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Scripps College
Scripps College Logo
Motto Incipit Vita Nova ("Here Begins New Life")
Established 1926
Type Private
President Lori Bettison-Varga
Faculty 95
Students 899
Undergraduates 878
Postgraduates 21
Location Claremont, CA, USA
Campus Suburban, 30 acres (0.12 km²)
Endowment $212.4 million[1]
Colors Scripps Green (sage green) and White
Mascot La Semeuse ("she who sows")

Scripps College is a liberal arts women's college in Claremont, California, United States. It is a member of the Claremont Colleges.



Scripps was founded in 1926 by Ellen Browning Scripps, who believed that "The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully."[2] The motto of the college is "Incipit Vita Nova" ("Here Begins New Life") from Dante's New Life.[3]



The Claremont Colleges

Scripps is a member of the Claremont Colleges, and much of student life revolves around the five colleges, or "5C's." Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Pomona College, Pitzer College and Harvey Mudd College not only interact socially, but also share dining halls, libraries, and other facilities spread throughout the bordering campuses. All five colleges are part of the Claremont University Consortium.

Any student attending Scripps can enroll in up to 2/3 of their classes at the other four colleges, and can also major at any of the other four, so long as the student's requested major is not offered at Scripps. This is the general academic policy at all five schools, and is meant to give students the resources of a larger university while still maintaining the qualities of a small, liberal-arts college.

Rank & Curriculum

Scripps ranks 3rd in terms of the nation's top women's colleges, tying with Mount Holyoke and Bryn Mawr College at 25th on the list for top liberal arts colleges in the United States by U.S. News & World Report in 2009.[4]

University rankings (overall)

Forbes[5] 139
USNWR Liberal Arts[6] 25
WM Liberal Arts[7] 146

Academics are focused on interdisciplinary humanistic studies, combined with rigorous training in the disciplines. General requirements include classes in fine arts, letters, natural sciences, social sciences, foreign language, women's/gender studies and race/ethnic studies. Scripps also requires first-year students to take a writing course. Each graduating student must complete a senior thesis or project. It shares several academic programs with other members of the Claremont Consortium, including the Joint Science Department and the Joint Music Department.

A key part of the Scripps experience is the Core curriculum, a sequence of three classes that encourage students to think critically and challenge ideas. Every first-year student takes Core I in the fall, which introduces students to major ideas that shape the modern world. Core II seminars focus on specific ideas introduced in Core I and are team-taught by two professors in different fields, such as physics and art. The concluding Core III classes encourage discussion and critical thinking for first-semester sophomores, culminating in individual projects.

Newsweek-Kaplan picked 25 colleges as “the places that everyone’s talking about for 2006.” Among them, Scripps was named the “Hottest Women’s College”. Newsweek heralded Scripps’ academic strengths as well as its physical location and campus amenities.


A view of the tree-filled Balch Hall courtyard at Scripps College

The 30-acre (120,000 m2) campus, designed by the pioneering architect Gordon Kaufmann in the Spanish Colonial Revival Style architecture he was known for, is on the National Register of Historic Places.[8] Scripps College is also known for its handsome landscaping designed by Edward Huntsman-Trout. Sumner Hunt designed Janet Jacks Balch Hall.[9]

In addition to the rigor of its academics, Scripps is noted for the beauty of its campus.[10] A rose garden[11] between Toll and Browning Halls is designated for student cutting, and many women keep fresh-cut roses in their rooms. Fruit trees abound on the campus, and include orange (lining most paths near the residence halls), grapefruit (especially near the Claremont McKenna College campus), pomegranate (in the courtyards of Clark Hall and outside Dorsey Hall), kumquat (in Olive Court and outside the administration offices of Balch Hall), and loquat (in front of Toll Hall). Olive trees are found throughout the entire campus, particularly in Humanities courtyard. Some strawberry plants can also be found in the Rose Garden. Scents of orange blossoms and wisteria perfume the campus in the early spring. Elm Tree Lawn,[12] located near Revelle House (once again the President's House, after containing the offices of the Alumnae Association for several years), has long been the site of Commencement ceremonies.

Several facilities are shared by the members of the Claremont Consortium including Honnold/Mudd Library and the Keck Science Center.

