September 28, 2022

Dear Pitzer Community,

Fresh off of an unusually busy and news-filled spring and summer, I was so proud to kick off the academic year with you, and particularly to meet so many new and returning students at Move-inConvocation, and the Community Celebration Lunch, Ice Cream Social, and Welcome Back Bash. It was great to see faculty and staff at the president’s house for a (very warm!) “Welcome Back” reception, too. Thanks for caring for yourselves and each other during the heat waves that have greeted us as we’ve returned to campus.

Despite the temperatures, we have made a productive and exciting start to the year—thankfully, an entirely in-person year—of teaching, learning, and living here at Pitzer College.

Welcome, new students

We have welcomed 326 first-time and transfer students to Pitzer, bringing our total student body to 1,212. These new students join us from 35 states and 16 countries, and they are sure to enrich our community not only with academic talent, but with multi-faceted skills, abilities, and interests. They have chosen to embark on the next phase of their life journey here with us—and we could not be prouder of their decision.

They join our returning Pitzer students, who publicly recognized Pitzer as a top college in the nation for political activism, student government, and conservation-mindedness in the 2023 Princeton Review Best Colleges ranking. We were also recognized as a close-knit, supportive community, ranking eighth in the nation for LGBTQ-friendliness.

This year, Pitzer is doing especially thoughtful work in support of all students’ general wellbeing. The Strive2Thrive program is currently in a campaign to raise additional support, and I urge anyone who can do so to consider making a gift toward its fiscal year-end goal.

Welcome, new faculty

We are also excited to welcome many new full-time faculty to Pitzer College and Keck Science this year. They are an extremely impressive group, wide ranging in their disciplines, and they are poised to support and enhance our community through their teaching, mentorship, and scholarship.

These talented individuals are a huge part of the very future of Pitzer. Each new faculty member who joins us is part of the evolution of this place. Faculty scholarship, and the constant renewal of our faculty, are crucial to the ongoing vitality of the academy. Put simply, their work is at the heart of what we do, and these newest scholar-teachers will help shape Pitzer’s strength and influence yet to come.

Read profiles of several of our new faculty! And as we welcome the science faculty among them, be sure to check out the progress on our new joint Pitzer-Scripps science facility, The Nucleus. Watch the building rise on the live webcam, and take a virtual tour!

Inclusion at Pitzer

At Convocation, I spoke to the Class of 2026 about inclusion. In fact, inclusion, tolerance, respect, kindness, and care for each other were threads through the words of all of the speakers that morning, from faculty leaders to Student Senate President Michelle Muturi ’23. It was a reflection of global realities—the divided, contentious state that our nation and the world are in right now—as well as local ones. As in many families, at times last year relations within the Pitzer family were strained, as the volatile relations in the world outside our campus penetrated inward. We also watched as historic setbacks to the last half-century of progress in social, racial, and environmental justice took place, and our faith and trust in people and in institutions were shaken.

To our students, I say this: let inclusion start here at Pitzer College. If you practice it here, you will take it with you; it will radiate outward into all facets of your life and benefit all those you interact with beyond Pitzer. As I said at Convocation, you have the privilege—even the responsibility—to not only live Pitzer’s core values while you’re here, but at the end of four years, to carry them out into the world. To teach them, as you were taught them here at Pitzer.

I also talked about one way in which I want to foster closer community relations and better communication at Pitzer: by launching a series of convenings. These will be small, single-group conversations (faculty, students, administrators, staff) on topics we care about in our community. Not only will these dialogues allow us to know each other better across real or perceived differences, but they will provide helpful insights for our next president. What makes Pitzer Pitzer? Which aspects of the College do we feel most proud of and optimistic about at this point in its history? Watch for announcements of the convenings, coming soon.

The 2022 election

I wrote in my first letter to you about Pitzer as a “global citizen.” In Pitzer’s multidisciplinary liberal arts setting, we have the ability to engage more deeply than many in academia and society on issues of importance to the entire globe. Citizens of the US have the additional ability to contribute to our own governance—by voting. And rarely in our history has there been an election with as much at stake as the 2022 midterms.

Pitzer has a proud history of student voter engagement. In 2020, 89.6 percent of our registered students voted—an increase over the 2016 election, and above the national average for public and private institutions. Our high level of engagement wins us recognition, including in Washington Monthly’s 2022 Best Colleges for Student Voting Honor Roll.

I urge our students to keep this momentum going by exercising your right to vote.Last fall, Pitzer signed on to the All In Campus Democracy Challenge’s Higher Education Presidents’ Commitment to Full Student Voter Participation. The All In Challenge, sponsored by Civic Nation, “empowers colleges and universities to achieve excellence in nonpartisan student democratic engagement.” Pitzer’s goal this fall is 95 percent voter registration and 60 percent turnout!

Please visit Pitzer’s Voter Registration Portal to check the status of your registration, get registered, or sign up for an absentee ballot. Important dates for California voters include November 1, when absentee ballots and address change request forms are due, and November 8: the General Election. Also take advantage of the voter support events offered by The People’s Pitzer, which is doing great work as the civic engagement arm of Pitzer’s Community Engagement Center.

Best wishes to you all for a fun and fascinating semester here at Pitzer and beyond. I look forward to seeing you again at Family Weekend, October 28−30. During Rivalry Weekend, November 11−12, we will be able to tour our new Sagehen Athletics facility, the Center for Athletics, Recreation, and WellnessWatch for information on Rivalry Weekend, coming soon!

Provida Futuri,

Jill A. Klein P’15

Interim President