July 29, 2022

Dear Pitzer Community,

In my first month as interim president, I send greetings to our on-campus community, incoming students and families, and our alumni and friends. I want to highlight some Pitzer news, events, and priorities for the year ahead, and offer a few observations on the special place our College occupies in current global events and conversations.

First, I would like to thank and send good wishes to Melvin and Suzanne Oliver as they embark on the next chapter in their lives. For the past six years, they have been stalwart supporters and promoters of Pitzer and everything Pitzer stands for. As a trustee emeritus, Melvin will continue to support our College’s goals and core values—and we will call upon Melvin for assistance, and draw upon his wisdom, with respect to the Melvin L. Oliver Racial Justice Initiative.

Pitzer’s re-opening

As I wrote to faculty and staff on my first day, I am thrilled to be with you! For two years we’ve endured the disruption, disappointment, and worse wrought by the pandemic. The closure of our campus and the suspension of student activities, in-person learning, milestones like Commencement, and alumni gatherings have seriously tried our community’s patience and goodwill. Some of us lost loved ones during this time.

I am honored to take the helm at Pitzer just as we are beginning to see life return to something approaching our former routines—though we do continue to experience COVID-19 both on campus and off, and we are carefully monitoring Los Angeles County guidelines. We’re trying our best to restore and revitalize our close-knit Pitzer community through physical presence and connection. 

We have successfully been hosting coast-to-coast Welcome Receptions for new students and families. Next month, I’ll greet new students and families at Move-in Day, August 20New Student Orientation follows through August 28, and Orientation Adventure returns this year, too! We will join returning students for their own move-in days on August 27−28. I am particularly pleased to announce that we will gather for Convocation 2022 to officially welcome our new students. That ceremony, followed by a community reception, is on Friday, September 2. Next, Family Weekend is moving from the spring term to fall. Join Pitzer and Pomona friends, colleagues, and families on October 28−30 and cheer on the Women’s Volleyball team as they celebrate Senior Night in our new Pomona-Pitzer Athletics facility. Details for Convocation and Family Weekend will follow later in the summer.

Pitzer excels

I am a Pitzer parent (class of 2015) and a former trustee, so I am intimately familiar with our outstanding academics and community members—students, faculty, staff, families, alumni, and other supporters. But I have been struck these last few months by the heights we have reached. I hope you read and take pride in the stories of Pitzer students’ achievements, in particular. From Fulbright and Watson Fellows, to Napier and Projects for Peace Awardees, to regional and national athletic champions, our students excel and exceed all expectations. I can’t wait to see what further awards, accolades, and honors the new academic year will bring—including from our distinguished faculty and alumni. Keep your eye on future communications for news of their achievements. 

Leading Pitzer’s future

As interim president, I am supporting the search for the very best individual to lead us next. We live, and our seventh president will lead, in exceptionally complex times, affecting our school, the liberal arts and sciences, higher education in general, society and our nation, and definitely our planet. 

We are approaching the search for Pitzer’s next leader by listening, learning, and considering a variety of viewpoints. Along with Search Committee Chair Tom Brock ’83 and Board Chair Don Gould, I thank everyone who participated in the Community Listening Sessions that informed the specifications for our next president. I encourage you to not only read the Leadership Profile you helped create, but to nominate qualified candidates. And later this year, listen to the finalists when they visit campus. During the feedback process, please make your voice heard and your impressions known. 

Pitzer as a global citizen

We are fortunate at Pitzer to be able to engage one another on difficult issues within a liberal arts context, in which we are taught to consider important questions through a vast, interdisciplinary “toolbox” of perspectives. Our liberal arts focus, social justice emphasis, Core Values, and our faculty—who expertly guide students in close readings and critical explorations of facts and divergent opinions—help us to understand world events much differently than would occur at other institutions.

We, as a community, care deeply about climate change, gun violence, civil rights, and reproductive freedom, among many other issues that support a vision of a society that is safe, fair, and free for everyone. With elections on the horizon, there is the possibility of reversing the reversals many of us feel we’ve experienced. I encourage students in particular, as global citizens, to exercise your right (actually, your duty) to vote.

How will we continue to use Pitzer’s distinctive approach to liberal education and thought to address the global issues we are facing? I look forward to seeing proposals, actions, and solutions emerge from our distinguished and talented community in the next year.

Provida Futuri,

Jill A. Klein

Interim President