Claremont McKenna College: Wikis


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Claremont McKenna College
CMC Logo.png
Motto Crescit cum commercio civitas (Civilization prospers with commerce)[1]
Established 1946
Type Private
Endowment $399.7 million[2]
President Pamela Gann
Faculty 134
Undergraduates 1,211
Postgraduates 0
Location Claremont, California, United States
Campus Suburban, 50 acres (4 km²)
Nickname CMC, Claremont
Cmc type logo.png
Bauer Center, with the San Gabriel mountains in the background.

Claremont McKenna College (CMC) is a private, coeducational, liberal arts college and a member of the Claremont Colleges located in Claremont, California. The 56-acre (0.23 km2) campus is located 35 miles (56 km) east of Downtown Los Angeles.[3] CMC was founded in 1946 as Claremont Men's College and emphasizes programs in government, economics, and international affairs. With an average acceptance rate of 16%, CMC is ranked among the 10 most selective colleges in the United States.



Claremont McKenna College was founded in 1946 soon after World War II ended as Claremont Men's College. CMC was founded with the mission to foster leadership in its students in the fields of government, economics, and international affairs. The school became coeducational in 1976 and was renamed after Donald McKenna, a founding trustee, in 1981. Its mission has stayed the same, as reflected in the College's motto, "Crescit cum commercio civitas," or "civilization prospers with commerce."

Organization and administration

CMC is chartered as a private, non-profit organization and is a member of the 7-institution Claremont Colleges consortium that share libraries, a bookstore, athletic facilities, and various student services.[4] The privately-appointed 40 voting member board of trustees elects a president to serve as chief executive officer of the college.[1][5] Pamela Gann is CMC's fourth president and has served since July 1999. The president has a senior staff of 13 vice presidents including a Dean of Students and Dean of the Faculty.


CMC is a small residential liberal arts college. Claremont McKenna is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.[6]

Tuition for the 2008–2009 school year is $36,825 (excluding room, board, materials, and fees). CMC admits students on a need-blind basis.[citation needed] Students were awarded $14.1 million in need-based and merit financial aid in 2007 and approximately two-thirds of CMC students receive financial aid.[7][8]

Although its specialty is public policy and economics, Claremont McKenna College requires students to complete courses in natural and social sciences, humanities, and foreign language. CMC students are required to take two first year classes in Literature and Civilization. Generally, most CMC students take introductory government and economics courses, calculus or discrete math, a course in both physical and biological science, physical education or participation on a team sport, a third or fourth semester equivalent of a foreign language, and at least several other humanities courses including literature, philosophy and religious studies, as well as other social science classes in psychology and history.

Claremont McKenna's curricular emphasis is on its social sciences, particularly economics, government, international relations, and psychology. 40% of CMC students major in either government or economics. CMC also offers an Oxford-style Philosophy, Politics, and Economics major. Other multi-disciplinary majors include management engineering, philosophy and public affairs, science and management, econ-accounting, biology-chemistry, and environment, economics, and politics (EEP). CMC also offers the Robert A. Day 4+1 BA/MBA, in which students receive both their BA from Claremont McKenna and their MBA from the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University in 5 years. In September 2007, Claremont McKenna College announced the largest gift ever to a liberal arts college - $200 million - donated by alum Robert A. Day (Chairman, TCW Group, to create the Robert Day Scholars Program, which has both an undergraduate and graduate component. Undergraduate Scholars, representing a variety of majors, pursue courses in economics, accounting, finance, and psychology, and upon completion, have the Robert Day Scholars designation noted on their transcript. Graduate Scholars, who already enter the Program with a solid foundation in economics, accounting, finance, and organizational psychology, take one year of advanced courses in corporate finance, econometrics, investments and valuation, culminating in a Master of Arts in Finance. All Robert Day Scholars are provided significant scholarship support and participate in a variety of co-curricular activities, including networking trips and private dinners with prominent guest speakers.

CMC does not offer traditional minors, but rather interdisciplinary sequences in Asian-American Studies, computer science, ethics, financial economics, and women's studies, human rights, genocide, and holocaust studies, leadership,legal studies and scientific modeling.

W.M. Keck Joint Science Center

CMC's science program is offered through the Joint Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges. The Joint Science Department has been offering a new double year-long introductory science class [3] to allow more flexibility than the former 3 year-long introductory biology, chemistry, and physics courses that most science majors must complete.

