Marian Miner Cook

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC

Open Events

Welcome to the registration page for all open events at the Athenaeum for the Spring 2018.

​Please note that this registration page is the only recognized mechanism for signing up for meals associated with Athenaeum events. Alternative registrations provided by third parties (such as Eventbrite) are not managed or controlled by the College, and unfortunately such registrations cannot be honored to allow dining with us in advance of the talk. 

Events generally open for registration on a rolling basis every two weeks over the course of the semester. The CMC community has priority for dinner reservations. Space permitting, when meal spots are available for members of the other Claremont Colleges, a note is added to the event listing and registration is open for all others. 

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, the registration is currently closed either because the event is full or the reservation window has passed. Please check back later or contact the Ath at

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 p.m.; dinner is served at 6 p.m; and the talk begins at 6:45 p.m. Reservations are required for all meals.

An explanation of the reservation process and a list of frequently asked questions is available. Additional questions may also be directed to the Ath at

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 5:30pm
Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality & Utopia
Michael Shermer
In his newest book, Heavens on Earth, Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic Magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, and presidential fellow at Chapman University where he teaches Skepticism 101, set out to discover what drives humans’ belief in life after death, focusing on recent scientific attempts (such as radical life extension to cryonic suspension to mind uploading) to achieve immortality along with utopian attempts to create heaven on earth.

Founding publisher of Skeptic Magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, and presidential fellow at Chapman University, Michael Shermer, Ph.D., is the author of New York Times bestsellers Why People Believe Weird Things,The Believing BrainWhy Darwin Matters, The Science of Good and Evil, and The Moral Arc

Shermer regularly contributes opinion editorials, essays, and reviews to: the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Science, Nature, and other publications. He appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, Oprah, and Larry King Live. He has been interviewed in numerous documentaries aired on PBS, A&E, Discovery, The History Channel, The Science Channel, and The Learning Channel. Shermer was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series, Exploring the Unknown. His two TED talks, seen by millions, were voted in the top 100.

Shermer received his B.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, M.A. in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University. He has been a college professor since 1979, also teaching at Occidental College, Glendale College, and Claremont Graduate University, where he taught a transdisciplinary course for Ph.D. students on evolution, economics, and the brain.

The window for making meal reservations has passed. Contact the Athenaeum to inquire whether spaces are available.
Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 5:30pm
Wagnerian Modernism
Alex Ross
In 1861, Charles Baudelaire published an essay entitled “Richard Wagner and Tannhäuser in Paris,” setting in motion a singular chapter in cultural history: the international, cross-disciplinary phenomenon known as Wagnerism. By the end of the century, poets, novelists, painters, architects, dancers, and theatre artists had all registered Wagner’s influence, which took the form not merely of the grandiose mythological tendencies commonly associated with the word “Wagnerian” but also of dream narratives, streams of consciousness, and abstraction. Alex Ross, the New Yorker’s music critic, will examine Wagner’s ambiguous presence among literary modernists, particularly James Joyce and Virginia Woolf.  

Alex Ross has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1993, and became the magazine’s music critic in 1996. He writes about classical music, covering the field from the Metropolitan Opera to the downtown avant-garde, and has also contributed essays on pop music, literature, twentieth-century history, and gay life. His first book, “The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century,” a cultural history of music since 1900, won a National Book Critics Circle award and the Guardian First Book Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. 

Mr. Ross's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at CMC.

Photo credit: David Michalek

Meal reservations now open to everyone in The Claremont Colleges.
Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 11:45am
The Future of Healthcare in America
Thomas Miller
Healthcare in America is a highly contentious topic, with best practices and policies not always easy to determine, even within party lines. American Enterprise Institute's Thomas Miller will address current policy issues surrounding healthcare, the challenges of structuring incentives, and opportunities for lawmakers to be innovative as they examine policy alternatives. 

Thomas Miller is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, DC where he studies health care policy, including regulatory barriers to choice and competition, market-based alternatives to the Affordable Care Act, health care litigation, and the political economy of health care reform. As a former senior health economist for the Joint Economic Committee in Congress, Miller was previously a trial attorney and a journalist. Miller has testified before Congress on the uninsured, health care costs, Medicare cost sharing, high-risk pools, health care competition, health insurance tax credits, and the individual mandate.

Meal reservations now open to everyone in The Claremont Colleges.
Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 5:30pm
Today’s Economy and Its Discontents
N. Gregory Mankiw
President Trump was elected in part because of some disquieting economic trends. N. Gregory Mankiw, professor of economics at Harvard University, will discuss those trends, their causes and origins, and how they can be changed. 

