The Promise of Change

CHANGE IS a state of being that colleges know well. Each year, new students arrive and seniors graduate. New courses are continually added to the curriculum, tenure-track faculty are hired and senior faculty retire.

At Pitzer College, with our long-time emphasis on interdisciplinarity and field group structure, rather than the traditional model of separate disciplines and individual departments, change is actively encouraged and embraced. This should come as no surprise at an institution whose motto is Provida Futuri, Mindful of the Future. As Huck Finn might say, Pitzer College is a place where we are always looking around the next bend in the river to see what we will discover.

Pitzer College is at its finest when educating students to become well-informed, global citizens, enthusiastic about leading intelligent, socially responsible lives. Pitzer students are not intimidated by change, instead, after experiencing a transformational educational experience, it is our hope that as alumni they will utilize their talents and intelligence to transform their communities and their world to create positive change.

In the most recent first-year survey, 93 percent of Pitzer students reported that they believe being a good citizen requires a responsibility to help others in need. Eighty-seven percent agreed that when they hear the phrase “social responsibility,” their first images are about doing something for others in the community, outside of the campus environment. Seventy-one percent of Pitzer seniors reported that it was essential that they work for social change in their careers, compared to 56 percent of seniors at their peer-group colleges.

In these early days of spring, the word “change” is heard nearly every day in speeches delivered by presidential candidates, and I expect their rhetoric will be a constant refrain as we move closer to the fall. Pitzer students are well prepared to create political change, with nearly 70 percent of seniors reporting that they envision themselves as being politically active beyond just voting.

Henry David Thoreau recognized a century ago that nothing is more important than this present moment: “In any weather, at any hour of the day or night, I have been anxious to improve the nick of time, and notch it on my stick too; to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and future, which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line.” This is the moment when the promise of change can be felt perhaps a bit more keenly than usual, and we are at the brink of making a decision that will profoundly affect us as well as future generations. It is my hope that this is a time when all the finest talents of our Pitzer undergraduates and alumni will be realized as they work actively to achieve a better tomorrow.

—Laura Skandera Trombley
President, Pitzer College