Scripps Board Chair Lynne Thompson ’72: “Continue to Believe in Scripps”

By Emily Glory Peters

This past weekend, the Scripps community celebrated the Class of 2020’s graduation from Scripps College. While we couldn’t be together in person, we shared in our students’ achievements at home and abroad. In commending our seniors, Scripps Board Chair and involved alum Lynne Thompson ’72 reflected on the difficult circumstances surrounding their graduation—and how her own time at Scripps prepared her to face life’s challenges.

“When I graduated, the women’s movement was growing, the civil rights movement had suffered major losses with assassinations, and the Vietnam War was raging,” says Thompson. “As daunting as all of it was, the Ellen Browning Scripps quote on Honnold Gate about courage, confidence, and hope really embodied what I took from my Scripps experience. Every generation has its own fight to endure, but Scripps taught me to remain confident that we’ll get through.”

As Board Chair, Thompson has been involved with Scripps leadership in developing its strategy to steer the College forward as COVID-19 evolves. All planning has centered on fulfilling Scripps’ mission and safeguarding the wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff—and while transitioning to temporary distance learning this spring was the best way to sustain both, Thompson explains, it cost the College millions in refunded room and board, travel and moving aid for students, canceled events, and unanticipated investments in distance-learning technology. Preserving “what makes Scripps Scripps” amidst these losses, Thompson shares, remains paramount.

“We’re looking at several models on how we protect what is most treasured about Scripps: the academics, the relationships with faculty, the grounds, the intimate residential experience for students. We’re reassessing where we can save or move money and exploring every possible partnership. Everything is on the table as to how best to meet our mission,” she says.

The College created the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to address areas under the greatest threat due to budget losses. Thompson hails support from the Scripps community, especially in the form of unrestricted gifts (gifts not designated to narrow areas) as a prevailing force to sustain the College as we adapt to a new reality.

“When alums, parents, and friends make an unrestricted gift to the fund, you enable us to meet the greatest needs of the College and make speedy day-to-day shifts to improve support for our students and faculty,” she explains. “That flexibility is powerful, especially in an emergency environment.”

 Even with the sea changes brought on by COVID-19, Thompson emphasizes that the College’s mission—“to educate women so they may contribute to society through lives of leadership, service, integrity, and creativity”—remains central to any plan to move forward. It’s a mission, she says, that guided the College through the Great Depression, World War II, and countless moments of social turmoil; established lifelong friendships for students; and unified a diverse sisterhood of alums who are “intelligent and generous of spirit” with the tenacity to surmount even the most extraordinary hardships.

“Scripps graduates powerful women who make a difference. It’s why I will always support the College, and even more so in times of difficulty,” says Thompson. “If I could say one thing to our Scripps community, it’s this: We’ve survived other changes and survived them well. Continue to believe in Scripps.”

Scripps’ Day of Giving on May 27, 2020 is an opportunity for our community to sustain “all that makes Scripps Scripps” and help offset the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. To make a gift, click here.

Interested in learning more? Check out our latest giving and impact news here.