By Emily Diamond '20
On Friday Sept. 9, students and faculty gathered on Elm Tree lawn to welcome the ninth President of Scripps College, Dr. Larissa Tiedens. With an array of delicious food to eat — including curried lamb with naan, thai chicken curry with jasmine basil rice, and a dessert bar — Tiedens introduced herself and expressed her desire to meet everyone at Scripps.
After her short introduction, attendees chatted with Tiedens and expressed their excitement for the future.
Amy Marcus-Newhall, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty as well as Interim President last year, believes Tiedens is perfect for the position.
“Her energy, intellect, flexibility, ability to be a strategic thinker, and commitment to women’s colleges is incredible,” Newhall said. “She has been integrating into the Scripps community as opposed to bringing in her own policies, which I and many others appreciate.”
“I am really excited about her vision,” Binti Harvey, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, said. “She is a person that simultaneously looks at the short-term and the long-term. To hear her talk about her desire and her thinking about Scripps 10 years from now when it turns 100 is a really exciting conversation to have and I see the energy that it’s bringing to campus.”
In addition to faculty, numerous students — many of whom are sophomore peer mentors — were in attendance.
“We haven’t seen what a long-term president is like,” Grace Ozonoff-Richey ‘19 said. “We are really looking forward to seeing how having a long-term President will add to the Scripps community and our experience...we’re psyched for that.”
Although many of the students have only known Tiedens for a short period of time, they already see her positive qualities. “She seems like she is open to discussion,” Grace Breckenridge ‘19 said.
“She is pretty available which I think is pretty important for a leader to be,” Nma Mbeledogu ‘19 said. “I hope she incorporates that in whatever she is supposed to do and continues to be as accessible to the community of students and faculty.”
Many described Tiedens’ smooth transition into the Scripps community. “She has seamlessly entered in and has already started to be involved, make changes, and work with the community. I think we are better off already and we will be much better off continuing forward,” Newhall said.
“Whenever you move jobs, your family, and home, it’s going to be an intense thing and this is a big and complex job,” Tiedens said. “People always talk about drinking from the fire hose. And it’s that. It has been a huge amount of information coming at me. But I knew it would be like that and I was prepared and ready to do that.”
Tiedens described the event as “lovely,” noting the beautiful weather and delicious food. “This setting is quick,” she said. “I only get to talk to people for a short amount of time; I’m looking forward to having longer conversations in the future. This is a great way to meet lots of people and have that festive welcoming feeling.”
Students also pointed out the food.
“This events reminds me that at Scripps, you’ll never be hungry or let down,” Aisha Syke ‘20 said. “The president has our backs and our stomachs.”
More important to some than the food, however, was welcoming Tiedens.
“I’m most looking forward to being part of this community,” Tiedens said. “With fresh eyes, I’m so aware of what a special place this is. I think people know but it’s just a little treasure here. To get to be part of it is wonderful but it’s even more exciting if I can do something good for such a good place.”