Laura Skandera Trombley

Laura Skandera Trombley

Laura E. Skandera Trombley is the fifth president of Pitzer College.

Biography

President Skandera Trombley was born Laura Skandera and raised in Southern California, attending Pepperdine University, where she earned a BA (1981) and MA (1983), and the University of Southern California, where she earned a Ph.D. in English literature (1989). Upon completion of the PhD, Skandera Trombley accepted a teaching position at the State University of New York in Potsdam where she was awarded early tenure as Associate Professor of English and held several administrative posts, including special assistant to the president, director of the Teaching, Tenure and Promotion Assistance Program and assistant provost. In 1997, Skandera Trombley assumed the post of Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Coe College, a private liberal arts college in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

President Skandera Trombley is married to artist Nelson Edmond Trombley. The couple has one child, Nelson "Sparky" Edmond Trombley Jr., 10. The family lives near campus in the Harvard House, the Pitzer College President's residence since 1972.

Presidency

Skandera Trombley's inauguration as President of Pitzer College on February 15, 2003 marked the beginning of the College's 40th anniversary year. She has positioned herself as a visionary leader, bringing to the College a level of energy and imagination suitable for a progressive young college combined with the seriousness and determination of an institution that is, as she noted in her inaugural address, "coming of age." In her first year in office she supported the faculty in their desire to make the SAT optional as a criterion for admission to the College, making Pitzer the West Coast innovator in SAT-optional admission practices. She has led Pitzer's first strategic planning process whereby faculty, students, staff, alumni, and trustees collectively identified the College's five-year fiscal priorities. In the four years since she assumed leadership of the College, the admission acceptance rate has gone from 56% to 26%, applications have increased by 75%, annual giving has increased by 35% and retention has increased by 5%. Through her leadership and by securing $5 million, the largest single-donor gift since its founding, the College was able to go over the top of its first comprehensive capital ahead of schedule. Skandera Trombley can frequently be found in the dining hall eating with faculty, students, and staff and is known for her accessibility on campus.

Writings

Recognized as a noted Mark Twain scholar, Skandera Trombley is the author of "Mark Twain in the Company of Women" (1994) and co-editor (with Michael Kiskis) of the volume "Constructing Mark Twain: New Directions in Scholarship" (2002). She appeared in the 2002 Ken Burns documentary titled "Mark Twain" and was invited to a White House literary symposium on American authors. In addition, she is the author of "Critical Essays on Maxine Hong Kingston" (1998); and co-author of "Epistemology: Turning Points in the History of Poetic Knowledge" (1986). She discovered the largest cache of Mark Twain letters currently known and is working on her fifth book, "Mark Twain's Other Woman". Since becoming President at Pitzer, she has published op-ed pieces in the "Chronicle of Higher Education" on the challenges faced by women in higher education administration and the "Los Angeles Times" on the merits of the SAT exams as predictors of college success.

Other Activity

Skandera Trombley is an active leader within Los Angeles area organizations. She is an elected member of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Board, the San Gabriel chapter of the Young Presidents Organization, the Organization of Women Executives, and The Trusteeship. In 2002, Skandera Trombley was honored as Pepperdine University's 2002 Distinguished Alumna.

In the June 2005 issue of The Inland Empire Magazine, she was named as one of five "women who count" in the Inland Empire by setting the standard for achievement in their field.


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