Scholar to Practitioner

Leslie Lassiter '77

In 1977, when Leslie Lassiter ’77 was writing her senior thesis on the financial condition of Scripps College, she never imagined that two decades later she would serve on the College’s board of trustees.

“Scripps is much better off today,” Lassiter says, laughing. “Back then it was a really tough time for academic institutions because of inflation.”

Like Scripps, Lassiter has prospered over the past few decades. After majoring in economics and serving as president of the Student Investment Fund, she earned an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Today, she is market manager at J.P. Morgan in Los Angeles, where she works closely with wealthy individuals. Lassiter says her humanities background helps her build relationships with her clients.

“A large part of my role is to help them understand what they’re trying to accomplish with their wealth,” Lassiter says. “Do they want to pass it on to their children? Do they want to give it to charity? Do they want to travel the world? That’s where the humanities help. I get to sit across from these people — sometimes famous people — and ask them the most interesting questions ever: What motivates you? How did you make your money?”

After being appointed a Scripps trustee in 2000, Lassiter quickly learned how much responsibility the position entailed. Many people assume that trustees receive a salary. Lassiter is quick to point out that not only do they work for free, but they are expected to continue giving significant donations to the College. However, she sees her service as an obligation to the school that gave her so much.

“It’s a way to connect with Scripps,” Lassiter says. “And it’s a way to repay them for the great education I received there.”


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