Marian Miner Cook

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC


Current Semester Schedule

Mon, January 22, 2024
Dinner Program
Hans Swildens

Joins Hans Swildens, founder and CEO of Industry Ventures, a leading venture capital firm with over $7 billion of committed capital under management, for a discussion of the history of the venture capital industry, current trends, debates, and thoughts on the future of venture capital. Mr. Swildens, joined by Spencer Taylor '24, will also discuss his personal history, how his firm operates, and his investment strategy.

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Hans Swildens is the CEO and founder of Industry Ventures and manages the overall business. As an early pioneer of the modern secondary market for venture capital, Swildens created new ways to get liquidity for venture capital investments prior to an IPO or M&A event. Additionally, he was early to support the development of a new class of venture capital partnerships focused on seed and early stage investing during the last decade. He directs the firm’s investment processes, operations and limited partner relationships.

Earlier in his career, Swildens was a successful entrepreneur who co-founded and acted as President of Microline Software. Microline was acquired by Blaze Software (IPO) and was subsequently acquired by Fair Isaac. He also helped start Speedera Networks (acquired by Akamai) and provided board advisory services to Discovery Mining (acquired by Interwoven), nCircle Network Security (acquired by Tripwire), and StepUp Commerce (acquired by Intuit). 

Mr. Swildens holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA with distinction from the University of California at Santa Barbara.


Founded in 2000, Industry Ventures is a leading venture capital firm with over $7 billion of committed capital under management. Industry Ventures invests in private technology and across the full venture spectrum. 

The firm has four distinct strategies, each of which invests at a different stage of the venture lifecycle: (1) seed / early-stage, (2) early-growth stage, (3) late-stage (i.e. secondaries), and (4) post-venture (i.e. tech buyout). 

This full-scale approach, along with the firm’s extensive network, is believed to be a key differentiator, allowing the Firm to generate a long-standing track record over the last 23 years. The firm is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Washington, DC, and London.


Mr. Swildens' Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Financial Economics Institute and the Randall Lewis Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, both at CMC.

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Wed, January 24, 2024
Dinner Program
2023 Appel Scholars

Please join the Center for Writing & Public Discourse for a celebration of the 2023 Appel Scholars and Joel A. Appel '87 P'20.  

The Appel Fellowship provides first-year CMC students with funding to support purposeful, independent experiences that culminate in a meaningful and substantial writing project. At this celebratory dinner, the 2023 Appel Scholars will share experiences from their projects undertaken last summer in locations around the world.


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The 2023 Appel Scholars and their projects:

Anna Behuniak ’26 combined interviews, photos, and observational writing about her experiences to create in-depth portraits of four microbusinesses in Taiwan.  

Rohaan Bhojwani ’26 went to the island of Svalbard, in the Arctic Circle, and compiled oral histories of residents of Longyearbyen, the northernmost town in the world. 

Oliver Broegger ’26 made a documentary film about an organization that he and his brother began, Goals & Grades Ghana, that helps bridge the gap between sports and education in Ghana. 

Sophia Castellanos ’26 spent the summer in conversation with Latinas in Northern California and Mexico, writing a collection of poems about cultural identity, family and gender. 

Tanveer Singh Chabba ’26 delved into electronic dance music (EDM) in England, Spain and Germany, interviewing DJs and writing about community, inclusivity, and musical cultures. 

James Cullers ’26 traveled through Germany studying Schopenhauer’s philosophy of pessimism and writing a philosophical defense of pessimism, two short stories, and a travel reflection. 

Isabella Estey ’26 hiked, camped, and backpacked around Washington state while journaling and interviewing fellow female outdoor lovers about how they found their love for the outdoors.

Luc Fabing ’26 worked on commercial and subsistence farms in Ecuador, writing essays and poems on local knowledge, culture and sustainability in Ecuador and his home state of Kentucky. 

Daniel Fernandez ’26 spent time in the greater Los Angeles area and in Mexico, writing a personal reflection on culture, community, and the meanings of “home” for Mexican Americans. 

Kylie Ha ’26 traveled to Amman, Jordan for her project, “Arabic (is) for Life.” Her time there culminated in an anthology of poems, memoirs, interviews, and hand-drawn Arabic calligraphy. 

