Marian Miner Cook
Athenaeum

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC

 

Welcome to The Athenaeum

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 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 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.

Mon, February 6, 2023
Dinner Program
Robert Simonds P'24

As global content becomes increasingly localized, Hollywood producers need to navigate a complex web of cultures and business styles. From creating China’s number one TV Show to running Bollywood’s second largest streaming platform, Robert Simonds P'24, founder and chairman of STX Entertainment, will discuss the often times counterintuitive way that some deals get done and others fall apart.

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Robert Simonds P'24 is a media entrepreneur and a prolific film producers. After graduating summa cum laude from Yale University in 1985, Simonds quickly built a career as one of Hollywood’s youngest and most profitable creative producers. With his individual productions grossing over $6 billion in worldwide revenue, he boasted one of the highest ROIs of any major studio producer and has been featured in The Hollywood Reporter’s “100 Most Powerful People in Entertainment”, Variety500: Entertainment Leaders and Icons, and Variety’s “Dealmakers Impact Report”.

Simonds’ successful formula consisted of developing movies around an individual star’s personality and ethos. Frequent collaborators included Adam Sandler, Steve Martin, Dave Chappelle, and many others.

Simonds carried this philosophy into the creation of STX, a fully integrated studio, giving Simonds and the talent even greater control over the making, the marketing, and the delivery of the content. Through an innovative series of financing partnerships, Simonds is able to market and distribute his films in over 150 different countries. In the last few years alone, through his STX banner, Simonds has produced or executive produced over 70 star-driven films. This  volume of globally released output is currently more than all the other top five Hollywood producers. Notable commercial hits include Hustlers, Molly’s Game, The Foreigner, The Mauritanian, The Upside, The Gentlemen, Greenland, and the Bad Moms franchise.

Simonds is currently focused on Ecommerce, Web3 infrastructure, machine learning assisted storytelling, AI focused marketing tools, and other derivative applications of the commercial content he is making.

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This event is no longer open for registrations.

Tue, February 7, 2023
Dinner Program
Tom Steyer

Committed to investing in people and solutions driving climate progress, Tom Steyer is the co-executive chair of Galvanize Climate Solutions, a climate-focused global investment firm delivering capital and expertise to accelerate the solutions in the renewable energy space that could define the climate transition and reshape the global economy.

Mr. Steyer’s Athenaeum presentation is part of the Climate Solutions Series this spring.

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Committed to investing in people and solutions driving climate progress, Tom Steyer founded and ran Farallon Capital Management, a multi-strategy global investment business based in San Francisco, from 1986 until 2012. During that period, it grew assets from $6mm to $36bn. Over the same time, Steyer was also a partner and investment committee member at Hellman & Friedman, a multi-billion-dollar private equity firm.

In 2012, Steyer stepped away from Farallon to dedicate his time, resources, and energy to mobilizing bold climate action, including to help make California the largest jurisdiction in the world with a 100% clean energy law. 

Steyer also is the founder of NextGen America, the largest youth voter engagement organization in American history, and co-founder of Beneficial State Bank, a triple-bottom-line community development bank focused holistically on justice and sustainability.

Most recently, Steyer was a Democratic presidential candidate and in 2020 served as co-chair for Governor Newsom's Business and Jobs Recovery Task Force. He the then candidate Biden's Climate Engagement Advisory Council to help mobilize climate voters.

Today, he is the co-executive chair of Galvanize Climate Solutions, a climate-focused global investment firm delivering capital and expertise to accelerate the solutions that will define the climate transition and reshape the global economy.

Mr. Steyer’s Athenaeum presentation is part of the Climate Solutions Series this spring.

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This event is full and no longer accepting registrations for the dinner. You can still attend the talk only (no dinner) at 6:45 pm.

Wed, February 8, 2023
Dinner Program
Charmaine Wilkerson

Those of us who read or write stories know that a fictional tale can have a great impact on a person’s life. But the most powerful narratives in our lives often are the stories that are shared in our daily lives, from one generation to the next, or from one region of the world to another. Stories have the power to shape our identities and influence our relationships, whether they are told or not. Taking a cue from her debut novel Black Cake, former Southern California journalist-turned-novelist and expat Charmaine Wilkerson will explore the impact of storytelling on our ideas of home, family and self, and what happens when untold stories come forward.


Ms. Wilkerson’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies and the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, both at CMC.

Photo credit: Sian Trenberth

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Author of the debut novel Black Cake, Charmaine Wilkerson is originally from New York, has lived in Jamaica, and currently does most of her writing in Italy. A former news and communication professional, Wilkerson lived in California for several years, working as a television news reporter and anchor in Los Angeles and Bakersfield. Her award-winning short fiction has appeared in various magazines and anthologies. She currently working on a second novel. Wilkerson is a graduate of Barnard College and Stanford University.

