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Dear CC Alumni and Parents,
Block 1 has been an exciting beginning to the academic year! Already, we have greeted the incoming class, welcomed 154 fortunate juniors and seniors into the new East Campus housing project, expanded the college’s mission and offerings with the addition of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, and reopened our reimagined Tutt Library.
I started off the year with my annual block of teaching. Co-teaching The Economics of Higher Education with my husband, Kevin Rask, is always an energizing reminder of the rigor and opportunity of the Block Plan and the talent of our students.
Welcoming the Class of 2021 to our student body, I imagine all the great things these future CC alumni will do for the world. At New Student Orientation, I encouraged the class — 531 members strong — to take advantage of this special interval to be fully absorbed in the life of the mind. I told them that these four years should be about “becoming your own person, struggling with what you think about important questions, understanding and developing your talents, pursuing interests that might reveal passions, and developing lifelong relationships with peers and mentors who will nurture you in difficult times and celebrate you in your successes.”
The goal of CC’s strategic plan, “Building on the Block,” is to strengthen this transformative interval. The East Campus housing project features eight new apartment-style residences that open to a beautiful shared courtyard, anchored to the south with a west-facing community center. The development fosters a sense of community for upper-class students, and blends in seamlessly with the residential historic districts to the north and east.
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College is building on the momentum of last year’s strategic planning process as faculty and students are making the most of this exciting resource now that the alliance is official.New museum staff members have added programs that deepen our commitment to the arts and cultures of the Southwest. In Block 1, 320 students in 22 CC classes visited the museum. In addition, our Museum Free Days and JAM FAC attracted more than 2,000 visitors in the first two weeks of September.
The $45 million-dollar renovation of Tutt Library opened on the first day of classes. The building was immediately buzzing with students, creating the intellectual hub that we envisioned! With approximately 25,000 additional square feet, abundant natural light, and plenty of Western views, the building doubles the seating capacity even as it demonstrates CC’s commitment to sustainability as the largest academic library in the country to achieve net-zero construction. The library is also on the cutting edge of technology, with a data visualization space, Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) laboratory, and experimental classroom. Fittingly, we recently welcomed a new library director. JoAnn Jacoby was previously associate dean for user services at the University of Illinois Library.
This year, so many of our dreams for CC have come to fruition and I am confident that together we can do even more for the college in the years ahead. I look forward to seeing many of you around campus in October for Family & Friends Weekend and Homecoming.
President Jill Tiefenthaler
The Gazette editorial board recently published an op-ed, titled “Colorado Springs, Colorado’s big college town,” which celebrates the intellectual and economic growth of Colorado Springs as a college town.
The op-ed points to the U.S. News & World Report’s recent ranking of Colorado College as the #1 Most Innovative National Liberal Arts College as a major factor in bolstering the Springs’ “college town” prestige. The piece also praises the contributions of two of our Quad Innovation Partners, UCCS and the U.S. Air Force Academy.
After teaching the Economics of Higher Education in Block 1, this editorial especially resonates with me. Throughout the course, we heard from several higher education leaders and read research that supports how higher education fuels economic development.
As Block 1 draws to a close, I am reminded of how our excellent scholar-teachers impact our students every day. Just over 200 faculty members teaching approximately 2,000 undergraduates in the intensely-focused Block Plan characterizes the CC academic experience.
This year, we welcome 11 new tenure-track faculty members and two Riley Scholars-in- Residence. I am energized by what they will add to our intellectual community!
It was a big music weekend at CC! On Saturday, four student bands played at Blues & Shoes, our annual music festival on the Quad.
Then on Sunday, CC’s Bluegrass Ensemble was featured as one of four bands at the Patty Jewett Porchfest. Hundreds of community members and a dozen food trucks gathered around four porches in the Patty Jewett neighborhood for this music fest.
It’s fantastic to see our student musicians building community on campus and throughout Colorado Springs! Thanks to Vivian Nguyen ’20 for the great photos.
Last week, I met with President’s Council for our first meeting of the academic year. I am grateful for the helpful insight I receive from this advisory group of 35 student leaders.
President’s Council began their year with a teambuilding retreat facilitated by Professor Steve Hayward (English). The students started out in the new Tutt Library Event Space with brainstorming activities that got their creative juices flowing, pitching movie ideas and developing superhero alter egos. Then, in the afternoon, the students put their problem solving and collaboration skills to the test in an escape room activity.
The professional development and bonding was a great way for President’s Council to kick off the year. Their thoughtful engagement helps me stay connected to the needs and priorities of our students!