New Board Chair Jose Fuentes Letter to Hampshire Community
“I’m excited to build on lessons learned as I begin my term”
Dear Hampshire College Community,
Since graduating from Hampshire 10 years ago, I’ve had the privilege of founding two ed-tech companies and developing software platforms to increase access to knowledge and move education forward. I’ve also gratefully served Hampshire as a trustee the past four years, and I’m excited to build on lessons learned as I begin my term as Chair of Hampshire’s Board.
I grew up in Guatemala in a supportive environment that fostered a journey of self-actualization: I experimented with technology, art, fashion, history, farming, sports, and much more. I made up my mind that designing my own path—exploring my possibilities and limitations—would be my way forward. Fortunately, there was Hampshire, where your education is as wide as your curiosity, imagination, and creativity. Here, I learned that a Hampshire education was about each student designing their own one-of-a-kind program, learning from each other, and rigorously experimenting, testing, and iterating to produce valuable and meaningful work.
In part because of the financial realities of higher education today, Hampshire is being forced to change, and we are overdue for change. It’s a great honor and opportunity to be able to transform Hampshire’s place in higher education, to make the school financially sustainable, and to deepen and extend its impact to every student that chooses to attend. I know we’re well-positioned to deliver long-term value to students, beyond getting a degree. A Hampshire education should be accessible and transformative for all those who choose to follow their path here.
Now we have a great opportunity to empower students to better share their academic progress and discoveries through a stronger community of mutual sharing and co-learning. I believe we are making Hampshire’s academic program more innovative and collaborative, for the benefit of our campus and our community at large, and I’m excited by the promise of our new student experience.
I’m prepared to do everything in my power to lead the Board and our College to make the right choices for Hampshire and achieve our goals. Hampshire needs every person who cares about the College to contribute to our progress and success. We’ll succeed with input from all our community members and our varying and diverse backgrounds—a team effort, involving all the skills, insights, and resources of our community to get it done. And we’ll need generous support for our fundraising campaign.
The trustees are united in our commitment to securing Hampshire’s next chapter. We’ll continue to strengthen the Board and the College’s governance, work together for common purpose, and affirm our responsibilities as trustees. Moving forward, our goal is to devise a new set of parameters for growing the Board, expanding beyond parents and alumni as members, so we can foster interest from individuals who can contribute to the College’s future at this exciting time.
In advancing Hampshire, we’re also advancing higher education for the next half-century and beyond. Many of our innovations from 50 years ago have been validated by peer institutions, and we must once again boldly experiment and define what a liberal arts education should look like moving forward. In this work, I believe we must be courageous, committed to our mission, willing to embrace change, and thoughtful when making hard choices.
Hampshire has always invited us to be fully imaginative and open-minded in our risk-taking, and that approach will serve us well now. It will take courage to follow our mission and make an outsized impact on Hampshire’s future and the future of education. We’ll strive for excellence in everything we do and hold each other to the highest standards. I look forward to working with you and I invite you to reach out to me with ideas at any time.