In honor of alumna and donor Carlotta Welles ’39, Scripps College unveiled the Carlotta Welles ’39 Center for Career Planning & Resources on May 12, 2017. In fall 2016, Scripps College became the sole beneficiary in a charitable remainder trust established by Carlotta Welles ’39 in 1984. Welles designated the $2.5 million gift to support the existing operating budgets of Career Planning & Resources (CP&R) and the Office for Academic Advising at Scripps.
A natural caretaker, Welles spent much of her career helping others as an occupational therapist. She supported individuals with physical, emotional, and cognitive disorders and encouraged them to find their independence. Following her time at Scripps, Welles pursued a Masters of Arts degree in occupational therapy from the University of Southern California and graduated in 1953. Welles leaves a legacy as a pioneer for women in the workforce.
In her career, Welles was a practitioner, a teacher, a faculty member, and speaker to many organizations in Southern California. She served on boards and founded the Southern California Occupational Therapy Association, later the Occupational Therapy Association of California. In 1991, Welles earned the prestigious American Occupational Therapy Association and the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTA/AOTF) Presidents’ Commendations in Honor of Wilma L. West. This honors the lifetime commitments and contributions to the profession. This year, the AOTA, in honor of its 100th anniversary, recognized Welles as one of the 100 most influential people in the profession. The organization highlights her commitment to ethics and the education of future occupational therapists. Sadly, Welles passed in 2010 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Her dedication to higher education and gift to Scripps cap a legacy.
Welles’ gift secures current services and programming, allowing the staff to consider future needs. Vicki Klopsch, executive director of Career Planning & Resources, says, “There have been notable shifts in career services over the decades both at Scripps and across the country. Carlotta Welles understood that it is an essential part of the college experience.” Following the dedication, guests were invited to visit the space and learn more about CP&R’s cornerstone programs. Members of Carlotta’s family, including recent graduate Jennifer Lehr ’17 helped toast to the center’s new name.
Lily Comba ’16, an alumna speaker at the dedication, reflects on her experience with CP&R during her tenure at Scripps. “My relationship with CP&R is something I cherished at the start of my life at Scripps, something I cherish now, and something I will forever cherish in the future. Over the past 5 years, I’ve seen the staff at CP&R go above-and-beyond for students. They are making the global workplace better for all women.”