Claremont McKenna College
MottoCrescit cum commercio civitas[1] (Latin)
Motto in EnglishCivilization prospers with commerce[1]
Endowment$520.6 million (2012)[2]
PresidentPamela Gann
Academic staff134
LocationClaremont, California, United States
CampusSuburban, 50 acres (20 ha)
NicknameCMC, Claremont

Claremont McKenna College (CMC) is a private, coeducational liberal arts college and a member of the Claremont Colleges located in Claremont, California, United States. The college is highly selective, with an admission rate of 12.6% in 2012[4]

Founded as a men's college in 1946, CMC became co-educational in 1976. Its 69 acre campus is located 35 miles (56 km) east of Downtown Los Angeles.[5] The college focuses primarily on undergraduate education, but in 2007 it established the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, which offers a masters program in finance. As of 2013, there are 1,254 undergraduate students[3] and 20 graduate students.

History[edit | edit source]

Claremont McKenna College was founded in 1946 soon after World War II ended as Claremont Men's College. Many of its first students were war veterans attending college on the G.I. Bill. 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. The name change allowed the college to keep its popular acronym, "CMC". The college's motto is "Crescit cum commercio civitas", or "Civilization prospers with commerce".

Organization and administration[edit | edit source]

CMC is chartered as a private, non-profit organization and is a member of the seven-institution Claremont Colleges consortium. Students can take classes at any of the member colleges, and the colleges share libraries, a bookstore, athletic facilities, and various student services.[6] The privately appointed 40 voting member board of trustees elects a president to serve as chief executive officer of the college.[1][7] 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. On May 15, 2012, Gann announced she would step down from her position on June 30, 2013, take a year's leave and then return to the college as a "College Professor of Legal Studies."[8]

Admission and Financial Aid[edit | edit source]

Admission to CMC is highly selective. CMC admitted 13.6% of applicants for the 2012-2013 admissions term, one of the lowest acceptance rates of any college in the country.[3] The class of 2015 has a median SAT score of 1410 (combined critical reading and math sections), and 85% of students were in the top tenth of their high school class.[9]

Tuition for the 2011-2012 school year is $42,240 and room and board $13,625. CMC admits students on a need-blind basis and guarantees to meet the financial need of all its students.[10] In 2011, 42% of students received need-based aid with an average financial aid package of $38,394 per student. The school gave a total of $20 million in financial aid.[11] In 2008, the college eliminated loans from its financial aid packages, meeting every student's demonstrated need with grants.[12]

Academics[edit | edit source]

File:Bauer sanbernardino.jpg

Bauer Center, with the San Gabriel mountains in the background.

The college, which operates on a semester system, has 12 academic departments, 10 research institutes and 32 majors, the most popular of which are economics, government, psychology, and international relations.[3] The student to faculty ratio is 9:1 and 82% of the classes have fewer than 20 students. The four year graduation rate is 84%, and the freshman retention rate, which is an indicator of student satisfaction, is 96%.[13]

Students must complete calculus, two science courses, two humanities courses outside of their major and three social science courses outside of their major. They must also achieve proficiency in a foreign language, which they can do by passing a proficiency test or by completing the third semester of the language. Freshmen are required to take a humanities seminar and a writing seminar. All students must complete a senior thesis, which can be either one-semester in length or, to receive departmental honors, two semesters. Students who are not on a sports team must complete three semesters of non-credit physical education classes.

Claremont McKenna's curricular emphasis is on its social sciences, particularly economics, government, international relations, and psychology. About forty percent 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.

Instead of traditional minors, CMC offers interdisciplinary sequences in Asian-American Studies, computer science, ethics, financial economics, gender studies, human rights, genocide, and holocaust studies, leadership, and legal studies.


