Jane Wales, the fourth and final presidential candidate, visited Scripps during the weekend of Feb. 22 to learn more about the campus, talk with students, faculty and administrators about her vision for the position and round out what has been an exciting search for Scripps' seventh president. Wales, a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the current president and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Northern California, impressed the community with her expertise in fundraising, non-profit work and networking and extensive background in international affairs and pursuit of social justice abroad. In addition to her position at the World Affairs Council, Wales is the Vice President of the Aspen Institute and the Founding President of the Global Philanthropy Forum. For a year beginning in 2007, she served as the Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Elders, an international conflict resolution organization founded by Nelson Mandela. An expert in arms prevention and conflict resolution, Wales has wide-ranging experience traveling abroad and working with diverse organizations to empower communities and create peace. Though she lacks the academic background of other candidates, Wales is confident her skills and experiences will translate well to the Scripps presidency.
During her Sunday, Feb. 24 afternoon discussion with interested members of the student body, Wales answered questions about the value of a women's education, the importance of diversity, international fundraising and the restraints of pursuing all aspects of the strategic plan in the current economy.
Her interest in women's education is due, in part, to her own education at the Emma Willard School and Sarah Lawrence College before it became a coeducational institute. Mainly though, Wales discussed the proven impact of empowering and providing education for women and girls in developing countries. Her commitment to and first-hand knowledge of women's empowerment abroad is Wales' primary motivation for supporting women's education in the United States.
Wales is interested in increasing diversity in untraditional ways, such as internationally and among women returning to higher education after pursuing a career or raising a family. She mentioned Wellesely College's 10% international students and Smith College's program for untraditional students as models for promoting new types of diversity at women's colleges. Wales believes all areas of diversity must be explored in order to truly make Scripps a more diverse campus.
MaryAlison Weintraub ('09) expressed concern about Wales' lack of experience in academia and, specifically, her lack of connection to Scripps. Weintraub said, "Although she might ultimately be a strong president, she would have a high learning curve to master if hired. Hopefully, the strength of her business background and fundraising expertise would provide solid support for Scripps' future."
Overall, Wales' dynamic personality and impressive fundraising and networking skills left a strong impression on the Scripps community. She is self-admittedly intense and driven and pursues her career with unbridled verve and work ethic. Though Wales would fulfill the presidency externally with an emphasis on travel and fundraising, she mentioned that she's attached to her Blackberry and committed to maintaining open lines of communication with the community.
With the conclusion of Wales' visit, the Presidential Search Committee now faces the task of compiling feedback and opinion on four remarkable candidates, each of whom would fill the role of president in a very different way. The Scripps community eagerly awaits the selection of its next president.