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Harvey Mudd College
HMC Seal
Established 1955
Type Private
Endowment $193.9 million[1]
President Maria Klawe
Faculty 83
Undergraduates 738
Location Claremont, CA, USA
Campus Suburban, 38 acres (0.15 km²)

Harvey Mudd College is a private residential liberal arts college of science, engineering, and mathematics, located in Claremont, California. It is one of the institutions of the contiguous Claremont Colleges.

Harvey Mudd shares university resources (libraries, dining halls, etc.) with the other institutions in the Claremont Colleges, including Pitzer College, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, and Pomona College. Students at Harvey Mudd are encouraged to take classes at the other four Claremont colleges, especially classes outside their major of study. Together the Claremont Colleges provide the resources and opportunities of a large university while enabling the specialization and personal attention afforded by the individual colleges.

The college is named after Harvey Seeley Mudd, one of the initial investors in the Cyprus Mines Corporation. Although involved in the planning of the new institution, Mudd died before it opened. Harvey Mudd College was funded by Mudd's friends and family, and named in his honor.[2]



Harvey Mudd College entrance on Dartmouth Ave

Harvey Mudd College's mission is to educate scientists, engineers, and mathematicians to be well-versed in the social sciences and humanities so that they better understand the impact of their work on society. The college offers four-year degrees in chemistry, mathematics, physics, computer science, biology, and engineering, as well as interdisciplinary degrees in mathematical biology, and a joint major in either computer science and mathematics; or biology and chemistry. Students may also elect to complete an Independent Program of Study (IPS) made up of courses of their own choosing. Usually between two and five students graduate with an IPS degree each year. Finally, one may choose an off-campus major offered by any of the other Claremont Colleges, provided one also completes a minor in one of the technical fields that Harvey Mudd offers as a major.

Because of its mission statement, Harvey Mudd places an unusually strong emphasis on general science education, requiring a full one-third of math, science, and engineering courses, known as the "common core," outside of one's major. Students are also required to take another one-third of their courses in the humanities, in keeping with the school's tradition of "science with a conscience." The final one-third of courses comprises those in the student's major. The integration of research and education is an important component of the educational experience at Harvey Mudd; upon graduation, every student has experienced some kind of research, usually in the form of a senior thesis or a Clinic Program. The undergraduate focus of HMC means that, unlike many larger science and engineering institutions, undergraduates at HMC get unique access to research positions over the summer and during the school year.

A unique opportunity for HMC students is the Clinic Program, which focuses primarily on projects in the fields of engineering, computer science, physics, and math. In the Clinic Program, teams of students work for a year on a project suggested by a company. They are expected to make regular reports to the company and to deliver a product at the end of the year. The Clinic Program offers students a first-hand look at a particular industry and allows the sponsoring company to hire an inexpensive Clinic team of four students, whom they often recruit after graduation.



The middle 50% of entering SAT scores are 740–800 (out of 800) in mathematics, 690–760 in critical reading, and 680–760 in writing.[3] A third of the student body are National Merit Scholars, and at one point, about 40 percent of graduates were going on to earn a Ph.D. — the highest rate of any college or university in the nation.[4][5] Harvey Mudd today still maintains the highest rate of science and engineering Ph.D. production among all undergraduate colleges and second highest (Caltech ranks first and MIT third) compared to all universities and colleges, according to a 2008 report by the National Science Foundation.[6]

As of 2009, Harvey Mudd College is tied for 14th with Grinnell College, United States Military Academy, and Washington and Lee University among liberal arts colleges in the United States as rated by the U.S. News and World Report[7] and is ranked first along with Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology as the best undergraduate engineering program at a school whose highest degree is a bachelor's or master's[8] by U.S. News & World Report. In 2006, Harvey Mudd was also named one of the "new Ivy leagues" by Kaplan and Newsweek[9], while the mathematics department won the first American Mathematical Society Award for Exemplary Program.[10]

Harvey Mudd College is said to be one of the few colleges in the US with very low grade inflation.[11] This perception may be due to a period of significant grade deflation in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[12] As of 2008, only six students in the history of the college have achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA.[13]

In 1997, Harvey Mudd College became the sole American undergraduate-only institution ever to win 1st place in the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest.[14] As of 2009, no American school has won the world competition since then.[15]

Harvey Mudd College, along with Wake Forest University, long held out as the last four-year colleges or universities in the U.S. to accept only SAT and not ACT test scores in their admissions process.[16] In August 2007, however (the beginning of the application process for the class of 2012), HMC began accepting ACT results,[17] a year after Wake Forest abandoned its former SAT-only policy.[16]

Student life

The total fees (Tuition, student body fee, room & board, etc.) come out to a bank-breaking total of $51,037.00 for the 2009-2010 academic year.

