Higher Ed Leadership

Pitzer College

Notable Improvements During President Laura Skandera Trombley’s Tenure, 2002-2015

  • US News rankings improved over 50%, moving up 38 spots (from being ranked #70 to #32, more rapidly than any other liberal arts college in the country).
  • Moody’s increased the College’s financial rating to A2 Stable (the first A2 rating in Pitzer’s history) at a time when it downgraded the entire US education sector to negative.
  • Selectivity increased 76% (54% to 12.9%); entering student GPAs increased 11% (3.53 to 3.91). In 2014 US News ranked Pitzer #20 for least student loan debt; #8 most selective; #7 most students studying abroad.
  • Student applications increased 80% (2,300 to 4,149).
  • Freshman retention increased from just over 80% in 2002 to 95%in 2014.
  • 3 fundraising campaigns completed totaling $123 million. Over 13 million dollars raised in 2015—an institutional record. Largest gift: 10 million dollars.
  • Endowment increased 211% ($43,379,000 to $134,289,425).
  • Annual Fundraising increased 80% ($1,088,304 to $1,957,574).
  • Amount of financial aid awarded increased 125%; overall institutional aid grew from 54% to 86%.
  • WSJ reports 6% annual increase in student debt from 2008-2012, while Pitzer showed a 27% decrease during the same time frame. The national average for student loan indebtedness after four years of college is $29,400; at Pitzer College it is $18,030, 38% less than the national average.
  • Constructed on time and under budget 8 mixed-use residence halls, for which the College was awarded gold and platinum LEED certification; renovated two of the College’s oldest buildings Scott Hall and Benson Auditorium.
  • For 11 out of the past 12 years Pitzer led the nation in Fulbright Fellowship awardees per 1,000 students. From 2010-2015, The Chronicle of Higher Education named Pitzer the top producer of student Fulbrights among all US colleges. 24 Fulbright Fellowships were awarded to Pitzer seniors and alumni in 2013 and 19 awarded in 2014.
  • Students studying abroadincreased 36% (56% to 80%).
  • Established 58 new domestic and international exchanges, including the first for a liberal arts college with the Royal Thimphu University in Bhutan.
  • Size of the faculty increased 39% (58 to 78) with 52% of tenure/tenure. track appointments made. Student/Faculty Ratio improved 29% (14:1 to 10:1).
  • Founded the Monroe Center for Social Inquiry; the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability; the Vaccine Development Institute; the Institute for Global/Local Action & Study, and the Firestone Center for Restoration Ecology.
  • Campus acreageincreased 526% (34 to 213 acres); 90% is dedicated to environmental programming.
  • Square footageof academic, residential and administrative buildings increased 30% (349,431sf to 454,378sf). Acreage increased 526%.
  • Sustainable practices reduced water usage on campus 50%.
  • Established the John Skandera Memorial Scholarship, the Laura Skandera Trombley Endowed Scholarship, and the Laura Skandera Trombley Humanities and Arts Endowed Research and Internship Fund.