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Welcome to the 2017-18 Academic Year

Dear Students,

Welcome to the 2017-18 academic year at Colorado College! I hope that you had a wonderful summer and found some time for fun and relaxation. Kevin and I enjoyed a few weeks in Breckenridge. We hiked, read, ate well, and did a few 1000-piece puzzles (OK, that was just me).

This year will be an exciting one, full of celebrations! Over the last several years, we have worked hard to create a shared vision for CC and to bring that vision to life. This year many of those dreams are realized.

We celebrate the arrival of a new class on campus — the Class of 2021! Selected from yet another record-breaking year in admissions, they have much to offer our thriving intellectual community. As I told the new students at NSO, they join a student body comprised of the most talented, interesting, and fun young people anywhere. Thanks to the student leaders (RAs, NSO, Priddy Trip, and FYE) who have already given them a warm welcome.

I am also energized by the diversity of interests and experiences that new faculty and staff bring to campus. This group includes our new chaplain and associate dean of students Alex Hernandez-Siegel, who served as a university chaplain at Harvard before coming to CC, and JoAnn Jacoby, who joins us as the new library director after most recently serving as the associate dean for user services at the University of Illinois Library.

We embark upon this new year on a campus that has been transformed by major new buildings. Our renovated and expanded Tutt Library is a model of sustainability, as a carbon-neutral, net-zero energy building — the first of its kind at this size — and the first-ever library built for the Block Plan. Tutt Library houses offices and programs that enhance the many advantages of the Block Plan all under one beautiful copper-colored ribbon.

In addition, the CC residential experience is enhanced by the opening of our new East Campus residential village. The eight residences, the courtyard, and community center are all named for inspiring former CC students. This complex is a wonderful addition to our housing options and will help build a strong community among upper-class students.

These new additions enhance our campus and our special place. Of course, so does our exciting new alliance with the Fine Arts Center. On July 1, this cultural gem officially became the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. One of the finest collections of Southwest art in the world, a beloved professional theatre, an historic building, an art school that has served thousands of community members, and a new bridge to our local community will result in many new learning experiences and social events for you.

We will extend our celebration to the entire CC community later this fall; cutting the ribbon on our East Campus housing during Family and Friends Weekend, and dedicating the library during Homecoming weekend. The week between those two big events will be a celebration of the Fine Arts Center at Colorado College with our first-ever Art Week, featuring special exhibits, classes, shows, and panels with artists and faculty.

Despite so much to celebrate at CC, I can’t deny that my feelings of excitement are tempered by current events in our nation and our world.

We watched as racism, hate, and violence engulfed Charlottesville. The words and actions of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other bigots — spouting hatred as they marched on the lawn at the University of Virginia — are an assault on the fundamental values of higher education, the intellectual community of which we are a part, and our shared humanity.

As we begin this academic year, it is important for our community to reaffirm our core values. We reaffirm our love of knowledge and our commitment to the life of the mind — the central focus of our common endeavor. We value everyone and seek to learn from — and celebrate — what each of us brings. We pursue these values in the curriculum, co-curriculum, and within the campus and surrounding communities. As articulated in our Diversity Commitment, adopted by the Board of Trustees, “we are committed to cultivating mutual respect, empathy, and understanding,” which are essential to creating the kind of just, inclusive, and caring community we all want to be a part of. We stand united in our unequivocal condemnation of those who promote hate and injustice.

These values and our liberal arts mission unite us and they have never been more important.

As we begin the academic year, we are also keeping the people and communities in Houston and neighboring areas foremost in our hearts and minds. In the weeks ahead, we will mobilize our CC community to assist in the recovery in meaningful ways.

I welcome your input, questions, and thoughts in the year ahead. There are many ways to engage with me — attending my open office hours; connecting with student representatives on CCSGA, President’s Council, and the student trustee; or reaching out to me at president@coloradocollege.edu.

It is wonderful to have everyone back on campus! I look forward to a great year!

Warm regards,

Jill