• 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

Welcome to The Athenaeum

Welcome to Athenaeum and the 2017-18 speaker program.

Unique in American higher education, the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum (the “Ath”) is a signature program of Claremont McKenna College. Four nights a week during the school year, the Ath brings scholars, public figures, thought leaders, artists, and innovators to engage with the CMC and Claremont College community. In addition, the Ath also hosts lunch speakers, roundtables, and smaller presentations in its two auxiliary dining rooms.

For decades, the Ath has hosted a spectrum of luminaries with expertise and insight on a wide range of topics, both historical and contemporary. In the Ath’s intimate yet stimulating setting, students, faculty, staff, and other community members gather to hear the speaker, pose questions, and also to build community and exchange ideas over a shared meal.

At the core of the Ath is a longstanding commitment to student growth and learning. Central to the Ath are its two student Fellows, selected annually to host, introduce, and moderate discussion with the featured speaker. Priority is given to students in attendance during the question-and-answer session following every presentation. Moreover, speakers often take extra time to visit a class, meet with student interest groups, or give an interview to the student press and podcast team.

We are very excited for the 2017-18 lineup which will kick-off on Tuesday, September 12, and will include expert speakers covering a wide range of topics from art, religion, politics, big data, philosophy, finance, the art of writing, science, artificial intelligence, and much more.

You may register online for open events.

We look forward to seeing you at the Ath.

Priya Junnar

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - Evening Program
Intuition: What is it really and what role should it play in your leadership toolkit?
Holly Mitchell
Intuition is often credited as the secret sauce to effectiveness and success both in personal and professional settings. Is this true? If so, can it be learned or cultivated? State Senator Holly Mitchell, who represents California's 30th senate district, believes that intuition is critical and should be an integral part of any leader's toolkit. 

First elected to the Legislature in 2010, Senator Holly Mitchell represents nearly one million residents of the 30th Senate District, which ranges from Century City to South Los Angeles and takes in Culver City, Cheviot Hills, Crenshaw District, USC, downtown L.A. and a portion of Inglewood.

A third-generation native Angeleno, Mitchell sits on the Senate Health Committee; the Joint Committee on Rules; the Public Safety Committee; the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee; and the Insurance, Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. She also chairs the Senate Select Committee on Women and Inequality, which she founded. Additionally, she is chair of the Senate Budget Committee. Mitchell previously headed California’s largest child and family development organization, Crystal Stairs, and worked for the Western Center for Law and Poverty.

Frequently cited for her leadership and advocacy on behalf of children, families, the elderly, and the disabled, Mitchell was named the 2017 Lois DeBerry Scholar by Women in Government Leadership and this year received the first Willie L. Brown Jr. Advocacy Award from the California Black Lawyers Association. The National Conference of State Legislatures last summer elected her to its national executive committee. Her advocacy on behalf of the expansion of mental health services earned her the Legislator-of-the-Year Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness California. 

Senator Mitchell’s Athenaeum presentation 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.  

Meal reservations now open to everyone in The Claremont Colleges.
Thursday, November 30, 2017 - Evening Program
They Call Me Q
Qurrat Ann Kadwani 
They Call Me Q, a one-woman show performed by award winning actress and writer Qurrat Kadwani, is the story of a girl from Bombay growing up in the Boogie Down Bronx who gracefully seeks balance between cultural pressure and wanting acceptance into the American culture. Along the journey, Kadwani transforms into 13 characters that have shaped her life including her parents, Caucasian teachers, Puerto Rican classmates, Indian and African-American friends. In her performance, she speaks to the universal search for identity experienced by immigrants of all nationalities.

Qurrat Ann Kadwani is an actress, producer, MC, TV host, and philanthropist. A graduate of Bronx High School of Science and a theater graduate of SUNY Geneseo, she is the founding artistic director of eyeBLINK (www.eyeblink.org).  

A frequent guest on television programs including Law and Order: SVU, The Blacklist, Mr. Robot, Falling Water, and more, Kadwani teaches monologue writing and performance workshops, monologue prep, and audition prep classes. Her film credits include Antigone 5000, The Tailor, One Night Stand, Last Saturday with Morli, among others. 

Kadwani’s one-woman show They Call Me Q played off-Broadway in 2014 for seven months at St. Luke's Theatre in New York City. In addition to performing on multiple campus and at cultural venues, in December 2013, United Nations Unicef also invited Kadwani to perform.

In reviewing her show, the Village Voice says Kadwani “delivers a winning tale.” NY Theatre Guide wrote, “Filled with charm, humor and heart… They Call Me Q is comedic without seeming over the top, and thought provoking without being preachy.” Broadway World wrote, "In some rare cases, the decision to share tales of one's past can give the audience a theatrical experience that it will remember far after the last show."

The recipient of many service awards, Kadwani has been the host for Chase the Race 2016, MC of events for non-profit organizations such as World Women’s Global Council at the United Nations, Sapna NYC, Your Dil, Lend A Hand India, and SOS Children's Villages India, among others.

Kadwani also coordinates an annual philanthropic project A Slice of Hope as well as the annual Echoes of Love, a suicide prevention fundraiser with music. 

Ms. Kadwani’s Athenaeum performance is co-sponsored by ASCMC’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. 

Monday, December 04, 2017 - Evening Program
Holiday Concert 2017
Claremont Chamber Choir
Join us for the much anticipated annual holiday tradition, the Claremont Chamber Choir in concert. A complete playbill will be available at the concert.

The Claremont Chamber Choir will perform its celebrated, annual holiday celebration. The Choir, part of the Joint Music Program of Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges, is an auditioned, mixed ensemble of about two dozen students and will be led by conductor Charles W. Kamm, associate professor of music at Scripps College and director of choirs in the Joint Music Program. The Choir will sing the music of Palestrina, Molly Ijames, and Eric Whitacre, plus holiday music by Jonathan Dove, Caroline Malonee, and traditional favorites.


Meal reservations are at capacity for this event. If you would like to be put on a waiting list, please contact the Athenaeum.

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.