• Marian Miner Cook

    A distinctive
    feature of social and
    cultural life at CMC

  • Marian Miner Cook

    A distinctive
    feature of social and
    cultural life at CMC

  • Marian Miner Cook

    A distinctive
    feature of social and
    cultural life at CMC

Unique in U.S. higher education, the Athenaeum brings today’s leading scholars and activists, innovators and entrepreneurs, politicians and poets, scientists and musicians to engage our community in an intimate and relaxed setting. A complete, current list of open events is available.

Coming Up at the Ath

Friday, February 12, 2016 - Special Program
Innovation on Wall Street: Rise of Financial Technology
John Shrewsberry ’87
John Shrewsberry ’87 is the chief financial officer of Wells Fargo, the largest bank in the world by market value. His presentation will analyze the role of technology in financial services, how it affects incumbents and what it means for new entrants. 

John Shrewsberry '87, Wells Fargo's CFO, is responsible for Wells Fargo’s financial management functions including controllers, financial reporting, tax management, asset-liability management, treasury, corporate development, and investor relations. Mr. Shrewsberry is also responsible for Wells Fargo’s investment portfolios as well as the company’s corporate properties functions and strategic planning. He serves on the Wells Fargo operating, management, and market risk committees and is based in San Francisco.

A 20-year veteran of banking and investing, Shrewsberry served as head of Wells Fargo Securities from 2006 through May 2014, where he was responsible for investment banking, capital markets, institutional fixed income, equity, and derivatives sales and trading, investment research, and a credit-intensive principal investment portfolio. From 2001 through 2005, he was the group head of Wells Fargo Commercial Capital, the successor to a commercial finance company he co-founded that became part of Wells Fargo in 2001. Previously, Shrewsberry worked at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse First Boston in the principal finance areas. He started his career as a Certified Public Accountant at Coopers & Lybrand.

Shrewsberry earned his B.A. in economics from Claremont McKenna College and an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management.

He currently serves on the board for the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation. Committed to serving the communities around him, he also serves on the boards of the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, the Yale School of Management, and is active with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

This special event will begin with a networking cocktail reception at 4:15 pm. Dinner will be served at 5:15 pm and the speaker program will begin at 6 pm. 

Meal Reservations now open to everyone in the Claremont Colleges
Monday, February 15, 2016 - Evening Program
Global Energy Challenges and Opportunities
Spencer Abraham P'19
Former Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham P ’19 will examine recent developments, pressing challenges and international pressures in world energy markets and discuss ensuing domestic and geopolitical impact on economics and security.

Spencer Abraham served as the tenth U.S. Secretary of Energy from 2001 to 2005. Under his leadership the department made major advances in the development of new energy technologies, successfully implemented a variety of nuclear non proliferation and nuclear security programs after the September 11 attacks, and launched initiatives to improve the nation’s energy security. He also had responsibility for U.S. national labs and energy research activities.

An honors graduate of Michigan State University and Harvard Law School, Abraham was the co-founder of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy and the Federalist Society. He was a law professor at the Thomas M. Cooley School of law before being elected chairman of the Michigan Republican Party in 1983. He later served as deputy chief of staff in the Office of the Vice President and as co-chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

In 1994 Abraham was elected to the United States Senate from Michigan. While in the Senate, he authored 22 pieces of legislation that were enacted into law and served on the Senate Judiciary, Commerce and Budget committees. He chaired the Senate sub committees on Immigration and Manufacturing and Competitiveness. Much of his legislative focus was on advancing the emerging information technology/E-Commerce revolution including the now ubiquitous use of electronic signatures in commercial activities.

After leaving his post as Secretary of Energy in 2005, Abraham launched The Abraham Group, an international energy consulting business. He serves on the boards of a number of public and private corporations and authored Lights Out: 10 Myths About and Real Solutions to America’s Energy Crisis.

The Honorable Spencer Abraham is the featured parent speaker for Parents' Weekend 2016.

Read more about Spencer Abraham…

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 - Evening Program
What Works in Reducing Recidivism
Edward Latessa
Noted as one of the most innovative people in criminal justice reform, Edward Latessa will discuss the major predictors of criminal behavior, the principles of effective correctional interventions, and what works (and doesn’t) in reducing recidivism.