W.M. Keck Science Department of Claremont McKenna College, Pitzer College, and Scripps College

CMC's science program is offered through the Joint Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges. The Joint Science Department offers a double year-long introductory science class [4] 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, in which students complete a full-time internship while taking government courses taught by CMC professors in Washington at night. "[14]

77% percent of CMC students attend graduate school within five years of graduation, and those who choose to go straight to the workforce average a starting salary of $52,115. 80% of CMC graduates applying to medical school get into their first or second choice institutions. [5] According to a 2009 PayScale report, CMC ranked 1st among all liberal arts colleges in the nation for highest starting salary. [6]

Rankings[edit | edit source]

  • U.S. News & World Report's 2013 rankings rated Claremont McKenna tied for 10th best liberal arts college in the nation (and 13th for "Best Value").[15]
  • Forbes in 2012 rated CMC 23rd in its America's Best Colleges ranking, which includes military academies, national universities, and liberal arts colleges.[16]
  • Kiplinger's Personal Finance places Claremont McKenna 14th in its 2012 ranking of best value liberal arts colleges in the United States.[17]
  • Newsweek ranked it among the top 25 schools in America in several top 25 categories in 2011. It was ranked the 20th "Most Desirable School," 8th "Most Desirable Suburban School," 7th "Most Desirable Small Schools," 24th "Brainiac Schools", 17th "Stocked With Jocks," and 7th "Great Education, Great Tan."[18]
  • The Daily Beast ranked Claremont McKenna the "Happiest College" in the country in 2010 and 2011,[19]but ranked it in 22nd place in 2012.[20]

Campus life[edit | edit source]

Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum[edit | edit source]

The Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum hosts more than one hundred dinner and lecture events with 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 is free to students, faculty, and staff. The Athenaeum has hosted such 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, CNN journalist Anderson Cooper, former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, and former governor of Massachusetts and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Housing[edit | edit source]


Claremont Hall

File:Towers cmc.jpg

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 is made up of Appleby, Boswell, Green, and Wohlford Halls, 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. 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, along 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[edit | edit source]

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 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).

Student Journalism[edit | edit source]

CMC attracts many students with an interest in journalism, many of whom go on to careers in professional journalism. Its student publications include the following:

  • The CMC Forum: The Forum is the official publication of Claremont McKenna College and the oldest publication on campus. It features campus news, opinion and lifestyle articles. Although originally a newspapers, The Forum is now solely an online news source funded in part by the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College.[21]
  • The Claremont Independent: Founded in 1996, this magazine of conservative and libertarian writers does investigative reporting and publishes political and social commentary on campus news. It has broken several notable stories, and its writers have won awards for student journalism. It is funded entirely through private donations and refuses money from any of the Claremont Colleges.
  • Claremont Port Side: Founded in 2003, this progressive 5CTemplate:Huh magazine offers reporting and analysis on everything from global to campus issues. The online and print publication receives funding from both 5C student governments and Campus Progress, an affiliate of the Center for American Progress.[22]
  • Good Morning CMC: Founded in 2011, the daily electronic newsletter began at Claremont McKenna but has since expanded to the other campuses. The letter covers daily talks, athletic events, deadlines, and other on campus news.[23]

Traditions[edit | edit source]

  • 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 was suspended in 2009 but may resume in 2010.[24]

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

  • It is a tradition for students to get ponded (thrown into one of the two fountains located on campus) by their peers on their birthday.[citation needed]
  • 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 registrar. In recent years, the class president has provided the champagne. The students spend the remainder of the afternoon in the fountains at the school, drinking, singing, celebrating and enjoying the warm California sun.[25]

The Consortium[edit | edit source]

All seven colleges are part of the Claremont University Consortium, also known as "the 7-Cs." Together the campuses cover over 300 acres (120 ha) and enroll over 6,000 students. In addition there are over 3,500 faculty and staff and more than 2,500 courses available.

File:Garrison scripps.jpg

Garrison Theater

Student life revolves around the 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[26]
  • 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 undergraduate 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 the 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[edit | edit source]

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.

  • 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 [7]
  • The Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World [8]

Athletics[edit | edit source]

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.[27]

File:Axelrod pool.jpg

Axelrood 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.[28]

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.

