Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

Inside CMC, November 2003

Going Platinum

Events and dinner will toast 20th anniversary of Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

The 20th anniversary of the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum is shaping into an extended celebration that will, among other things, invite back speakers who have been guests of the Athenaeum over the course of its history. These speakers will be incorporated into a year-long series. Ath Encores, addressing such landmark issues as the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Kan. ruling, the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg trials, and the McCarthy hearings.

Anticipating the anniversary. Athenaeum staff members also worked over the summer to pick out new, commemorative chargers for future table settings. The new plates, expected to arrive later this month, feature a special drawing of the MMCA, exactly like the drawings handed out to the first guests of the Athenaeum during its inaugural dinner, says director Bonnie Snortum.

Plans also are being finalized for a dinner honoring Marian Miner Cook on Friday, Nov. 21. Cook, as well as a select list of former Athenaeum Fellows and directors, CMC trustees, and faculty, will be in attendance.

To honor two decades of the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum, a set of anniversary chargers have been commissioned. The new pieces feature a burgundy border with a symbolic Greek key motif, encircling a reproduction of the original drawing of the MMCA.

The Ath connects the College with its surroundings and potentially builds bridges in ways that most campuses do not Snortum says of the anniversary. "On November 21 we recognize the incredible vision of Donald McKenna and the other Athenaeum founders, our generous donors, and the support of the CMC community in turning inspiration into reality."

The first incarnation of the CMC Athenaeum was housed in the former President's house, now the Office of Admission and Financial Aid, at 890 Columbia Ave. It was there that Donald McKenna's visionary concept came to life: a living room and dining room, much like a family home, where meals and conversation could occur. Modeled after the literary and scientific dining clubs of 19th-century London, as well as the intellectual salons held in his childhood home in Claremont, the Athenaeum was developed to promote intellectual and social exchange between students, faculty, and visiting luminaries, in an intimate and relaxed setting.

Snortum says the goal of the Athenaeum is to sponsor events of intellectual worth and relevant to a variety of student interests. Distinguished guests throughout the years have included scholars, writers, poets, politicians, and artists, representing a wide range of ideas and points of view.