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President Jill Tiefenthaler's Blog

Block Break E-Newsletter

blockbreak-banner-5Dear Alumni and Parents,

As you all know, life at CC is measured by the block, and with this message, I will begin to keep you up-to-date with happenings on campus at the end of each block. This first block of the year has raced by and everyone is off to a great start.

jill-convo-dropClass began on Labor Day right after Opening Convocation. It is such a powerful way to begin the year, with faculty gathered to celebrate the achievements of a few former students, and current students able to learn about and hear from some of our most accomplished alumni. We hope they will see opportunities for their own futures in our alumni honorary degree recipients. This year we honored Susan Tachau ’76, who has dedicated her life to helping individuals living with disabilities, and Paul Franco ’78, a professor of political science at Bowdoin College. As evident in his inspiring speech “From a Small College in Colorado to a Small College in Maine,” CC can make each student a better thinker, a better speaker, and a better writer, and allow each to discover a world that is even more interesting, ambiguous, and mysterious than they imagined.

Off to class, and the opportunity to experience exactly what Professor Franco described. The experiential learning that is so important at CC was illustrated rather dramatically for the First Year Experience geology class taught by Christine Siddoway. Her class was working in the field to understand deposits of sediment at the base of our mountains when the September floods occurred, and the class became an active demonstration and study of the phenomenon. Professor Franco would be reassured of the faculty-student connection in that class, and the opportunity presented by our Block Plan to throw plans out the window to take advantage of a teachable moment. Students made a nighttime visit to the creek threatening Professor Siddoway’s home and returned to the research area that had been dry only days and hours before to study, track, and evaluate the impact of moving water on the soil. Don’t you wish you could have been in that class?

Such opportunities are exactly what we highlight in our new Colorado College Plan: Building on the Block.sp-withdrop2

The input of thousands of people, including alumni and parents, has been incorporated into that plan. In September, I began the process of introducing the plan, first to the campus. Block 1 then took me on the beginning of a semester-long series of visits to 12 cities to share the plan with alumni and parents. As of this writing, I have visited New York, Chicago, and Seattle, and have my bag packed for many presentations to come. I hope you will read about Building on the Block at, and if possible, join me at a Strategic Conversations event when I visit a city near you. I’ve been gratified with reactions to date, have received additional wise input and want to hear from you. You can register for an upcoming Strategic Conversations event at

While on the road, I also hear about the importance of career development for our students. One illustration of new programming was a visit by former soccer player Ben Beadle-Ryby ’09, who currently works at the Advisory Board. Ben was on campus to meet with student athletes following a Selective Liberal Arts Consortium recruiting event and shared what he has learned about how to transfer the skills developed on the field to the workplace. We are looking forward to many more new opportunities for students to think through their futures, including an exciting Half Block program this January.

We are having great success with our fall athletics teams. As of this writing, the women’s volleyball team is unbeaten, and both men’s and women’s soccer teams boast winning records. Keep track of them all, and continue to cheer them on.

ccdu-withdrop2Meanwhile, another competition is underway. And it’s against archrival University of Denver! Until the first hockey game between the teams in November, CC and DU are tracking the number of alumni who make a gift – of any size, for any purpose. So far, we’re in the lead, but it’s a competition worth winning for many reasons. See how we’re doing at

Block 1. I’ve only scratched the surface.

Now students are off to have great adventures over Block Break, and faculty are getting ready for another challenging, exciting block that will be here before we know it. I met many wonderful CC friends in Seattle on Wednesday, and will meet more of our extended CC community in Portland tonight. Wherever I go, I hear firsthand what a positive force CC is in the lives of our students and alumni.

Watch for continuing updates on life at CC at the end of each block. I hope you will stay in touch as well.

Best regards,


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