Nearly half of CMC students study abroad. Another popular option for off-campus study is The Washington Program. According to the program's website, "CMC's program is rooted in a full-time internship and a serious discussion of contemporary political issues."[9]



  • Forbes has ranked Claremont McKenna third among all colleges and universities in California following CalTech and Stanford in its second-annual ranking of America's Best Colleges. In addition, Forbes' placed CMC 27th nationwide, ranking it ahead of Pomona College.[11]
  • In August 2007, Newsweek ranked CMC as one of the "25 Hottest Colleges" in the nation, naming it "Hottest for Election Year." [12] This adds to the argument that CMC is the most politically savvy college in the country: The Princeton Review ranked CMC the "Most Politically Active College" in 2005.
  • The Wall Street Journal has listed it as the eighth best liberal arts feeder school into elite graduate universities for law, business and medicine.[13]
  • The Princeton Review 2010 Best Colleges lists Claremont McKenna among the nation's top twenty schools for several categories, including: "Happiest Students" (3), "Most Popular Study Abroad Program" (11), "Best Campus Food" (16), "Best Career Services" (7), "Dorms Like Palaces" (11), "Lots of Race/Class Interaction" (15), "Most Politically Active Students" (10), "Professors Get High Marks" (13), "Most Accessible Professors" (10), "School Runs Like Butter" (3), "Great Financial Aid" (13), "Easiest Campus to Get Around" (1), and "Best Quality of Life" (3). The 2009 version of the Best Colleges guide placed CMC in the following lists: "Best Career/Job Placement Services" (2), "Best Quality of Life" (5), "Happiest Students" (4), "School Runs Like Butter" (5), and "Most Politically Active Students" (11), "Most Accessible Professors" (11), "Students Happy with Financial Aid" (10), "Best Campus Food" (15), "Dorms like Palaces" (11), "Lots of Race/Class Interaction" (18), "Best Classroom Experience" (15), and "Lots of Beer" (5).[14]
  • The Washington Monthly has ranked CMC the sixth best liberal arts college in the nation in 2007, measuring the school's service to the community, research, and the social mobility of its students.

University rankings (overall)

USNWR Liberal Arts[15] 11
WM Liberal Arts[16] 44
  • In 2003, The Atlantic Monthly ranked Claremont McKenna as the 22nd best undergraduate college/university in the nation based on admission rate, SAT scores and rank in high-school class.

Campus life

Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

The Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum hosts more than one hundred dinner and lecture events with distinguished speakers each year, serving as the College's central intellectual and social hub. Students enjoy getting to know their professors at wine and cheese receptions and formal dinners preceding lectures. The Athenaeum hosts speakers four nights a week, and also serves daily afternoon tea in its library, featuring chocolate-covered strawberries and pastries. Afternoon tea, like all Athenaeum meals and events, is free to students, faculty, and staff. The Athenaeum has hosted such eminent speakers as former President Bill Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, authors Gore Vidal and Salman Rushdie, cybernetics expert Kevin Warwick, former Attorney General Janet Reno, filmmaker Spike Lee, environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, U2 frontman and activist Bono, award-winning CNN journalist Anderson Cooper, former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, and former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff.


Claremont Hall
Towers at South Quad

As a residential community, student life is centered on campus and four years of housing is guaranteed. Claremont's dorms are divided into three regions: North Quad, Mid Quad, and South Quad. In addition, the student apartments sit on the East edge of campus, and are occupied primarily by seniors. All dorm rooms are attended to by housekeeping staff every week. North Quad comprises Appleby, Boswell, Green, and Wohlford dormitories, which were the campus's first dorms. In north quad, every room opens to the outdoors instead of opening to an interior hallway. North quad rooms are all doubles grouped into suites of four rooms that share a bathroom. North Quad is the center of the social scene at CMC. CMC's Mid Quad is home to Beckett, Berger and Phillips Halls, which feature long interior corridors, double and single rooms, large shared-bathroom facilities, and all-dorm lounge areas. Claremont Hall, completed in 2008, is the newest dormitory with space for 109 students. The three story modern building is the first LEED Silver-rated building on campus. The tallest buildings in Claremont are "The Towers," Auen, Fawcett, and Stark Halls, which make up South Quad with Marks and Benson Halls. Each tower has seven floors with approximately twelve students per floor. Each floor has a common area and a large shared bathroom, and there is an all-dorm lounge area on the ground floor. Stark Hall, the newest of the South Quad dorms, is substance-free. Auen and Fawcett underwent complete interior renovations in the summer of 2008.