Central to the Scripps campus is the student-run coffeeshop, the Motley Coffeehouse (commonly called "The Motley"). Located in Seal Court near the mailroom and Malott Commons dining hall, the Motley is a socially- and environmentally-conscious business that provides students with a venue for events and concerts as well providing space to study, hang out, and drink fair trade espresso. The Motley prides itself on being the only all-women, undergraduate, student-run coffeehouse "west of the Mississippi."[1]

Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery

Scripps College is also the home of the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery,[13] which maintains Scripps College's permanent art collection of some 7500 objects spanning 3000 years of art history. [2] Objects are available for use in classes, displayed in campus exhibitions, and loaned to other exhibiting institutions. Among the holdings in the collection are works by American artists Winslow Homer, Childe Hassam, and John James Audubon, and an extensive collection of paintings by the California artist and Scripps Professor Emeritus Millard Sheets.

Margaret Fowler Garden

A view of the central pool, northern arcade and sculpture in the Margaret Fowler Garden at Scripps College.

Originally designed as a European medieval-style cloister garden to be located east of a proposed (but never built) chapel, the Margaret Fowler Garden is a walled garden located on the Scripps College Campus. The garden is laid out in two distinct sections: the western area contains the sculpture "Eternal Primitive", a central pool and four walkways extending in the cardinal directions. The eastern end has a Mediterranean style tiled wall fountain and open flagstone area. Arcades run along the north and south sides of the garden.

On the south wall of the Margaret Fowler Garden are murals by Alfredo Ramos Martínez. The College commissioned Martinez in 1946 to paint a mural (entitled "The Flower Vendors" by Martínez) on the south wall of the Fowler garden. Martínez sketched in the entire composition on the plaster wall, then began work on several panels. Unexpectedly, he became ill and died on November 8, 1946 at the age of 72, leaving the mural unfinished. In 1994, a grant from the Getty Endowment allowed the mural to be conserved. [14]

Residential Life

Most Scripps students live in one of the nine residence halls or apartments:

Year levels are mixed in each dorm, with first-year through senior students living side-by-side. However, the present-day hall draw system[15] (which is based on the year a student entered college) has contributed to older students congregating in what are widely considered more desirable locations (usually based on aesthetics and room sizes, among other factors), such as Dorsey, Browning and Jungels-Winkler Halls. All of the residence halls have courtyards and fountains, as well as reading rooms, television rooms, kitchens, and living rooms. Many of the rooms have balconies.

In 2006, The Princeton Review included Scripps in several of their rankings, such as "Dorms Like Palaces" (#4), "Most Beautiful Campus" (#17), and "Best Campus Food" (#19). [3]

Environmental Sustainability

Scripps College has several sustainability initiatives underway, from energy conservation to green building practices. On the conservation front, the college has seen monetary and energy savings through use of a new energy management system, and has designed water systems to cut down on waste. Turning "Alumnae Field" into a natural surface also helped in efforts to conserve water. Scripps has also downsized trash bins and made "to-go" containers recyclable, in order to divert more waste from landfills. On the emissions reductions front, maintenance staff use electric blowers and carts (as opposed to gas powered equipment), while a ride-sharing program is available for students, faculty and staff.[16]

For its practices regarding sustainability, Scripps earned a D+ on the College Sustainability Report Card 2009, published by the Sustainable Endowments Institute. This grade reflects a quantitative analysis of how effective the institute's initiatives have been. The college received positive recognition for their exploration of the possibility of investing in renewable energy, but fared particularly badly on evaluation categories of shareholder engagement and endowment transparency.[17]