Harvey Mudd College dormitories

View of central campus, looking out of the former Norman F. Sprague Memorial Library.

The official names for the dormitories are (listed in order of construction):[18]

  • Mildred E. Mudd Hall ("East")
  • West Hall ("West")
  • North Hall ("North")
  • Marks Residence Hall ("South")
  • J. L. Atwood Residence Hall (Atwood)
  • Case Residence Hall (Case)
  • Ronald and Maxine Linde Residence Hall (Linde)
  • Frederick and Susan Sontag Residence Hall (Sontag)

Until the addition of the Linde and Sontag dorms, Atwood and Case dorms were occasionally referred to as New Dorm and New Dorm II; Mildred E. Mudd Hall and Marks Hall are almost invariably referred to as East dorm and South dorm.

During the construction of Case Dorm some students decided as a prank to move all of the survey stakes exactly one foot in one direction.[19] They did such a precise job that the construction crew didn't notice until after they had laid the foundation, but California earthquake law forced them to reinspect the new location at some significant expense.[citation needed].

Galileo Hall and Hixon Courtyard

South Dorm is in the northwest corner of the quad. "East" was the first dorm, but it wasn't until "West" was built west of it that it was actually referred to as "East". Then "North" was built, directly north of "East". When the fourth dorm (Marks) was built, there was one corner of the quad available (the northwest) and one directional name, "South", remaining.[20] To this day "South" dorm is more north on the compass than "North" dorm is.

The fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth dorms built are Atwood, Case, Linde, and Sontag, respectively. They were initially referred to as "the colonies" by some students, a reference to the fact that they were newer and at the farthest end of the campus; these dorms are now more commonly referred to as "the outer dorms." The college had initially purchased an apartment building adjacent to the newer dorms to house additional students, but it was demolished to make room for the newest dorm, Sontag.

Since any HMC student, regardless of class year, can live in any of the dormitories, several of the dorms have accumulated long-standing traditions and so-called 'personalities'.[21] Two examples of these traditions are the parties Long Tall Glasses (a formal affair thrown by North) and TQ Nite (a tequila-centered party formerly thrown by West). The personality of a given dorm experiences changes over the years, however, as Harvey Mudd alumni may find upon visiting their alma mater long after graduation.


Athletics teams from Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, and Scripps College compete as one team. Male athletic teams are called the Stags, and women's teams are called the Athenas. The teams participate in the NCAA's Division III and in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

College Traditions

Individual dorms at Harvey Mudd have their own unique traditions, but the College itself hosts some campus traditions.

In the early 1970s the first unicycle appeared on campus. The unicycling club, known as Gonzo Unicycle Madness, was formed, and to this day organizes an annual 9.6 mile ride known as "The Foster's Run," to the "Donut Man" donut shop in Glendora (originally known as "Foster's Donuts" hence the name of the event) for strawberry donuts.[22] Upon return to the campus, the ritual of the "shakedown" takes place (dismounting and then repeatedly jumping up and down), a necessary procedure after a unicycle ride of nearly twenty miles. Sometimes unicyclists on campus also meet to play unicycle hockey. In the early 1990s, though, the ridership of unicycles waned at the college. Currently, only a few Mudders ride unicycles, many of them at "South" dorm.

A student-led organization, Increasing Harvey Mudd's Traditional Practices (IHTP), works to revive college traditions that have slowly faded over the years, and also starts new traditions that the group hopes to see take root on campus. It hosts annual events such as the 5-Class Competition, Friday Nooners, Wednesday Nighters, Frosh/Soph Games, and the Thomas-Garrett Affair.[23]

Interdorm competitions are also regularly held, ranging from water polo to broomball.

The HMC honor code

HMC students developed, live by and enforce an Honor Code themselves. The Honor Code states:

Each member of ASHMC [Associated Students of Harvey Mudd College] is responsible for maintaining his or her integrity and the integrity of the college community in all academic matters and in all affairs concerning the community.

The Honor Code is so well followed that the college entrusts the students to 24-hour per day access to all buildings, including labs, and permits take-home exams, specified either as open-book or closed-book, or as timed or un-timed.


