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Skidmore College
 Skidmore College Student Handbook

Letter from the President

Dear Students of Skidmore College,

I send you my greetings and heartfelt welcome to Skidmore.  Whether you are a new student just arriving at our College, or a returning student eager to resume your Skidmore experience, know that I am so happy you are part of our community. Skidmore is a special place with a noble history and mission, and you are a crucial part of that mission.

This year at Skidmore, as throughout the nation and the world, will be unique.  The global COVID-19 pandemic, and the tragic instances of racial injustice in America, will make this a particularly challenging year for all.  Now more than ever, the principles of a liberal arts education are necessary to help us heal and build the future out of the troublesome present.

Skidmore has its origins in the goal of providing a life-changing education to those who did not have such options readily available to them.  I am very proud of that founding, and today Skidmore continues to strive to make its unique liberal arts education available to all students from a diverse array of backgrounds and identities.  Our community, like our curriculum, is multiple and wide-ranging, and each day we renew our commitment to a diverse, welcoming, and inclusive campus for all.  I invite you to lend your efforts to that inspiring goal.

You know our motto well: “Creative Thought Matters.”  Never has that been more true than today.  The wicked problems and challenging issues that the pandemic has unleashed around the world require creative and critical thought, team-building and collaborative skills, the insights gained from the arts combined with the evidence-based approaches of the sciences.  The Skidmore commitment to “the hand and mind” embodies these multiple approaches and skills in a liberal arts education that truly prepares students for the 21st century.

Everyone at Skidmore has a teaching role, from our administrators to our staff to of course our faculty and also to our students.  I urge you to take your own role as a teacher and learner very seriously.  Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the fine arts and performing arts here.  Engage in how the multiple disciplines speak to each other, inform one another, and help us understand the interconnectedness of the world.  Seek out student clubs, organizations, and sports that call to your passions and that can provoke new interests as you discern the causes and activities that most speak to your heart, mind, and body.  Explore the remarkable beauty of the Adirondack region, home of mountains, valleys, and streams; and the splendor and charm of Saratoga Springs, with its many shops, restaurants, and bookstores.  You’ve come to a remarkable place in the world, and part of your four years at Skidmore will be the exploration of its beauty and opportunity.

A major part of your Skidmore experience will be your interactions with the splendid Skidmore faculty.  These gifted teacher-scholars come to Skidmore because they are committed to our teaching mission and to sharing their knowledge and expertise with bright students who are eager to learn.  They perform cutting-edge research; they author scholarly books, novels, poetry, and commentaries; they create and interpret data sets that change the way we view human society and behavior; they create lasting works of art; and they contribute to the national and global conversations about the advancement of human knowledge.  The passion and knowledge they bring to their work will inspire you in your own explorations at Skidmore.

The Skidmore staff are similarly dedicated to supporting your learning path in every way.   They are here to help you explore the many options and avenues that the college experience affords.  They are here to accompany you in your engagement with the community, your commitment to causes, and your participation in college life.  And they are here to support you when the going gets tough, as it does for us all, and to strengthen your character and resolve so you are able to face tough challenges and learn and grow from the experiences.

Finally, and of great importance, you will get to know one another—your fellow students at Skidmore, many of whom will become the most important and enduring friends and relationships of your life.  A dazzling array of different individuals make up a student body, but they share many things in common—as John F. Kennedy once remarked, “what unites us is greater than what divides us.”  I urge you to open yourself to the array of new experiences and relationships that college provides.  Reach out with welcome to people whose experiences may have been different from your own, and learn from them as they will learn from you.  Take care of one another.  Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.  Bring empathy and acceptance to your relationships with others, and give to all the respect that you would seek also for yourself.  For it is not merely formal education or “book knowledge” we seek at Skidmore College—to quote Martin Luther King, Jr. (a lifelong advocate of education), “Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”

My wife, Barbara Reyes-Conner, and I are so eager to get to know you and to share your Skidmore experiences.  We look forward to meeting you on campus, at sporting events, at artistic performances, at lectures and readings and symposia, and just hanging out here and there in the dining hall and on campus.  Most of all, we will welcome the chance to know you as remarkable individuals and valued members of our Skidmore family.  College is an amazing time of life, filled with intense joys but also with profound challenges.  I urge you to embrace them all in each and every day of your time at Skidmore.  As Mother Theresa wisely instructs us, “Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow has not yet come.  We have only today.  Let us begin.”

Marc C. Conner

President, Skidmore College