Scripps College inaugurated Lori Bettison-Varga as its eighth president on Mar. 27, officially replacing Frederick “Fritz” Wells after his two-year term ended last June.
Before coming to Scripps, Bettison-Varga spent 15 years at The College of Wooster, served as director of the Keck Geology Consortium, and was provost and Dean of Faculty at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash. She also had connections with the Claremont community prior to her inauguration—her first academic appointment was as a visiting assistant professor of geology at Pomona College, and her mother graduated from Scripps in 1954.
Current students, faculty, alumni, and delegates from institutions of higher learning attended the inauguration ceremony. Scripps held inaugural events throughout the weekend, including performances, academic showcases, and a celebration dinner dance.
Throughout the year, Scripps has promoted the inauguration’s theme—“Genius of Women”—by bringing guest speakers to campus to discuss the meaning of “genius,” particularly in relation to women and women’s colleges.
During her acceptance speech, Bettison-Varga expressed her gratitude for being welcomed into the Scripps College community and commended the school’s academic history.
“Our curriculum has been designed to encourage Scripps students to create, to take risks, and to define who they are and what they value,” she said.
Shortly after the president’s inauguration, Scripps Professor Amy Marcus-Newhall was named Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at Scripps College. She will begin her three-year term on Jul. 1, replacing interim Vice President Michael Deane Lamkin, who has served since 2007.
Marcus-Newhall teaches in Scripps’s Psychology Department, and has received a variety of honors throughout her academic career. She has been a member of Scripps’ faculty since 1992 and is a nine-time winner of the Mary Wig Johnson Faculty Excellence Award for her contributions to the college.
“President Bettison-Varga is high energy, enthusiastic, passionate about Scripps and, of course, a genius herself,” Scripps Dean of Students Debra Wood said. “Everyone is thrilled to have her leading the college. The same things can all be said about Professor Marcus-Newhall. I have been encouraging her for years to assume a leadership position. My respect and admiration for her are immense.”