• 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

Monday, February 8, 2016 - Evening Program
Compassion: What I learned at CMC
Ravi Aysola '96
As a disabled student of color and survivor of a critical illness, this CMCer learned that compassion and empathy can be the most important things to develop in college.

Ravi Shankar Aysola ’96 is an assistant clinical professor in internal medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is also director of the UCLA Pulmonary Sleep Medicine Program and director of the UCLA Santa Monica Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine Clinic.

Aysola majored in psychobiology and graduated summa cum laude from CMC in 1996. He attended the U.T. Southwestern Medical School at Dallas and completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Parkland Hospital also in Dallas. He went on to pursue fellowships in pulmonary and critical care medicine and sleep medicine at Washington University in St. Louis.

Aysola will discuss his experiences at CMC as a survivor of a critical illness and a student with disabilities. Specifically he will address the long-term impact of those experiences and how they affected his personal perspectives and what they taught him about practicing compassion in his academic, professional, and personal life.

Meal reservations now open to everyone in the Claremont Colleges
Tuesday, February 9, 2016 - Evening Program
Decision '16: Decoding the Iowa Caucus & New Hampshire Primary
Zachary Courser '99, moderator
These first-in-the-nation contests predict the next phase in the 2016 race for the presidency. Join political experts to understand what they mean for election day in November!

After months of debates, polls, and punditry, the primary season has begun! The Iowa caucus will have taken place on February 1st, soon followed by the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary on February 9th. Join an expert panel discussion that will analyze the results from the Iowa caucus, and the up-to-the-minute returns from New Hampshire on election night. This will be an exciting and evolving discussion that will yield strong indications of which candidates will build enough momentum to survive the short primary season to be contenders for their party's nomination this summer.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - Evening Program
Beautiful Evil: Pandora and the Problem of Female Beauty
Ruby Blondell
In Greek myth it is Pandora, the first woman, who brings evil into the previously carefree world of mortal men. Greek concepts of good and evil, however, are far from simplistic and absolute. Professor Blondell will argue that Pandora’s story was a means by which Greeks made women emblematic of the complexity of good and evil in human life.

Every culture has some kind of story to explain the existence of evil. In Greek myth it is Pandora, the first woman, who brings evil into the previously carefree world of mortal men. The Greeks did not think of human beings as poised between poles of pure good and evil, however, but as enmeshed in a complex field of overlapping and ambiguous forces: beauty and evil, joy and pain, are inseparable aspects of our world. As misogynist as it is, the story of Pandora makes women emblematic of that complexity. It is a story not just about good and evil, but about the inextricable presence of both in human life.

Ruby Blondell is a professor of classics and Byron W. and Alice L. Lockwood Professor in the Humanities at the University of Washington in Seattle. She has published widely on Greek literature and philosophy, and on the reception of myth in popular culture. Her books include The Play of Character in Plato’s Dialogues (Cambridge 2002); Women on the Edge: Four Plays by Euripides (co-authored) (Routledge 1999); Helping Friends and Harming Enemies. A Study in Sophocles and Greek Ethics (Cambridge 1989); and most recently, Helen of Troy: Beauty, Myth, Devastation (Oxford 2013). She is currently writing a book on the portrayal of Helen in film and television.

Read more about Ruby Blondell...

Meal reservations now open to everyone in the Claremont Colleges
Thursday, February 11, 2016 - Evening Program
Why Liberal Education Matters
Michael S. Roth
Wesleyan University's President Roth will examine the debate over the benefits—or drawbacks—of a broad-based liberal education and present his own defense of a “pragmatic liberal education.”

Michael S. Roth is president of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut where he has served since 2007. Known as a historian, curator and author, Roth was previously Hartley Burr Alexander Professor of Humanities at Scripps College, associate director of the Getty Research Institute, and president of the California College of the Arts.

Author and curator (most notably of the exhibition “Sigmund Freud: Conflict and Culture,” which opened at the Library of Congress in 1998), Roth describes his scholarly interests as centered on “how people make sense of the past.” His fifth book, Memory, Trauma and History: Essays on Living with the Past was published in 2012. His most recent book, Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters, is a stirring plea for the kind of education that has, he believes, since the founding of the nation cultivated individual freedom, promulgated civic virtue, and instilled hope for the future.

He regularly publishes essays, book reviews, and commentaries in the national media and scholarly journals. He continues to teach undergraduate courses and through Coursera and MOOCs, the most recent being “How to Change the World.”

Critics of higher education have attacked liberal education for its perceived irrelevance and elitism—often calling for more vocational instruction. In his Athenaeum talk, Roth will focus on important moments and seminal thinkers in America’s long-running argument over vocational versus liberal education, including Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington, Jane Addams and John Dewey to develop his own defense of a “pragmatic liberal education.”

President Roth’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Salvatori Center.

Read more about Michael S. Roth…

Meal reservations now open to everyone in the Claremont Colleges
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

Other Events and Announcements

Monday, February 22, 2016 - Evening Program
Anatomy of an Epidemic: History, Science, and the Long-term Effects of Psychiatric Medications
Robert Whitaker
A prize-winning journalist, Robert Whitaker will discuss the epidemic of mental illness in the U.S. and whether the cure — psychotropic drugs — might actually contribute to the cause.


The burden of mental illness in our society, as measured by the number of people on disability due to mental illness, has dramatically increased in the last 35 years. This raises the following question for Robert Whitaker: How do psychiatric medications affect people over the long-term? What do history and science show?

Whitaker is the author of five books, three of which tell of the history of psychiatry. Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill was named by Discover magazine as one of the best science books of 2002. His second book Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America won the Investigative Reporters and Editors book award for best investigative journalism in 2010, and has been translated into nine foreign languages. His latest book on the history of psychiatry, co-written with Lisa Cosgrove, is Psychiatry Under the Influence: Institutional Corruption, Social Injury, and Prescriptions for Reform.

He is the founder of madinamerica.com, a website that features research news and blogs from an international group of writers interested in “rethinking psychiatry.”


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.