Edward J. Latessa, PhD, is director and professor of the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati. Latessa has published over 200 works in the area of criminal justice, corrections, and juvenile justice. He is co-author of eight books including What Works (and Doesn’t) in Reducing Recidivism; Corrections in the Community; and, Corrections in America.

Latessa has directed over 150 funded research projects including studies of day reporting centers, juvenile justice programs, drug courts, prison programs, intensive supervision programs, halfway houses, and drug programs. He and his staff have also assessed over 600 correctional programs throughout the United States, and he has provided assistance and workshops in forty-eight states.

A recipient of dozens of awards and honors, he was identified in 2013 as one of the most innovative people in criminal justice by a national survey conducted by the Center for Court Innovation in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Read more about Edward Latessa…

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - Lunch Program
Jinhee Park
Award-winning architect Jinhee Park will explore a new take on ways to formulate physical environment which enables building vitality into the existing urban condition and present a series of explorations that address urban issues in physical and psychological urban context.

Jinhee Park is a founding principal at the award-winning New York City and Seoul based architecture firm SsD, a practice which approaches design as a convergent, interdisciplinary, and sustainable venture. She received a masters in architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a B.F.A. in industrial design from Seoul National University. Her work at SsD has been celebrated through numerous awards including a 2015 Best in Competition Award from AIANY, a 2012 Architecture Vanguard from Architectural Record, the 2009 AIA Young Architects Award, and the 2007 Young Architects Forum Award from the Architectural League of New York.

Jinhee is currently adjunct professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and from 2009-13 she served as design critic in architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Previous appointments include distinguished visiting professor at the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture City College New York in 2014, the Morgenstern Chair Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2008, and the Sasaki Distinguished Visiting Critic at the Boston Architectural College in 2007.

Ms. Park's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Mellon Global Liberal Arts Visiting Scholar Fund.

Meal reservations now open to everyone in the Claremont Colleges
Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - Evening Program
Good News Stories from Africa: How Hollywood and the Media Get it Wrong
John Prendergast
With over 30 of years of experience working in Africa and on African issues, Mr. Prendergast will illustrate the differences between "Hollywood Africa" and the African continent as it truly exists today, peeling back the veil of mystery and showing a vibrant, growing society filled with culture and promise.

John Prendergast is a human rights activist and best-selling author who has worked for peace in Africa for 30 years, including helping facilitate the end of the Ethiopean and Eritrean conflict in the late ‘90s. The standard image of Africa is a starving baby, a continent of helplessness and a population ensconced in victimhood. These impressions are reinforced by the media, especially big-budget motion pictures that portray Africans as helpless or inherently violent. However, contends Prendergast, the reality is far different.

Prendergast is the founding director of the Enough Project, an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity. He is also the co-founder of the Sentry, a new investigative initiative focused on dismantling the networks financing conflict and atrocities. Prendergast has worked for the Clinton administration, the State Department, two members of Congress, the National Intelligence Council, UNICEF, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, and the U.S. Institute of Peace. 

He is the author or co-author of ten books.  His latest book, Unlikely Brothers, is a dual memoir co-authored with his first little brother in the Big Brother program—a program in which he has been involved for over 25 years. His previous two books were co-authored with Don Cheadle, Not On Our Watch, a New York Times bestseller and NAACP non-fiction book of the year, and The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes. He is also beginning a book project on the Congo with Ryan Gosling and New Yorker writer Kelefa Sanneh.

The recipient of multiple honorary degrees and awards, Prendergast has taught at many American and foreign colleges and universities and is a board member and strategic advisor to Not On Our Watch, the organization founded by George Clooney, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, and Brad Pitt that advocates in support of global human rights. He appears in the Warner Brothers' motion picture "The Good Lie," starring Reese Witherspoon and is a primary subject of the book by Jane Bussman, A Journey to the Dark Heart of Nameless Unspeakable Evil.

John Prendergast’s Athenaeum talk is co-sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights.

Read more about John Prendergast...

Thursday, February 18, 2016 - Evening Program
Mexico – U.S. Relations: The Importance and Implications of Our Partnership
His Excellency Miguel E. Basáñez, the Ambassador of Mexico

Miguel E. Basáñez was ratified by the Mexican Senate as Ambassador of Mexico to the United States on September 2, 2015. Prior to his appointment as ambassador, he was professor of values, culture and development at the Fletcher School of Tufts University and director of special research and educational projects. In Mexico, he worked to expand democracy by introducing public opinion polls in the 1988 elections.