Arlo Jay ’26 combined text and image to reflect on his first experience navigating Taiwan, writing about urban transit systems and temples, busy street markets and lush natural landscapes. 

Jiyeon Kim ’26 investigated how food is produced in South Korea, from farm cultivation to restaurant and household cooking, in a project that combines recipes, reflections, and reportage. 

Rhea Kulkarni ’26 explored historical and political conflict, socioeconomic culture, and religious influence in Jordan and the surrounding area, creating a photojournalistic travelogue. 

Anne McDonald ’26 went to her mother’s homeland of Taiwan. The website she made, In Gong Gong’s Footsteps, explores her experiences and, through oral history, those of her grandfather. 

Gray Mollenkamp ’26 studied the troubling connection between football and post-game violence in the UK, documenting his findings and offering policy recommendations in an essay. 

Leticia Murer de Souza ’26 spent her summer in Valdobbiadene, the village in Italy where her grandfather grew up. Her project meditates on the impact of WWII on the village and her family. 

Henry Otte ’26 traveled to Paris, Fontainebleau, and Normandy, immerse himself in French cuisine. He created blog and vlog posts as well as a research paper on cross-cultural nutrition. 

Olivia Padilla ’26 worked with children who have disabilities through an Integrated Music, Art, and Dance Therapy program in Quito, Ecuador, creating a bilingual text/image prose collection. 

Annie Parizeau ’26 wrote an essay combining research and reflection on her time in Iceland, where she spent the summer interviewing woman athletes about body image and Crossfit culture. 

Juan Pozo ’26 attended Major League Soccer games in 5 American cities, interviewing fans and then writing, on a website, about the evolving role soccer plays in his and other people’s lives. 

Nilaja Sultan ’26 traveled to Dakar, Senegal. The book of poetry she wrote, In Dakar, was inspired by people and places she encountered and strengthened by the voices of her ancestors. 

Tristen Tate ’26 rode the bus all summer. Interviewing passengers and drivers in Chicago and LA, she made poems, “love letters” to both cities, and a short film, “To live and die in Chicago.” 

Riley Zitar ’26 made her way through Romania and Ireland, learning about the culture of each country through the lens of fashion and traditional dress and writing a blog, “Sew the Way.” 

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Thu, January 25, 2024
Dinner Program
Corey D. B. Walker

“We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. . . . Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, ‘Too late.’”

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s bracing words from his 1967 “A Time to Break Silence” speech delivered at the Riverside Church in New York underscore the immediate and urgent need to create a just and sustainable world. Today, we face an existential threat to the very future of humanity as a result of human induced climate change. This existential threat to human life on the planet forces us to confront the necessity for deliberate and committed action to create new forms of sustainable human community. In his lecture, Dr. Walker will call for a broad conception of environmental ethics as a critical and necessary response to our contemporary climate crisis. By revisiting King’s ideal of “beloved community,” he will articulate an ethical framework that supports the urgent call to create a transformed and livable world.

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Corey D. B. Walker is Dean of Wake Forest University School of Divinity, Wake Forest Professor of the Humanities, and Inaugural Director of the Program in African American Studies. He is the 2023-2024 Phi Beta Kappa Frank M. Updike Memorial Scholar.

He served as Vice President, Dean, and Professor of Religion and Society at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University; founding Dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, Business and Education and inaugural John W. and Anna Hodgin Hanes Professor of the Humanities at Winston-Salem State University; and Chair of the department of Africana Studies at Brown University, where he was also a tenured professor and faculty affiliate in the department of American Studies, department of Religious Studies, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, and Committee on Science and Technology Studies.

Dean Walker’s research, teaching, and public scholarship spans the areas of American and African American social and religious thought, ethics, and religion and American public life. He is author and editor of several books and has published over sixty articles, essays, and book chapters in a wide variety of scholarly journals and publications. He is currently completing his next book, Disciple of Nonviolence: Wyatt Tee Walker and the Struggle for the Soul of Democracy, to be published by the University of Virginia Press. Dean Walker also served as Book Review Editor and Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, generally considered the top academic journal in the field.

An ordained American Baptist clergyperson, Dean Walker speaks to congregations and communities across the nation and has appeared on a variety of media outlets in the United States and abroad.

