9/11 Remembrance

As I was walking on campus early Sunday morning with my family, on our way downtown for coffee and bagels, we were taken with a beautiful memorial in honor of the victims of 9/11. A photo is attached below. CC student James Zilenziger put up the display on the lawn in front of Cutler. He placed one flag for each of those killed on 9/11.

Later that day, I attended “Reflections of 9/11: A Gathering for the Community” at Shove Chapel. A group of faculty, students, staff and community members shared memories of 9/11, remembered those who died and reflected on how the world had changed in the past decade. Roxanne Tutchton ’12 played an original composition on her cello that brought tears to many eyes. Jorge Rivera ’14 read Martin Espada’s poem “Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100,” which is a tribute to the kitchen workers who died in the Towers.

Welcome to the 2011-2012 Academic Year

The beginning of the academic year is always invigorating but this year is especially so given that everything at CC is new to me! The new academic year began with New Student Orientation (NSO) on Saturday, August 27th, as 492 first-year students and their families arrived on campus. Our Student Life staff and NSO upperclass volunteers did a fabulous job of greeting our new students and helping them move into their rooms. Our returning student volunteers were dressed in “kiwi green” shirts and swarmed each new car as it pulled into its dedicated parking spot. One group of student volunteers told me that their goal was that “no mother would carry a single heavy item into a residence hall.” See some of the photos of move-in below. I had the honor of addressing the Class of 2015 and their families later that day. My words of advice are attached.

On Tuesday, August 30th, we welcomed faculty and staff to the 2011-2012 academic year at the annual Fall Conference. Following welcomes from faculty, administrative and trustee leadership, participants were invited to choose from various educational sessions. I attended Tip Ragan’s (Professor of History) session on “The Challenge of Teaching Gay History” and Bill Hochman (Emeritus Professor) and Owen Cramer’s (Professor of Classics) session on “The Rise & Transformation of General Education at Colorado College.” I continue to be impressed by our faculty’s commitment to teaching and innovative pedagogy.

Fall Convocation is the formal beginning of the academic year. In 1986, CC began the tradition of conferring Alumni Honorary Degrees as a way to honor graduates for their achievements and to present them before the college community as examples of what students can aspire to when they graduate. This year’s class was remarkable! Ryan Haygood ’97 is co-director of the Political Participation Group at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Susan Patrick ’92 is president and CEO of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning. Kim Simon ’92 is the managing director of the Shoah Foundation Institute at the University of Southern California. Ryan’s convocation address, “For Such a Time as This” called students to find their passion by losing themselves to the needs of the world around them.

The 2011-2012 academic year is off to a very strong start!
New Parent and Student Remarks

State of the Rockies

Over the last two months, I have learned about many great programs at CC. One of those is the State of the Rockies project, directed for the past nine years by Professor Walt Hecox. This year’s focus is The Colorado River Basin: Agenda for Use, Restoration and Sustainability as if the Next Generation Counts. Under Walt’s supervision and with the help of CC’s GIS Technical Director Matt Gottfried, five students (Sally Hardin ’12, Warren King ’12, Carson McMurray ’12, Ben Taber ’12, and Natalie Triedman ’12) and one recent alumnus (Brendan Boepple ’11) spent the summer doing coordinated research on the Colorado River Basin. The results of their research, a monthly speaker series, a conference (April 9-11, 2012), and the publication of the annual State of the Rockies Report Card will raise awareness on campus and beyond in the coming academic year. Check out their website at http://www2.coloradocollege.edu/stateoftherockies.

This year the students have added two initiatives to raise awareness of the importance of saving the Colorado River Basin. The first is a photo journalism contest. Contestants are asked to request one of the Project’s Save the Colorado River Basin banners and photograph aspects of the basin. You can post your photo with a project banner on the website. Check out my family’s photo on the Colorado in Glenwood Springs below! In addition, recent alumnus and State of the Rockies Project Field Researcher Will Stauffer-Norris ’11 will be kayaking the entire Colorado River this fall (when the water will be pretty cold). The Rockies Project has outfitted Will with a camera and he will be posting regular updates of his adventure. You can follow his journey on the website as he uploads photos and video from the field.

What a wonderful CC story!!

My family and me on the Colorado in Glenwood Springs

First Reflections

With only a few weeks before the start of my first academic year at Colorado College, I wanted to share my impressions from my first month on the job. During my brief, yet enriching, time, I have had the opportunity to begin listening to our faculty, staff, students, and friends. Those conversations, accompanied by my own observations, have challenged me to reflect on the current state of the college.

When people ask me what drew me to Colorado College, I tell them that it was the unique combination of strength and ambition. Over the last month, I have been reassured that my initial impressions are accurate. We are a college of immense strengths. First, we have an incredibly talented faculty who are committed to undergraduate education both inside and outside the classroom. In addition, we have dedicated staff members who are inspired by our mission, and our students are remarkable. I have only had the chance to meet a small group since I arrived mid-July – summer researchers, the student interns working in the garden, and others working on campus – but I am awed by their confidence, curiosity, innovative spirit, and talent.

Another of our strengths is our financial status. Despite the recent rollercoaster performance of the markets, I am encouraged by the present state of the college’s economic condition. After attending the Harvard Seminar for New Presidents in July, I realized just how strong CC is relative to most colleges and universities. Our nation’s public institutions are in crisis and many private institutions that don’t enjoy our reputation are struggling. I am grateful to the college’s previous leadership for the good and tough decisions that were made in recent years to create this financial health.

I am excited about the future of Colorado College. I look forward to the coming months and years, as we, together, lay out our roadmap for continued success.