to think harder. Your faculty members will be relentless in the classroom, the staff will challenge you in your co-curricular programs, and throughout, your peers will inspire you to do even more. What’s most amazing, is that although some of that will be difficult, overall, it will be edifying and provide you with a sense of accomplishment and a desire to continue to engage in the world as a learner.

In this sense, your experience of Scripps, the new life that you will form here, will extend well beyond the four years you spend on this campus. It will produce for you a new life post Scripps as well. There will be moments many years from now in which you will reflect upon the many ways in which your life was changed and shaped by your time at Scripps.

Although a “new life” can sound appealing in theory, in practice there are parts that are hard. Sometimes we question whether we’re ready for what lies ahead, whether we have been prepared well enough, and whether we will actually thrive.

In my own experience, it is in part because we have such questions, and because we are pushed to try new things, to think in different ways, to face some of our terror, and to experience challenge and sometimes even failure that new life also brings growth and development in exciting and unexpected ways.  We are left to plunge in or sit on the side, and I’m sure, that here at Scripps, you should take the leap.

Vice President Romero’s team spent a lot of time to establish that you have what it takes to grow from this challenge. So. Let’s begin our journey together, with all uncertainty, anticipation, and a sense of adventure that bring.

I don’t know what exactly to expect over the next four years, but I stand confident in the Scripps College’s promise of academic excellence, a holistic education, and a commitment to advance and promote the next generation of women leaders. I came here for that promise and I Hope you did too.


Scripps provides a world-class liberal arts education to the world’s best and brightest students, rich resources to ensure your academic and personal success, and an idyllic residential environment situated within a dynamic community of scholars, visionaries, and leaders. Only Scripps College has the vision of its founder, the legendary Ellen Browning Scripps, as its guiding principle—that Scripps should “develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.”

This principle illustrates the promise that Scripps College makes to each of you, and ensures an ongoing commitment to keep students first in all we do.


First, we promise “the ability to think clearly and independently”—this is the core purpose of a liberal arts education and to achieve it, we prioritize academic excellence above all else.

This means maintaining a top-rate faculty who are dedicated teaching scholars.  It also means having high standards for our students both when we admit them, and just as importantly, as we evaluate their scholarship.

And, it means engaging in constant innovation in the classroom—keeping the coursework current, relevant, and meaningful to your generation.

And finally, it means assuring that students are exposed to a broad range of perspectives and see what it is to think differently.  This requires having a diverse student body, a diverse faculty, and a curriculum that offers courses, readings, and topics that expose students to new views.


The Scripps promise also speaks to “the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.”

I love that Ellen Browning Scripps thought of this as central to the college’s mission.  I read this part of her goal as recognizing that the productive and good life requires socio-emotional skill and fortitude, but that such things do not necessarily develop on their own or without support.

I believe there are some necessary ingredients for confidence, courage, and hope and they include:

feeling accepted, safe, and supported in your immediate community,

having relationship and connections with those around you that will be with you for life, and

extending yourself to the world at large to engage in the problems that others face and be part of the solution.

Scripps’ size and the beauty and importance of the residential system allows for a depth of connection and community not possible at many places. We are a community that looks out for one another, listens to one another, and takes responsibility for one another as we pursue not just the individual, but collective well-being and success.


As an institution focused on the development and advancement of women, Scripps is in a unique position to create exactly the holistic learning environment Ellen Browning Scripps described.

Scripps offers an unwavering and undiluted promise to support, develop, and promote women in an environment designed with you in mind.

I come here, not from a women’s institution, but instead from a male dominated one.  I survived and thrived there in part because I was lucky enough to find within it a group of women who supported one another through our ups and downs. If you come to see me in my office here at Scripps (and I should note that visiting the President in her office is NOT like going to the principles office), you will see a photograph of this group behind my desk taken the day I said goodbye to them to come here to Scripps.

On that day, they gave me a card – on the front, there was a photo of a group of pioneer women in their skirts some holding rifles and others more make-shift weapons and looking very serious.  Inside, it said “you have an army behind you.” Coming from a community of strong women is just like that – as you go to explore new domains, take new risks, and make new discoveries, you know that your community is not just cheering for you, but fighting for you.  Scripps is like that. We get to be supported in that way, and we get to support our fellow Scripses in that manner.

Our desire to bring women to the world and the world to women guides every aspect of the educational and residential experience at Scripps.

We are here to support you and create the conditions for you to explore and experiment in the way that will lead to your greatest transformation and development.


Scripps takes on the building of confidence, courage, and hope in our students not just as a service to the students, but to fundamentally transform the world.

Because Scripps is not in a remote place, there is a potential for students to reach out to the world and to engage in the world’s problems even while still in school.

We partner with corporations, non-profits, public agencies, entrepreneurs, and cultural institutions to forge local, national, and global connections with ou students.

Scripps promises to prepare you for life after college, helping you see the relevance of your studies, providing hands-on learning experiences, and promoting community service and civic engagement.

Opportunities for leadership abound at Scripps, within the Claremont College community, and beyond the campus environment in roles from student body president (gesture to Sneha), to business founder, to newspaper editor, to research assistant.

As an active participant in this community, I hope you will find your passion, and graduate prepared to make an immediate and lifelong impact in your academic, professional, and personal spheres of influence.