N. Gregory Mankiw is the Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics at Harvard University. As a student, he studied economics at Princeton University and MIT. As a teacher, he has taught macroeconomics, microeconomics, statistics, and principles of economics. He even spent one summer long ago as a sailing instructor on Long Beach Island.

Mankiw is a prolific writer and a regular participant in academic and policy debates. His research includes work on price adjustment, consumer behavior, financial markets, monetary and fiscal policy, and economic growth. His published articles have appeared in academic journals, such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, and Quarterly Journal of Economics, and in more widely accessible forums, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.

He has written two popular textbooks—the intermediate-level textbook Macroeconomics (Worth Publishers) and the introductory textbook Principles of Economics (Cengage Learning); the latter has sold over two million copies and has been translated into twenty languages.

In addition to his teaching, research, and writing, Mankiw has been a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, an adviser to the Congressional Budget Office, and the Federal Reserve Banks of Boston and New York, and a member of the ETS test development committee for the advanced placement exam in economics. From 2003 to 2005 he served as chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers.

Professor Mankiw's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Financial Economics Institute (FEI) at CMC. 

Meal reservations are at capacity for this event. If you would like to be put on a waiting list, please contact the Athenaeum.
Friday, February 23, 2018 - 11:45am
From Mid-Quad to the White House: The Power of Networks to Build Inside and Outside Power
Archana Sahgal '99
Much has been discussed about the importance of building networks, learning to love networking, and how to do it. But what the conversation lacks is real world examples on the unique and specific ways women and women of color have used their network to support life’s trials and tribulations and create the world we want to live in. Delivering the keynote for 2018 Women & Leadership Workshop, Archana Sahgal '99, former senior associate director, Office of Public Engagement at The White House, will share experiences from her time at CMC to the White House and beyond. To register for the Women and Leadership Workshop, including the lunch keynote, please visit the online registration page.

Archana Sahgal '99 is a former Obama White House official and CMC alumna. She works at the intersection of politics and movement building to create social change. Sahgal’s network has helped her navigate the opportunities and challenges along the way. 

Sahgal has spent two decades designing and executing strategies for achieving policy reform and social change within the philanthropic, nonprofit, and public sectors. She served in the Obama White House as senior associate director for public engagement where she led stakeholder engagement with organized labor and progressive advocates around President Obama's policy priorities. She also served at the U.S. Department of Commerce as director of advisory committees and industry outreach where she oversaw the President's Export Council, President's Advisory Committee on Doing Business in Africa, U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, and over a dozen other advisory committees. Most recently she served as senior advisor at the Democracy Alliance, one of the country’s largest drivers of activist progressive philanthropy where she led the investment strategy to protect democratic norms and principles in this new political era. 

Sahgal also worked with other foundations and philanthropic efforts across the country including The San Francisco Foundation, Rosenberg Foundation, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, Proteus Fund, The Progressive Era Project, and George Soros' Open Society Foundations directing over $15 million in resources to push for immigration reform. Sahgal also built The Civic Engagement Fund, the first ever fund supporting Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities. Her work has also been profiled in the New York Times, Teen Vogue, Buzzfeed, and WNYC. She served on the board of directors of the Korematsu Institute, Californians for Justice, and South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT). 

Sahgal received her B.A. from Claremont McKenna College (’99) and J.D. from University of California Davis School of Law. She is a member of the State Bar of California. 

Ms. Sahgal's talk is co-sponsored by Women's Leadership Alliance, Kravis Leadership Institute, Berger Institute, and Robert Day Scholars and is part of the "Behind the Veil: Women, Race, Leadership, and Social Change in the Nonprofit Sector” (“BTV”) speaker series. BTV explores leadership models and perspectives by harnessing the power of first-person narrative and storytelling by nonprofit CEOs on the front lines of social change.   

Reservations for this event are being handled by the event sponsor via link above.
Monday, February 26, 2018 - 5:30pm
Combatting Corruption—An IMF Perspective
Sean Hagan P'20
​Corruption is a universal challenge. Corruption undermines economic development, sows distrust in democratic institutions, deepens inequality, and corrodes civil society. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has taken a strong position in combatting corruption. What drives corruption?  Why does corruption matter?  What are the economic costs of corruption? Which anti-corruption strategies are the most effective? And what is the most effective role for the IMF to perform (or refrain from) in anti-corruption reform? In this moderated discussion with CMC President Hiram Chodosh, Sean Hagan P'20, general counsel and director of the legal department at the IMF, will address these and other major questions confronting the IMF in its sustained reform efforts.

