L. Song Richardson Inaugurated as 14th President

Photo by Lonnie Timmons III
Photo by Lonnie Timmons III

In all of her roles — civil-rights lawyer, criminal-defense lawyer, death-penalty lawyer, teacher, and scholar — L. Song Richardson has “always been willing to stand alone for what is just and what is right, even when — or especially when — it’s difficult,” she said at her Aug. 29 inauguration as Colorado College’s 14th president.

Richardson, who began her presidency in July 2021, was drawn to CC because of its bold and courageous drive to live out values that match her own.

“We are a place that thinks differently,” she said. “We dream big, and we do difficult things.”

She noted three monumental things that Colorado College has achieved. Colorado College:

  • Created the Block Plan 52 years ago — not because it’s easy, but because it is a transformational way to teach and learn
  • Initiated the first college antiracism commitment five years ago, before the killing of George Floyd sparked a national reckoning on race
  • In 2020 became the first higher education institution in the Rocky Mountain region and the eighth in North America to reach carbon neutrality

Now more than ever, she said, when faced with great challenges such as climate change, systemic racism, political polarization, and equity gaps, the world needs bold, courageous, and values-driven Colorado College and its graduates.

In her first year President Richardson immersed herself in hearing the thoughts of students, faculty, staff, alumni, higher-education leaders, and community members. At her inauguration she shared her vision for CC to build on its legacy to “ignite our students’ potential and create a more just world.”

The event, held at the Fine Arts Center theatre and also livestreamed, was attended by former presidents Kathryn Mohrman and Richard F. Celeste, as well as past acting presidents, presidents from other institutions, alumni, faculty, staff, students, community leaders, and family and close friends of President Richardson. The inauguration ceremony was the highlight of several days of events including a BIPOC Presidents' Roundtable, an open-to-the-public Community Day on campus, and "speed seminars" presented by CC faculty.

In her inaugural address, President Richardson shared her broad goals for Colorado College.

Elevating CC's Profile: After four years on the Block Plan, CC graduates have a “superpower” because they can integrate information, innovate, and achieve more quickly and nimbly than others, she said.

“The world needs to know about them,” she said. “They think differently, they learn differently, and they can do anything they set their minds to.”

Richardson pledged to raise awareness of the college and said, “We will no longer be a hidden gem.”

Courageous Conversations: “I want CC to be a place where crucial conversations about the most important issues facing our world occur,” she said. “A place where different opinions are welcomed and challenged and debated, a place where we can explore our beliefs, change other people’s minds, or more importantly, change our own.”

Expanding Access: CC access programs including Colorado Pledge, Bridge Scholars, and Stroud Scholars are making good progress, but the college must do more, Richardson said.

“CC is committed to not only expanding access to who comes here but also ensuring once our students are here that they have the opportunity to take advantage of everything we offer here regardless of their financial means,” she said.

Workplace Excellence: “Our people are the greatest asset we have,” Richardson said. “I am committed to ensuring that Colorado College becomes a best college to work for in the country.”

CC has proven that it is impactful and values-driven, and that fits the 14th president of Colorado College perfectly.

“I have always been willing to stand alone for what is right and just,” President Richardson said in closing her inaugural address. “But now I don’t have to, because I found CC.”

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