The former Norman F. Sprague Memorial Library

The original buildings of campus were designed by Edward Durell Stone. Most are covered with thousands of square concrete features, called "warts" by the students, which would be perfectly suited to buildering except that, while some are set into the wall, others are simply glued on. In addition, these warts have the unusual usefulness of being great 'shelves' for unicycles and skateboards. One can walk towards Galileo Hall and see the warts (especially those near the entrances of buildings) being used as racks for unicycles and skateboards. Interestingly enough, the unofficial mascot of Harvey Mudd (featured on many college handbooks and other publications) is one of these concrete blocks with a face, arms, and legs, named "Wally the Wart."

Most of the computer labs and many classrooms are located in the basements (called the Libra Complex) of the concrete-block buildings. All of the buildings that make up the Libra Complex are interconnected via a series of underground tunnels, enabling convenient inter-building access.

Relations with Caltech

The California Institute of Technology, another school known for its strength in the natural sciences and engineering, is located 26 miles away from Harvey Mudd College. From time to time, Mudders have been known to amuse themselves by pranking Caltech. For example, in 1986, students from Mudd stole a memorial cannon from Fleming House at Caltech (originally from the National Guard) by dressing as maintenance people and carting it off on a flatbed truck for "cleaning."[24] Harvey Mudd eventually returned the cannon after the Caltech President threatened to take legal action. In 2006, MIT replicated the prank and moved the same cannon to their campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[25]

Another Mudd prank involved slight modifications to a freeway sign. By placing parentheses around Pasadena City College, a nearby community college, Mudd students changed the sign to read:

California Institute of Technology

(Pasadena City College)

Next Exit

Notable alumni

Notable faculty


  1. ^ 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 February 9, 2010. 
  2. ^ "History of Harvey Mudd College". Harvey Mudd College. Retrieved 2006-08-22. 
  3. ^ "Fast Facts". Harvey Mudd College, Admissions Department. 
  4. ^ "Choosing a College: Liberal Arts Colleges". 
  5. ^ "Introduction to HMC Mathematics". Harvey Mudd College, Math Department. 
  6. ^ "HMC Named Leader in Ph.D. Production". 
  7. ^ "America's Best Colleges 2010: Liberal Arts". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  8. ^ "America's Best Colleges 2010: Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (where doctorate not offered)". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  9. ^ Barbara Kantrowitz and Karen Springen (2006-08-28). "25 New Ivies". Newsweek. Retrieved 2006-12-13. 
  10. ^ "Harvey Mudd Mathematics Department Garners AMS Award" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society 53 (4). April 2006. 
  11. ^ Donald Asher (2007). Cool Colleges. Ten Speed Press. pp. 83. 
  12. ^ "Harvey Mudd GPA trends 1972-2001". 2008-10-08. 
  13. ^ "Harvey Mudd College Faculty Minutes May 14 2008". 
  14. ^ "1996-97 21st Annual ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest Final Report". 1992-03-02. 
  15. ^ "American universities fall way behind in programming: Weakest result for U.S. in 29-year history of international technology competition". San Francisco Chronicle. 2005-04-09. 
  16. ^ a b Marklein, Mary Beth. "All four-year U.S. colleges now accept ACT test". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2007-03-18. 
  17. ^ "Harvey Mudd College Begins Accepting ACT Scores for Admission". Harvey Mudd College. January 25, 2007. 
  18. ^ "Campus map". Harvey Mudd College. 
  19. ^ Stephanie L. Graham (Winter 2005). "A Treasured Friendship". Harvey Mudd College Bulletin. Retrieved 2006-12-13. 
  20. ^ "Mysteries of Mudd". Harvey Mudd College Bulletin. Winter 2005. Retrieved 2006-12-13. 
  21. ^ Nisha Gottfredson (March 2004). "Thy Name is Mudd: The hidden Mudder mythos-- it's more than you think.". Claremont Student. Retrieved 2006-12-13. 
  22. ^ Gonzo Unicycle Madness
  23. ^ IHTP at Harvey Mudd College 
  24. ^ "Caltech Cannon Heist Memorial Page". 
  25. ^ "Howe & Ser Moving Co.". Retrieved 2006-04-16. 

External links

Coordinates: 34°06′22″N 117°42′33″W / 34.10608°N 117.70919°W / 34.10608; -117.70919


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