Traditions and Lore

  • Scripps has its own font ("Goudy Scripps" or "Scripps College Old Style")[18] and a printing press,[19] as well as its own color ("Scripps Green"), a sage green that is used liberally across the campus, from doors in the residence halls, to the velvet seats in Boone Recital Hall, to the caps and gowns worn at Commencement. The color was chosen to be reminiscent of the sagebrush originally covering the ground upon which the campus was built. Goudy Scripps font is often seen in Denison Library,[20] though is seldom used in college publications.
  • There are only two times a Scripps student may pass through the wooden front doors of Denison Library: during Matriculation, in which first-year students enter the doors and sign a handmade book, symbolically entering the college; and during Commencement, as graduating seniors exit the doors before the start of the Commencement ceremony.
  • In the late fifties and early sixties, following the founding of nearby Harvey Mudd College, first-year students were taken to the Mudd campus during orientation to sing to the incoming "Mudders". This song was sung to the tune of "You Are My Sunshine":
Girls can never change their natures, that is far beyond their reach
Once a girl is born a lemon, she can never be a peach.
But the law of compensation is the one we always preach:
You can always squeeze a lemon, but just try and squeeze a peach.
  • Each residence hall houses a study, known as a "Browsing Room". Small libraries are maintained in each Browsing Room through generous alumnae donations to a specific Browsing Room fund, in addition to donations of used books from hall residents. A longstanding tradition "prohibits" men from entering Browsing Rooms as they are designated for study, not socializing.
  • Since the early days of the College, students have referred to one another as "Scrippsies." In recent years, however, this term has become one of derision for some, and many students prefer to be called "Scripps Women," or the gender-neutral "Scripps students." Nonetheless, the term "Scrippsies" remains in use by many.
  • Each graduating class may paint a section of Graffiti Wall, located in the Rose Garden.[11] Most classes vote on a design and each graduating student has the opportunity to sign her name to the wall. In recent years, older designs have undergone restoration after decades of exposure to the elements.
  • Every Wednesday afternoon Scripps hosts Afternoon Tea in Seal Court. The Scripps tradition of Afternoon Tea began in 1931 and offers Claremont students beverages, pastries, vegetables, and other snacks and finger foods.
  • At the beginning of each year the Dean of Students holds the Dean's Desserts, where she welcomes all the incoming students to Scripps through a semi-formal dessert party. Traditionally the Dean's Dessert has been held in the Dean's backyard, but in recent years, due to the increase in size of the freshman class, the dessert has been moved to the backyard of the Revelle House.


Scripps joined with Claremont Men's College and Harvey Mudd College in 1976 to form the CMS (Claremont-Mudd-Scripps) Athletics programs. Women's teams compete as the Athenas (men's teams are known as the Stags).[21] Over the years, a rivalry has formed between the opposing sports teams of the Claremont Colleges: CMS (Claremont-Mudd-Scripps) and PP (Pomona-Pitzer).


  • Ernest Jaqua (1926-1942)
  • Mary Kimberly Shirk (1942-1943) -- acting president
  • Frederick Hard (1944-1964)
  • Mark Curtis (1965-1976)
  • John H. Chandler (1976-1989)
  • E. Howard Brooks (1989-1990)
  • Nancy Y. Bekavac (1990-2007) -- first female president
  • Frederick "Fritz" Weis (2007-2009)
  • Lori Bettison-Varga (2009- present) -- president elect

Notable faculty

Notable alumnae


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved March 9, 2010. 
  2. ^ Scripps College: Association of Families: Parent Handbook [Retrieved on 2009-07-02]
  3. ^ Dante Online, "New Life" [Retrieved on 2009-07-02]
  4. ^ U.S. News & World Report "Scripps College - Best Colleges - Education [Retrieved 07-03-2009]
  5. ^ "America's Best Colleges". Forbes. 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  6. ^ "Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2009. U.S. News & World Report. 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  7. ^ "The Washington Monthly Liberal Arts Rankings". The Washington Monthly. 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-20. 
  8. ^ Campus Heritage Network, Scripps College [Retrieved on 2009-07-02] AND Encyclopedia Britannica, "Scripps College" [Retrieved on 2009-07-02]
  9. ^ Scripps College: Guide to the Scripps College Campus: Janet Jacks Balch Hall [Retrieved on 2009-07-02]
  10. ^ College Prowler "Scripps College Rankings and Student Reviews" [Retrieved 07-03-2009]
  11. ^ a b Scripps College: Guide to the Scripps College Campus: Rose Garden & Graffiti Wall [Retrieved on 2009-07-02]
  12. ^ Scripps College: Guide to the Scripps College Campus: Elm Tree Lawn [Retrieved on 2009-07-02]
  13. ^ Scripps College: Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery [Retrieved on 2009-07-02]
  14. ^ Scripps College: Guide to the Scripps Campus: Margaret Fowler Memorial Garden [Retrieved on 2009-07-02]
  15. ^ Scripps College: Hall Draw [Retrieved on 2009-07-02]
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Scripps College: Scripps College Old Style [Retrieved on 2009-07-02]
  19. ^ Scripps College: Scripps College Press [Retrieved on 2009-07-02]
  20. ^ Scripps College: Denison Library [Retrieved 2009-07-02]
  21. ^ Scripps College: Scripps Athletics [Retrieved on 2009-07-02]

External links

Coordinates: 34°06′16″N 117°42′38″W / 34.10441°N 117.71044°W / 34.10441; -117.71044


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