Dr. Philip A. Glotzbach
President of Skidmore College
Philip A. Glotzbach became the seventh President of Skidmore College on July 1, 2003. A philosopher, academic administrator, and spokesperson on issues of higher education, he joined the College following eleven years at the University of Redlands in southern California
Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,
I am pleased to announce Skidmore's 107th Commencement Exercises to be held on Saturday, May 19th, at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. We are very proud to announce that at this year's Commencement ceremony, Skidmore will confer honorary degrees upon two extraordinary individuals:
Alison Bechdel is an acclaimed author, cartoonist, MacArthur fellow and Tony Award winner who has been widely recognized for her outstanding contributions to the comic art form.
Bechdel came to critical and commercial success in 2006 with her New York Timesbest-selling memoir Fun Home, which was adapted for Broadway, and is now a highly successful award-winning musical appearing in New York City, London, and locally, at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady.
Robert S. D. Higgins is the Johns Hopkins Hospital's surgeon-in-chief, the William Stewart Halsted Professor of Surgery and the director of the Department of Surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Higgins is a world-renowned authority in the field of heart and lung transplantation and in coronary artery bypass surgery. His scientific interests include the mechanisms of cell injury in failing hearts, health economics and policy, racial disparities in post-transplant outcomes, access to care and improving outcomes among heart failure and cardiac surgery patients.
Following a Skidmore tradition, a faculty member selected by the graduates will speak as well. I am pleased to announce that Christopher B. Mann, assistant professor of political science, has been chosen for this distinct honor. Mann's academic research focuses on aspects of elections, campaigns and voting, and his courses include Campaigns and Elections, Politics and News Media, and Election Research, among others.
In addition to his work at Skidmore, Mann serves as Advisory Board member at the MIT Election Data and Science Laboratory.
To Members of the Skidmore Community,
For the second time in this academic year, the Skidmore community has been directly affected by a senseless act of violence. With great sadness, I must inform you that Jaime Guttenberg, the daughter of Frederic Guttenberg '88, was among those killed in the mass shooting that occurred on Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Our hearts go out to Jaime's parents and to all those whose lives have been touched by this tragedy. There really are no words to lessen the suffering that the families of victims are feeling at this moment, but perhaps knowing that we stand with them can provide some small measure of solace.
Unfortunately, the frequency of mass-casualty events in the United States has been increasing in recent years. This issue is both political and cultural, and as citizens we have an obligation to inform ourselves about both dimensions of this national problem. The national debate about solutions to this epidemic will continue, and as a national liberal arts college, Skidmore also has an obligation to help our students understand this complex issue.
Our nation currently confronts many serious challenges. As we acknowledge these challenges, let us do all we can to preserve our spirit of optimism—the necessary condition for taking actions that can lead to positive change. News of tragic and senseless events such as the Parkland shooting can wear down even the most determined sense of hope. But let us reflect, first, upon the strength and resilience of the Skidmore community, and may we never pull back from the ongoing hard work to make our own community a model for others. Then let us always remember that our nation has exhibited those same qualities of strength and resilience countless times in our history. Let our elected political leaders hear your thoughts, and encourage them to find the courage to take effective action. In short, we must be relentless in our determination to persist in shaping our world in accordance with our highest values.
Above all, we send our love, thoughts, and prayers to the family and friends of Jaime Guttenberg.
I am delighted to welcome students, faculty and staff back to campus. I hope you had a restful, enjoyable and, in some cases, productive holiday season and winter break.
The fall semester was, indeed, a dynamic time for Skidmore.
We celebrated the public launch of Creating Our Future: The Campaign for Skidmore, an ambitious effort to raise $200 million by 2020 to fund the initiatives that will transform Skidmore's future. The Campaign currently stands at $151.1 million.
A key priority of Creating Our Future is the construction of the Center for Integrated Sciences (CIS), the largest and most ambitious building project in Skidmore’s history. The Center will eventually house all our departments and programs in the physical and life sciences, and its innovative design will foster collaboration across these and other disciplines, transforming teaching and research at Skidmore. It truly will benefit the entire campus.
I am pleased to report that plans for construction of CIS are underway. The permitting process for the first phase is nearly complete and the bidding process has begun. We expect to award the project contract in the weeks ahead. Construction will begin in late spring.
We hosted special guest speakers including psychologist, author, and expert on race relations Beverly Daniel Tatum, renowned singer-songwriter Paul Simon, and leading journalist and author David Brooks, as part of the Office of the President's Community Dialogue Series.
Our faculty, regarded as true mentors by our students, were celebrated widely for their pedagogy and research and often quoted as experts in their fields among national and regional media outlets.
We completed three major searches for cabinet positions, welcoming Sean P. Campbell as Collyer vice president for advancement and Martin A. Mbugua as vice president for communications and marketing; and we look forward to welcoming Michael T. Orr as dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs in July. Crystal Dea Moore, associate dean of the faculty and professor of social work, is serving as interim dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs. Pat Fehling, professor of health and human physiological sciences, has begun serving as interim associate dean.
I wish you all the best as we launch into a promising new spring semester.