Ms. Wilkerson’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies and the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, both at CMC.

Photo credit: Sian Trenberth

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Thu, February 9, 2023
Dinner Program
Christopher Reid

Christopher Reid, a London-based poet and editor, will read his poems and talk about some of the great poets with whom he worked at the publisher Faber and Faber in the 1990s. Winner of  the Hawthornden Prize for his first collection, Arcadia (1979) and more recently the Costa Book of the Year Award 2009 for A Scattering, a collection of elegies for his wife, he edited Letters of Ted Hughes (2007) and Christopher Logue’s War Music (2015) and is now preparing his selection of Seamus Heaney’s correspondence for publication. His comic narrative poem The Song of Lunch was turned into a BBC film starring Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson.

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

(Parents Dining Room)

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Christopher Reid was born in Hong Kong in 1949, educated in England, and studied at Oxford University from 1968-1971.

He then worked as a freelance journalist and as book review editor of Crafts magazine. He won an Eric Gregory Award for his poetry in 1978. A year later his first poetry collection, Arcadia (1979) was published, winning the 1980 Somerset Maugham Award and the Hawthornden Prize. This has been followed by Pea Soup (1982); Katerina Brac (1985); In The Echoey Tunnel (1991); Expanded Universes (1996); For and After (2002) and Mr Mouth (2005). A selection of his poems was published in the US as Mermaids Explained (2001). He is often cited as co-founder with Craig Raine of the 'Martian School' of poetry which employs exotic and humorous metaphors to defamiliarize everyday experiences and objects. He has also written two books of poetry for children: All Sorts (1999) and Alphabicycle Order (2001).

He is the editor of two Faber and Faber collections: Sounds Good: 101 Poems to be Heard (1998) and Not to Speak of the Dog: 101 Short Stories in Verse (2000).

Reid has also published illustrations in Punch and London Magazine, worked as Poetry Editor at Faber and Faber for eight years, and runs his own independent publishing house, Ondt & Gracehoper. He received a Cholmondeley Award in 1995, the 2000 Signal Poetry Award for his children's collection All Sorts, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

His latest collections are The Song of Lunch (2009); A Scattering (2009), in memory of his late wife, Lucinda; Nonsense (2012); Six Bad Poets (2013); and Anniversary (2015). A Scattering was shortlisted for the 2009 Forward Poetry Prize (Best Poetry Collection of the Year) and the 2009 T. S. Eliot Prize, and won the 2009 Costa Book of the Year.

Source: Excerpted extensively from British Council: Literature

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

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This event is full and no longer accepting registrations for the dinner. You can still attend the talk only (no dinner) at 6:45 pm.

Thu, February 9, 2023
Dinner Program
Lisa Forman Cody

Lisa Forman Cody, associate professor of history and author of "Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Construction of Eighteenth-Century Britons," will address the history and culture of abortion in the United States, tracing the transformation of reproductive healthcare from a private secret to a public debate.

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Lisa Forman Cody is an associate professor in CMC's history department and the author of the multi-award winning "Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of Eighteenth-Century Britons" (Oxford University Press, 2005; pb 2007), and many articles in medical, legal, women’s, and cultural history. She is an elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and Royal Society of Arts and is the recipient of the Graves Award for Teaching, the Walter Love Article Prize, fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the AHA, the NEH, and the Huntington Library, in addition to other prizes and awards. She was appointed by the California State Bar to serve as a commissioner on the Judicial Nominees Commission (2018-2021, pro tem).

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Mon, February 13, 2023
Dinner Program
Mehrsa Baradaran

Since the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, the total wealth held in the Black community in the U.S. has barely budged. In The Color of Money, Mehrsa Baradaran, professor of law at UC Irvine, investigates the persistence of this racial wealth gap by focusing on the generators of wealth in the Black community: Black banks. Studying these institutions over time, she challenges the myth that Black communities could ever accumulate wealth in a segregated economy. Instead, housing segregation, racism, and Jim Crow credit policies created an inescapable, but hard to detect, economic trap for Black communities and their banks. This conversational style format will consider this history and suggest the bold policies necessary to remedy this legacy.

Nishant Dass, the Charles M. Stone Associate Professor of Finance and director of  the Financial Economics Institute at CMC, will facilitate the conversation.

Professor Baradaran’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Financial Economics Institute at CMC.

