Marian Miner Cook

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.

Fall 2021 speaker programming will resume in person at the Athenaeum on Monday, September 13, 2021, at 5:30 p.m.

In celebration of Claremont McKenna College’s 75th Anniversary, along with many exciting speakers, the Ath will also feature a 75th Anniversary Distinguished Speaker Series which will span the 2021-22 academic year. This will be a very special opportunity for the Ath to host extraordinary public figures and allow the CMC community, especially students, to interact with and hear from distinguished leaders in varied fields.


Fri, October 22, 2021
Lunch Program
Roderic Camp

Roderic Camp, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, whose scholarship since 1970 has focused on Mexican elites, explores the fascinating insights and significance of hundreds of interviews, including seven presidents, leading intellectuals, prominent Catholic bishops, influential businessmen, and the officer corps, as an essential means of understanding the evolution of Mexico from a semi-authoritarian political system to an electoral democracy.

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Roderic Camp is the Philip McKenna Professor of the Pacific Rim at Claremont McKenna College. He serves as a member of the Advisory Board, Mexico Institute, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Smithsonian Institution. He is the author of thirty books on Mexico, six of which have been designated by Choice as outstanding academic books, and five books on Latin America. His most recent publications include: Politics in Mexico, The Path of a New Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2019); Mexico, What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2017); The Oxford Handbook of Mexican Politics Mexico (Oxford University Press, 2012); Mexican Political Biographies, 1935-2009 (University of Texas Press, 2011); and The Metamorphosis of Leadership in a Democratic Mexico (Oxford University Press, 2010). He is the recipient of the Order of the Aztec Eagle from the Mexican government, the highest honor it can bestow on a foreigner, for his contributions to Mexico.

Professor Camp will deliver the keynote address for the conference on Mexican politics hosted by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies.

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Mon, October 25, 2021
Dinner Program
Michael Steele

To paraphrase Friedrich Nietzsche, madness is rare in individuals—but in political parties it is the rule. From the very founding of our American political system, we have been less than sane when it comes to our politics and political parties. But what makes the madness different today? And why does it feel so personal? How does political activism and the rise of grassroots movements such as Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, and even “Trumpism” impact policymakers or even create a pathway for a “third way” as the dominant political parties try to hold on to voters and rebrand themselves? Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), doesn’t hold back in looking at both the madness and the methods of our political parties and the systems they create in the fight for domination and electoral success; and ultimately how the emergence of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and future presidential contenders may signal not just a profound transformation of both political parties but their eventual end.

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When he was elected Lt. Governor of Maryland in 2003, Michael Steele made history as the first African American elected to statewide office; and again, with his subsequent chairmanship of the Republican National Committee (RNC) in 2009.

As chairman of the RNC, Steele was charged with revitalizing the Republican Party. A self-described "Lincoln Republican," under Steele’s leadership the RNC broke fundraising records (over $198 million raised during the 2010 Congressional cycle) and Republicans won 63 House seats, the biggest pickup since 1938. His commitment to grassroots organization and party building at the state and local levels produced 12 governorships and the greatest share of state legislative seats since 1928 (over 760 seats).

As Lt. Governor of Maryland, Steele’s priorities included reforming the state's Minority Business Enterprise program, improving the quality of Maryland's public education system (he championed the state’s historic Charter School law), expanding economic development in the state and fostering cooperation between government and faith-based organizations to help those in need.

Steele is a frequent guest on radio and television. He has appeared on Meet the Press, Face the Nation, HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, and Comedy Central's The Daily Show. In addition to his work in television, Steele co-hosted the daily radio program, Steele & Ungar on the POTUS Channel on SiriusXM and is the host of the podcast The Michael Steele Podcast.

Steele’s writings on law, business and politics have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The, The,, The,,, The Journal of International Security Affairs and Catholic University Law Review, among others.

He is the author of “Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda,” which is a call to arms for grassroots America and co-author of “The Recovering Politician’s Twelve Step Program to Survive Crisis”.

Born at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Steele was raised in Washington, D.C. Upon graduating from Johns Hopkins University in 1981, he entered the Order of St. Augustine where he studied for the priesthood. He is a 1991 graduate of Georgetown Law Center, an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership, a University of Chicago Institute of Politics Fellow, and he currently serves as a Senior Fellow at Brown University’s Institute for International and Public Affairs.

Mr. Steele will deliver the Fall 2021 Lecture for the Res Publica Society Speaker Series.

