February 3, 2022
Dear Pitzer Community,
As shared in his letter to the Pitzer College community earlier today, President Oliver has decided to retire at the end of this academic year. The Board of Trustees received this news with considerable regret, knowing that Melvin will be leaving our community sooner than planned, but we fully understand and support his decision.
President Oliver has calmly and skillfully navigated the College through a period of unprecedented challenges during his tenure. He has done so while staying true to the College’s core values and pushing Pitzer forward in its educational mission. President Oliver will leave the College in a much stronger place than when he arrived, and for that and much more, the Board and the College will be forever grateful.
At a later time, we will properly celebrate all of Pitzer’s many accomplishments under President Oliver’s leadership, as well as his remarkable 45-year career in higher education and philanthropy as an outstanding teacher and a distinguished scholar, administrator, and leader. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, please join me in wishing Melvin and Suzanne Oliver the very best in the years to come. We know a part of their hearts will stay with us in Claremont, and they will continue to be among our strongest champions.
Of the Board’s many responsibilities, none is more important than selecting the president of the College. The Board will soon begin planning the search for Pitzer’s seventh president and intends to have that individual take office by the start of the 2023-2024 academic year. The Board is committed to an inclusive search process that involves and draws on all the many groups that make up the Pitzer community, particularly our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends.
As the first step in this process, I am pleased to announce that Trustee Tom Brock ’83 will chair the soon-to-be-formed presidential search committee. Tom graduated from Pitzer in 1983 with honors in anthropology. He subsequently earned a master’s degree in public administration at Columbia University and a Ph.D. in social welfare from UCLA. Tom is a research professor and director of the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University. Previously, he served in the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. and directed research on postsecondary education at MDRC, a nonprofit social policy research organization.
The Board believes Tom Brock is a natural choice to lead the search for Pitzer’s next president. Tom currently chairs the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board and well understands Pitzer from the perspective of many constituencies, including faculty, students, alumni, and trustees. I am confident Tom will lead a search that fully reflects Pitzer’s core values and tradition of shared governance. We will provide more information about the search process for Pitzer’s next president soon.
In the coming weeks, the Board will select an interim president to take office July 1, 2022 and serve during the transition period.
Donald P. Gould
Chair, Pitzer College Board of Trustees