As we close this academic year, I would like to share key actions from the Board of Trustees’ meeting on May 13 and inform you of some campus news and updates.
It was a joy to participate in the 87th annual commencement ceremonies with graduates and their families this past weekend. Our commencement speaker, Reshma Saujani, and the senior class speaker, Vivian Zhang, spoke eloquently about individual and collective responsibility, the importance of community, and the commitment to changing the world for the better. I wish all of our graduates a rich and rewarding future, and I look forward to seeing many of them return to campus as alumnae in the coming years.
I also extend a heartfelt thank you to all of the staff who worked so diligently to ensure a memorable commencement weekend for graduates and their families.
I am pleased to report that the College received 2,842 applications for admission this year, the second highest number in its history. Our yield rose to 37 percent, up seven points from the previous year, as more than 350 students accepted our offer of admission. The academic profile for the Class of 2021 is strong and geographically diverse; underrepresented students comprise approximately 19 percent of the class. I’d like to congratulate our enrollment and financial aid teams for successfully recruiting an exceptional class.
The greater-than-expected enrollment yield is a positive measure of Scripps’ strong reputation and the value prospective students and families expect from the College. I am extremely pleased that Scripps finds itself in the enviable position of seeking to accommodate a robust class rather than contemplating the reduction and reallocation of resources that many higher education institutions are weathering due to declining enrollment. Although the number enrolled will likely shift over the summer, the administration has already begun to identify strategies to adjust course offerings and housing to ensure that our first-year students’ experience remains uncompromised.
I look forward to welcoming the Class of 2021 in the fall!
Based on the recommendation of the presidents of Scripps, Claremont McKenna, and Pitzer Colleges, the Board of Trustees approved the rank of full professor with tenure for the new dean of the W.M. Keck Science Department, Professor of Physics Ulysses J. Sofia. Associate Professor of Biology Emily Wiley was promoted to full professor, and Branwen Williams was promoted to associate professor of environmental science with tenure.
It is a pleasure to recognize these accomplished faculty members for their distinguished teaching, scholarship, and service.
The More Scripps campaign total stands at $140 million as of April 30. Cash gifts this year total $13 million to date, including more than $8 million designated for endowment. Upcoming giving opportunities in the current fiscal year will include a day of giving campaign in June.
The Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Carolyn Wu Kurtzig ’97 and Joan Isaacs ’71 as regular trustees. The Board also ratified the election of Sneha Deo ’17 as recent graduate trustee by the student body and Dwandalyn Reece ’85 as alumna trustee. H. “Mac” and Michele-Anne Ebe Riley P’18 have been appointed co-chairs of the Scripps Association of Families and will join the board for a two–year term. Please join me in welcoming our new members, who will join the Board effective July 1, 2017. More information about these trustees will available in the spring issue of Scripps magazine.
I would also like to acknowledge the following trustees, who will leave the Board this year: Barbara Bruner ’76, Joanne Glass Keith ’63, Liza Malott Pohle, Maddy Ruvolo ’14, Cheryl and David Scheidemantle P’17, and Jean Bixby Smith ’59. The College has benefited immeasurably from their service, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with them in the future.
The campus community spent much of the spring semester assessing the ways in which Scripps College supports students and, in particular, students of color and those facing financial, mental health, and other challenges. A series of constructive conversations with Resident Advisors and other students, faculty, and staff helped to inform the College’s ongoing work in the areas of financial aid, mental health and safety, and residential life. As many of you know, the RAs chose not to work for part of the semester, but did return prior to the end of the school year. As a result of these conversations, and data and feedback collected throughout the year, the administration has identified a number of immediate and longer-term actions to achieve sustained improvements in the student experience and to create a more equitable environment on campus.
These conversations have been essential to clarifying and defining our shared concerns and priorities. Over the summer and into the coming academic year, we will continue work begun on issues such as augmenting support services in Student Affairs, restructuring the RA position, expanding the financial aid budget and clarifying processes surrounding financial aid, and increasing mental health and wellness resources, among other commitments.
As I look back on what has been an enlightening, challenging, and fulfilling year, I am grateful for the wisdom, patience, and encouragement so many members of this community have shown me. Scripps has lived up to my expectations in the best ways, and given me hope for the future as I think about how we can continue to work together to achieve our collective dreams and aspirations for its future.
I hope your summer is both relaxing and stimulating, and I look forward to seeing returning students and faculty refreshed and rejuvenated in the fall.