Sean Hagan P'20 is general counsel and director of the legal department at the International Monetary Fund. In this capacity, Hagan advises the Fund’s management, executive board, and membership on all legal aspects of the Fund’s operations, including its regulatory, advisory and lending functions. Hagan has published extensively on both the law of the Fund and a broad range of legal issues relating to the prevention and resolution of financial crisis, with a particular emphasis on insolvency and the restructuring of debt, including sovereign debt.

Prior to his tenure at the IMF, Hagan was in private practice, first in New York and subsequently in Tokyo. He received his Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center and also received a Masters of Science in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The window for making meal reservations has passed. Contact the Athenaeum to inquire whether spaces are available.
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 5:30pm
The Complicated South
Garrard Conley
The son of a Baptist preacher, memoirist and author of Boy Erased, Garrard Conley grew up gay in rural Arkansas. His experience attending an “ex-gay” conversion therapy facility, followed by years of strained relationships with his family, led him to a unique and complicated understanding of the American South. Through interviews with family members, former “ex-gay” therapists, psychologists, and advocates, Conley will share new insights he has developed into what it means to be Southern in the 21st century.

Coming of age as the son of a Baptist pastor in rural Arkansas, Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted by his sexuality; he had never even met another gay person. At age nineteen, his worst fear came true when he was outed to his parents. They gave him an ultimatum: he could either be shipped to a “conversion therapy” facility in a hope to “cure” him of his homosexuality, or he would lose his family, his friends, and his God. He chose the facility, a decision that would lead him through a brutally institutional Twelve-Step Program. He was supposed to emerge cleansed of impure urges, stronger in his Christian faith, and—most importantly—heterosexual. Instead, Conley developed the strength to search for his true identity and to forgive his family.

Conley’s bestselling memoir, Boy Erased, traces the complex relationships between identity, faith, and community. A humane, poetic glimpse at a world hidden to many, Conley shows all sides of his family—good and bad—with courage and compassion, even as he depicts his own story of survival.

Boy Erased thrust Conley onto the national stage as the public gained increasing awareness of conversion therapy facilities. It is currently being adapted as a film by Focus Features with Joel Edgerton directing. A popular speaker, he lectures at schools and venues across the country on radical compassion, writing through trauma, and what it means to grow up gay in the South. He has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and Elizabeth Kostova Foundation Writers’ Conferences and has facilitated classes for Catapult, Sackett Street Writers Workshop, and the Fine Arts Works Center in Provincetown. He is also currently the memoir instructor for GrubStreet’s Memoir Incubator program. His work can be found in TIME, VICE, CNN, BuzzFeed, Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Huffington Post, among other places, and he was recently named a Lambda Award Finalist for memoir/autobiography. 

Photo credit: Colin Boyd Shafer

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - 5:30pm
A Plan To Promote Equity Across Our Region
Marianne Haver Hill
Marianne Haver Hill, executive director of Propel LA, the countywide strategic plan for economic development housed at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, will discuss  is the implementation of this ambitious consensus-developed plan which involves more than 500 stakeholder groups and is designed to promote greater equity across the region, as well as more prosperity for all area residents through improved education and workforce development, job creation, and livable communities.

Marianne Haver Hill supervises a team that works with more than 500 stakeholder groups in the implementation of Propel LA which includes seven large goals around investing in people and workforce development, promoting trade and industry clusters, accelerating innovation, creating a business-friendly environment, supporting infrastructure development, enhancing global connectedness, and supporting livable communities.

Previously, Hill served from 1987 - 2016 as the President and CEO of MEND—Meet Each Need with Dignity, the largest and most comprehensive poverty relief agency in the San Fernando Valley. Under her leadership, MEND grew from serving an average of 2,000 needy clients each month to helping an average of 37,000 applicants monthly, utilizing a volunteer work force of more than 5,000 and a staff team of 34 individuals. In July 2012, MEND was named the California Nonprofit of the Year by the Governor’s Office for Volunteering and Service. 

Hill is the recipient of the 2017 Valley Economic Alliance Valley of the Stars Leadership Award, the 2013 Center for Nonprofit Management Leadership Impact Award, the 2008 California Association of Nonprofits Excellence in Leadership Award, and several other commendations. She has been an adjunct instructor in nonprofit management at the USC Price School of Public Policy.


