President Cristle Collins Judd Reflects on Busy and Celebratory Fall Semester in October Newsletter

To the Sarah Lawrence Community,

Greetings from a busy Sarah Lawrence campus where the fall colors have at last made their way to the Hudson Valley!

As the rhythm has shifted from October Study Days into the second half of the semester, we have been in the midst of a series of celebrations. This past Friday we kicked off Family Weekend with the third annual Celebrate Sarah Lawrence. This event fills Heimbold with student work of all sorts and performances pour out onto the Heimbold lawn. It’s a terrific opportunity to see our students in action and it was wonderful to see familiar faces and meet so many new parents, families, and friends.

In addition to Family Weekend, the College held its Alumni and Parents Council meetings and the fall Board of Trustees meeting. This flurry of activity made for a very full weekend for everyone!

From Celebrate Sarah Lawrence we moved on Friday night to a celebration of the successful completion of the Campaign for Sarah Lawrence! The most audacious fundraising effort in SLC history, we have received gifts, pledges, and planned gifts of more than $200 million over the past eight years to support students, faculty, and the campus as a whole. As I said at the celebration, the conclusion of the campaign is not an ending, but a commencement, ensuring the continued excellence and relevance of a Sarah Lawrence education and providing tremendous momentum for the College as we look toward our second century.

We owe a debt of gratitude to all who made the Campaign successful, for this was truly a community effort. More than 80 percent of the support for the Campaign came from alumni, highlighting that the people who know Sarah Lawrence best know what the rest of the world is just beginning to understand: Our model of education, with its emphasis on close student-faculty work, interdisciplinary exploration, critical thinking, and intellectual flexibility, is what’s needed for today and for tomorrow.

The Campaign directly supports our exceptional students and faculty. Already, we have established more than 40 new scholarship and internship funds for students, created four new endowed professorships and chairs, and formed new research funds to advance faculty scholarship.

The campus has also been transformed physically by the additions of the Remy Theatre, the Barbara Walters Campus Center, and the renovation of an “old dorm” into OSilas, renewing a piece of our history and reimagining it to meet the needs of today’s students.

With these physical transformations come new opportunities and we continued our celebrations through the weekend, inviting our neighbors from the surrounding community to join us for an open house in the Barbara Walters Campus Center. We know this Center will be a cultural and intellectual hub not only for our students but also for our community. Just last night one of our partners, Yonkers Partners in Education, celebrated their annual gala on campus, bringing more than 500 guests to the Campus Center in support of this important organization.

In addition to celebrating our students, the completion of the Campaign, the BWCC, and our neighbors, we’ve also been celebrating our faculty. On Monday evening, we hosted a gathering of alums, family, and friends for an event aptly titled “Celebrating Gilberto Perez” to mark the posthumous publication of this beloved faculty member’s book The Eloquent Screen: A Rhetoric of Film.

And then on Tuesday we celebrated the award of the Margot C. Bogert Chair for Distinguished Service to Lyde Sizer and the Lipkin Family Prize for Inspirational Teaching to Komozi Woodard. We also celebrated faculty members who have recently received external recognition for their work: Yevgeniya Baras in visual arts and Glenn Dynner in religion who have received Guggenheim fellowships; Margarita Fajardo, the Alice Ilchman Chair in Comparative and International Studies, who received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship; and Jerri Dodds, who has been named to the Slade Professorship of Fine Arts at the University of Oxford for the 2020-21 academic year.

And did I mention that with their win on Saturday night our women’s soccer team advances to postseason play as the third seed, marking the most successful season in the team’s history?

I hope this has offered you a taste of just some of the many events in the life of the campus right now. It is a privilege as your president to see and share in these celebrations and to recognize the important work that surrounds us in abundance at Sarah Lawrence.

Again, thank you to every member of the Sarah Lawrence community who helped us complete The Campaign for Sarah Lawrence. Your gifts, internships, advice, and support reflect the nature of a Sarah Lawrence education: rooted in the art of questioning, digging deep to pursue a possibility, and bringing all of one’s creative energies to bear. Your generosity will benefit students today and into the future, empowering them to pursue life-changing opportunities for years to come.

Lastly, though there is much to celebrate here on campus, our thoughts remain with the members of our community in California and across the country who are affected by wildfires and natural disasters. In unexpected and unfortunate circumstances like these, the Office of the Dean of Studies and Student Life works directly with affected students to offer support services. In these times of uncertainty, I hope the power of community can be a source of encouragement.


Cristle Collins Judd
Instagram: @slcprez

About Sarah Lawrence College

Founded in 1926, Sarah Lawrence is a prestigious, coeducational liberal arts college that consistently ranks among the leading liberal arts colleges in the country. Sarah Lawrence is known for its pioneering approach to education, rich history of impassioned intellectual and civic engagement, and vibrant, successful alumni. In close proximity to the unparalleled offerings of New York City, the historic campus is home to an intellectually curious and diverse community.