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President Jill Tiefenthaler's Blog

Block Break Newsletter


Dear CC Alumni and Parents,

It was my great pleasure to preside over Colorado College’s 142nd Commencement on Monday. The entire weekend is a time of traditions, congratulations, inspiration, and memories. Commencement marks a time of beginnings as well as a celebration of endings. What a fitting culmination of four years for the Class of 2016, which demonstrated a similar balance: one of discipline and passion.

The weekend’s events began with the words of Professor Idris Goodwin, the student-selected speaker at Baccalaureate, who as a playwright and hip hop artist asked the soon-to-be graduates this quintessentially liberal arts question: Do we have the imagination for who we want to become?

Seeing the graduates stride across the stage to the cheers of family and friends, exuding the confidence of a job well done and the excitement of bright futures, I have to answer Professor Goodwin’s question with an exuberant “yes!” My own remarks reflected on the accomplishments and potential of our students, acknowledging how much this chapter of their lives means to them now, and I hope on into the future.

Commencement speaker Marcia McNutt ’74 shared one secret of success, which focused on having the confidence to know when advice should be heeded and when advice should be discarded. And our honorary degree recipients, financier and philanthropic leader in international education Shelby Davis, internationally renowned artist Senga Nengudi Fittz, and diplomat Peter Natiello ’82, P’16, are wonderful models for our graduates of “doing well and doing good.”

As we say goodbye to the Class of 2016, I know how much we will miss them, even as we are excited for their next chapters. I am grateful to their families for supporting their CC educations!

Best wishes for a relaxing and enjoyable summer! Summer Session and the Summer Music Festival, as well as preparations for the next academic year, will keep us busy here on campus. I look forward to welcoming all of our new and returning students to campus in the fall!

Best regards,

President Jill Tiefenthaler

Introducing the President’s Leadership Awards Program

I am excited to introduce a new opportunity for faculty and staff to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to our community — The President’s Leadership Awards. Last fall, a Block Project team recommended the establishment of the President’s Leadership Awards to highlight CC’s Leadership Philosophy and values.

In August, you will be invited to submit nominations (of an individual faculty or staff member or a group) for the following awards:

  • Victor Nelson-Cisneros Diversity and Inclusion Award: This awardee exemplifies the qualities of former Associate Dean of the College Victor Nelson-Cisneros in supporting diversity and inclusion on campus. Qualities include perseverance and effectiveness, as well as an ability to inspire and guide action to improve the campus climate for historically marginalized people. This also includes support of students of color, and involvement in educational efforts. Effectiveness may be judged in part by the recipient’s ability to motivate others to join in the effort to foster an inclusive campus.
  • Glenn Brooks Innovation and Courage Award: This awardee exemplifies the innovative qualities of former Dean of the College and Faculty and Professor Emeritus of Political Science Glenn Brooks, who was one of the founders of the Block Plan. Qualities include courage, risk-taking, and innovation in the approach to their work. Additional criteria for selection include the nominee’s encouragement of others to be innovative and courageous and to foster an environment for faculty and staff to take risks for the betterment of CC.
  • Jane Cauvel Collaboration and Community-building Award: This awardee exemplifies the collaboration and community-building qualities of Jane Cauvel, former professor of philosophy, and the college’s first ombudsperson. Qualities include embracing and promoting community and collaboration effectively across campus divisions and between faculty and staff. Effectiveness may be judged in part by the nominee’s ability to cultivate the values of collaboration and community-building in others and to encourage others who demonstrate those values.

Nominations will be accepted via an online form from August 2016 through the end of Block 3 (November 16). The winners, selected by appropriate campus committees, will be announced at Spring Conference 2017 and will receive a $2,500 cash prize.

Thanks to each of you for all that you do to make CC a great place to learn and work!

Professor Mason ’78 and The Scarlet Letter

This weekend marked the world premiere of the opera, The Scarlet Letter, by composer Lori Laitman and librettist David Mason ’78, CC English professor and poet. Staged by Opera Colorado, The Scarlet Letter will be performed again at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver on May 10th, 13th and 15th.

In an article in The Daily Camera, Professor Mason discusses the process of writing the libretto: “My goal was to be as true to Hawthorne as I could, but with a much simpler, lyrical poetic rendition that would be comprehensible for a modern audience. I worked hard to find language that would convey the emotional material of the scene without being as dense and overwrought as Hawthorne’s prose.”

The Scarlet Letter is only one of several collaborations between Ms. Laitman and Professor Mason. Following the publication of Professor Mason’s verse-novel, Ludlow, about the deadly labor dispute in southern Colorado in 1914, the two collaborated on an opera of the same name. In this Colorado Public Radio interview, Professor Mason shares his thoughts about writing the verse-novel and then converting it to a libretto.

Congratulations Professor Mason on the premier of The Scarlet Letter!

Men and Women’s Lacrosse Host NCAA Games

HUGE news from our men’s and women’s Tiger Lacrosse teams!  Both teams have made the NCAA tournament and CC is hosting both games this week.

Wednesday, the Tiger men will host Whittier College on Washburn Field (4 pm) and on Sunday, May 15, the Tiger women will play Rhodes College at 1:00 pm on Stewart Field. Come out and support our two great lacrosse teams!

Go Tigers!

PIFP and CCE – Community Impact


Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending two events on campus that honor the civic impact of our students on the wider community. CC has been recognized as one of the top schools for students who want to change the world and PIFP and the CCE are key reasons why.

The welcome dinner for the fellows and partner organizations of the 2016-17 Public Interest Fellowship Program celebrates the students who have been matched with organizations that will provide them with the opportunity to integrate their CC experiences with work in the community. Jesús Loayza ’16 will be a yearlong fellow with The Colorado Center on Law and Policy. He chose to apply for a PIFP fellowship because there were partner organizations on the list that he could see himself “working passionately for.” He graduates this May with a degree in Sociology and says, “I am taking with me a rich theoretical background, allowing me to ask the right questions. I’m confident that the research skills that [my major] provided me with has prepared me to delve into issues that affect real people.” By pairing students with the nonprofit organizations, PIFP gives students the opportunity to see how their ideas, their work, their commitment can make a difference.

The Collaborative for Community Engagement gathered later that evening to celebrate the students and faculty whose leadership in the community is noteworthy (the award winners, in the photo above). The evening included awards to honor exemplary achievement for sustained engagement in the community, work with K-12 youth, exceptional promise in social justice work, outstanding community service by a graduating senior, and the Anabel and Jerry McHugh Director’s Award, as well as recognizing excellence in community-engaged teaching by a CC faculty member.

Congratulations to the winners of CCE awards and to our newly launched PIFP Fellows!