Summer 2021 Community Update

June 2, 2021

Dear Members of the Scripps College Community,

As this unprecedented academic year comes to a close, I hope that this message finds you and your families safe and healthy. Although the past year has looked very different from what we had hoped, the Scripps community has continued to demonstrate its resilience, strength, and achievement in the face of adversity. As we reflect on the spring semester and look forward to the summer and fall, I would like to share the following news and updates.

Fall Semester COVID-19 Preparedness

The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the power and the value of face-to-face teaching, learning, and interaction, which has always been the hallmark of Scripps College’s educational community. Hence, our goal is to reclaim the vibrant campus life we recognize and cherish as we work toward restoring Scripps’ in-person academic, residential, and work environments.

Thus, the College is ready to welcome students, faculty, and staff back to campus for the fall semester, and preparations are underway to support a safe and healthy environment. As federal, state, and local public health agencies ease restrictions on institutions of higher education, the College is executing plans to resume on-campus operations based on the following guiding principles:

  • Preserve the health of our community;
  • Restore essential elements of academic and residential experience;
  • Honor the unique culture and foster community;
  • Maintain and deliver mission-critical operations, and
  • Leverage technology.

Recognizing that vaccination is the most effective way to accelerate the return to pre-pandemic campus life, create a safe environment for our community, and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the College is requiring student vaccination and exploring the possibility of mandating vaccination for employees as well. We hope to achieve at least an 80 percent community vaccination rate by the beginning of the fall semester, which would reduce the likelihood of new cases on campus as the semester progresses and eliminate the need for regular screening tests for asymptomatic individuals.

Students should upload vaccination and medical records through the Student Health Services Portal. Students may request exemptions for a medical reason or religious objection here. Scripps staff and faculty should upload proof of vaccination here. Vaccination information will be kept confidential.

As public health guidelines continue to evolve, the College will adjust its policies as needed to adhere to the rules and regulations for Los Angeles County and institutions of higher education. To stay abreast of new developments, please continue to monitor the Scripps Strong website and your Scripps email for updates to College public health and safety protocols and COVID-19 information.

Academic News

Commencement and Senior Celebration

On behalf of Scripps Trustees, faculty, and staff, I’d like to congratulate the Class of 2021! Following Los Angeles County Department of Public Health COVID-19 guidelines and feedback from the senior class, the College made the decision to hold a virtual Commencement ceremony this year. Over the past several weeks, the College community came together to celebrate our graduating seniors’ accomplishments, including Capstone Day presentations shared virtually with the Scripps community, family, and friends; “Commencement in a Box” Scripps memorabilia mailed to our graduates; and digital versions of cherished Scripps traditions, such as the Graffiti Wall mural rendering. More than 600 students, family members, friends, faculty, and staff attended the virtual ceremony and shared inspiring messages of support, congratulations, and encouragement in real time. We are immensely proud of our remarkable graduates for all that they have achieved during their time at Scripps, especially in a virtual environment, and we are thrilled to celebrate them as they embark on their future endeavors.

Faculty Promotions

Many of our faculty members have received promotions and reappointments this year. Please join me in congratulating them for their important accomplishments:

  • Melissa Coleman was promoted to Professor of Neuroscience
  • Gretchen Edwalds-Gilbert was promoted to Professor of Biology
  • Jennifer Groscup was promoted to Professor of Psychology
  • Aaron Matz was promoted to Professor of English
  • Claudia Arteaga was promoted to Associate Professor of Spanish, Latin American, and Caribbean Literatures and Cultures with Tenure
  • Annelle Curulla was promoted to Associate Professor of French with Tenure
  • Michelle Decker was promoted to Associate Professor of English with Tenure
  • Kasper Kovitz was promoted to Associate Professor of Art with Tenure
  • Patrick Van Horn was promoted to Associate Professor of Economics with Tenure
  • Kevin Williamson was promoted to Associate Professor of Dance with Tenure
  • David Andrews was reappointed to the Gabrielle Marie-Louise Jungels-Winkler Chair in Contemporary European Studies

Fulbright Program Awards

Scripps was once again a top producer of Fulbright Fellows for 2021–22. This was the most competitive application cycle in the 75-year history of the Fulbright Program, with awardees from the previous two academic years invited to re-apply due to the disruption from COVID-19. Seven Scripps students received new awards this year, with two previous awardees granted deferrals. Despite continued pandemic challenges, our Fulbright Fellows are hopeful that their programs will re-open in the near future and that they will have the chance to pursue research, study, and teaching opportunities in Spain, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, India, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, and Nepal. Congratulations to our awardees!

Campus News

Class of 2025 Admission

The College received more than 2,950 applications for admission this year and we are on target to meet our enrollment goal of 330 new students. This number includes 69 students that deferred enrollment last year. We congratulate our enrollment team for successfully recruiting an exceptional class, primarily through virtual outreach methods. I look forward to meeting the Class of 2025 this fall!

New Student Programs and Orientation (NSPO)

We are excited to share the scheduled dates for the fall orientation program. This year, we will be offering two opportunities for new students and rising sophomores to connect with the College and one another. For new students, a virtual orientation program will take place August 15–20. For sophomores, virtual orientation will take place August 17–19. In-person programming will be held for both groups August 27–28. Move-in will begin on August 25 for new students, and additional information is available on the NSPO website. I’m excited to welcome the newest members of our community to Scripps!

Racial Justice and Equity Update

As part of Scripps’ ongoing commitment to antiracism initiatives, faculty and staff have continued to participate in a series of virtual trainings and conversations held by the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA), of which Scripps is an inaugural member. Additional trainings will take place over the summer and continue during the next academic year.

Through the Racial Justice and Equity Fund, the College also has established a new faculty position and a faculty and student fellowship to foster an antiracist environment at Scripps and beyond. This spring, the College appointed Professor of Chemistry and Sidney J. Weinberg, Jr. Chair in Natural Sciences Mary Hatcher-Skeers as the inaugural Associate Dean of Faculty for Racial Equity. In April, the College awarded its first Racial Justice Fellowship to Blessing Nkechi-Etse Roland-Magaji ’24, who is considering a major in biology. Roland-Magaji’s fellowship project, inspired by her experience establishing an African student alliance for equity in STEM at her high school, will focus on researching resources for underrepresented Scripps science students. She will present her findings to the broader Scripps community in the fall. Please join me in congratulating Mary and Blessing!

Presidential Search Committee Updates

The search for Scripps College’s 10th President has advanced significantly over the past two months. The most recent committee update was sent to the Scripps community in early May, and the committee co-chairs will provide further updates in the fall.

Alumnae, Family, and Friends

Although the College’s signature annual events were virtual this year, the Scripps community connected through a series of exciting programs adapted for digital interaction. Families and alums brunched and baked cookies along with award-winning chefs as part of special Scripps Presents events during Family Weekend and Reunion Weekend. I also appreciated the opportunity to connect with alumnae and families during this semester’s town halls and virtual information sessions. We hope to welcome our extended Scripps family to campus next spring, when we aim to host in-person annual events.

This has been a year of change and upheaval for us all, and I hope that you and your loved ones find an opportunity to rest and recharge this summer. Additional information about the fall semester will be shared with the community in the coming months, and I look forward very much to seeing you back on campus in the near future.


Amy Marcus-Newhall
Interim President