Dr. Walker is the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar and will deliver the 2024 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture.

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Fri, January 26, 2024
Dinner Program
John McWhorter

Linguists traditionally criticize prescriptivism: attempts by certain grammarians to enforce how language should be from the outside, in contrast to linguists’ descriptivism, which seeks, like the biologist, to describe what language actually is. While traditional prescriptivism is somewhat on the wane, a new strain of it is emanating from the left, in the form of suggestions (and rather stern ones) for how we should refer to groups of people, as well as to alter words and expressions in order to avoid possibly offending same. This new prescriptivism is no more organic to societal development than the older kind was, but it can seem otherwise from a simultaneous trend: the imposition of politically radical ideas through pronounced reliance on Latinate vocabulary that lends an air of complexity and legitimacy to ideas that often seem more subject to critique when expressed with more straightforwad Germanic vocabulary. 

Professor John McWhorter, the renowned Columbia University linguist, New York Times writer, and prolific commentator on language, race, culture, and society, will discuss these concurrent developments with suggestions for the future.

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John McWhorter teaches linguistics at Columbia University, as well as Western Civilization and music history. He specializes in language change and language contact, and is the author of The Missing Spanish Creoles, Language Simplicity and Complexity, and The Creole Debate. He has written extensively on issues related to linguistics, race, and other topics for Time, The New York Times, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, The New Republic and elsewhere, and has been a Contributing Editor at The Atlantic. For the general public he is the author of The Power of Babel, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, The Language Hoax, Words on the Move, Talking Back, Talking Black, and other books, including Nine Nasty Words and Woke Racism, both of which were New York Times bestsellers. He hosts the Lexicon Valley language podcast, has authored six audiovisual sets on language for the Great Courses company, and has written a weekly newsletter for the New York Times since August 2021.

Professor McWhorter will deliver the Spring 2024 lecture for the Res Publica Society Speaker Series, and is the 2023-2024 Valach Family speaker.

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Mon, January 29, 2024
Dinner Program
Cara Hagan

Join Cara Hagan, a contemporary dancer and artist, to explore civic practice through the lens of artmaking. Learning to live mindfully in community is the first step to having what Hagan calls, a “civic practice,” which is a deep ritual practice unto itself that requires our full attention and a consistent recommitment to its existence and its health. To be clear, a civic practice means playing an active role in one’s community, driven by a concern for that community’s social, cultural, organizational, and infrastructural well-being. It includes the voluntary contribution of one’s time and talent (like any good ritual) to attend to the needs of one’s community. This looks different for everyone, and when people are tending to their communities from a place of agency, rooted in their power, participating in ways that are both manageable and productive given the shape of their lives, a civic practice is potent medicine against the forces of oppression. Hagan will share works of varied genres as a way of stitching together her experience of living in community with a passion for reimagining the world and how we exist in it.

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Cara Hagan (She/They) is a mover, maker, writer, curator, champion of just communities, and a dreamer. She believes in the power of art to upend the laws of time and physics, a necessary occurrence in pursuit of liberation. In her work, no object or outcome is sacred; but the ritual to get there is. Hagan’s adventures take place as live performance, on screen, as installation, on the page, and in collaboration with others in a multitude of contexts.

Most recently, Hagan's immersive, site-specific work "were we birds?" was commissioned as part of the 90th anniversary season of the American Dance Festival. Additionally, Hagan's work titled, "SKIDD-ID-A-BOP was commissioned as part of the 2023 season for Rhythmically Speaking, a jazz-focused dance company based in Minneapolis. Hagan was awarded a 2023 GALLIM Parent Artist Residency, where she has had the pleasure of crafting a new solo-dance and visual art work titled, "Mama Piranha." Thus far, iterations of Mama Piranha have been presented by Morven Moves at the Morven Museum, a GALLIM artist residency showing at the Chelsea Factory, and by Pioneers Go East as part of the Crossroads Festival. Hagan anticipates the premiere of the work in its entirety in 2024.

