Dear Alumni, Parents, and Friends of Colorado College:
It is a great honor to address you as the new president of Colorado College. Thanks to those who have served before me, and to the contributions of countless faculty, staff, and alumni, your college is a beacon of liberal arts education. My family and I already feel right at home in a place that shares our values — great faith in the liberal arts, caring community, faculty-student engagement, experiential education, diversity — and that is willing to try some new things with the goal of promoting academic excellence.
Before taking office on July 1, I read “Colorado College: A Place of Learning 1874–1999” by Political Science Professor Emeritus Robert Loevy. Among the many things that stand out in
his account, I was struck by the story of Gen. William Jackson Palmer, who was born into the Quaker tradition, rose through the ranks as a military officer in the Civil War, then turned his attention toward family, business, and philanthropy.
What a role model for us all! As Loevy describes him, Palmer understood the importance of
a first-rate college in building a first-rate city. Palmer, Loevy writes, “was swept away by the incredible scenery surrounding a high mountain, Pikes Peak, and resolved to build there a city that included what he hoped would be a foremost institution of higher learning.” Less than five years after his visit, Colorado College was a reality.
I believe the college continues this legacy of bold thinking with a Block Plan schedule that encourages deeper engagement and intellectual passion among students and faculty. It seems that here, we offer a learning experience that is every bit as distinctive as the Rockies themselves.
Palmer’s vision was nurtured by early leaders of the college such as Thomas Haskell and President Edward Payson Tenney, who wrote about the importance of providing well-educated citizens for the New West. Today we would extend this goal to providing citizens for a world that is continually growing more closely connected and interdependent. With the tools of the liberal arts — critical thinking, listening, and communication skills — Colorado College provides students with an academic experience that is the basis for a lifetime of learning and leading in today’s world.
In the months ahead, I look forward to learning more about my new community’s genesis and traditions. With your help, Colorado College will do even more to increase academic excellence while carrying our special values and practices forward.
With warm regards,
Jill Tiefenthaler, President