As Marietta College entered the new millennium, the Board of Trustees was pressed with a new challenge—to find Marietta College’s 17th President.
By the time Dr. Larry Wilson announced his pending June 2000 retirement, he already quelled much of the turmoil that he inherited from the previous administration and was halfway into the six-year, $45 million Comprehensive Campaign. The next leader would have to pick up the reigns of the major fund drive already in progress plus help devise a strategic plan that would enable the College to increase its survival rate by identifying and improving various aspects of the institution.
When the Board of Trustees announced their choice for President, their decision was historic. For the first time in the College’s 165 years a woman would fill the executive seat.
Dr. Jean A. Scott, a Harvard-educated historian, was the President of Bradford College and had served as Interim President and Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services for State University of New York at Potsdam.
"We could not be more delighted with our selection," said then-Trustees Chairman Tim Cooper ’73 at the time of the Board’s announcement. "Jean Scott brings a well-rooted appreciation of liberal arts colleges and how they can prepare students for all aspects of life and work. That is a core value—perhaps the core value of Marietta College, and Dr. Scott will help us achieve that and other aspects of our vision."
Because Marietta was still in the process of recovering from hard times, the Board of Trustees wanted a strategic plan for the College. Thriving in the Floodplain was a directive that would lead to financial stability through growing student enrollment numbers to 1,250 students by 2006.
The College identified priorities, which included the Leadership and the China programs, during Dr. Scott’s tenure.
From the time she took office, the Marietta College community experienced a dramatic physical change. A few weeks before taking on her new role, the College broke ground on the 52,000-square-foot residence building, McCoy Hall.
Similarly, days before the Fall 2000 semester began, she received word that an alumnus’ foundation had committed the largest single donation in the College’s history. Dave Rickey ’78 and the J & D Family Foundation gave $10 million to revive Marietta’s math and science programs.
"Look for wonderful things to come out of this time-honored institution," Dr. Scott said in response to the donation. "I know I am proud and excited to be a part of the progress, and judging from the reaction of the faculty to the news of the Rickeys’ gift, we’re all eager to get to work to make the Rickeys’ vision a reality."
In 2003, the College celebrated the openings of the Rickey Science Center and the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center, an 86,000-square-foot athletic facility made possible with the lead donations by Rob Dyson ’68 and Laura Baudo Sillerman ’68. Ban Johnson Fieldhouse and Fenton Court were also renovated during this time.
By the time the Comprehensive Campaign wrapped up that spring, the $45 million goal was eclipsed and the College closed the fund drive having raised more than $62 million.
Construction didn’t stop with the two major additions to campus in 2003, though. The following year, Don Drumm Stadium received a major overhaul. In 2005 Fayerweather Hall and Mills Hall were remodeled and new fields were created for softball and soccer. Edwy R. Brown Petroleum Building was also refurbished.
Soon after these renovations were complete, the College received two major donations from Dyson and Baudo Sillerman that would lead into the next major fund-raising endeavor. The alumni gave $5 million each to build a new library. In 2006, the College officially began the Legacy Campaign, which had a goal of raising $50 million in three years.
"Rob and Laura have helped transform the Marietta College campus through their generosity and loyalty to their alma mater," Dr. Scott said during the library’s groundbreaking ceremony. "I am proud that Rob and Laura chose to honor the College’s storied history by collaborating and recommending the name of the new library, the Legacy Library. This is a remarkable show of respect to those who came before us and left their mark at Marietta—names such as Dawes, Slack and Cutler. The name choice also pays tribute to the dedicated and outstanding faculty who have served Marietta’s students."
The building of Legacy Library coincided with the College’s auxiliary strategic plan Higher Ground, which supplemented Thriving in the Floodplain. The newest plan consisted of seven additional goals for the College to achieve between 2004 and 2007. One of those goals included renovating the existing Dawes Library.
In November 2007, Rickey and his wife, Brenda, announced that they wanted to honor two of Dave Rickey’s former professors—Dr. Lester Anderson ’55 and Dr. Whit Hancock—by donating the majority of the cost that it would take to build a state-of-the-art planetarium that would annex the Rickey Science Center. Both the Anderson Hancock Planetarium and Legacy Library opened in 2009.
Aside from the buildings and expansion of the physical plant, Dr. Scott’s leadership showed one of great vision. In 2007, she led College planners through the development of a goal list for Marietta. This plan—Vision 2020—was the product of a task force that had a broad representation of campus, including administrators, faculty, alumni and trustees. Dr. Scott closed the statement by citing the vision for the College through 2020:
Marietta College transforms intellectually curious students into agents of change for the global society of the 21st century.
A distinctive integrated liberal arts curriculum prepares all graduates to understand such issues of their time as global competition and the rise of China as a world power, the growing demand for energy and for protection of the environment, and the role of leaders and leadership in every field or endeavor.
Every student develops knowledge and problem solving skills in the classroom, through international experience, internships and research or creative activities, and in co-curricular activities that develop individual talents, civic responsibilities, teamwork and leadership.
Marietta College will offer every student the opportunity to become more than you imagined and will prove that the education it provides meets that expectation.