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Message from the president: Skidmore wants you!— to help plan its future
For me, freshman orientation was indelibly marked by the strains of the Beatles’ “Hey, Jude,” and sophomore year by an unforgettable tutorial about the history of higher education in America. I thought of these powerful memories this September as I welcomed the class of 2004 and their parents and encouraged them to engage enthusiastically in the life of the mind and the life of the college.
This year the life of the college will be marked by an institution-wide strategic planning process and the launch of the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery.
I invite and indeed urge you very sincerely to participate in both.
This is a logical time for Skidmore to embark on a new round of self-analysis and priority-setting. It has been some 12 years since our last major planning exercise, undertaken through the Commission on the ’90s, and the college has made great strides toward achieving the objectives set forth then.
Today Skidmore has, obviously, a new president (although a president, like a car, really stops being new as soon as she drives off the lot). It stands on the brink of major milestones: the centennial in 2003 of the founding of the Young Women’s Industrial Club and in 2011 of the establishment of Skidmore School of Arts. It enjoys a position of strength in admissions and faculty recruiting, academic program quality, and alumni and foundation support, thanks to the untiring work of present and past faculty, staff, alumni, leaders, and friends of the college. Finally, as always, Skidmore has more excellent ideas and worthy goals than our resources can successfully sustain, so it is time to revisit our mission, focus our directions, and chart our course for the future, using the energy of our momentum and confidence to propel our thinking.
The essence of the process is the engagement of the entire Skidmore community: students, faculty, and staff on campus and also graduates, parents, trustees, and friends. Your perspectives and recommendations are essential to understanding Skidmore, our needs and strengths, our options, our future.
We will use the fall semester to hear from all of our constituencies, to listen to each other, and to assemble ideas and information for distillation during the winter. We invite the extended Skidmore family to participate in this listening and information-gathering phase of the planning process. A visit to www.skidmore.edu/planning is a convenient way to get involved, tell us your thoughts, and “hear” the lively conversation getting under way. You may also call the president’s office at 518-580-5700.
And then, of course, the Tang. In a sense, the dream of a museum for Skidmore has been in the works since the 1920s. On the other hand, it has been a record 17 months from groundbreaking to the very first classes taught in this superb new facility. The Tang not only embodies Skidmore’s strong commitment to interdisciplinary teaching, learning, and vision, but will also reinforce Skidmore’s visibility as a pioneer on the national educational and arts scenes; serve as an intellectual, social, and human crossroads for Skidmore and the region; and offer one more exciting way for students and faculty to collaborate in creation and understanding. Finally, the Tang gives you another great reason to come to campus, to enjoy the exhibits as well as the sheer architectural genius of the building itself, to see students and faculty in action there and all across the campus, and to revel once again in the magic of Skidmore.
I’m eager to work with you through the strategic planning process to shape the Skidmore of tomorrow, and to welcome you to the Tang Museum. What a wonderful time to be part of the Skidmore community!