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PRESIDENT’S PERSPECTIVE Toward a wide horizon

This issue of Scope explores land: how we use it, how we value it, and how we understand our relationships to it, partic- ularly as land-use pressures rapidly inten- sify both locally and around the world. Skidmore students engage with these issues in a broad range of courses in dis - ciplines from environmental studies and geosciences to government and literature. Indeed, we aim to equip our students, by means of the curriculum and by model- ing good decision-making across the Col- lege, with the skills to make sound, ethi- cal judgments as citizens and stewards of the land in their lives after Skidmore. One impetus for these reflections is the 50th anniver- sary of the decision to move to what many of us still call “the new campus.” Skidmore’s land-



scape has changed dramatically since the Jonsson Campus began to take shape in the 1960s. And given that we intend the College to thrive 100, 200, even 300 years from now, the campus will surely never stop evolving. In the past decade alone, beginning with the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery in 2000, we have accomplished several strik- ing additions:

• the Northwoods Village student apart- ments

• the renovation of the Murray-Aikins Dining Hall • the Wachenheim Field for soccer and lacrosse, plus softball and field hockey venues

• the Arthur Zankel Music Center We also have invested in other impor- tant projects, albeit with smaller, less visi- ble footprints. We have completed reno- vations to residence halls, including sprinkler systems for fire safety. We have been retrofitting Filene Music Building to accommodate the special programs office and the art history department. And this spring we finished a renovation and modest expansion of Saisselin Art Center.

Perhaps more impor- tant than any one project, however, are the compre- hensive plans we have put in place to help us man- age our land and our facil- ities, incorporating envi- ronmentally sustainable initiatives. These include a zoned use plan for the North Woods, helping us balance the competing de- mands on that vital and fragile resource, and, most far-reaching, the 2007 Campus Plan, outlining a clear vision for the short-, medium-, and long-term develop- ment of all the College’s physical assets. In developing the Campus Plan, we adopted three over- arching principles that I think bear re- peating:

• the plan must first and foremost sup- port the primary learning mission of the College

• the plan must reflect our “Creative Thought Matters” credo

• the plan must extend into the long term The first might seem obvious, but it is surprising how often institutions can lose sight of their mission in the bustle of am- bitions to complete complex projects. Buildings are a means to an end, and that end must always be the first-class educa- tion of our students. This idea was cer- tainly in the mind of legendary College leader Josephine Case when she charged the architects of the new campus to de- sign a place that “expresses the unity of knowledge,” that provides “for both stu- dent and teacher a feeling of freedom and wide horizon,” and that allows “space for contemplation and for aesthetic pleasure and for play.” We want creativity to be manifested on campus in myriad ways. In terms of creative problem-solving, one example is our harnessing of sustainable geothermal energy for heating and cooling our build- ings. What was initially a challenge to


our construction plans—the abundance of bedrock close to the surface—was con- verted into an asset. In terms of aesthetic appeal, a fine example of creative thought is the Zankel Center, a

building where form beautifully follows function. Finally, our commitment that we are “in it for the long haul” dictates all our major land-use and facility decisions. Naturally, the Campus Plan offers more specific guideposts through 2015, but its provisional proposals for 2050 also at- tempt to anticipate our development needs and opportunities in the more dis- tant future.

As for the nearer term, we have begun work to replace the aging Scribner Vil- lage student housing. Over the next three years, we will raze the existing fa- cility and construct new, energy-efficient apartments that will both expand our residential capacity and better meet the needs of our students. We also are in the midst of important planning for the sci- ences and for athletics, which will pro- vide us with a comprehensive under- standing of, and a carefully developed plan for, our facilities needs in each arena well into the future. And just recently, I am delighted to announce, we received an extremely gen- erous donation of roughly 200 acres of undeveloped land in neighboring Green- field, N.Y. We have not yet formulated specific plans for how we might use this wonderful resource, although we are imagining possibilities for both recreation and research. Certainly, this new land widens our horizon once again and, to close with Josephine Case’s memorable words, offers “space for contemplation and for aesthetic pleasure and for play.”

President Philip Glotz bach returns from sabbatical this spring.



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