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Tue, October 26, 2021
Dinner Program
Terrence L. Johnson

When the House of Representatives began its impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s abuse of presidential power, political commentators decried the country was in a “genuine” constitutional crisis. The claim emerged, in part, from a problem of constitutional interpretation and competing views of presidential power, abuse, and congressional oversight. By exploring Critical Race Theory, African American biblical hermeneutics, and uses of the Constitution in Black political struggles, Terrence L. Johnson, associate professor of religion and politics at Georgetown University, frames recent debates on the impending "constitutional crisis" as a failure of political imagination and a reminder of bad faith among political elites.

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Terrence L. Johnson is an associate professor of religion and politics in the department of government and Chair of political theory. He is an affiliate faculty member of the department of African American Studies and a senior faculty fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs.

Johnson is the author of "We Testify with Our Lives: How Religion Transformed Radical Thought from Black Power to Black Lives Matter" (Columbia University Press, 2021) and co-author of the forthcoming "Blacks and Jews: An Invitation to Dialogue" (Georgetown University Press, 2022). His first book, "Tragic Soul-Life: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Moral Crisis Facing American Democracy," was published in 2012 by Oxford University Press.

A graduate of Morehouse College, Johnson received his M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School and Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Brown University.

Professor Johnson's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Salvatori Center at CMC.

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Wed, October 27, 2021
Dinner Program
Charles Yu

Drawing on his experience as a fiction writer and as a writer and producer for television, Charles Yu discusses his acclaimed novel "Interior Chinatown" and the issues of immigration, assimilation, and representation that animate his storytelling. Yu also unpacks the role of the family story in his work and the weight of stereotypes in film and television that continue today.

Photo credit: Tina Chiou

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Charles Yu is the author of the critically acclaimed novel “Interior Chinatown,” a National Book Award winner that explores the confining stereotypes of Asian Americans in Hollywood and in American culture more broadly. Yu is also a television screenwriter and the author of three other books, including “How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe,” which was a New York Times Notable Book and named one of the best books of the year by Time magazine.

He received the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 Award and was nominated for two Writers Guild of America Awards for his work on the HBO series, Westworld. He has also written for shows on FX, AMC, and HBO. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Wired, among other publications. Yu speaks to audiences of all kinds about the Asian American experience, representation and stereotypes in film and television.

Mr. Yu's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Center for Writing and Public Discourse and the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies, both at CMC.

Photo credit: Tina Chiou

Source: Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau website

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Thu, October 28, 2021
Dinner Program
Martha Minow
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Martha Minow is the 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University and former dean of Harvard Law School. An advisor to nonprofit organizations and governments around the world, her books include “In Brown’s Wake: Legacies of America’s Constitutional Landmark;” “Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence;” and, among many books, “Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion, and American Law.” Most recently, she published “Saving the News: Why the Constitution Calls for Government Action to Preserve the Freedom of Speech” and “When Should Law Forgive?”

In 2018 when Minow was named 300th Anniversary University Professor, Harvard University’s highest faculty award, the Harvard Gazette reported: “Known for her wide-ranging intellectual curiosity and influential interdisciplinary scholarship, Minow has offered original ways to frame and reform the law’s treatment of racial and religious minorities as well as women, children, and persons with disabilities. She has taught and written about privatization, military justice, and ethnic and religious conflict, among other matters. Her work in constitutional law has addressed issues of equal protection, freedom of speech, the religion clauses, and federalism. Her current work focuses on whether and when legal systems and rules should promote forgiveness.”

Minow has taught at Harvard Law School since 1981. Her courses include civil procedure, constitutional law, fairness and privacy, family law, international criminal justice, jurisprudence, law and education, nonprofit organizations, and the public law workshop. An expert in human rights and advocacy for members of racial and religious minorities and for women, children, and persons with disabilities, she also writes and teaches about digital communications, democracy, privatization, military justice, and ethnic and religious conflict.

Minow served as d­­ean of Harvard Law School from 2009 to 2017 and as the inaugural Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor. She co-chaired the Law School’s curricular reform committee from 2003 to 2006, an effort that led to innovation in the first-year curriculum as well as new programs of study for second- and third-year law students. As dean, she strengthened public interest and clinical programs; diversity among faculty, staff, and students; interdisciplinary studies; and the financial stability of the School. 

