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President Jill Tiefenthaler's Blog

Posts in: General

Opening Convocation 2016

Yesterday, we honored three distinguished alumni at Opening Convocation – Jennifer Galt ’81, John Novembre ’00 and Jamie Torres ’99. All three have utilized their Colorado College educations to excel in their professions, and to make a difference in the world.

Jennifer is the current U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia and a career member of the Senior Foreign Service; John is an associate professor in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago and recent recipient of a 2015 MacArthur Fellowship (also known as the MacArthur Genius Grant); and Jamie is deputy director for the Mayors’ Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships and director for the Denver Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs at the City and County of Denver .

All three honorees have strong ties to their CC faculty mentors – Tim Fuller, Ralph Bertrand and Mario Montaño, who are also pictured below.

John Novembre gave the convocation address entitled “Community and Wilderness: The Adventure of Learning” and CCSGA President Annika Kastteter ’17 also delivered inspiring remarks. What a great start to the 2016-17 academic year!

Hononary Degree photo


Welcome Back!

Dear Students,

Welcome – or welcome back – to Colorado College!  I hope you had a wonderful summer.  My family traveled to Germany for our vacation and enjoyed time in Munich, Cologne and Berlin.

As beautiful as Colorado is in the summer, I am always excited to begin another academic year. And 2016-17 is going to be an adventurous one! As you look around campus, you can see evidence of good things happening here. We welcome the Class of 2020! They are the result of another record-breaking year for admissions, and will contribute much to our community! We also welcome an amazing group of new faculty including 11 new tenure track faculty members, 4 Riley Scholars and a number of visiting professors.

New staff members have also joined the CC community over the summer months. As the college ramps up to celebrate five years of The Big Idea led by Patrick Bultema, CC alum Dez Stone Menendez ‘02 joins the innovation program as its new director. Katherine Menendez is our new Women’s Basketball Head Coach. And a familiar face steps into a new role. Long time CC librarian Lisa Lister will serve as the interim leader for Tutt Library during this year of transition.

I am sure you have noticed the renovation of Tutt Library is underway. Many worked hard over the summer months to ensure students will have access to all of the academic support services and plenty of study space during this year of construction. I hope you have seen the cool, new study space known as the Mod Pod and the transformation of Gates Common Room.  Last year, Tutt Library had 11,576 square feet of dedicated study space. Today, between the ModPod, Gates Common Room, Tutt South, the Music Library, and the evening study space in East Rastall, we have 21,517 square feet available for study. Team Tutt is planning some fun events to help us enjoy this unusual year and will be sending you regular messages with the latest news on library programs, services, and construction.

There is more construction happening on East Campus as we build a new housing village that will welcome students in the Fall of 2017.  Like the new green roof on Honnen Ice Rink and our net zero library, this new residence will incorporate our commitment to sustainability. I hope these visible signs of continued progress on the campus will help us “embrace the disruption”.

Another exciting “disruption” this year will be the Presidential Election.  The Department of Political Science has put together an impressive line-up of prominent speakers for the Sondermann Presidential Symposium, starting with veteran Democratic party strategist Donna Brazile on September 1.

Our sense of place will be reinforced by a new alliance with the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. We are excited about the possibilities for our faculty to integrate the nearly 20,000 pieces of Southwestern and indigenous art into the curriculum; for our performing-arts students to have broader opportunities on the stage and behind the scenes; and for the college to positively influence the Pikes Peak region and beyond by providing greater depth, understanding, and context to arts and cultural offerings.

Dean Sandi Wong and our dedicated and talented faculty will be leading efforts to review our general education requirements. I encourage those of you who are interested in sharing your ideas to reach out to members of the Curriculum Executive Committee, which includes student representatives.

A lot is going on in our world and a lot is going on here at the college.  At a small place like CC, each of you contributes to the experience for everyone. I encourage you to make your contribution! And don’t forget, we are here for you. You are surrounded by faculty and staff who are committed to your success and well-being. If you need help or want to share ideas, reach out!

I continue to hold scheduled open office hours, and I hope you will come see me. Also, your representatives on CCSGAHeads of State, and President’s Council want to hear your ideas and concerns.

Have a great year!

Best regards,


Women’s Soccer Beats DU and Pitt

Congratulations to Coach Geoff Bennett and the CC Women’s Soccer Team on defeating the University of Denver on Sunday and the University of Pittsburgh yesterday. This young team (including four sophomores and five first-years) is off to a strong start! They play Georgetown on Sunday.

Go Tigers!

Colorado College, Fine Arts Center Alliance Redefines Arts in Colorado Springs

Dear alumni and parents,

Along with Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center President and CEO David Dahlin, I am pleased to share with you that we have achieved an historic alliance between Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. This morning David and I announced to faculty, staff, students, and Fine Arts Center employees that we have reached an agreement that will support the missions of both organizations, greatly expanding teaching and learning opportunities for our students and faculty, while enriching arts and cultural programming and resources for the entire region.

This alliance builds on the legacies of both the college and the Fine Arts Center, and will enhance the strengths of both. We are excited about the possibilities for our faculty to integrate the nearly 20,000 pieces of Southwestern and Native American art into the curriculum to strengthen experiential learning and multicultural perspective; for our performing-arts students to have broader opportunities on the stage and behind the scenes; and for the college to positively influence the Pikes Peak region and beyond by providing greater depth, understanding, and context to arts and cultural offerings.

We will now embark on a four-year planning process for developing an operational structure that achieves CC and community strategic objectives. In July 2017, the name will change to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. By July 1, 2020, plans for the museum, performing arts, and art school will be implemented, and the Fine Arts Center entity will be fully transferred to the college.

You may learn more via a story on our homepage,, and can read about the strategic planning process at

I am excited to embark on this wonderful new chapter in CC’s history. Thank you all for your enthusiasm and support.

Warm regards,


Need a tissue? Get One at New Student Orientation

Inside Higher Ed took note that CC’s Director of Parent and Family Relations Debra Zarecky helped parents say goodbye to their first-year students on Saturday with a pack of tissues. New Student Orientation started on Saturday morning with move-in and parents enjoyed a special parent program later that day. On-campus orientation for new students continued through Tuesday evening and students leave today for the Priddy Experience Trips.

Every year, all new students are divided into small groups of about 10 and head off for service-based trips in Colorado and the Southwest. All Priddy Experience trips include 2 days of community service with a variety of organizations and one day to explore the local surroundings. The result is over 8,000 hours of student service provided to about 36 community partners and a wonderful introduction to this beautiful region.