Marian Miner Cook

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC

Open Events

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.

Here is a list of open events at the Ath. If no sign up button appears under the event, it is because the event is no longer accepting reservations.

Unless otherwise noted, lunch begins at 11:45 a.m.; speaker presentations begin at 12:15 p.m. Evening programs typically begin with a reception at 5:30 pm; dinner is served at 6 p.m; and the talk begins at 6:45 p.m. Reservations are required for the meals.

Unless otherwise noted, the talk itself is free and open to all, and no reservations are required to attend the talk only. Seating for only the talk itself is on a first-come basis.

Please click "Sign Up" under individual events to sign up for open events. If there is no button showing, registration is currently closed, but please check back later. When meal reservations are opened to members of the other Claremont Colleges, a note will be added to the event listing. An explanation of the reservation process and a list of frequently asked questions is available. Questions may also be directed to the Ath at

The Athenaeum has a mobile app for Apple and Android devices, enabling you to see what's coming up at the Ath and quickly add events to your mobile calendar. Download the iPhone and iPad version or the Google Play version for Android phones.


Monday, January 23, 2017 - 5:30pm
2017 MLK Commemorative Speech
Cornell William Brooks
President and CEO of the NAACP Cornell Brooks will offer his thoughts on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Cornell William Brooks is the 18th president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). A civil rights attorney, social justice advocate, and ordained minister, Brooks upholds the mission of the NAACP to secure political, educational, social and economic equality for all Americans. His vision is an NAACP that is multiracial, multiethnic, and multigenerational.

A graduate of Head Start and Yale Law School, Brooks considers himself “an heir” of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Born in El Paso, Texas, and raised in Georgetown, South Carolina, he earned a B.A. with honors in political science from Jackson State University, a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology, where he was a Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar; and a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as senior editor of the Yale Law Journal and member of the Yale Law and Policy Review. 

Brooks served a judicial clerkship with then-Chief Judge Sam J. Ervin III on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He also worked as a staff attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and as Executive Director of the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington. In 1998, honoring his grandfather’s 1946 bid for Congress, Brooks ran as the Democratic nominee for Congress for Virginia’s 10th District – advocating for public education, affordable healthcare, and fiscal responsibility.

Immediately prior to joining the NAACP, Brooks led the Newark-based New Jersey Institute for Social Justice as president and CEO. During his tenure there, the Institute passed a constitutional amendment, bail reform, “Ban the Box,” foreclosure reform, and prison re-entry legislation, which The New York Times hailed as “a model for the rest of the nation.”  Brooks also produced an award-winning documentary on criminal justice.

Mr. Brooks is CMC's 2017 MLK Commemorative Speaker.

This event is full. If you would like to be put on a waiting list, please contact the Athenaeum.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - 5:30pm
Tectonic Shifts in Turkey's Domestic and Foreign Policies: How Did it Come to This?
Birol A. Yesilada
Events in Turkey in the last decade suggest a potential nightmare for Turkish democracy, relations with Western Allies, and regional stability in the Greater Middle East. Briol Yesilada will consider how this happened and where it might lead. 

Birol A. Yesilada is a professor of political science and chair of Contemporary Turkish Studies at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. An expert on Turkish politics and the European Union, he is the author of EU-Turkey Relations in the 21st Century, Islamization of Turkey Under the AKP Rule, and The Emerging European Union, among others.

Yesilada has been an invited policy consultant at various departments of the U.S. government, the Council on Foreign Relations, the RAND Corporation, Booz Allen Hamilton, the Nathan Associates, Barclays Capital, and the World Bank; he is also an academic associate of the Atlantic Council. In 2003, the White House invited him to take part on a commission that drafted the new constitution of Afghanistan.

In his Athenaeum talk, Yesilada will examine how Turkey, once a model of democratic development, fell apart in front of the world’s eyes. What are the underlying causes of the breakdown of democracy in Turkey and what are the likely consequences of recent political developments for Turkey’s place in the European Union and NATO?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - 5:30pm
Publishing and Diversity: A Panel Discussion
Camille Griep ’99, Kima Jones, Rachel Kahan, and Yi Shun Lai ’96, panelists (pictured clockwise from upper left)
Authors and CMC alumni Camille Griep ’99 and Yi Shun Lai ’96 will join executive editor Rachel Kahan of William Morrow and Company and book publicist Kima Jones of Jack Jones Literary Arts for a panel discussion regarding the state of the book publishing industry and the representation of diverse voices and genres in the field. 

