Laura Skandera Trombley


Laura Skandera Trombley

Laura Skandera Trombley


Laura Skandera Trombley, the president of Pitzer College, is a noted Mark Twain scholar, author and nationally recognized champion of liberal arts education.

Under her leadership, Pitzer has founded several innovative collegiate centers and majors. Most recently, the College launched the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability at Pitzer College. The College has developed ground-breaking courses such as Learning from YouTube and Sustainable Places in Practice. In 2011, Pitzer became the first college in the world to offer a degree in secular studies. President Trombley, a passionate proponent of environmental sustainability, also led the charge to transform Pitzer into a model of green building and living.

President Trombley has raised Pitzer’s national profile and enhanced its reputation for academic excellence. The College shot up an unprecedented 27 spots in U.S. News & World Report rankings in less than a decade—from #70 in 2004 to #43 today. In 2012, Pitzer was named the 20th most selective higher education institution in the country. Also, since Trombley took office, the percentage of students studying abroad has increased by more than 50 percent. In eight of the last nine years, Pitzer has won more Fulbright Fellowships per 1,000 students than any other college in the country. Pitzer has been the top producer of Fulbright winners among US undergraduate colleges for the past three years. Nearly ten percent of the Class of 2012 was awarded Fulbrights.

Trombley is the author of five books. Her most recent, Mark Twain's Other Woman: The Hidden Story of His Final Years, was published by Knopf in 2010 and issued in paperback by Vintage in 2011. As a graduate student, she discovered the largest known cache of Mark Twain letters, which ultimately became the primary source material for her dissertation and her 1994 book, Mark Twain in the Company of Women. She is frequently invited to speak about Twain in public fora and appeared in Ken Burns' documentary on the literary icon.

In December 2012, President Barack Obama named Trombley to the 12-member J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board that was established by Congress to supervise the global Fulbright Program.