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I always say when you’re raising a child the days pass slowly and the years pass quickly. Especially now that our son, Nick, is about to graduate from Pitzer College. It seems like yesterday that he cut the power cord to the light beside his bed because he “wanted to know what electricity looked like.” I suppose we shouldn’t have been too surprised that wanting to know, to see for himself, would lead him to volunteer as a counselor at a camp for kids orphaned by the wars in the Balkans on an island off the coast of Croatia. He was in high school then and we traveled often as a family with Nick as the navigator. Still, Cathy and I wondered if we were mad to let him fly there alone. We lay in the dark watching the clock and when he called at 3 a.m. and asked, “Dad, did I do well?,” we cried.

Nick began at a college out East, but midway through his second year he felt something was missing. So, he left and traveled until one of his teachers provided the piece of the puzzle he was looking for.

He told Nick about a small college with an innovative faculty and the resources of a large university that encouraged its students to be engaged in their education and their community. That college was Pitzer. Nick called Arnaldo Rodriguez. They met. And two months later he joined the class of 2007.

Nick immediately felt right at home: first fashioning a major in Organizational Studies, then applying what he learned to create the Prison SMART program to work with gang members at the Afflerbaugh/Paige Juvenile Camp.

Last September, with President Trombley’s enthusiastic support, Nick founded the Dining with Democracy lecture series. Before Nick introduced Ralph Nader at the inaugural event, Dean of Students Jim Marchant introduced Nick by saying he was able to take his vision and through his creativity and determination turn it into a reality. Nick would say that’s because Pitzer has encouraged him to see life’s challenges as opportunities and to follow his passion fearlessly. Which is why he’s applied for a Coro Fellowship that’s designed to train leaders in public affairs.

As for Cathy and me, Pitzer’s been everything we hoped it would be and more. We’re happy to say Nick’s younger sister, Coco, feels the same way. She’ll be entering in the Fall as a member of the class of 2011. Thank you Pitzer, you’ve done very well.

—Eddie Kislinger & Cathy Waterman, parents of Nick Kislinger ’07

As a result of Matthew-Ryan deciding to attend Pitzer College, I have learned never to underestimate the power of events to influence our children, even at the very earliest stages. Matthew-Ryan’s first visit to Pitzer was while he was still in utero in 1988 when we attended a Pitzer reunion. Since that time, we as a family have had occasion to visit The Claremont Colleges for various events including concerts and lectures.
For approximately a year and a half we traveled around the country investigating various colleges. Once all of the applications were completed and the subsequent acceptances arrived, we left the decision completely up to Matthew-Ryan as to where he wished to attend college.

We did not feel it was appropriate to argue for or against any college, as all of the colleges he was accepted to were fine institutions. More importantly, wherever he chose to attend would be his home for the next four years and it would need to suit him and his purposes. He chose Pitzer based on the academic offerings, the opportunity to tailor his major, the student to teacher ratio, the general setting, the opportunity to take classes at all of the other Colleges and of course we would like to believe the College’s close proximity to our home. Additionally, Matthew-Ryan was very impressed with the Pitzer students he met while attending College Day.

Matthew-Ryan is our eldest child and of course the first one to attend college. Though we miss seeing him on a daily basis, our sadness is tempered by the fact that he has adjusted easily to life at Pitzer, and is in fact thriving. He reported, “Based on my experience of living and learning at Pitzer for one semester, I know I picked the right college. Pitzer offers a friendly environment where there is infinite room for unique opportunities for students and unlimited interaction with the staff and faculty. If you have an idea that you’d like to share, you will always have an audience. Beyond Pitzer, the other Claremont Colleges welcome students to venture past the gates of Pitzer and experience life on their campuses. Very importantly, the quality of food is never a problem at Pitzer. I am more than satisfied with my first semester experience and look forward to what each new semester holds for me.”

We look forward to Matthew-Ryan living and growing through the Pitzer experience and thus renewing our own hopes and enthusiasm for the future.

—Tanya ’78 & Carl-Eric Benzinger, parents of Matthew-Ryan Benzinger ’10

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