By Vritti Goel '12, Co-Editor in Chief While President Lori Bettison-Varga is obviously seen about campus regularly, catching glimpses of her family is rarer. She attributes this to the phenomenon of living on a predominantly-female campus, a decision that set President Bettison-Varga from the moment she accepted the position as President in 2009. It hasn’t been difficult to live on campus, however, she explains. Not only is the commute to work extremely short, but the president has also had a chance to intimately get to know the community she works with every day.
“We don’t get bothered by much of the noise over the weekends, but we do get people coming up and ringing our doorbell. It can get a little bothersome, especially in the middle of the night.” She bursts out laughing while retelling the story of this year’s April Fools joke played on her family, over cupcakes from Some Crust with the staff of The Scripps Voice. A group of students managed to wrestle the paper mache “Viva la Vulva” statue from the Student Union and onto the doorstep of the Revelle House, much to the horror and amusement of the entire First Family. Still, this hasn’t deterred youngest daughter Lexie from skateboarding around the campus with her friends, or middle son Will, a freshman at Chapman University, from walking family dog Kio in the evenings. President Bettison-Varga’s husband, Dr. Robert Varga, spends time at the 5Cs as a senior scholar of geology at Pomona and director of the Keck Geology Consortium, which President Bettison-Varga directed from 2004 to 2007. The president’s oldest son, College of Wooster senior Matt, frequently visits home to spend time on the beautiful campus as well. However, it is Lexie who spends the most time on campus.
According to Lexie, who recently celebrated her 14th birthday at Disneyland, which the family visits once a month, the beauty of the Scripps campus is her favorite aspect. She loves Scripps so much that she even has plans to attend it, one day. Her mother chimes in, “I tell her she needs to start her non-profit now, to stand out. Soon, just being my daughter won’t be enough to get into Scripps, looking at all the amazing things our students do!”
But Lexie isn’t without her talents. She dreams of becoming a forensic anthropologist (like Bones) and wants to bring more publicity to Scripps. She wants to start a program to increase the awareness of science amongst 5th and 6th graders. She’s not all serious about science, however. She proudly explains her recent history project, a good-sized realistic model of a grist mill. Much to the disappointment of those present, however, she cannot show off her penchant for nail art. Previous designs have included the British flag and Pascal from Tangled.
When asked whether she misses teaching, she is quick to reply. “I do miss teaching. I don’t miss being a geologist, though! I miss being with students and seeing the light go on in their eyes when they’ve connected something. But I don’t miss the grading.” As a former faculty member, however, she felt she could make a bigger difference as an administrator.
One of these factors is fit. It is something President Bettison-Varga is familiar with. Her younger son Will’s college hunt resulted in his current location at Chapman University. “It’s not too big or too small for him, and it’s not too close to home, either.”
Her role as a college parent is not new to her, either. She has enjoyed visiting oldest son Matt in college— who is currently working on his senior thesis in chemistry and will attend graduate school at the University of Arizona next fall—and laments the recent slip-up with Chapman University. “It doesn’t seem like we’re on the mailing list for Chapman, because we missed Parents’ Weekend!” She is relieved that she is on the mailing list of the College of Wooster, however, especially with Matt’s impending graduation. “I’m excited, but this time I’ll have to fight for a seat along with all the other parents! I’ve always had a seat set aside for me, as faculty and then as administrator. Now I get to experience graduation from the families’ points of view.”
With the graduation of the Scripps Class of 2012, President Bettison-Varga is equally excited. “The sched- ule of events in past years hasn’t been ideal, but this year we’re trying something new, with the dinner-dance happening after graduation instead of before.” This new setup can, in part, be attributed to President Bettison-Varga’s request to move the graduation ceremony so she could attend her son’s graduation as well as Scripps’ events. However, she adds, the new setup also relieves the burden on staff and administrators. So what can Scripps seniors look forward to with this year’s gradua
tion events? “It’ll be fun!”