Board Chair Presidential Transition Message

Dear Scripps College Community Members,

This week, President Lara Tiedens shared her plans to leave Scripps College effective April 15 to become the Executive Director of the Schwarzman Scholars program. The College has flourished during President Tiedens’ tenure, benefitting from her passion for higher education, commitment to gender equity, and expertise in institutional development. The Scripps Board of Trustees and many members of the Scripps community have considered it a privilege to work with her, and we are enormously grateful for the many ways she has strengthened the College and established a foundation for its future success.

While we are saddened by the loss of such an extraordinary leader, the Board of Trustees wishes President Tiedens success in her new role. Her distinguished record as a leader, scholar, and institution builder will undoubtedly reinforce her impact on higher education as she helps to develop the next generation of global leaders with Schwarzman Scholars.

In her five years at Scripps, President Tiedens created an environment for institutional innovation, expansion, and distinction, enhanced the College’s regional and national profile, and made a lasting impact on the Scripps community and The Claremont Colleges consortium. The College’s successes during her tenure include the creation of the Centennial Plan for Scripps College, a strategic blueprint for the institution’s future; completion of the largest capital campaign in the College’s history; and the launch of innovative STEM and computational science education initiatives. Scripps boasts a strong national reputation evidenced by a robust applicant pool, exponential increases in national media coverage, and a firm position among the top-ranked women’s and liberal arts colleges.

Scripps is fortunate to have recorded a budget surplus throughout the past decade, and the College has maintained a healthy financial position due to steady increases in revenue and appreciation of the endowment. Building on the $179 million in private funding raised through the More Scripps campaign, President Tiedens has contributed to the growth of Scripps College’s endowment through a number of successful fundraising efforts. The $10 million endowed Presidential Scholarship Initiative increased the total number of no-loan financial aid packages from 28 to 100 during her tenure and enabled the College to increase no-loan and reduced-loan awards by $460,000 in the first two years of the program. Seven endowed faculty chairs were established or completed during her tenure, securing funding in perpetuity for critical faculty teaching and research positions across a range of disciplines.

Despite the uncertainty resulting from revenue losses and increased costs incurred with Scripps’ pandemic response, the College’s $378 million endowment remains healthy and the balance sheet resilient. Wise financial stewardship, prudent investment and debt market strategies, and cautious cash reserve management has ensured the institution’s financial stability throughout the pandemic. Therefore, we remain optimistic about Scripps’ financial position as we prepare to resume on-campus instruction and residential life.

President Tiedens will remain focused on guiding our return to on-campus instruction and residential life this spring, governmental regulations permitting, as the Board initiates the search for our 10th president. Hiring a president is the Board’s paramount responsibility, and Trustees will make identifying the College’s next leader their highest priority in the months ahead. The Board of Trustees will oversee the process for hiring President Tiedens’ successor, which will include selecting an executive search firm to assist with developing the job description, conducting an organizational assessment, engaging College constituents, and conducting a national search.

In the coming weeks, I will provide additional information about the search committee composition, search process milestones and timeline, and the interim staffing structure. I am confident that we will attract a highly distinguished pool of presidential candidates interested in advancing the mission of Scripps College and in joining our community of distinguished scholars, leaders, and change-makers.

Thank you for your ongoing support of Scripps College, and please join the Board of Trustees in wishing Lara well in her next endeavor!


Lynne Thompson, Chair

Scripps College Board of Trustees