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Message from the president: “Grasp opportunities to create the future”
Those are the words of a fortune cookie I just opened —honest! Our stash of fortune cookies is a souvenir of the informal dinners my husband, Gary, and I have given this fall for Skidmore’s class officers. They’ve been lively dinners with clusters of wonderful, thoughtful campus citizens, covering topics like college traditions, curriculum philosophy, ideas for honorary degree recipients for Commencement, and, in every case, the exceptional architecture, exhibits, and effect on the college of the Tang Museum.
As for that fortune cookie, I’m happy to report that Skidmore and I are following its advice right now. Through our strategic planning process, the entire Skidmore community is coming to understand how to sustain our accomplishments and to grasp our most promising opportunities to create the future.
I’m particularly impressed and pleased by the level of engagement in the first stage of planning:
- I’ve led roundtables of alumni, parents, and trustees in New York City, Boston, Washington, and Saratoga Springs. In addition, faculty, students, staff, trustees, and local leaders have participated in a total of thirty roundtables conducted by campus volunteers.
- More than 1,000 people, from every era and in every imaginable relationship to the college, have responded to our questionnaire, either by using our planning Web site or sending “snail mail.”
- We’ve had a lively exchange of handwritten commentary on the “planning walls”—large question-and-answer sheets posted in several public spaces around campus.
The thoughtfulness of the comments we’ve collected is a tribute to the wisdom, imagination, and devotion of the people connected with Skidmore. Many of you took time to really think about what your education has meant to you and what we need to do to provide a valuable foundation to students preparing for their own journeys through life. Your insights about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Skidmore represent a wealth of experience from every generation, region, profession, discipline, and viewpoint.
The inevitable variety of the comments is a source of great energy. These perspectives and suggestions will help us gain a fully rounded picture of Skidmore and our core values. By grappling with competing visions and the many creative ideas for building on our history and strengths, we will articulate our shared purpose and identify the best ways to enhance the “Skidmore magic.” I am assured—indeed, exhilarated—by the widespread commitment to this process and ultimately to Skidmore’s continued excellence, intellectual and human diversity, and sense of community. That commitment represents one of our most valuable assets.