By Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter
Nov. 21, 2018: From its intimate 44-acre campus in Yonkers, also in the Bronxville zip code, Sarah Lawrence College has created a rather impressive footprint that, according to President Cristle Collins Judd, extends far out into the world. "We have extraordinary assets at the college," Judd said, "in terms of our history, our location, our faculty, and in terms of the students we bring together."
Judd, inaugurated in October of 2017 as the eleventh president of the college, stated that the promise of the Sarah Lawrence College education equips students to extend that significant footprint even further into the world. "The first year has reinforced for me how important and how high-stakes a liberal arts education is," she said. "I have learned the depth and breadth of our undergraduate and graduate programs, their distinctive influences in the world, and the way they integrate with our core values."
She described students' four years at the college as a time when they are pushed and challenged to create their path through the curriculum, to dig deep into creating themselves, all with the one-on-one help of a faculty mentor.
"We prepare students to create themselves the first time with a mentor," Judd noted, "so they leave her with the skills they will need to recreate themselves over their lifetime." Students today can expect to have as many as seven careers during their working lives.
The college is in the midst of a $200 million capital campaign, the bulk of which will be dedicated toward continuing to increase support and aid for students. While granting scholarships and financial aid are objectives of the campaign, it also includes funding of new internships and forging new ways to connect students with career opportunities. Externships in the sciences, in which students receive training in the workplace as part of a course of study, will also receive support.
With the goal of helping the world beyond the campus understand and explore the value of the liberal arts education and how, specifically, Sarah Lawrence College education addresses its challenges and opportunities, Judd launched a series of public conversations addressing the theme Democracy in Education during her inaugural year. The key need to include different and even competing dialogue arising from those sessions has led President Judd to moderate "Difference in Dialogue," a new series, also open to the community, that brought together a panel of women running for office and one comprising college presidents. Panels in the spring will discuss religious pluralism and aspects of human genetics.
Judd sees the discussions and dialogues as an effective way for the community to get to know the students, who have the first opportunity to ask questions of the panelists.
"We have real opportunities to be more connected to our immediate neighbors in Yonkers and Bronxville," Judd said. She described the Barbara Walters Campus Center, under construction and scheduled to open in the fall of 2019, as a new front door for the college, where the college will meet the community.
"We have been working this year, as we move toward the opening of that center, to open our programming much more to our neighbors," Judd said. She added that Sarah Lawrence College is an important civic space and hopes that, in relationship with the surrounding community, it will also be seen as a cultural and intellectual hub.
"It's a terrific challenge to help everyone understand just how rich this small college with a big footprint in the world is," Judd commented. She described Sarah Lawrence College as a place that is all about crossing boundaries as our areas of knowledge and access to that knowledge become increasingly greater. The mandate for the college, as well as for all of higher education, she said, is how to curate that knowledge, make it available for students, and help them work individually and in collaboration. "It's a challenge we take seriously," she stated.
Pictured here: Cristle Collins Judd.
Photo courtesy Sarah Lawrence College