Senior Apartments

The Senior Apartments lie to the east of the college's athletic facilities and to the west of Claremont Boulevard, and are divided into four buildings numbered 651, 661, 671 and 681. Each apartment is divided into four bedrooms and two bathrooms, and an apartment application must have four names on it. Until recently, half the apartments were reserved for men and half for women, and apartments were allotted based on credits. However, in 2005 the college abolished the 50/50 male/female ratio and began to assign apartments strictly on credits, which has had the effect of skewing the ratio slightly toward the female side. In any given year, most of CMC's 260 - 300 seniors can live in the apartments, though due to limited space some must live in the dorms.

Living in the apartments is considered highly desirable amongst CMC's senior class. Seniors get the chance to live with three friends of their choice, and do not have to worry about potentially obnoxious underclassmen. They also have the option to stay on a meal plan and eat at one of the 5-C dining halls, or cook for themselves. Apartment dwellers do not get the maid service of the dorms, but they do get a cable hookup, which the dorms don't have. Noise levels are more manageable, and tend to be quiet during much of the week and in the days leading up to thesis, and loud from Thursday to Saturday. Most parties and social events at the apartments take place between buildings 661 and 671 or on the "dunk hoops" (a small basketball court with hoops that are 7 feet (2.1 m) high).


  • Many incoming freshmen participate in W.O.A.!, or "Wilderness Orientation Adventure." W.O.A.! is a student-run preorientation program. Options have included backpacking, camping, and rock-climbing at Yosemite, canoeing down the Colorado River, and beach camping at Catalina Island. Each trip is led by current students and a member of the faculty or alumni. W.O.A.! allows incoming students to develop friendships and get a sense for the college community before the formal beginning of their college careers.
  • The "Madrigal Feast" was an annual dinner held in the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum. Both current students as well as alumni typically attended. Guests were treated to a medieval-themed feast, complete with wassail, and a spirited musical performance put on by other students in medieval dress. This 26 year tradition ended in 2009.[18]

Several of Claremont McKenna College's traditions are water-related:

  • It is a tradition for students to get ponded (thrown in to one of the two fountains located on campus) by their peers on their birthday.
  • At noon on the due dates of senior theses, the students turn in their theses to the registrar, after which they are given a bottle of champagne by the class president. The students spend the remainder of the afternoon in the fountains at the school, drinking, singing, celebrating and enjoying the warm California sun.

The Consortium

All five colleges are part of the Claremont University Consortium, also known as "the 5-Cs." Together the campuses cover over 300 acres (1.2 km2) and enroll 6,000 students. In addition there are over 3,500 faculty and staff and more than 2,500 courses available.

Garrison Theater

Student life revolves around the five colleges as they interact socially and also share seven dining halls, four main libraries, and other facilities spread throughout the campuses. Notable facilities include:

  • Honnold/Mudd Library and the Libraries of the Claremont Colleges, the largest collection of any liberal arts college[19]
  • Bridges Auditorium] and Concert Hall
  • Scripps Performing Arts Center and Seaver Theater Complex
  • W.M. Keck Science Center
  • Monsour Counseling Center
  • Huntley Bookstore

Students attending Claremont McKenna can enroll in up to 2/3 of their classes at the other four colleges, and can also major at any of the other colleges if the major is not offered at CMC. This is the general academic policy at all five schools, and is meant to give students the resources of a larger university while still maintaining the qualities of a small, liberal-arts college.

Research institutes

CMC sponsors ten different on-campus research institutes and centers. They seek to produce new research and publications while involving undergraduate students in rigorous academic work. Many are named in honor of the college's donors.

  • The Berger Institute for Work, Family and Children
  • The Financial Economics Institute
  • The Center for Human Rights Leadership
  • The Family of Benjamin Z. Gould Center for Humanistic Studies
  • The Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies
  • The Kravis Leadership Institute
  • The Lowe Institute of Political Economy
  • The Roberts Environmental Center
  • The Rose Institute of State and Local Government
  • The Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World [4]


Athletes from CMC, Harvey Mudd College, and Scripps College compete under one program - CMS Athletics. The mascot for the men's team is Stag, and that of the women's teams is Athena. The 19 teams participate in the NCAA's Division III and in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Ducey Gymnasium has been slated for a complete overhaul beginning in 2009, with new fitness facilities including a weight and cardio room overlooking Zinda Field.[20]

Axelrod Pool

The Biszantz Family Tennis Center opened in 2009 and hosted the NCAA Division III Championships. The facility offers locker-rooms, offices, restrooms, an adjacent parking lot and a "championship court". It is located south of Sixth Street at Brooks Avenue.[21]

Over the years, a rivalry has formed between the opposing sports teams CMS (Claremont-Mudd-Scripps) and PP (Pomona-Pitzer). These teams, however, mostly consist of students enrolled at Claremont McKenna and Pomona, which has intensified the rivalry between these particular neighbors. Recently, the rivalry has spread off the field and into classrooms and parties, making the rivalry not just athletic, but social and academic as well.