Besides her many scholarly articles published in journals of law, history, and philosophy, her other books include “The First Global Prosecutor: Promise and Constraints” (co-edited, 2015); “Government by Contract” (co-edited, 2009); “Just Schools: Pursuing Equality in Societies of Difference” (co-edited, 2008); “Breaking the Cycles of Hatred: Memory, Law and Repair” (edited by Nancy Rosenblum with commentary by other authors, 2003); “Partners, Not Rivals: Privatization and the Public Good” (2002); “Engaging Cultural Differences: The Multicultural Challenge in Liberal Democracies” (co-edited 2002; “Not Only for Myself: Identity, Politics and Law” (1997); “Law Stories” (co-edited 1996); “Narrative, Violence and the Law: The Essays of Robert M. Cover” (co-edited 1992); and “Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion, and American Law” (1990). She is the co-editor of two law school casebooks, “Civil Procedure: Doctrine, Practice and Context” (3rd. edition 2008) and “Women and the Law” (4th edition 2007), and a reader, “Family Matters: Readings in Family Lives and the Law” (1993).

Currently the co-chair of the access to justice project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-chair of the advisory board to Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Schwartzman College of Computing, Minow has served on the Center for Strategic and International Studies Commission on Countering Violent Extremism and on the Independent International Commission Kosovo. She helped to launch Imagine Co-existence, a program of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, to promote peaceful development in post-conflict societies. Her five-year partnership with the federal Department of Education and the Center for Applied Special Technology worked to increase access to the curriculum for students with disabilities and resulted in both legislative initiatives and a voluntary national standard opening access to curricular materials for individuals with disabilities. 

Her many honors include the Sargent Shriver Equal Justice Award (2016); the Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize, Brandeis University (2016); nine honorary degrees (in law, education, and humane letters) from schools in three countries; the Gold Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Public Discourse, awarded by the College Historical Society of Trinity College, Dublin, in recognition of efforts to promote discourse and intellectualism on a world stage; the Holocaust Center Award; and the Sacks-Freund Teaching Award, awarded by the Harvard Law School graduating class.

She serves on the boards of the Advantage Testing Foundation, the Campaign Legal Center, the Carnegie Corporation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the SCE Foundation, and public media GBH; the Council for the American Bar Association Center for Innovation. Minow served as the inaugural chair of the Deans Steering Committee of the Association of American Law Schools and as a member of the American Bar Association Diversity and Inclusion 360 Commission. She previously chaired the board of directors for the Revson Foundation (New York) and served on the boards of the Legal Services Corporation, the bi-partisan, government-sponsored organization that provides civil legal assistance to low-income Americans; the American Bar Foundation; the CBS Corporation; the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law; the Covenant Foundation; the Iranian Human Rights Documentation Center; and Facing History and Ourselves, where she chaired the Scholars' Board. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences since 1992, Minow has also been a senior fellow of Harvard’s Society of Fellows, a member of Harvard University Press Board of Syndics, a senior fellow and acting director of what is now Harvard’s Safra Foundation Center on Ethics, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a Fellow of the American Philosophical Society. She has delivered more than 70 named or endowed lectures and keynote addresses, including the 2016 George W. Gay Lecture at Harvard Medical School’s Center for Bioethics and the 2017 Alexander Meickeljohn Lecture on media at the First Amendment at Brown University.

Minow completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan; she received a master’s degree in education from Harvard; and a law degree from Yale Law School. She clerked for Judge David Bazelon of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the Supreme Court of the United States. She joined the Harvard Law faculty as an assistant professor in 1981, was promoted to professor in 1986, was named the William Henry Bloomberg Professor of Law in 2003, and became the Jeremiah Smith Jr., Professor of Law in 2005. After her service as dean, Minow held the Carter Chair in General Jurisprudence until she became the 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University.

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Mon, November 1, 2021
Dinner Program
Roger Karapin

Roger Karapin, professor of political science at City University of New York’s Graduate Center and author of "Political Opportunities for Climate Policy: California, New York, and the Federal Government," will discuss the Biden administration’s climate policies in light of the Obama and Trump administrations' policies as well as the constraints and opportunities presented by the current political situation.

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Roger Karapin is professor of political science at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center. He has published widely on climate change policy and renewable energy policy in the United States, Germany, and Canada. His book, "Political Opportunities for Climate Change: California, New York, and the Federal Government" (Cambridge University Press, 2016) won the Caldwell Prize for best book on environmental politics and policy, awarded by the American Political Science Association.

