Dear Scripps College Community Members,
It is an honor and a privilege to welcome you to campus for the 2022-23 academic year as I begin my first semester as the 10th president of Scripps College! In my first months, I have enjoyed meeting Scripps students, faculty, staff, alums, families, and friends, representing a variety of disciplines, generations, professions, and geographic regions. Each encounter has reinforced my sense of this community’s deep commitment to and admiration for the distinctive Scripps academic and residential experience. Impressed by Scripps’ abundant resources and support and energized by the College’s enduring educational mission, I approach the year buoyed by the enthusiasm that I have absorbed in my early conversations.
I hope that the College news, updates, and announcements shared here will convey some of the many reasons to feel optimistic about the year ahead.
Community Health and Safety
Scripps College’s Dean of Students Office has worked collaboratively with Student Health Services, student and academic deans of the other 5Cs, and campus facilities colleagues to update COVID management protocols for the fall semester. Students, faculty, and staff may find current guidance for testing, masking, and isolation and quarantine informed by the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) officials on the Scripps Strong website.
Scripps and the Claremont Colleges are also actively engaged in conversations with county public health officials about the potential risks of monkeypox as we begin the fall semester. LACDPH has reassured us that it is safe to have students living on campus, and Student Health Services has established a monkeypox webpage with information and resources for the community. Our Student Affairs and Academic Affairs teams will continue to review and revise protocols to preserve the essential qualities of Scripps’ residential college experience while keeping our community safe.
New Community Members
Please join me in welcoming our new students, faculty, and staff to Scripps! I greatly enjoyed meeting our first-year and transfer students, who arrived on campus on August 23. A special pleasure was witnessing for the first time your participation in some of our beloved Scripps traditions. I look forward to discovering how your experiences and academic curiosity will enrich our community for this and future generations of students.
The College will celebrate the beginning of the new academic year with our Academic Convocation ceremony today, August 29, at 12:15 p.m. Aaron Matz, Frederick Hard Chair in English Literature and professor of English, will deliver the keynote address. I hope to see many of you there!
Science Center Updates
As you may or may not know, Scripps, Pitzer, and Claremont McKenna Colleges have been working diligently for the last several years to expand faculty and student resources in undergraduate science education to meet student demand and increase the capacity for cutting-edge, grant-funded research. In May 2022, Scripps and Pitzer officially broke ground on The Nucleus, a new state-of-the-art, 65,000-square-foot science center. The new building, which will open in fall 2024, will connect to the existing Keck Science Center.
During the 2022–23 academic year, construction hours will last from 8 a.m.–6 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. on Saturdays. We anticipate that the first year of construction will produce the most noise and vibration, and we have already taken steps to mitigate the effects on the current Keck Science Center.
Throughout the construction process, we aim to ensure minimal inconvenience and disruption to academic and residential life. We will continue to provide advance notifications, updates on construction milestones, and notices of community impacts, such as parking redirection and utility shutoffs, as additional progress is made. Visit the Nucleus site to learn more about the initiative, including project details and construction progress.
Scripps College Centennial Plan
Please join me in thanking the members of the 2022-23 Strategic Planning Committee, who will help lead the implementation of key Centennial Plan initiatives this academic year:
- Denise Nelson Nash, Vice President/Secretary of the Board/Convener, IDEA Initiative
- Kasper Kovitz, Associate Professor of Art
- Rachael Warecki ’08, Assistant Director of News and Strategic Communications
- Kassandra Destiny Casillas, Assistant Director of Financial Aid
- Neva Barker, Director of SAGE
- Kirk Delman, Interim Director of Williamson Gallery
- Eliza Kornfeld ’23
- Naszya Bradshaw ’24
- Ellen Wang ’25
- Belen Yudess ’25
Please visit the Centennial Plan website for updates on current and completed initiatives.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice
I step into the role of president with great enthusiasm for the diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice work that our faculty, staff, and students continue to champion. I would especially like to acknowledge the work of our Equity and Justice Leadership Team, who produced the College’s inaugural Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Report this summer.
Through support from the College’s Racial Justice and Equity Fund, our student Racial Justice and Equity Fellowship recipients conducted summer research on topics from education access for incarcerated students, to the queer Black ballroom dance scene, to the impact of community gardens. I encourage you to learn more about their imaginative and timely work. Our faculty and staff have continued to attend convenings of the Liberal Arts College Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA), a coalition of colleges dedicated to advancing antiracism in higher education.
There are many ways to get involved with the College’s DEIJ efforts, such as student and faculty fellowships, Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment (SCORE) programming, and IDEA Initiative partnerships. I encourage you to join the Committee on Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (CIDE), a committee of students, faculty, and staff who develop recommendations for improving College policies and practices that have an impact on equity and access. Applications to CIDE should be submitted through this form and are due by Tuesday, September 6.
A hallmark of the Scripps experience is participation in our robust slate of public event offerings. I am eager to attend on-campus programs and exhibitions, which showcase the academic and artistic talents of our community and engage with the critical, thought-provoking issues of our time.
The Scripps Presents fall lineup includes performances by several of our accomplished faculty, including Assistant Professor of Dance Kevin Williamson and Hao Huang, Bessie and Cecil Frankel Chair in Music and professor of music. The Humanities Institute will also return this fall, with classes and events convened by Associate Professor of Chicanx/Latinx Studies Martha Gonzalez. The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery’s current exhibition is to get there from here, a co-collaboration between Kevin Williamson and two other movement artists, Nguyễn Nguyên and Maria Gillespie.
Additional information about College events can be found on the events calendar.
As the fall season begins, I am thrilled to cheer on our scholar-athletes who compete for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) Athenas! I was thoroughly impressed with the substantial achievements of our spring sports competitors, including our NCAA Division III National Champion Athenas tennis team. I hope you will join me in the stands to celebrate the academic and athletic successes of all Scripps scholar-athletes.
In fall 2020, the Laspa Center for Leadership, Career Planning & Resources (CP&R), and the Office of Alumnae Engagement launched Olive Grove, Scripps College’s official online community platform. I’m excited by the platform’s rapid growth as a hub for students to connect with alums and Scripps families for mentorship and career preparation. I encourage you to join Olive Grove and begin expanding your digital Scripps community.
I hope that this summer has brought you rest, relaxation, and time with your loved ones. I trust that, refreshed by the time away, you are now eagerly anticipating the discoveries and challenges of a new academic year. Here’s hoping it will be distinctive for the amazing accomplishments of a more normal period of time, when you can fully avail yourselves of the opportunities at Scripps and The Claremont Colleges. It’s been a pleasure meeting students, faculty, and staff as I begin at Scripps, and I look forward to getting to know all of you better as the year progresses.