Welcome to Scripps, Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga!
Scripps College Board of Trustees has unanimously elected Lori Bettison-Varga president of Scripps College, effective July 1, 2009. A nationally known proponent of liberal arts undergraduate research, Bettison-Varga is currently provost and dean of the faculty at Whitman College, in Walla Walla, Wash. Her first faculty position was visiting assistant professor of geology at Pomona College, in 1990-92. She spent the next 15 years at the College of Wooster, in Ohio, as a professor and chair of the geology department.
“Scripps is thrilled that Professor Lori Bettison-Varga will be our next president,” said Board Chair Roxanne M. Wilson ’76, after a unanimous vote by the Board of Trustees on March 28. “Beyond being a national educational leader of exceptional range and personal warmth, she has ties to Scripps and Claremont, and we are delighted and proud to welcome her ‘home.'”
Bettison-Varga’s mother is Barbara Yunker Bettison ’54 and her cousin is Susan Yunker Armstrong ’66. She has a PhD and MS in geology from the University of California, Davis, and a BA in geology, with honors, from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
On Sunday, March 29, Bettison-Varga came to Scripps with her husband, fellow geologist Robert Varga, and two of their three children to view the campus and tour their future home — and on a day when it was snowing in Walla Walla, it turned sunny in Claremont and the scent of orange blossoms permeated the air. The new family will occupy Revelle House, and Alumnae Relations, which has occupied the space since 1999, will relocate to an appropriate place on Scripps’ historic campus.
Bettison-Varga succeeds Frederick “Fritz” Weis, who completes a two-year term as president in June. “Scripps excels in liberal arts education, and so does Lori Bettison-Varga,” Weis said of his successor. Scripps’ new president will hold the title of the W.M. Keck Foundation Presidential Chair, established in 1980.
At a dinner for trustees and members of the search committee Sunday night in Margaret Fowler Garden, Bettison-Varga said she was “deeply honored” to be selected as Scripps’ 8th president.
She added: “I must tell you that I feel I have come home. I feel a deep bond to Scripps, going back to my childhood, but, more importantly, a bond related to my life’s work, which has been dedicated to fulfilling the principles of a liberal arts education. Our mission is to develop in students a lifelong love of learning and the capacity for transformational leadership. Indeed, Scripps is the embodiment of all that I value in a liberal arts education…. We have an immensely compelling story — a legacy — rich with history, steeped in the beauty and serenity of this historic campus, and marked by a unique curriculum that empowers a new generation of women leaders. It is a story exemplified by the accomplishments of Scripps alumnae around the world who give of themselves with confidence, courage, and hope.
“It will be a privilege to serve the Scripps community, and I cannot wait to get started!”
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