Nancy Bekavac became the sixth president of Scripps College on July 1, 1990, the first woman president for Scripps College and the first woman president of any school in the Claremont Consortium.
Prior to her appointment, Bekavac served as counselor to the president of Dartmouth College and as executive director of the Thomas J. Watson Foundation. These positions, along with an academic history at both Swarthmore College and Yale University, faculty positions at Occidental College, UCLA Law School, and Claremont McKenna College, and more than a decade of practicing law, made her well suited to serve as Scripps’ president.
Bekavac helped revitalize Scripps’ interdisciplinary Core Curriculum in the Humanities, increased campus diversity, added faculty positions to meet a growing student body, and presided over the Campaign for the Scripps Woman, the most successful capital campaign in the College’s 81-year history, which was supported by 85 percent of alumnae.
During her tenure, Bekavac oversaw the construction and renovation of several important buildings on campus, including the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Commons and Scripps Performing Arts Center.
Most important, during her presidency, the student body grew from 600 to 850. “Nancy hired remarkable teachers and scholars, while increasing the academic qualifications of entering students,” said Roxanne Wilson, chair of the Scripps College Board of Trustees, after Bekavac’s resignation in 2007. “Today, Scripps is positioned at the forefront of women’s and liberal arts education in America.”
In President Bekavac’s farewell address to the Scripps community she said: “I am and will always be profoundly grateful to have had the opportunity to see this small college grow into the remarkable, dynamic institution it is today and play a part in its development. I leave with full confidence in the direction of the College and, above all, in the Scripps women of today and of the future. I will miss our daily contacts greatly, and I will always cheer you on.”