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."[9]

Campaign for Claremont McKenna[edit | edit source]

  • 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.
  • 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[29]

• $80 million for The Fund for CMC: operating costs[30]

As part of the campaign, the college built the Kravis Center, an academic building that includes classrooms, faculty offices and research areas. The building, designed by Rafael Viñoly, was completed in 2011. It is named after alumnus Henry Kravis '67 of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts who donated $75 million for the building.[31]

Controversies[edit | edit source]

  • On March 4, 2013, a CMC professor was accused of calling a Palestinian Pitzer student and all Pitzer students "cockroaches", whilst also telling him multiple times to go "f*** off" at a street-theater performance outside of Collins Dining Hall. The performance was meant to mimic the Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.[32][33][34]
  • On January 30, 2012, President Gann announced that a senior admissions officer had been inflating SAT scores reported to the US News and World Report by 10-20 points over the previous six years.[35][36]
  • 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.[37]
  • 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.[38] 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."[39]
  • 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 Dunn reported that her car had been vandalized and painted with racist, sexist and anti-semitic slurs. In response the Claremont Colleges and a series of demonstrations, candlelight 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 FBI 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.[40]

Presidents[edit | edit source]

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

Notable alumni and faculty[edit | edit source]

Notable alumni include:

Notable former faculty include economist Eric Helland and presidential speechwriter and comedian Mort Sahl. Political scientist Minxin Pei, Arabic scholar Bassam Frangieh and author Jamaica Kincaid currently teach at Claremont McKenna College.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Faculty Handbook". Office of the Dean of the Faculty, Claremont McKenna College. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
  2. As of June 30, 2012. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2012 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2011 to FY 2012" (PDF). 2012 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3
  4. "CMC Class of 2016: 12.4% Admissions Rate". The Forum. 2012.
  5. "Liberal Arts Rankings". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
  6. "Catalog 2008–2009: About Claremont McKenna College". Claremont McKenna College. 2009.
  7. "Claremont McKenna College Board of Trustees 2007–2008". Claremont McKenna College. Archived from the original on 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
  8. "Presidential Search Update". Claremont McKenna College. May 15, 2012.
  10. "Financial Aid FAQ". Claremont McKenna College.
  11. "CMC Fact Sheet". 2011. Claremont McKenna College. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  13. "Liberal Arts Rankings". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
  14. Washington Program, Off Campus Study, Claremont McKenna College
  15. "Best Colleges – National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. 2013. Retrieved March 27, 2013..
  16. "America's Best Colleges". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
  17. "Best Values in Private Colleges". Kiplinger's Personal Finance. Retrieved March 27, 2013..
  18. "Finding the Right College for You". Kaplan-Newsweek. 2007-04-06. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
  19. The Daily Beast.
  20. The Daily Beast.
  26. The Libraries of The Claremont Colleges
  27. YouTube – Claremont McKenna College Ducey Gym
  28. News Release, News and Events, Claremont McKenna College
  29. The Robert Day Scholars Program, Claremont McKenna College
  30. The Campaign For Claremont McKenna, Claremont McKenna College
  31. News Release, News and Events, Claremont McKenna College
  32. [1]
  33. [2]
  34. [3]
  35. "Prestigious California college admits inflating SAT scores for rankings". Fox News. 2012-01-31.
  36. Pérez-Peña, Richard; Slotnik, Daniel E. (2012-01-31). "Gaming the College Rankings". The New York Times.
  37. Boehm, Mike (2008-04-15). "Prof ensnared in case of Pissarro looted by Nazis". Los Angeles Times.,1,139448.story. Retrieved 2008-09-26.
  38. "Claremont McKenna Gets $200-Million Donation". Chronicle of Higher Education. 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-10-06.
  39. Gordon, Larry (2007-09-27). "Claremont McKenna receives $200-million gift". Los Angeles Times.,1,631493.story. Retrieved 2007-10-06.[dead link]
  40. "An education in hate". St. Petersburg Times. 2004-06-06. Retrieved 2011-02-10.
  41. Los Angeles USD Verdugo Hills HS alumni

External links[edit | edit source]

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