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.

Wed, April 17, 2024
Dinner Program
Jennifer M Morton

It's common to set out on a challenging pursuit without knowing whether you will succeed. As we confront hurdles and setbacks, we face a crucial decision: give up, or persevere? Optimism about our chances can help us avoid giving into premature despair. But Jennifer M. Morton argues that "grit"—striving in the face of adversity—can be rational only when it doesn't turn into Pollyannaish optimism. To strive rationally, we also need to pay close attention to our abilities and strengths, as well as to whether our circumstances will be conducive to our success. In this talk, Morton will develop a model of striving that aims to capture the multifaceted nature of this critical capacity of agents.

Read more about the speaker

Jennifer M. Morton is Presidential Penn Compact Associate Professor of Philosophy with a secondary appointment at the School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently a SAGE Sara Miller McCune Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Morton is interested in how poverty and social class affect our agency. She is currently working on a book on striving in the face of adversity with Sarah Paul (NYU Abu Dhabi) and a series of papers on precarity and poverty. Her book Moving Up Without Losing Your Way: The Ethical Costs of Upward Mobility (Princeton University Press, 2019) was awarded the Grawemeyer Award in Education and the Frederic W. Ness Book Award by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Her work has been featured in The Nation, The Atlantic, Vox, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the podcast Hidden Brain. She has received a Guggenheim fellowship, a SAGE Sara Miller McCune Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and a Laurance S. Rockefeller Faculty Fellowship at the Princeton Center for Human Values.

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This event is no longer open for registrations.

Mon, April 22, 2024
Lunch Program
Julio Garín

The underlying question behind my talk is why I am here. Along with discussing my research, I will share a narrative of how it has evolved, and, more importantly, of what salient features of my life brought me to this position – I will not shy away from sharing what is common to all of us experiencing life: my jealousy, failures, struggles, and my insecurities. Moreover, I will share my thoughts about the importance of promoting research and what I have learned about role models.  Paraphrasing Borges, I am more proud of the things I learned than the ones I have taught and, like Kierkegaard, I believe first we must find what to do, then what to know. My talk will reflect those attributes, while implicitly arguing that social science in general, and economics in particular, provide us with a path to true empathy.

Professor Garín's Athenaeum presentation celebrates his installation ceremony as the Peter K. Barker ’70 P’01 Associate Professor of Economics and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College.


Read more about the speaker

Julio Garín, the Peter K. Barker ’70 P’01 Associate Professor of Economics and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College, joined the CMC faculty in 2017. He holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Universidad ORT, Uruguay. 

Professor Garín has been widely published in academic journals, including the Review of Economics and Statistics; the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics; Journal of Money, Credit and Banking; and European Economic Review, and has been a visiting scholar of several central banks, including the Federal Reserve.

He is particularly interested in understanding the role of frictions and market imperfections, measuring well-being, and the extent to which policy interventions may help to ameliorate undesirable outcomes.  “In terms of labels, I have worked in the areas of monetary and fiscal policy, financial frictions, labor markets, and identifying the role of expectations on a variety of economic outcomes. Digging deeper, I am interested in the elusive task of understanding human behavior.”

Professor Garín grew up Cuaró, a neighborhood of Rivera, a city split between Uruguay and Brazil. “That place and their people, together with the parents I had and the ones I did not, gave me both roots and wings,” he shared.

“The role of an economist may not seem like a romantic task—or the role of a social scientist for that matter—but I argue that, when honestly pursued, provides extraordinary tools for creating a meaningful chronicle of human behavior and is crucial for piercing the veil of ignorance that conceals true understanding and prevents genuine empathy,” he said.

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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) 621-8244 
Fax: (909) 621-8579