His career has been a combination of public service (1968-1988), opinion polling (1988-2008), and academia (1970-2015). In the public sector, Basáñez worked as director general of opinion polling for the office of the president, chief of staff for the governor of the state of Mexico, attorney general of the state of Mexico, and chief of staff for the secretary of energy.

In the academic arena he was a Fulbright Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan. He is the author or editor of 14 books, including: The Struggle for Hegemony in Mexico, 1968-1980; The Pulse of the Presidential Terms: 20 Years of Crisis in Mexico; North American Trajectory: Trade, Politics and Values (with R. Inglehart); Human Beliefs and Values: A Cross-cultural Sourcebook Based on the 1999-2002 Values Surveys (with R. Inglehart). He has a Ph.D. in political sociology from the London School of Economics.

(Source: Mexican Embassy website)

Friday, February 19, 2016 - Special Program
Trial, Error and a Bit of Luck: How I Landed My Dream Job
Dorothy Attwood

Dorothy Attwood was named senior vice-president of global public policy for The Walt Disney Company in September 2010 where she is responsible for the development of Disney’s strategic global public policy initiatives. She also manages the company’s privacy legal department across all its business segments.

Prior to joining Disney, Attwood was senior vice-president for public policy and chief privacy officer for AT&T, where she led AT&T’s public policy strategy and enterprise-wide policies governing the privacy of customer information. Before that, she spent six years at the Federal Communications Commission in a variety of senior policy-making positions. Attwood was the senior legal advisor to Chairman William Kennard on all common carrier, enforcement and consumer matters, and served as chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau under both Chairman Kennard and Chairman Michael Powell. She also served as chief of the Enforcement Division of the Common Carrier Bureau.

Before joining the FCC, Attwood was a partner in the Philadelphia law firm Cozen & O'Conner, specializing in commercial litigation. She clerked for the Honorable Walter K. Stapleton of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Attwood received her bachelor’s degree from Brown University, a Master’s Degree from The Wharton School and her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Dorothy Attwood is the 2016 Women in Leadership Alliance speaker.

To register for this special half-day program WLA program, please click here

Other Events and Announcements

Friday, March 11, 2016 - Lunch Program
Peter Thiel and William Kristol: A Conversation about Entrepreneurship and Education
Peter Thiel and William Kristol
Join leading entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel and political commentator and CMC's Salvatori Institute board chair William Kristol for a luncheon talk and conversation. Mr. Thiel's talk on entrepreneurship and education will be followed by a discussion and Q and A. Mr. Thiel and Mr. Kristol jointly will also reflect on the current political scene.

William Kristol, founder and editor of The Weekly Standard, contributor to ABC News, author, and chief of staff to former U.S. Vice President Qualye, is widely recognized as one of the nation's most insightful political analysts.

Peter Thiel is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, hedge fund manager, and social critic. Thiel co-founded PayPal with Max Levchin and Elon Musk  and served as its CEO. He also co-founded Palantir, of which he is chairman. He was the first outside investor in Facebook with a 10.2% stake acquired in 2004 for $500,000, and sits on the company's board of directors.

Thiel will address entrepreneurship and education. Thiel and Kristol together will reflect on the current political state.

Mr. Thiel and Mr. Kristol's Athenaeum appearance is sponsored by the Salvatori Institute at CMC.



Follow the Athenaeum


Unless otherwise noted, lunch begins at 11:45 a.m.; speaker presentations begin at 12:15 p.m.
Evening receptions begin at 5:30 p.m.; dinner is served at 6 p.m.; speaker presentations begin at 6:45 p.m.

The Athenaeum facilitates dynamic interactions and dialogue that underscore
the essence of a liberal arts education.

About the Ath

View a brochure that describes how the Ath has been an integral part of the CMC experience for decades.

Weekly Menus

Events at the Ath feed not only the minds of CMC community members, but also their stomachs as well.


Past speakers describe their experiences interacting with the Claremont McKenna College community.

Video Library

Watch videos of many of the past speakers who have visited the Ath and shared their insights.