Winter news from President Trombley

Dear Pitzer Community,

I hope you receive this email well rested after a pleasant holiday season spent with good friends and family and that the break afforded you all time to relax and recharge for the spring semester. For me, team-teaching with Professor Stu McConnell in our Great Depression seminar during the fall semester was a joy and it reaffirmed my view that Pitzer students are wise, thoughtful and compassionate.

There is much to look forward to this semester on campus. After successfully completing the Political Studies search in the fall and hiring Dr. Geoffrey Herrera (PhD., Princeton University), who will be joining us from Swarthmore College, the Office of the Dean of Faculty will be overseeing three more faculty searches this semester: Academic Writing (Writing Center Director), Classics and the endowed Global/Local chair position. I am also pleased to report that the various projects overseen by Director of Facilities Larry Burik and implement by his excellent staff with first-rate support from the Information Technology team are on schedule and on budget. By mid-March all at the College will be able to enjoy the newly renovated auditorium in Avery Hall and by the end of the semester all will be able to enjoy the College’s 46th commencement at the former site of original Sanborn Hall.

For some time the auditorium in Avery Hall has been sorely in need of renovation. Thanks to a generous gift of $250,000 from trustee and former board chair Gene Stein and his wife Mindy in support of the new auditorium atrium, as well as to the numerous gifts from Pitzer’s parents, alumni, friends, students, staff and faculty, the auditorium has been totally transformed.Benson Auditorium promises to be the jewel of the campus with additional seating (from 275 to 319 seats), an enlarged stage (from 330 square feet to 460 square feet), state of the art media capabilities, greater overall accessibility, a beautifully redesigned auditorium interior and a visually stunning exterior atrium featuring the student mural “Pitzer: Past, Present and Future” personally restored and enlarged by artist Paul Botello. An upcoming faculty meeting will be held in the auditorium where the adaptability of the stage and the variety of ways in which the auditorium can be used will be demonstrated. We will also have a general reception for the community to celebrate this new space. Always situated in the center of campus, Benson Auditorium will now also be central to our academic and co-curricular programming.

As the College has grown in size—from graduating three seniors in the spring of 1965 to graduating 241 students in the academic year 2008 – 09—we have long needed a proper site for holding commencement. Each year for the last several years the College has held commencement under a rented tent on the Brant Clock Tower lawn, done so each time with special permission from Claremont’s fire department. Beginning this May, thanks to the generous donations of alumni, trustees and a recent $60,000 gift from an anonymous donor, the 1.5 acres of land that became available when original Sanborn was razed is being redeveloped into the Commencement Pavilion and Recreation Field, which will include basketball and volleyball courts.

In addition to these major changes on campus, various office moves and remodels occurred over winter break and several will occur during the semester. Office moves include Jumpstart, which has moved to Atherton Hall rooms 416 and 417;CCCSI, which has expanded to Avery 105; and the Vaccine Institute office and lab space, which has moved to the former Jumpstart site in Fletcher 101. Moves and remodels to take place over the course of the semester include installation of the Vaccine Institute Joint Science greenhouse north of the Rodman Range; planning and installation of the Joint Science modular units in the original Sanborn parking lot; and planning and implementation of the Duplicating Office remodel. As reported previously, we are transitioning the faculty/staff mailboxes from Bernard Hall and from the Scott Hall hallway to the north wall of Scott Hall lobby. The boxes are ergonomically designed, secured by combination locks and equipped with slots for easy mail delivery. Pitzer’s Office of Facilities and supervisor of our Mail Room Kathy Kile worked together on planning this move and I thank them for their excellent collaborative work on this project. More information about this transition will be forthcoming from Student Affairs.

As a result of the new mailbox installation, the photos of emeriti professors on the north wall of Scott lobby will be re-hung on the south wall and new photos will be added as we formally say goodbye to three beloved professors who collectively have contributed 90 years to Pitzer College: Professor of Political Science Tom Ilgen, Professor of Economics Jim Lehman and Professor of Psychology Rick Tsujimoto. Over the course of their careers at Pitzer these three professors were instrumental in helping give shape to the institution we all know and love today. Throughout the semester news and information about ways in which to honor and say goodbye to these beloved faculty will be sent to you.

December was a busy month for fundraising and I’m happy to share with you that among the many end of year gifts we received, notable among them were a $1 million gift to establish the Susan A. Brock ’69 Memorial Scholarship Fund, $600,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the Center for the Study of Global Communities, and a $100,000 grant from the Rose Hills Foundation in support of CCCSI. As well, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation both expressed strong interest in our proposals to support the Center for the Study of Global Communities for a total of $400,000. Finally, our Advancement team is on track to reaching Pitzer’s Annual Fund goal for the year.

With the spring semester upon us, we will soon be receiving word of the many national and international scholarships and fellowships awarded to our students. Already, New Resources student Christopher Young ’11 received a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which will support his participation in a Pitzer Exchange Study at the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany this semester, and Brianna Moffitt ’12 was awarded a UCB Crohn Scholarship. In keeping with our Fulbright tradition of excellence, this fall we nominated 79 seniors and alumni for the 2010 Fulbright competition and I look forward to sharing news with you throughout the semester about our finalists.

As always, my Friday afternoon schedule has open office hours, and I hope to visit with you throughout the semester. I also look forward to seeing you all at the many events to be scheduled at Benson Auditorium beginning in March, at the MCSI Capitalism in Question lectures, music performance and gallery exhibitions, at the Marching and Chowder faculty talks and over coffee and meals in the dining hall, the Grove House and the Pit-Stop Café. First, though, I am looking forward to a reception to celebrate the new year and the opening of the new staff/faculty lounge in Avery. An invitation from SCR and FEC is forthcoming!

Laura Skandera Trombley

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