Hagan is editor and contributor to the anthology Practicing Yoga as Resistance: Voices of Color in Search of Freedom, published in 2021 by Routledge and author of Screendance from Film to Festival: Celebration and Curatorial Practice, published in 2022 by McFarland. Cara joined the faculty of The New School in 2022 and works as Associate Professor and Program Director for the MFA in Contemporary Theatre Performance.

Hagan's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Berger Institute for Individual and Social Development and the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at CMC.

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Tue, January 30, 2024
Dinner Program
Forrest Howell

The Athenaeum Concert Series continues Renewal from Ashes – War, Destruction, Remembrance, Peace in its inaugural 2023-24 season, inviting five celebrated guest artists to speak about and perform music composed at times of war.

For the third concert in the series, "Remembrance," we examine how many of humanity's most poignant works of art are born as tributes, homages, and memorials. This is in part because the emotions which accompany loss and grief are universally understood, but the sentiments of a particular relationship are unmistakably distinct -- the juxtaposition of these two levels of meaning draws us in and speaks to our shared humanity.

The second piano trio by Dmitri Shostakovich is one such example of this phenomenon. Shortly after beginning the work, news of longtime friend Ivan Sollertinsky's death reached Shostakovich, deeply affecting him. Written in the midst of World War II, the piece depicts both his personal loss as well as a collective lamentation for the horrors of war. It presents emotional turbulence alongside dissociative numbness, and concludes with Jewish-inspired themes woven into a "Dance of Death."

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Forrest Howell is a near-nomadic musician and writer from Woodinville, Washington. His work as a performer embraces an omnivorous taste in music, ranging from historical keyboard instruments to contemporary Broadway productions to experimental sounds and improvisation. Recent highlights include performances at Music Academy of the West, the Gilmore Piano Festival, Hill Auditorium with the Ann Arbor Symphony, the University of Michigan’s Imprint Series, CoLab at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, Round Top Festival Institute, and Porto PianoFest as an artist in residence.

As a writer, Howell has contributed to I CARE IF YOU LISTEN, American Music Teacher, and The Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies. He is currently developing the program-note essay genre which contextualizes musical interpretation within personal narratives. The first iteration of this project, “Return from Oblivion: Essays During a Recital”, is focused on stories of loss which occurred during his years as a humanitarian worker in São Paulo.

Howell currently resides in Denver where he is serving as a full-time Senior Resident Teaching Artist with ArtistYear, an AmeriCorps program focused on providing access to arts education in underfunded schools.

Howell completed studies in music and science at Brigham Young University and the University of Michigan.

For his performance, Howell will be joined by Jason Moon on the violin and Olivia Cho on the cello.

The 2023-2024 Athenaeum Concert Series is funded in part by the generous donation of Frank Hobbs ’74 and Victoria Shevlin Hobbs.

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Wed, January 31, 2024
Lunch Program
Aditya Balasubramanian

This talk will provide a perspective on the changing relationship between the state and markets and the evolution of democracy in India after independence by exploring economic conservatism and the rise of the Swatantra Party during the 1960s.

It explores how ideas of “free economy” in opposition to the so-called “socialist planned economy” of Nehruvian India emerged from communities in southern and western India as they embraced new forms of entrepreneurial activity. Although diverse, these articulations all connoted anticommunism, unfettered private economic activity, decentralized development, and the defense of private property.

Swatantra’s leaders promised “free economy” through their project of opposition politics, which sought to create a viable conservative alternative to the dominant Indian National Congress and push India toward a two-party system. Key to their project was the communication and mobilization of Indians around economic issues.

Scrutinizing print and visual culture, this seminar reframes the study of economic thought around politicians and publicists and provides a new history of postcolonial India. But it also speaks to the challenges of opposition activity, state-market relations, and federal politics that remain with us today.

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Aditya Balasubramanian is a Senior Lecturer in History at the Australian National University. He received his A.B. from Harvard, and MPhil and PhD from Trinity College Cambridge, where he was a Marshall Scholar. Toward a Free Economy: Swatantra and Opposition Politics in Democratic India is his first book. It was shortlisted for the Elder Prize of the American Institute of Indian Studies and is based on his PhD dissertation that won the Ellen McArthur Prize in Economic History.

