Scripps Welcomes Bettison-Varga Home

On Monday March 30, the Scripps community filled the Hampton room to welcome Scripps' newest president: Lori Bettison-Varga.  The excitement in the room was palpable on this sunny morning as Bettison-Varga and her family arrived on campus. Over the weekend, the Scripps Board of Trustees voted unanimously to select Bettison-Varga as Scripps' eighth president.  Bettison-Varga, a geologist by training, the current provost and dean of faculty of Whitman College and the proud daughter of a Scripps alumna, was elated to greet the many students, staff, faculty, trustees, alumnae and Claremont community members who assembled to congratulate and officially welcome her into the Scripps community—to her new home.After posing for photos and shaking hands, Bettison-Varga paused from introductions to greet the audience.  Fritz Weis, who recently became the official seventh president of Scripps, introduced Bettison-Varga.  She gave a brief speech, preferring to spend her time meeting as many community members as possible. During the speech, Bettison-Varga emphasized how thrilled she is about the position and her absolute dedication to the mission and possibility of Scripps.  She said, "Scripps is the embodiment of all that I value in a liberal arts institution."  At the end of her speech, Bettison-Varga promised, "I'm going to work for you 24/7." Bettison-Varga's passion for Scripps and liberal arts education permeated her speech. Bettison-Varga spoke enthusiastically about her and her family's decision to take up residence in the Revelle House. As Bettison-Varga put it, "we come as a packaged deal." Her husband and two kids (she has three children, but her eldest is a freshman at the University of Puget Sound), mother (Scripps class of 1954) and 100-lb yellow lab will "descend on the Revelle House." Bettison-Varga was met with loud applause and a standing ovation from the audience.  SAS President-elect Anna Salem ('10) presented Bettison-Varga with a basket of Scripps goodies, including the requisite stuffed squirrel.  As she presented the ample basket, Salem said to Bettison-Varga, "from one president-elect to another." Everyone at the brunch expressed excitement over the selection of Bettison-Varga.  Assistant to the president Linda Scott said, "It's been a long process, but I'm so very happy with the outcome. I'm looking forward to working with her." Judy Harvey-Sahak ('64), the Sally Preston Swan Librarian at Denison Library and the Assistant Director of the Libraries at the Claremont Colleges, exuded, "I am thrilled! I am thrilled." Many students attended the brunch and introduced themselves to Bettison-Varga.  Mirabelle Korn ('12) said, "It's really cool that so many people came out to meet her." Bettison-Varga mentioned how excited she is to begin interacting with students. Lara Colvin ('09) attended the brunch and noted, "she is really passionate about Scripps, and she'll convey that passion when fundraising."  Colvin added, "A lot of my friends are excited about her background as a geologist." Bettison-Varga will become Scripps' official president on July 1, 2009.  She ended her speech by saying that she is privileged to serve the Scripps community and eager to get started. After a two-year search period, it is safe to say the Scripps community will welcome the excitement and stability that Bettison-Varga promises to bring to campus.