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Wed, November 3, 2021
Lunch Program
Karl Eikenberry

Almost two decades after Al Qaeda's 9/11 attacks on the American homeland, the United States has—for now —disengaged militarily from Afghanistan. A surge of 100,000 U.S. troops into Afghanistan in 2010 was unforeseeable in 2001, as was a Taliban victory twenty years hence. Karl Eikenberry, former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan and commander of Coalition forces there, will assess America's strategy in Afghanistan and the implications of the U.S. military withdrawal for international security.    

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Karl Eikenberry is a former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan and Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (retired). He is a senior advisor to the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Defense on its defense and military transformation plan. He is also a faculty member of Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.

From 2011-2019 he was director of the U.S.-Asia Security Initiative at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University. He was also an affiliate with the Stanford University Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies’ Center for International Security and Cooperation; Center for Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law; and The Europe Center.

Prior to his arrival at Stanford, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2009 until 2011. Before appointment as chief of mission in Kabul, he had a thirty-five year career in the United States Army, retiring with the rank of lieutenant general. His military operational posts included as commander and staff officer with mechanized, light, airborne, and ranger infantry units in the continental U.S., Hawaii, Korea, Italy, and as the Commander of the American-led Coalition forces in Afghanistan. He held various policy and political-military positions, including deputy chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium; director for Strategic Planning and Policy for U.S. Pacific Command at Camp Smith, Hawaii; and assistant army and later defense attaché at the United States Embassy in Beijing.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, has earned master’s degrees from Harvard University in East Asian Studies and Stanford University in Political Science, and was a National Security Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Eikenberry earned an Interpreter’s Certificate in Mandarin Chinese from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office while studying at the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence Chinese Language School in Hong Kong and has an advanced degree in Chinese History from Nanjing University.

His military awards include the Defense Distinguished and Superior Service Medals, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Ranger Tab, Combat and Expert Infantryman Badges, and master parachutist wings. He has received the Department of State Distinguished, Superior, and Meritorious Honor Awards, and Director of Central Intelligence Award. His foreign and international decorations include the Canadian Meritorious Service Cross, and French Legion of Honor. Eikenberry is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, co-directs the Academy’s project on civil wars, violence, and international responses, and serves on the Academy’s Committee on International Security Studies.

He belongs to the boards of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva, The Asia Foundation, American Councils for International Education, Asia Society of Northern California, National Bureau of Asian Research, and National Committee on American Foreign Policy; and he is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Liechtenstein Institute for Self-Determination, Princeton University.

His articles and essays on U.S. and international security issues have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Washington Quarterly, The American Interest, American Foreign Policy Interests, Lawfare, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Survival, Dædalus, The Financial Times, Parameters, and Military Review.

Ambassador Eikenberry’s Athenaeum talk is co-sponsored by the Keck Center for International & Strategic Studies at CMC.

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Wed, November 3, 2021
Dinner Program
Zadie Smith

Acclaimed novelist and writer Zadie Smith will read and reflect on her works.

Photo credit: Dominique Nabokov

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Novelist Zadie Smith was born in North London in 1975 to an English father and a Jamaican mother. She read English at Cambridge, before graduating in 1997.

Her acclaimed first novel, "White Teeth" (2000), is a vibrant portrait of contemporary multicultural London, told through the stories of three ethnically diverse families. The book won a number of awards and prizes, including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book), and two BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Awards (Best Book/Novel and Best Female Media Newcomer). It was also shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Author's Club First Novel Award. "White Teeth" has been translated into over twenty languages and was adapted for television in autumn 2002, and for the stage in November 2018. In 2020, the New York Public Library voted "White Teeth" one of the 125 most important books of the last 125 years. 

Smith's "The Autograph Man" (2002), a story of loss, obsession, and the nature of celebrity, won the 2003 Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize for Fiction. In 2003 and 2013, she was named by Granta magazine as one of 20 'Best of Young British Novelists'. "On Beauty" won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction and her novel "NW" was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction and was named as one of The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2012. NW was also made into a television film by the BBC in 2016. Her novel "Swing Time" was a New York Times bestseller. She has published three collections of essays, "Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays" (2009), "Feel Free" (2018), and "Intimations" which was chosen as one of Oprah's Best Books of 2020. Her collection of short stories, "Grand Union," was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Her play, "The Wife of Willesden," based on Chaucer’s "The Wife of Bath’s Tale" will premiere at the Kiln Theatre. In 2021 she co-wrote a children's book with Nick Laird titled "Weirdo," with illustrations by Magenta Fox. She is currently working on a new novel.   