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Wed, January 31, 2024
Dinner Program
Kate Quinn

The bravery, intelligence, and ingenuity of women has long been overlooked in history’s spotlight moments—but women of the past are stepping out of the shadows. Today’s scholars and authors are delving deep into the past to bring these women out of obscurity and into the spotlight they have long deserved. Kate Quinn, a bestselling author of historical fiction, will discuss the process of researching, writing, and utilizing the historical record in service of telling women’s stories, focusing on the brave real-life heroines whose incredible deeds during linchpin historical epochs such as World War I and World War II inspired her novels The Alice Network, The Rose Code, and her most recent novel The Diamond Eye.

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Kate Quinn is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. A native of southern California, she attended Boston University where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. She has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance, before turning to the 20th century with The Alice Network, The Huntress, The Rose Code, and The Diamond Eye. All have been translated into multiple languages. Kate and her husband now live in San Diego with three rescue dogs.

Quinn will deliver the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies' 2023-24 Lerner Lecture on Hinge Moments in History.

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Thu, February 1, 2024
Dinner Program
Tina Nguyen '11

The dominance of mainstream media giants like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal is on the wane, and even cable networks such as CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News are on the decline. On the political right, especially, a proliferation of niche outlets such as Newsmax, OANN, and the Gateway Pundit have fractured the media landscape. Join Tina Nguyen ’11, a national correspondent for Puck, for an exploration of the “infinite fringe”: the media environment she has found on the American right. Tracing her journey from CMC to working for Tucker Carlson at the Daily Caller and then on to Mediaite, Politico, and Vanity Fair’s The Hive, Tina will share insights about reporting from within—and then reporting on—right-wing media.

**This is a "flipped Ath" event, in conjunction with the Open Academy: the reception will be held at 5:30 PM as usual, followed directly by the public presentation at 6:00 PM. Dinner (and conversation!) will follow at 6:45 PM, and then Q&A at 7:30 PM.**

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Tina Nguyen ‘11 is a national correspondent for Puck, covering the world of Donald Trump and the American right. Previously, Nguyen was a White House reporter for Politico, a staff reporter for Vanity Fair's The Hive, and an editor at Mediaite. A Brooklyn transplant, Nguyen graduated from Claremont McKenna College and lives in Washington. She is the author, most recently, of The MAGA Diaries: My Surreal Adventures Inside the Right-Wing (And How I Got Out), published this year. While at CMC, she was the news editor for the Claremont Independent, a fellow at the Salvatori Center, and occasional cartoonist/columnist for The Forum.

Ms. Nguyen's talk is part of the Athenaeum's 40th Anniversary Series, which celebrates the achievements of CMC alumni from across the years and invites them to return home to Claremont.

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Mon, February 5, 2024
Dinner Program
Neil D. Clarke

Neil Clarke is Associate Professor of Life Sciences at Yale-NUS College, a liberal arts institution founded by Yale and the National University of Singapore. At Yale-NUS, he and his colleagues were given a clean slate upon which to draw a science curriculum for undergraduates, most importantly those who will never take a science course again. Is there anything about science such students don’t know already, but should? In this talk he will share his perspectives on this question and the approach taken at Yale-NUS.

Before joining Yale-NUS as an inaugural faculty member, Clarke spent more than 35 years in research-intensive institutions, first as a student and then as a researcher and teacher of biochemistry, molecular biology, structural biology, and genomics. His time at Yale-NUS College has been the highlight of his career.

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Neil Clarke is Associate Professor of Science at Yale-NUS College, a liberal arts institution founded by Yale University and the National University of Singapore. Among the many roles he has played at Yale-NUS are the five years he served as founding head of Life Sciences and his extensive work on the science Common Curriculum, including chairing the Science Common Curriculum Task Force which substantially revised the Common Curriculum in the sciences after the first couple years. He also served for four years as Rector (head) of Cendana College, one of Yale-NUS’s three residential colleges. Before moving to Yale-NUS, Clarke was Deputy Director of the Genome Institute of Singapore, as well as Senior Group Leader for Computational and Systems Biology (2005-2013). He began his career as an Assistant and then Associate Professor in the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (1992-2005).

During the Spring 2024 semester, Neil Clarke is a William F. Podlich Distinguished Fellow at CMC, and is at Claremont McKenna College at the invitation of the Kravis Department of Integrated Sciences. 

