Message from the President and Board of Trustees about College Leadership

A Message from President Richardson

President Song Richardson
President L. Song Richardson
Dear CC Community,

I write today to share a decision I have made about my future with the college. Following careful contemplation and with the deepest respect for this extraordinary place and its future, I have decided to return to my role as a professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, and to launch an Institute focused on equity, opportunity, and leadership.

Words cannot express how difficult it is to choose to leave this beautiful and vital college community. My legal and academic career has focused on the pursuit of equity and fairness. As our national dialogue about these topics continues to intensify, I find myself increasingly torn between my desire to pursue that work as an academic with the freedom to fully engage in these debates, express my personal views, and challenge the status quo, and my responsibilities to CC as president. I have concluded that I must follow the moral obligation I feel to engage in these deeply challenging conversations as a law professor, scholar, and director of an Institute. I have informed Board Chair Jeff Keller and the Board of Trustees of my decision to step down effective June 30, 2024, and return to my faculty appointment at UC Irvine. I am grateful to the board for their understanding.

When I came to Colorado College, I intended to serve for many years if the board so desired. I did not anticipate how much the calling to pursue academic work and to lead an Institute focused on the issues that have motivated my entire career first as a lawyer and then as an academic would grow in the current moment. The board’s support, and their graciousness about my decision, have only made me appreciate the board and its leadership more.

The exciting news is that the board has already identified an exceptional leader to step in upon my departure, as Chair Keller explains below. I could not endorse the board’s choice with more enthusiasm or with greater confidence in her leadership, integrity, and capabilities. I know this community will rally around her as they did me, and that she will make you proud.

We have much work to do in the months ahead, and we will do it together. When I leave Colorado College, it will be with love and appreciation that will stay with me all my life. Together, we have established a vision and accomplished so much, including record-breaking fundraising, enhanced access for talented students, and innovative new courses and programs capitalizing on the flexibility of the Block. We have also set ambitious goals that put CC on a path of continued success, service, and impact worthy of its brilliant people. With the leadership of this board, your next president, the cabinet, and the continued support of this community, I know my departure will not disrupt our progress but will, rather, create new opportunities to take CC forward. 

It has been the honor of my career to have played a part in the arc of this college’s powerful story. I look forward to continuing to serve as your president and learn alongside you for the remainder of this semester as we prepare for the future. 


L. Song Richardson


A Message from Board of Trustees Chair Jeff Keller

Dear CC Community,

I am writing today to share with you my gratitude to President Richardson and our plans for the future. The moral drive that has called President Richardson to refocus her passion and talents on her scholarship and teaching is consistent with the principled leader we have come to appreciate and admire. While her tenure will end far earlier than the board and I had hoped, CC is demonstrably better and stronger because of her leadership. 

From the start and throughout her tenure, President Richardson has challenged the CC community to ask ourselves how we can do what we do better during a transitional moment for higher education. Just two months into her term, she launched Project 2024, an ambitious strategic planning process that has engaged hundreds of CC voices to identify the decisions, investments, and commitments the college must take to position itself for its next 150 years. 

That successful effort is igniting a series of initiatives to support two priority areas: reinforcing liberal learning and valuing our people, while preparing CC to address the major challenges facing higher education. As president, Song articulated the four pillars that support our mission and are foundational to our students’ experience and all we do at CC. She also led the way in defining the three lenses–sustainability, mental health and wellness, and antiracism–that we now use to consider all decisions and actions. I look forward to celebrating these achievements and her many other contributions to CC with you later this semester.

Manya Whitaker
Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff Manya Whitaker
To ensure the college’s forward momentum in implementing President Richardson’s vision, I am proud and grateful to announce that Dr. Manya Whitaker, Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff, has accepted the board’s request to serve as interim president for the next two years, effective July 1. The reasons for our appointment of Dr. Whitaker are many, and are grounded in her knowledge of CC, her commitment to its mission, and the drive and skill that have earned her the respect of the board and people across our campus community.

Since joining the college in 2011, Dr. Whitaker has served in multiple critical roles that have given her a broad and deep understanding of CC and its goals. In addition to serving as an esteemed member of our faculty and as executive VP and chief of staff, she has also been director of the Crown Faculty Center, director of Graduate Studies and Chair of Education, and interim director of the Butler Center. 

Dr. Whitaker has been President Richardson’s partner in the development of Project 2024, our four pillars, and the lenses that guide us, putting her in a unique position to lead the implementation of these efforts. In addition, through her scholarship in higher education, she brings in-depth knowledge of the liberal arts and the challenges educational institutions like CC face today. Perhaps most importantly, Dr. Whitaker is widely recognized for her collaborative leadership style, the confidence and support she has earned from her fellow faculty, and the close working relationship she has built with our students and staff. The board and I are unanimous in our conviction that she is the ideal person to serve as interim president and advance the college’s goals over these next two critical years. 

While change of this magnitude can be a challenge, we are fortunate that we have two outstanding leaders so well aligned and so deeply committed to this college and its future. We will work closely with President Richardson and Dr. Whitaker to ensure a seamless transition as this work takes its next steps forward. Should you have questions about this transition, I encourage you to let us know at We will do our best to respond promptly.

As we prepare to make this transition amid our 150th anniversary, our college stands poised for progress of vital importance and meaning to our students and the wider community we serve. Your engagement will make all the difference, and we look forward to all that we as a community will do together in the months and years ahead to strengthen and advance CC and its mission.

Jeff Keller Signature

Jeff Keller

Chair of the Board of Trustees

Report an issue - Last updated: 02/07/2024