President Jill Tiefenthaler's Blog
Last week, CC faculty, students and staff joined representatives from El Pomar Foundation and other local non-profits to welcome six young African leaders to Colorado Springs. Together, we discussed the changes that these hopeful and accomplished young leaders are working to implement in their home countries, how CC is fostering innovation within our community, and what we can learn from one another.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, part of an initiative to empower a future generation of leadership in Sub-Saharan Africa, invites 500 Fellows with established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, communities, and countries to hone their skills and build networks in the U.S.
Last night, I attended the first event in this year’s State of the Rockies Speaker Series. CC alumnus Scott Campbell ’91, 2015 Lincoln Loeb Fellow and former Director of the Palmer Land Trust, kicked off the series with a talk that linked last year’s theme of Large Landscape Conversation with this year’s theme – Scales of Western Water. I hope that you can attend future talks in this series. Thanks to Professor Eric Perramond and Rockies Staff Director Brendan Boepple for planning a great year for the State of the Rockies Project.
Congratulations to Education Professors Mike Taber, Manya Whitaker, Howard Drossman, and Tina Valtierra on their National Science Foundation grant for $1,190,012 to support the Colorado College Noyce Scholarship Program. The program will increase the number of CC math and science majors completing the college’s teacher preparation programs. Aligned with national trends to emphasize STEM education among underrepresented groups, these Noyce Scholars will commit to teaching in schools serving a high percentage of low-income students.
In addition, the grant provides internships for first-years and sophomores to work in local school districts to develop their skills as classroom teachers and education researchers.
This award is a great example of our strategic plan in action. Mike Taber was the first recipient of an internal grant, now known as the SEGway program, designed to support faculty efforts to secure external funding. There are many hands involved in building institutional capacity – thanks to everyone who participated in bringing these resources to CC!
A number of us on campus have been enjoying CC’s 3rd place ranking in Forbes list of most entrepreneurial colleges. What pleased me most about the ranking was Forbes’ methodology, which was based on the percentage of alumni who have founded or run their own nonprofits or businesses.
Our ranking reflects the type of people CC attracts and has always attracted – bold thinkers who make things happen. Our vision for the future includes finding new ways to support and reinforce the innovative piece of CC’s special identity.
I am inspired by the diversity of accomplishments of the outstanding alumni who received CC honorary degrees on Monday morning at Opening Convocation. We had the privilege of honoring Inger Thomsen Brodey ’87, a leading Jane Austen scholar and university professor who cares deeply about her students. We also honored Eric Duran ’91, an investment banker who has given back to his community as a leader and activist with the same passion he brings to financial deals. The third honorary degree recipient and our keynote speaker was Doug Pray ’83, a documentary filmmaker who is also a generous teacher. Doug spoke to us about how, while it might look like he lived his life backwards, he actually lived like he learned to do here at CC.
On occasions like Opening Convocation, when alumni share how their liberal arts education contributed to their success, I am reminded of how our alumni, and our students, faculty, and staff, each bring valuable contributions and perspectives to our community. I encourage us all to start this year with a commitment to the “Serious Spontaneity” that Doug so beautifully described; it’s both who we are and the journey that we embark upon together that characterizes the Colorado College experience.