Jill Tiefenthaler became Colorado College’s 13th president on July 1, 2011.
Upon her arrival at the college, President Tiefenthaler began an extensive listening and planning process that led to “The Colorado College Plan: Building on the Block” strategic plan, meeting with students, faculty, staff, and community members, and hearing from hundreds of alumni and parents nationwide about their aspirations for the college. Approved by the Board of Trustees, the plan focuses on providing additional support to realize the potential of the college’s pioneering Block Plan, enhancing the college’s distinctive place of learning in the Southwest, and supporting an engaged and globally connected academic community.
In the years since the strategic plan was developed, President Tiefenthaler has overseen the implementation of its many initiatives. In the fall of 2017, the college dedicated a newly renovated and expanded Tutt Library to serve as the campus’ intellectual hub, and a new student residential complex on East Campus to build community beyond the classroom. In addition, the college embarked upon an historic alliance that created the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College.
President Tiefenthaler has also worked with the college community to launch a new center for immersive learning and engaged teaching; to create innovation programs and spaces that support students as they put the liberal arts into action; and to create Half Block and summer programs focused on helping students develop valuable skills and professional experiences prior to graduation. Additionally, during Tiefenthaler’s tenure, the college has diversified its increasingly selective student body, faculty, and staff; brought distinguished scholars, artists, and innovators as visiting faculty to campus; and developed both a Campus Master Plan and a Communications Master Plan.
Since President Tiefenthaler’s arrival, CC has achieved record fundraising results. The college's current campaign, “Building on Originality,” is aimed at securing more than $435 million in support of strategic initiatives. During Tiefenthaler’s tenure, CC received a gift valued at $175 million, representing the second-largest gift ever given to a liberal arts college.
Tiefenthaler is a leading scholar in the field of the economics of higher education, and she is frequently called on to speak on this topic across the country, in particular as it relates to the liberal arts. Her essay on the economic challenges for liberal arts colleges appears in “Remaking College: Innovation and the Liberal Arts” (Johns Hopkins University Press, October 2013). Tiefenthaler's talks on the importance of the liberal arts includes her speech, "Innovation and Collaboration: A Liberal Arts Education as a Catalyst for New Ideas," which she has delivered to several universities throughout China. As professor of economics at the college, she regularly teaches a class “The Economics of Higher Education.”
After receiving her M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Duke University, Tiefenthaler joined the faculty of Colgate University in 1991, where she also served as department chair, associate dean of the faculty, and senior adviser to the president. Before becoming president of Colorado College, Tiefenthaler was provost and professor of economics at Wake Forest University, where she led the implementation of the university’s strategic plan and key initiatives, including diversity in admission, establishing new models for enhanced interdisciplinary research and collaboration, and integrating the university’s undergraduate and graduate business schools.
President Tiefenthaler is originally from Iowa, where she grew up on a farm and worked for her family’s popcorn business before attending Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana. She is married to Kevin Rask, a research professor in economics at Colorado College. They have two teenaged children, Olivia ‘21 and Owen.