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Mehrsa Baradaran, professor of law at UCI Law, was previously the Robert Cotten Alston Chair in Corporate Law and Associate Dean for strategic initiatives with a focus on diversity and inclusion efforts and national and international faculty scholarship recognition at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Baradaran writes about banking law, financial inclusion, inequality, and the racial wealth gap. Her scholarship includes the books How the Other Half Banks and The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap, both published by the Harvard University Press. The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap was awarded the Best Book of the Year by the Urban Affairs Association, the PROSE Award Honorable Mention in the Business, Finance & Management category. Baradaran was also selected as a finalist at the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Awards for the book in the category of history/biography.

Baradaran has also published articles including "Jim Crow Credit" in the Irvine Law Review, "Regulation by Hypothetical" in the Vanderbilt Law Review, "It's Time for Postal Banking" in the Harvard Law Review Forum, "Banking and the Social Contract" in the Notre Dame Law Review, "How the Poor Got Cut Out of Banking" in the Emory Law Journal, "Reconsidering the Separation of Banking and Commerce" in the George Washington Law Review and "The ILC and the Reconstruction of U.S. Banking" in the SMU Law Review. Of note, her article "The New Deal with Black America" was selected for presentation at the 2017 Stanford/Harvard/Yale Junior Faculty Forum.

Nishant Dass, the Charles M. Stone Associate Professor of Finance and director of the Financial Economics Institute at CMC, will facilitate the conversation.

Professor Baradaran’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Financial Economics Institute at CMC.

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Wed, February 15, 2023
Dinner Program
Tom Linebarger '86

Finding your purpose is not an easy thing to do and not often found in a single experience or moment. For Tom Linebarger '86, executive chairman of Cummins, Inc.—a global power technology company that pioneers new technologies to sustainably meet the world’s growing power needs—working for an employer whose values aligned with his own was the key to finding his purpose.

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Tom Linebarger '86 was appointed as executive chairman of Cummins Inc. in August 2022. Cummins Inc., a global power technology company, pioneers new technologies to sustainably meet the world’s growing power needs. Prior to this role, Linebarger served as chairman and CEO for 10 years. Before that, he served as president and COO from 2008 to 2011, executive vice president and president, Power Generation Business from 2003 to 2008, vice president and CFO from 2000 to 2003, and vice president of supply chain management from 1998 to 2000.

Linebarger was initially attracted to Cummins’ purpose-driven approach to business reinforced during a summer internship at the Cummins MidRange Engine plant in Walesboro, Indiana. Prior to Cummins, he was an investment analyst and investment manager at Prudential Investment Corporation, working in both Singapore and Hong Kong.

In addition to his work at Cummins, he is actively involved with several global and local organizations. He has been a member of the board of directors of Harley Davidson since 2008. He is a member of the Business Roundtable (BRT), an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies working with government officials on crafting legislation impacting American businesses.

In 2021, he was appointed chair of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) and co-chair of the Global Hydrogen Council. He previously served as chair of the U.S.-China Business Council from 2020 to 2022.

A native Californian, Linebarger received joint undergraduate degrees in management engineering from Claremont McKenna College and mechanical engineering from Stanford University. He later returned to Stanford University to earn a master’s degree in manufacturing systems from the School of Engineering and a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Business.

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Thu, February 16, 2023
Dinner Program
Agus Sudjianto

Mathematical models play a very prominent role in financial institutions for decision making. The use of models including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) carry both financial and non-financial risks. Having learned from past financial crisis experiences, banks now practice model risk management, a discipline and a process to ensure that models are developed and used responsibly including from an ethical and legal point of view. Agus Sudjianto, executive vice president, head of Model Risk, and a member of the management committee at Wells Fargo, will explore how and why responsible AI is critical in finance. 

Mr. Sudjianto’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Financial Economics Institute at CMC.

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Agus Sudjianto is an executive vice president, head of Model Risk and a member of Management Committee at Wells Fargo, where he is responsible for enterprise model risk management. 

Prior to his current position, Sudjianto was the modeling and analytics director and chief model risk officer at Lloyds Banking Group in the United Kingdom. Before joining Lloyds, he was an executive and head of Quantitative Risk at Bank of America. 

Prior to his career in banking, he was a product design manager in the Powertrain Division of Ford Motor Company. 

Sudjianto holds several U.S. patents in both finance and engineering. He has published numerous technical papers and is a co-author of Design and Modeling for Computer Experiments. His technical expertise and interests include quantitative risk, particularly credit risk modeling, machine learning and computational statistics. 

He holds masters and doctorate degrees in engineering and management from Wayne State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mr. Sudjianto’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Financial Economics Institute at CMC.

(This event was originally scheduled for April 11, 2022.)

