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End of Year Letter to CC Alumni

May 28, 2013

Dear CC Alumni,

Last Monday, the alumni ranks swelled by 537. 

For many of us, it is the most exciting day of the year – when hard work culminates in celebration with a mixture of joy, sadness, eagerness, anxiety, and gratitude by the graduates, their families, and friends. In an inspirational speech, our Commencement speaker, Marian Wright Edelman, challenged our new alumni to make a real difference in this world.  Many have already begun.

Commencement day gives the seniors a moment to pause to reflect on their time at CC. I too reflect on this past year.  

At Sunday’s Baccalaureate in Shove Chapel, Professor Carol Neel beautifully tied together our place in the world with the place where we gathered to celebrate the call of the liberal arts. It brought back memories of my fall installation ceremony — a ceremony that is meaningful and humbling for a first-time president. Such ceremony, in Carol’s words, “seals and ennobles” what we do here. At that time, in that special place, I committed myself to serve the college — to join with faculty, students, staff, alumni, and the wider CC community — in honoring all that has been accomplished by those who came before us by building on their work to move the college forward in positive and productive ways appropriate to our time. 

That has been on my mind throughout my “Year of Planning.” Our strategic plan, inspired by input from hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends, will be approved by the trustees this summer and shared with you and all members of our community soon after.   

It has become so clear to me that our alumni and many of our parents are hungrier than ever to engage in the ongoing life of the college — intellectually, socially, and with direct, concrete support. As our advancement division reorganizes and builds, we are planning to make that happen more effectively than ever. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to meet or get to know Anita Pariseau, our new alumni director, you will this fall as she, along with VP Sean Pieri and others of our new advancement staff, travel with me to visit our largest alumni cities to talk about CC’s new strategy for the future.

Many alumni and friends stepped up to answer the call to help our students in a very direct way — by offering internships, or by donating to support paid internship experiences. Thank you to all who helped us reach our goal of 250 new opportunities. With your help, our new Career Center director, Megan Nicklaus, will continue to prepare our students for meaningful work in a world that needs the very best and brightest to solve its problems.

With Dean Susan Ashley’s return to the classroom, we have welcomed Dean Sandi Wong, and created a structure for the Dean’s Office that has focused on providing even more support for our faculty as they devise courses and research opportunities for our students. In a move to allow all students to have those life-changing experiences that come with spending a block abroad, Dean Wong has worked out a way to reduce program fees for students with full or partial financial need beginning next year.

In response to the rapidly changing technological environment, we will reconfigure our information management operation and are searching for a chief technology officer.  Stay tuned (or online) for all that that can mean both in the classroom and for our alumni.

But while we plan, we also take the time to celebrate right now. 

We celebrate our newest facility, the wildly successful Adam F. Press Fitness Center and the brilliantly renovated El Pomar Sports Center. You must visit.

We celebrate individual achievement by students such as Siri Undlin '13, who has earned a Watson Fellowship; Kaleb Roush '14, who was honored with the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship; and recent and current graduates Angela Cobian '11, Stuart Hackley '11, and Blaine Carper '13 who have received Fulbright Fellowships. And as a community, our students have been bringing accolades to CC. We were recently named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for achieving meaningful, measureable outcomes in our local community.  

We celebrate the many students who have made our campus more energy efficient and sustainable with efforts ranging from the CC farm and a new greenhouse to meeting the conservation targets in our sustainability plan as we have reduced our water and electricity use dramatically since 2008.

We celebrate the excitement of the news about the impressive incoming class of 2017– and all you have and will continue to do to make their experiences possible through your financial support.

And now, we celebrate our 508 new bachelor's degree recipients and 29 new master of arts in teaching degree holders. Welcome them into your communities!

Now completing my second year as president of Colorado College, I am more impressed by the achievements and commitment of our alumni than ever. Your input has been more valuable than you may know. There is, at the end of this eventful year, one thing of which I am certain: Every year will be a year of listening.

With warm regards,


Jill Tiefenthaler