Camille Griep '99 is the author of Letters to Zell and New Charity Blues; she is also a senior editor at the Lascaux Review. She graduated from CMC with a dual degree in biology and literature. After a career in corporate communications, Griep has devoted herself to writing. Yu Shun Lai '96 is the author of Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu; she is also a literary editor at the Tahoma Literary Review and the Los Angeles Review. 

Along with publishing professionals Rachel Kahan and Kim Jones, the evening will feature readings by novelists Griep and Lai and a moderated conversation regarding the panelists' recent experiences with publishing.

This literary panel discussion at the Athenaeum is co-sponsored by CMC's Center for Writing and Public Discourse (CWPD).

Monday, January 30, 2017 - 5:30pm
Science Going Bad and How to Improve It
Lee Jussim
Is science going off the rails? Lee Jussim will review scientific failures, and their causes, across the natural and social sciences, and will argue that promising solutions to counter this trend include intense skepticism, intellectual diversity, accountability, and transparency.

Lee Jussim is a social psychologist and former chair of psychology at Rutgers University. He led the Best Practices in Science Group at Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (2013-2015). His book Social Perception and Social Reality: Why Accuracy Dominates Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and Bias (Oxford University Press) received the American Publisher’s Association award for best book in psychology of 2012. He is a co-founder of the Heterodox Academy, which strives to increase viewpoint diversity in academia.

In addition to continuing his work on stereotypes, prejudice, and social perception, his current research focuses on the scientific study of how scientific processes lead to erroneous conclusions, and identifying processes that limit and rapidly correct such errors, and lead to more valid conclusions.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 - 5:30pm
"Theatre is truth, journalism is not."
J.T. Rogers (in conversation with Eric Helland P'20)
Internationally recognized playwright J.T. Rogers and CMC professor Eric Helland debate and discuss politics and art, and the role of the theater in shaping public policy.

J. T. Rogers is an award-winning playwright whose works have been seen across the U.S. and the world. His latest play Oslo was sold at Lincoln Center Theater in 2016 and reopens on Broadway in the spring of 2017. He is the only American playwright to have two plays debut at the National Theatre, London, with Blood and Gifts (National Theatre, London; Lincoln Center Theater, Drama Desk Award Nominee, and Lucille Lortel Award Nominee) and The Overwhelming (National Theatre, London and Roundabout Theatre, NYC). Rogers’s other plays include White People (Off Broadway with Starry Night Productions); and Madagascar (SPF Festival in NYC and Melbourne Theatre Company).

As one of the original playwrights for the Tricycle Theatre of London’s The Great Game: Afghanistan, he was nominated for an Olivier Award. His works have been staged throughout the United States and in Germany, Canada, Australia, and Israel, and are published by Faber and Faber and Dramatists Play Service.

He is a 2012 Guggenheim fellow in playwriting and is under commission from Lincoln Center Theater and the Royal National Theatre. Recent awards include, NEA/TCG and NYFA fellowships, the Pinter Review Prize for Drama, the American Theater Critics Association’s Osborne Award, and the William Inge Center for the Arts’ New Voices Award. Rogers serves on the board of the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund. He is an alumnus of New Dramatists and holds an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. 

Photo credit: R. Ashley

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 - 5:30pm
History of the Caribbean/Writing from History
Marlon James
Winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, Marlon James explores Jamaican history through the perspectives of multiple narrators and genres in his Booker Prize award winning novel, A History of Seven Killings. 

Marlon James is the first Jamaican author to take home the U.K.’s most prestigious literary award. In the award winning work, James combines masterful storytelling with brilliant skill at characterization and an eye for detail to forge a bold novel of dazzling ambition and scope. He explores Jamaican history through the perspectives of multiple narrators and genres: the political thriller, the oral biography, and the classic whodunit confront the untold history of Jamaica in the 1970’s, with excursions to the assassination attempt on reggae musician Bob Marley, as well as the country’s own clandestine battles during the cold war. James cites influences as diverse as Greek tragedy, William Faulkner, the LA crime novelist James Ellroy, Shakespeare, Batman, and the X-Men. 