The Claremont McKenna golf team ranked first among NCAA Division III teams according to Golf Digest, and 17th overall (including Division 1 schools). The rankings are based on the "Balanced" category which is "for students who place equal emphasis on school and sports."[5]

The Campaign for Claremont McKenna

  • Claremont McKenna is currently undertaking the largest campaign ever initiated by a liberal arts college. The Campaign, officially announced in March 2008, aims to raise $600 million by 2012. Plans include a 130,000 sq ft (12,000 m2) academic center designed by Rafael Viñoly, as well as renovations to dormitories, new athletic facilities, an expanded faculty and enlarged student body.

On July 1, Claremont McKenna issued a press release reporting that Henry Kravis of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts gave $75 million. The college has named the academic center after him. [22]

  • The Campaign for Claremont McKenna calls for commitments in five priorities:

• $110 million for students: need-based financial aid and merit scholarships, internships, research, speaker series, and other experiences

• $110 million for faculty: chairs, research, and new curricula

• $100 million for facilities: new buildings, renovations, and master planning projects

• $200 million for the Robert Day Scholars Program[23]

• $80 million for The Fund for CMC: operating costs [24]


  • In 1998, five CMC students—David Ehrich '01, Matt Grossman '01, David Alvillar '01, Devin Erhardt'01, and A. J. Prager '01, registered as an internet domain name. The students allege that President Jack Stark and later Pamela Gann threatened them with legal action and judicial boarding for violating the college's trademark rights. Administrators demanded that the students turn over the domain name in exchange for a reimbursement of the $150 domain registration fee. The students discovered that the college did not have a trademark on its name and refused. After a 2 1/2 year battle, officials agreed to pay $120,000 to fund a series of fellowships to foster entrepreneurship and civil liberties. Gann also signed promises to fund the fellowship annually and to pay $50,000 over ten years for the student-operated website
  • On the evening of March 9, 2004, after attending and speaking at a campus forum concerning a recent spate of racially insensitive incidents, Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology Kerri F. Dunn reported that her car had been vandalized and painted with racist, sexist and anti-semitic slurs. In response the Claremont Colleges cancelled classes the next day (after 9/11, classes were not canceled, critics point out), and a series of demonstrations, candle-light vigils and community meetings were called to address the threat posed by an alleged and previously unknown group of violently intolerant students. Subsequent investigation by the City of Claremont's police department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed that Dunn had, in fact, slashed her own tires and applied the insulting phrases to her own vehicle. She was subsequently found guilty of filing a false police report and attempted insurance fraud. She was sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay a fine of approximately $19,000 in restitution.
  • On September 27, 2007, the College announced a $200 million gift from alumnus and trustee Robert A. Day '65 to create the Robert Day Scholars Program and a masters program in finance.[25] CMC literature professor Robert Faggen sent a letter signed by several other literature professors to President Gann, saying they are concerned that the gift will "distort the college into a single focus trade school."[26]
  • An investigation by The Claremont Independent's Elise Viebeck '10 led to Professor Jonathan Petropoulos' resignation in April 2008 as director of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Center, amid controversy over the failed restitution of a Pissarro painting looted by the Nazis in 1938.[27][28]


  • George C.S. Benson, founding president (1946-1969)
  • Howard R. Neville (1969-1970)
  • Jack L. Stark (1970-1999)
  • Pamela Gann (1999-present)