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Tue, February 6, 2024
Dinner Program
Jonathan Kirshner

POSTPONED - This event has been postponed tentatively for April 10, to be confirmed

The American led international order is now over. And many are happy to see it go. The nativist right can’t be bothered with the world’s problems; the critical left is wary of American power. But both take for granted what that order achieved, and will soon lament its passing. Join Jonathan Kirshner, professor of Political Science and International Studies at Boston College, for a discussion of the new international landscape.

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POSTPONED - This event has been postponed tentatively for April 10, to be confirmed

Jonathan Kirshner is Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Boston College. His research and teaching interests focus on international relations, political economy (especially macroeconomics and money), and politics and film. His current research includes projects on classical realism, the international political implications of the financial crisis and its aftermath, and the politics of mid-century cinema.

Prior to joining Boston College, Kirshner was the Stephen and Barbara Friedman Professor of International Political Economy in the Department of Government at Cornell University. At Cornell, he also served as director of the Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies from 2007 to 2015, and was the recipient of the Provost’s Award for Distinguished Scholarship and the Stephen and Margery Russell Distinguished Teaching Award.

Recent books include American Power after the Financial Crisis, and Hollywood’s Last Golden Age: Politics, Society and the Seventies Film in America. His first book, Currency and Coercion, explored how states manipulate international monetary relations to advance security-related goals. Another book, Appeasing Bankers: Financial Caution on the Road to War, illustrated how financial interests (such as banks) and international financial markets can shape and constrain states’ grand strategies and influence decisions about war and peace. Appeasing Bankers won the best book award from the International Security Studies Section of the International Studies Association.

Kirshner was the first World Politics Visiting Fellow at Princeton University’s Institute for International and Regional Studies, and was the director of the Economics and National Security Program at the Olin Institute at Harvard University from 2000-04. With Eric Helleiner, he is the co-editor of the multi-disciplinary book series “Cornell Studies in Money,” as well as the books The Great Wall of Money: Power and Politics in China’s International Monetary Relations and The Future of the Dollar.

Professor Kirshner's Athenaeum visit is co-sponsored by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at CMC.

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Wed, February 7, 2024
Dinner Program
Vincent Phillip Muñoz '93

Does the First Amendment guarantee us the right to be free from religion in the public square? Does it guarantee religious individuals and institutions the right to be exempt from otherwise valid laws that burden their religious beliefs and practices? In his lecture, Dr. Vincent Phillip Muñoz '93, will explore our “first freedom” in light of the thought of America’s founding fathers.

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Vincent Phillip Muñoz '93, is the Tocqueville Professor of Political Science and Concurrent Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame. He is the Founding Director of ND’s Center for Citizenship & Constitutional Government. Under his leadership the programs have raised nearly $20,000,000 in grants, gifts, and pledges. Prior to his faculty appointment at Notre Dame, he was the 1992-93 RA of Beckett Hall and a student worker at the Salvatori Center!

Dr. Muñoz writes and teaches across the fields of constitutional law, American politics, and political philosophy with a focus on religious liberty and the American Founding. He won a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to support his most recent book, Religious Liberty and the American Founding: Natural Rights and the Original Meanings of the First Amendment Religion Clauses, published by the University of Chicago Press in 2022.

An award-winning teacher and a popular lecturer, Dr. Muñoz has spoken at nearly 100 colleges and universities in the past several years.

Dr. Muñoz' Athenaeum visit is co-sponsored by the Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World at CMC. Dr. Muñoz' talk is also part of the Athenaeum's 40th Anniversary Series, which celebrates the achievements of CMC alumni from across the years and invites them to return home to Claremont.

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Thu, February 8, 2024
Dinner Program
Liz Thomas '07

With a mix of storytelling, how-to tips, and gear show-and-tell, record-holding hiker and award-winning author Liz Thomas ’07 will share lessons from 20,000 miles in the mountains. She will explore the legacy and the future of trails, conservation, and outdoor recreation in America, including the need for equitable access through the recently introduced Outdoors for All Act and Transit to Trails Act.