A recipient of many literary awards, James was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1970. He graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1991 with a degree in Language and Literature, and from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania in 2006 with a masters in creative writing. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota and teaches English and creative writing at Macalester College. 

James will talk about "writing from history," specifically Caribbean history, and will also read from his works.

Mr. James' Athenaeum presentation is the 2017 Golo Mann Lecture and is sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies.

Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 5:30pm
Racial Disparity in the Criminal Justice Court System
Phyllis Morris-Green
Phyllis Morris-Green, the public defender for San Bernardino County, will examine how implicit bias can affect jury selection, negotiations, and sentencing in the criminal justice system.

Phyllis K. Morris-Green, a graduate of U.C. Davis School of Law, was appointed Public Defender for San Bernardino County in 2012, after having served two years as the County’s Interim Public Defender. Leading an office staffed with approximately 245 employees, her department handles over 55,000 cases annually.  Ms. Morris has served the Public Defender’s Office since 1984, representing clients on a range of cases that included serious and violent felonies at courthouses located in Redlands, Victorville, Barstow, Big Bear, Crest Forrest, Joshua Tree, and San Bernardino. She also served as a treatment court deputy for the defense in the Victorville Drug Court. In 1994, Ms. Morris was promoted to Supervising Deputy Public Defender, serving in the Desert region; and in 2002, she was promoted to a divisional manager, serving first in the Central Division (San Bernardino) and then in the Desert Division. In both 1994 and 2004, she received the County’s Public Service Recognition Award.

Friday, February 3, 2017 - 11:45am
From Jobs to Joules: The Current and Future State of Energy
R.F. "Bob" Hemphill
As the keynote speaker for CMC's Third Annual Green Careers Conference, R.F. "Bob" Hemphill will speak about renewable energy and a sustainable future, challenges and opportunities to renewable energy job growth, and global entrepreneurship in this critical space.

A global energy entrepreneur, Bob Hemphill was a co-founder in 1981 of AES Corporate, a global electric power generating and distribution company. A $1M, 6-person startup in 1981, today AES employs approximately 27,000 employees and owns and operates 38,000 MW (megawatts) of power plants in 21 countries, is publicly listed on the NYSE, held $39B in assets and $17B in revenues in 2014.

In 2004, Hemphill initiated and led the transaction by which AES entered the wind power business with the purchase of SeaWest, a 90 MW wind company. He also started the AES utility battery storage business, which has since grown to be the largest such utility effort in the world. Hemphill was also a founder and served as CEO of AES Solar Power Ltd from its inception until his retirement in December 2013. The company, formed in March 2008, is a joint venture of the AES Corporation and Riverstone LLC, an energy focused private equity fund. AES Solar is a leading developer, owner, and operator of utility-scale photovoltaic solar plants connected to the electric power grid. These installations, ranging in size from less than 2 MW to more than 250 MW, consist of large arrays of land-based solar photovoltaic panels that directly convert sunlight to electricity. Under his leadership, the company designed, permitted, and constructed 51 solar plants in seven countries (Spain, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Greece, India and the US) and holds a portfolio of $2.5B. 

In addition, Hemphill served as an airborne infantry officer in the U.S. Army in Vietnam as well as in the U.S. Special Forces; as a senior policy official at the U.S. Department of Energy; and as deputy manager of power at the Tennessee Valley Authority. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Yale University and earned a masters from UCLA, and an M.B.A from George Washington University. 

Since leaving AES Solar, Hemphill has published two books focused on his energy, international, and business experience: Dust Tea, Dingoes and Dragons and Stories from the Middle Seat. He is a columnist for Huffington Post, and advises several small renewable energy companies.

Mr. Hemphill is the keynote speaker for CMC's Third Annual Green Careers Conference sponsored by the Roberts Environmental Center. 


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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.