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Mon, February 20, 2023
Dinner Program
Noah Feldman

Abraham Lincoln is justly revered for his brilliance, compassion, humor, and rededication of the United States to achieving liberty and justice for all. He led the nation into a bloody civil war to uphold the system of government established by the US Constitution—a system he regarded as the “last best hope of mankind.” But how did Lincoln understand the Constitution? In his latest book, The Broken Constitution, Noah Feldman, professor of law at Harvard University, examines how Lincoln broke the Constitution in order to remake it. Offering a riveting narrative of Lincoln’s constitutional choices and how he made them, Feldman places Lincoln in the rich context of the thinking of the time, from African American abolitionists to Lincoln’s Republican rivals and Secessionist ideologues.

Adapted from: The Broken Constitution

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Noah Feldman is Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Chairman of the Society of Fellows, and founding director of the Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law, all at Harvard University. He specializes in constitutional studies, with particular emphasis on power and ethics, design of innovative governance solutions, law and religion, and the history of legal ideas.

A policy & public affairs columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, Feldman also writes for The New York Review of Books and was a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine for nearly a decade. He hosts the Deep Background podcast, an interview show that explores the historical, scientific, legal and cultural context behind the biggest stories in the news.

Through his consultancy, Ethical Compass, Feldman advises clients like Facebook & eBay on how to improve ethical decision-making by creating and implementing new governance solutions. In this capacity, he conceived and architected the Facebook Oversight Board, and continues to advise the company on ethics and governance issues.

Feldman is the author of 9 books, including his latest, The Broken Constitution: Lincoln, Slavery & The Refounding of America (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2021).

Other works include: The Arab Winter: A Tragedy (Princeton University Press, 2020), The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President (Random House, 2017); Cool War: The Future of Global Competition (Random House, 2013); Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Great Supreme Court Justices (Twelve Publishing, 2010); The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State (Princeton University Press, 2008); Divided By God: America’s Church-State Problem and What We Should Do About It (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2005); What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation building (Princeton University Press 2004); and After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2003).

He is also the author of two casebooks with Kathleen Sullivan: Constitutional Law, Twentieth Edition (Foundation Press, Fall 2019) and First Amendment, Seventh Edition (Foundation Press, 2019).

In 2003, Feldman served as senior constitutional advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, and subsequently advised members of the Iraqi Governing Council on the drafting of Iraq’s interim constitution. 

Earning his A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard, Feldman finished first in his class. Selected as a Rhodes Scholar, he earned a D.Phil. from Oxford University, writing his dissertation on Aristotle’s Ethics and its Islamic reception. Feldman received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as a book reviews editor of the Yale Law Journal. He clerked for Justice David Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court and Chief Judge Harry T. Edwards of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Source: Harvard Law School

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This event is not yet open for registration.

Tue, February 21, 2023
Dinner Program
Kevin Merida

Since taking charge of the Los Angeles Times newsroom more than a year and a half ago, Executive Editor Kevin Merida has set out to reinvent the largest newspaper on the West Coast, and one of the largest in the country. The LA Times is branching out into digital news, podcasts, scripted shows, documentaries, earthquake bots, real-time wildfire maps. At the same time, it is appealing increasingly to readers of its home region, where close to half of the residents are Latino. In conversation with Terril Jones, instructor of international journalism at CMC, Merida will speak to the changing nature of the Los Angeles Times in response to an evolving reader demographic. 

This program is co-sponsored by the Dreier Roundtable whose mission it is to inspire public service.

Terril Jones, instructor of international journalism at CMC will moderate the conversation.

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Kevin Merida is the executive editor of the Los Angeles Times. He took the helm of the largest news gathering organization in the West in June 2021 and oversees the newsroom as well as Times Community News and Los Angeles Times en Español.

Previously, Merida was a senior vice president at ESPN and editor in chief of the Undefeated, a multimedia platform that explores the intersections of race, sports and culture. Merida arrived at ESPN in November 2015 and launched the Undefeated in May 2016. Under his leadership, the Undefeated gradually expanded across Walt Disney Co. with a content portfolio that ranged from award-winning journalism to documentaries and television specials, from albums and music videos to live events, digital talk shows and two bestselling children’s books.

Prior to that, Merida was at the Washington Post for 22 years, working as a reporter, columnist, and managing editor. His résumé also includes stints as a reporter and an editor at the Dallas Morning News and as a reporter at the Milwaukee Journal. Merida is a member of the Pulitzer Prize board and serves as a trustee of Boston University.

This program is co-sponsored by the Dreier Roundtable whose mission it is to inspire public service.

Terril Jones, instructor of international journalism at CMC will moderate the conversation.

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This event is not yet open for registration.

Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

Claremont McKenna College
385 E. Eighth Street
Claremont, CA 91711

Phone: (909) 607-8244
Email:

Contact

Phone: (909) 621-8244
Fax: (909) 621-8579
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