January 28, 2019
Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,
I hope the first weeks of 2019 have been productive. Between semesters, we received important news on a number of fronts and I am writing to bring your attention to three salient items.
Every 10 years, colleges and universities must undergo a process of reaccreditation. Connecticut College prepared a self-study for the New England Commission on Higher Education in 2017. An evaluation team for the Commission came to campus last spring and filed a report in the summer. Later in the fall, I met with the Commission as a final step. And I am pleased to report that, at the end of December, we received a very positive letter confirming that Connecticut College has been reaccredited once again.
The Commission praised the College’s “outstanding Board of Trustees, leadership, faculty, staff, and students” and described this collective strength, along with the campus’s “devotion to building on a century-long tradition of excellence,” as “tremendous assets.” The Commission also expressed admiration for our strategic plan, Building on Strength, and the College’s goal to become a leader in integrative education. They saw Connections as an impressive accomplishment toward that goal, with its innovative approach to general education. Noting the College’s “rich history of continually adapting to change,” along with “the dedication of our campus community,” they commended our mission “to put the liberal arts into action in new and vibrant ways.” You may read the whole letter here. It was extremely gratifying feedback, and I am thankful to every one of you who helped us reach this favorable outcome.
We will be required, per Commission policy, to submit an interim report in 2023. The focus for that report will be on our success in assessing the learning outcomes of Connections and in achieving our multi-year financial goals in support of Building on Strength.
One of our strategic goals in Building on Strength is full participation: empowering an increasingly diverse community of students, faculty, and staff to thrive in their work and contribute to the flourishing of others. To that end, I wanted to let you know that Connecticut College has recently been invited to join the American Talent Initiative (ATI). ATI is a coalition of educational leaders with a mission to expand access and opportunity to high-achieving, low-income students from across the United States, as well as a vision to enroll and graduate 50,000 such students from top colleges and universities by the year 2025. We are proud to be entering into a partnership with over 100 committed institutions of higher education developing our future leaders.
Speaking of future leaders, the 2018-19 academic year marks the 10th anniversary of our relationship with the Posse Foundation and of the arrival of our very first Posse from Chicago. By the end of this academic year, seven cohorts and nearly 70 Posse scholars will have received their bachelor of arts degrees from Connecticut College. As we approach this milestone, we are proud to announce that, with the support of a generous alumnus, John Zeiler ’74, Connecticut College will be bringing yet another Posse to campus—this time from New York City—for the fall of 2020. Deborah Bial, president and founder of the Posse Foundation, told us she is thrilled to see our partnership expand in this way. We are thrilled, too. I want to thank all of the wonderful faculty mentors over the last 10 years and all the staff in the office of the Dean of the College, especially Dean Jefferson Singer and Associate Dean Marina Melendez, for their part in enabling the ongoing success of these exceptional students.
The gift to launch the New York Posse is but one of many generous gifts received this academic year, and I want to end with a word about fundraising. In December, just as the semester was ending, we learned the extraordinary news that Emerita Trustee Judith Ammerman Brielmaier ’60 had pledged an additional $2 million to support the growing program at the Center that bears her name: the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology. I know you will want to join me in thanking Judith for her ongoing commitment to this formative center for interdisciplinary scholarship on our campus.
New gifts and commitments for this fiscal year have already exceeded $14 million, bringing the total raised to date in our comprehensive campaign to $93 million. We are deeply grateful to all of our loyal supporters for their confidence and commitment.