Notable faculty and alumni

Notable faculty

  • William Ascher - Donald C. McKenna Professor of Government and Economics; served as Dean of the Faculty from 2000-2005; prolific author and winner of the G. David Huntoon, Sr., Award for Superior Teaching
  • Fred Balitzer - professor of government. He was director of the Republican National Committee under President Ronald Reagan, chairman of Scholars for Reagan-Bush in 1984, and special emissary to the Sultan of Brunei. He helped bring about diplomatic relations with China and Israel and played a leading role in preventing efforts to make the District of Columbia a state.
  • Ward Elliott - researched market solutions to Los Angeles smog problem. Elliott drafted the economic-incentives of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Thanks to his efforts, the number of first-stage smog-alerts days declined from one day in three in the 1960s to only one day in 1997.
  • Ross Eckert - professor of economics, who dedicated his life to cleaning up the blood supply. The matter affected him personally as he was a hemophilliac who contracted HIV/AIDS from a bad transfusion. Eckert worked with Elliott on market-incentives to reduce congestion. He also worked to rescue the U.S. Laws of the Sea from degradation. (deceased)
  • Eric Helland -- Professor of Economics, Senior Staff Economist, President's Council of Economic Advisers (2003-2004)
  • Diane Halpern - former president of the American Psychological Association
  • Harry V. Jaffa - professor of political philosophy, scholar of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Aristotelean virtue, and the American founding. The National Review once had a cover story that described Jaffa as "the foremost contemporary interpreter of the American political tradition."
  • Charles Kesler - editor of the Claremont Review of Books and noted conservative scholar
  • Jamaica Kincaid - novelist
  • Jonathan Petropoulos - historian and scholar of Holocaust-era looted art[28]
  • Mort Sahl - Speech writer for President John F. Kennedy and famed comedian.
  • Michael Uhlmann - former Assistant Attorney General to President Gerald Ford and special assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He reportedly convinced Justice Clarence Thomas to join the federal judiciary.
  • Minxin Pei - Professor of Government, and one of the foremost experts on US-China relations. Former Director of the China Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Notable alumni





  • Orley Ashenfelter '64 - Joseph Douglas Green 1895 Professor of Economics at Princeton University and former editor of the American Economic Review
  • Francisco Vazquez '72 - Professor and director of the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies at Sonoma State University.
  • Jack L. Stark '57 - Former CMC president
  • Tibor R. Machan '65 - former editor of Reason magazine, Stanford Hoover Institution fellow and professor at Chapman University.



Dropouts and transfers

External links


  1. ^ a b "Faculty Handbook". Office of the Dean of the Faculty, Claremont McKenna College. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved March 15, 2010. 
  3. ^ "2008-2009 Fact Sheet, About CMC". Claremont McKenna College. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  4. ^ "Catalog 2008-2009: About Claremont McKenna College". Claremont McKenna College. 2009. 
  5. ^ "Claremont McKenna College Board of Trustees 2007-2008". Claremont McKenna College. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  6. ^ "CMC's WASC Accreditation Site". Claremont McKenna College. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  7. ^ "Expenses, Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Other Financial Information". Claremont McKenna College. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  8. ^ "Common Data Set". Claremont McKenna College. 2007-2008. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  9. ^ Washington Program, Off Campus Study, Claremont McKenna College
  10. ^ "America's Best Colleges 2008". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  11. ^ "America's Best College 2009". Forbes. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  12. ^ "25 Hottest Universities". MSNBC. Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  13. ^ "Ranking the Colleges: The Best Feeder Schools". The Wall Street Journal. 2007-04-06. Retrieved 2007-04-10. 
  14. ^ Claremont McKenna Princeton Review Rankings
  15. ^ "Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2009. U.S. News & World Report. 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  16. ^ "The Washington Monthly Liberal Arts Rankings". The Washington Monthly. 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-20. 
  17. ^ "Henry Luce Foundation: Luce Scholars Program". Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ The Libraries of The Claremont Colleges
  20. ^ YouTube - Claremont McKenna College Ducey Gym
  21. ^ News Release, News and Events, Claremont McKenna College
  22. ^ News Release, News and Events, Claremont McKenna College
  23. ^ The Robert Day Scholars Program, Claremont McKenna College
  24. ^ The Campaign For Claremont McKenna, Claremont McKenna College
  25. ^ "Claremont McKenna Gets $200-Million Donation". Chronicle of Higher Education. 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  26. ^ "Claremont McKenna receives $200-million gift". Los Angeles Times. 2007-09-27.,1,631493.story. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  27. ^ Viebeck, Elise (2008-03-12). "CMC Professor involved in art restitution controversy". Claremont Independent. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  28. ^ a b Boehm, Mike (2008-04-15). "Prof ensnared in case of Pissarro looted by Nazis". Los Angeles Times.,1,139448.story. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  29. ^ "FEC biography". Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
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  36. ^ - The First Art Newspaper on the Net
  37. ^ [2]
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  44. ^ The Playboy Interviews: The Comedians, edited by Stephen Randall, 2007, p.342

Coordinates: 34°06′06″N 117°42′25″W / 34.10171°N 117.70700°W / 34.10171; -117.70700


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