Announcement from Board of Trustees Chair Mark R. Herron

Posted: July 8, 2015

Dear Scripps College Community Members,

I am writing to inform you that President Lori Bettison-Varga will leave the College this fall, having accepted the position of President and Director of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County pending approval by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. President Bettison-Varga has led the College with distinction for six years, building on a legacy of academic excellence, launching ambitious new strategic initiatives, advancing a comprehensive fundraising campaign, and enhancing our national and international profile.

While President Bettison-Varga’s departure represents a loss for the Scripps community, the Board congratulates her on her new role leading one of Los Angeles’ most prestigious cultural institutions. We know the Natural History Museum will benefit from her passion for education, science, and civic and community engagement, just as we have at Scripps College.

President Bettison-Varga leaves Scripps in a strong position, with a well-earned reputation as a superior liberal arts college and a leader in women’s education. During her tenure, demand for a Scripps education has climbed steadily, as evidenced by a 20 percent increase in applications and a more competitive and selective admissions process. We continue to successfully recruit accomplished and promising scholars from a wide range of disciplines to join our distinguished faculty. Scripps is consistently ranked in the top tier of national colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, Forbes, and Business Insider, among other publications.

To date, we have raised $115 million of our $175 million Scripps campaign goal, advancing strategic priorities including scholarships, a new residence hall, and the LASPA Center for women’s leadership. We have recorded a budget surplus each of the past six years, and our financial outlook remains healthy due to steady increases in revenue and the size of the endowment. Most importantly, we have a highly engaged and supportive community of students, faculty, staff, alumnae, parents, and volunteers who are invested in the College’s success and working to cultivate the next generation of women leaders.

During the 2015-16 academic year, the trustees, as always, are committed to supporting the College’s leadership team and advancing strategic priorities. In addition, we will focus on the selection of a new president. I am pleased to announce that Amy Marcus-Newhall, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty, has agreed to serve as interim president for the duration of the 2015-16 academic year, working closely with President Bettison-Varga until her departure. Dean Marcus-Newhall has the academic experience, institutional knowledge, and proven credibility to ensure that important College initiatives will not falter over the next year, and the Board is committed to ensuring her success in this role.

In the coming weeks, I will provide additional information about the search committee composition, search process milestones and timeline, and interim staffing in the academic affairs division. A presidential search website will be established to keep the community informed about progress, key dates, and opportunities to participate in the process.

I am confident that we will attract a highly distinguished pool of presidential candidates interested in advancing the mission of Scripps College by working alongside accomplished faculty teacher-scholars and expert staff to prepare top-ranked students for academic, personal, and professional success.

Please see Lori’s letter to the community below, and join the Board of Trustees in wishing her well in her next endeavor.

Sincerely,

Mark R. Herron

Chair, Board of Trustees

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