Scripps College inaugurated a woman nationally known as an expert in undergraduate science education as its eighth president today, the final weekend of Women's History Month.
In her inaugural address, Lori Bettison-Varga emphasized the importance of women's leadership in the 21st century, the role of women in science, and the power of women's interdisciplinary education, the school announced.
Bettison-Varga encouraged Scripps College to challenge gender inequality and reinforced that the school's curriculum is designed to help its more than 850 women students "create, take risks, and define who they are and what they value."
"It isn't that women do not have exceptional talent, it is that the emergence of that talent was suppressed," she said. "[Scripps College] must do everything it can to challenge and amend societal structures that ... prevented women's genius form flourishing. Women still need to be written into the history book, and ... women still need opportunities to make history."
Bettison-Varga, a geologist, is the daughter of Barbara Yunker Bettison, who graduated from Scripps in 1954. Her cousin, Susan Yunker Armstrong, graduated from Scripps 1966.
The private liberal arts school was founded in 1926 and is one of several independent schools linked together as the Claremont Colleges. It is the largest women-only school on the West Coast, although it shares facilities with four co-ed colleges in eastern Los Angeles County.