One of the purposes of EphBlog is to highlight and praise concrete improvements to life at Williams. The canonical example of such an improvement is the use of interviews as a part of the JA selection process, thanks to the efforts of Jim Reichheld ’87 almost 20 years ago.

From comments by Ohm Deshpande ’04, I now know that Norma Lopez ’95, while serving as an assistant dean at Williams, played the key role in developing the wildly successful First Days program.

It would be nice to know the backstory behind this. Who else deserves credit? What other options were considered? And so on. Besides remembering and congratulating those involved, it would be nice to learn from their experience.


Lopez is now at the University of Chicago as its first Director of Student of Color Recruitment. Although it is sad to see someone of this caliber leave Williams — Did Williams try hard enough to keep her? — it is nice to see successful Ephs move on to the wider world.

And if all of this were not enough, consider the end of the article linked to above:

Though she is thrilled about the transition from the semi-rural atmosphere of Williams to her native Chicago, Lopez said one thing remains the same. “I’m still selling the same thing,” she said, “a liberal arts education. And no research institution offers a better liberal arts education than Chicago.”

Marvelous! Lopez demonstrates loyalty and enthusiasm for her new institution while slying leaving open the possibility that the best liberal arts education on Earth, from research or non-research institutions, is still available at Williams.

Were that it were ever so.

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