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Liz Thomas ’07 is a professional hiker, adventure conservationist, and outdoor writer who held the women’s unsupported speed record on the 2,181-mile long Appalachian Trail. A guest editor and regular contributor to Backpacker, Thomas has been featured on Good Morning America and has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Yahoo! News, Men's Journal, Women's Health, and Outside, among other publications. Her book Long Trails: Mastering the Art of the Thru-Hike received the 2017 National Outdoor Book Award for Best Instructional book with judges calling in the “Bible of the Sport."

Thomas has served on the board of the Partnership for the National Trail System and the American Long Distance Hiking Association and as ambassador to American Hiking Society. A former staff writer at Wirecutter/New York Times, Thomas is currently editor-in-chief at Treeline Review, an outdoor digital media company dedicated to creating outdoors for all.

A 2007 graduate of Claremont McKenna College where she majored in EEP (Environment, Economics, and Politics) and was the Athenaeum student manager, Thomas holds a masters in Environmental Science from the Yale School of the Environment, where she held a Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship for her research on trails, conservation, and trail-side communities. She currently is on the board of the Roberts Environmental Center at CMC.

Since graduating from CMC, Thomas has hiked over 20,000 miles on more than 30 long distance hiking paths around the world! Ms. Thomas' talk is part of the Athenaeum's 40th Anniversary Series, which celebrates the achievements of CMC alumni from across the years and invites them to return home to Claremont.

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Fri, February 9, 2024
Lunch Program
Michael Crooke

Dr. Michael Crooke is a CEO and professor of business strategy. After becoming CEO of outdoor apparel compony Pearl Izumi in 1998, he was recruited by Patagonia Inc. founder Yvon Chouinard to become President and CEO of Patagonia and Patagonia's parent company, Lost Arrow Corporation, where he served from 1999-2005. He was later CEO of VC firm Revolution Living, a group of companies working to change the way consumers and brands interact. He was an early investor and member of the executive board of Kevita, which was named one of the top 25 most innovative consumer and retail brands by Forbes Magazine.

As a professor of business strategy, Crooke teaches capstone Leadership and Advanced Strategy courses to graduate students at the Lundquist College of Business at University of Oregon. Previously he was the founding and lead faculty of the Socially, Environmentally and Ethically Responsible (SEER) business certificate program at Pepperdine University which was selected as a winner of the 2013 Dr. Alfred N. and Lynn Manos Page Prize for Sustainability Issues in Business Curricula, granted by the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. 

Crooke has been recognized by Trust Across America as one of Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior (2012-13).  In April of 2012 the Ford Foundation named Dr. Crooke one of the “10 Innovators Changing Our World,” and profiled him as one of ten cutting-edge innovators who are shaping new sustainable businesses and influencing positive change around the world.

Crooke holds a Ph.D. in management from Claremont Graduate University. His dissertation examined the role of values and “FLOW” in high performance organizations. Crooke holds a B.S. in Forestry and an MBA from Humboldt State University. In the late 1970’s, Crooke served as a Navy SEAL with Underwater Demolition Team 12 (UDT12) for four years, after successfully graduating from class 89: BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL).

Dr. Crooke is the keynote speaker for CMC's tenth annual Green Careers Conference, sponsored by the Roberts Environmental Center. Dr. Crooke's Athenaeum visit is co-sponsored by the Kravis Leadership Institute.

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Mon, February 12, 2024
Dinner Program
James Oakes

We know the proslavery origins of the Civil War: The slave states seceded to protect slavery. But the war had antislavery origins that are not as well understood. James Oakes, one of the preeminent historians of the American Civil War, the Reconstruction Era, and abolitionism, aims to recover those origins by focusing on antislavery constitutionalism, in order to better explain the origins of wartime emancipation.

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James Oakes is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Africana Studies, and American Studies, at the Graduate Center for the City University of New York (CUNY). He is the author of numerous books and articles on the history of slavery, antislavery, and emancipation. Among them are The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics (2007), and Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States (2012), both of which were awarded the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, an annual award for the finest scholarly work in English on Abraham Lincoln or the American Civil War era. He is currently writing a history of “The Long Civil War, 1776-1865.”

Professor Oakes' lecture is part of the 2023-2024 Lofgren Program on American Constitutionalism at CMC's Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World.

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Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

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


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