Smith writes regularly for The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. In 2017 she was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters, and received the 2017 City College of New York’s Langston Hughes Medal. She is also the recipient of the 2021 St. Louis Literary Award. Zadie Smith is currently a tenured professor of Creative Writing at New York University. 

Professor Smith will deliver the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies' 2021 Quinones Lecture. This program is co-sponsored by the Athenaeum, the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, and the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies, all at CMC.

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Thu, November 4, 2021
Dinner Program
France A. Córdova

As one of CMC’s 75th Anniversary Distinguished Speakers, Dr. Córdova will highlight issues in “Science and Policy,” one of the three academic collaboration themes of our special 75th Anniversary celebration.

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France Anne Córdova is an experienced leader in science, engineering and education with more than three decades experience at universities and national labs.  She has served in five presidential administrations, both Democratic and Republican. She is an internationally recognized astrophysicist for her contributions in space research and instrumentation.  She has served on both corporate and nonprofit boards, often assuming a leadership position.

Córdova was the 14th Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), a presidential-appointed, Senate-confirmed executive position. NSF is an $8.5 billion independent federal agency. It is the only government agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and STEM education.  

Through her leadership at NSF, the agency grew by over one billion dollars, strengthened existing partnerships while forging new ones, and launched a strategic framework defined by 10 Big Ideas—promising areas of research for targeted investment. She initiated NSF’s Convergence Accelerator to leverage external partnerships to accelerate research in areas of national importance. To broaden STEM participation from traditionally underrepresented groups, she launched NSF INCLUDES; today seven other government agencies, including NASA and NIH, have joined INCLUDES. She co-chaired with other agency heads several committees of the National Science and Technology Council for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, including committees on science, education, innovation, and Arctic research. She has spoken before the U.S. Congress and on global stages including the Global Research Council, Arctic Ministerials, and the World Economic Forum.

She is the only woman to serve as president of Purdue University, where she led the university to record levels of research funding, reputational rankings, and student retention and graduation rates. She established a College of Health and Human Sciences at Purdue, as well as a Global Research Policy Institute.

Córdova is also chancellor emerita of the University of California, Riverside, where she was a distinguished professor of physics and astronomy. She laid the foundation for a medical school, California's first public medical school in over 40 years At the University of California, Santa Barbara, as vice chancellor for research and professor of physics, she led a campus-wide effort to fund and support convergence in blue-sky research.

Previously, Córdova served as NASA's chief scientist, representing NASA to the larger scientific community. She was the youngest person and first woman to serve as NASA's chief scientist and was awarded the agency's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal.

She has published more than 150 scientific papers. She has been awarded several honorary doctorates, including ones from Purdue, Duke and Dartmouth Universities. She was awarded the Kennedy-Lemass Medal from Ireland, and the Order of Bernardo O’Higgins from Chile. She is a Kilby Laureate for "significant contributions to society through science, technology, innovation, invention and education." Córdova received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology, where she currently serves a trustee.

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Mon, November 8, 2021
Dinner Program
Tom Nichols

Over the past three decades, citizens of democracies who claim to value freedom, tolerance, and the rule of law have increasingly embraced illiberal politicians and platforms. Democracy is in trouble—but who is really to blame? Tom Nichols, professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, challenges the current depictions of the rise of illiberal and anti-democratic movements in the United States and elsewhere as the result of the deprivations of globalization or the malign decisions of elites. Rather, he places the blame for the rise of illiberalism on the people themselves and makes a strong argument for civic re-engagement.

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Tom Nichols is a U.S. Naval War College professor, and an adjunct at the U.S. Air Force School of Strategic Force Studies, and the Harvard Extension School. He is a specialist on international security affairs, including U.S.-Russia relations, nuclear strategy, and NATO issues.

A nationally-known commentator on U.S. politics and national security, he is a columnist for USA Today and a contributing writer at The Atlantic. He is the author of  "The Death of Expertise" (2017), "No Use: Nuclear Weapons and US National Security" (2013), and "Eve of Destruction: The Coming Age of Preventive War" (2008). His newest book is "Our Own Worst Enemy: The Assault from within on Modern Democracy" (2021).

He served as a staff member in the U.S. Senate and has held fellowships at CSIS and the Harvard Kennedy School. He has taught at Dartmouth, La Salle and Georgetown. And, he is also a five-time undefeated 'Jeopardy!' champion.

Biography excerpted from
Abstract adapted from book cover and reviews

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Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

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

Phone: (909) 607-8244


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