Meal reservations now open to everyone in The Claremont Colleges.
Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 5:30pm
How We Rise: Strategies for Social Innovation
Cheryl L. Dorsey
For more than 30 years Echoing Green, a global organization seeding and unleashing next-generation talent, has identified, cultivated, and invested deeply in emerging leaders to accelerate their impact on transforming the world through economic development, racial and gender equity, environmental sustainability, and more. Today, Echoing Green talent consists of 700+ innovators who have launched Teach For America, City Year, One Acre Fund, SKS Microfinance, Public Allies, and more. Cheryl Dorsey, president and CEO of Echoing Green, will demonstrate how through responsible leadership, businesses can promote a brighter future for all. 

Cheryl L. Dorsey is the president of Echoing Green, a global organization seeding and unleashing next-generation talent to solve the world’s biggest problems. Prior to leading this social impact organization, Dorsey was herself a social entrepreneur and received an Echoing Green Fellowship in 1992 to help launch The Family Van, a community-based mobile health unit in Boston. She later became the first Echoing Green Fellow to head the social venture fund in 2002. 

An accomplished leader and entrepreneur, she has served in two presidential administrations as a White House Fellow and special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Labor (1997-98); special assistant to the director of the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Labor Department (1998-99); and vice-chair for the President's Commission on White House Fellowships (2009-16). Dorsey serves on several boards including the SEED Foundation, The Bridgespan Group, and, previously, the Harvard Board of Overseers.

A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges, Dorsey received a medical degree from Harvard Medical School and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School. 

Ms. Dorsey will deliver the opening keynote address for the  2018 Kravis-de Roulet (KDR) Conference. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 5:30pm
Monsters to Destroy
Ben Tumin
"Monsters to Destroy” is a multimedia performance by filmmaker and comedian Ben Tumin (Pomona 2012) discussing refugee resettlement in the United States.

Ben Tumin is a filmmaker and comedian born, raised, and based in New York. He worked at Amnesty International in Morocco and the community building platform Meetup before forging an independent career in political comedy and filmmaking. His work has been featured in The Daily Beast, Al Jazeera, and The Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC). Tumin is a 2012 graduate of Pomona College where he majored in history.

Mixing information about the refugee crisis with clips from interviews conducted with Scott Cooper, a retired marine working in human rights advocacy, and five young Syrians living in Germany, Tumin takes a different look at the impact of refugee resettlement, particularly from the perspective of national security. Through anecdotes about his grandfather — himself once a refugee — Tumin weaves in his connection to the cause and pieces together what he has learned about himself, his country, and the questions that remain.

Mr. Tumin's talk is co-sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights at CMC.

Friday, March 2, 2018 - 5:30pm
“That Person in the Mirror”: Leveraging YOUR Time, Talents, and Assets to Make a Difference
Judy Belk
In the keynote address for the 1st Annual Women of Color Power and Purpose Forum, Judy Belk, president and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation (Cal Wellness), will share reflections on how her personal journey has been shaped by deeply held values and how informed choices have helped advance her career in the public and private sectors, including as the current leader of one of California’s largest health philanthropies. She will share examples from her own experience that point to ways “You” can make a difference. To register for the Women of Color Power and Purpose Forum, please visit the online registration page.

Judy Belk, is president and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation (Cal Wellness), a private independent foundation created in 1992 with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education, and disease prevention. A seasoned leader with more than 25 years of senior management experience in philanthropic, government, nonprofit, and corporate sectors, Belk is a frequent writer and speaker on organizational ethics, race and social change, and her work has been recognized with several state and national awards.

Belk's pieces have aired on National Public Radio and appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. In her day job as president and CEO of Cal Wellness, she leads the Foundation in pursuing its mission to improve the health of the people of California. Belk uses her vision and her voice to help Cal Wellness “level the playing field” so that everyone has access to good-paying jobs, safe neighborhoods, and quality health care services.

Before joining Cal Wellness in April of 2014, she served as senior vice president of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a position she held since 2002. Belk has been inspired and humbled with two Hedgebrook residences in 2000 and 2013.

Ms. Belk will deliver the keynote address for the first annual Women of Color, Power, and Purpose Forum sponsored by the Berger Institute, CARE Center, and the Kravis Leadership Institute, with additional support from Global Slack and is part of the "Behind the Veil: Women, Race, Leadership, and Social Change in the Nonprofit Sector” (“BTV”) speaker series. BTV explores leadership models and perspectives by harnessing the power of first-person narrative and storytelling by nonprofit CEOs on the front lines of social change.   

Reservations for this event are being handled by the event sponsor via link above.

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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.