CMC Campus Stories

exhibit-4Students enjoy beverages and ice cream while gathering at the Hub’s snack counter.

CMC Campus Stories, examines the history of the College through the voices of CMC alumni. Sharing light-hearted stories and memories, the exhibit compiles first-hand accounts tracing the history of the campus, student life and social clubs, notable on-campus activities and events, campus traditions, and faculty and staff.

The Archives consulted a variety of sources in compiling this exhibit and are indebted to those historic resources, most notably, Commerce and Civilization, Claremont McKenna College: The First Fifty Years 1946-1996 by Kevin Starr, the Myths, Legends, and Tall Tales: A Book of CMC Stories series presented by the Office of Annual Giving, and the Commemorative 75th Anniversary Issue of CMC Magazine (Summer 2021).

The CMC Digital Archives

Join with Claremont McKenna College as we celebrate our vibrant 75-year history. Reflecting back on the College’s modest origins will lead to perspectives on the College’s current success and will inform the College’s aspirations for the future.

The 2021-22 academic year will be spent commemorating the milestones of the last 75 years in monthly exhibitions that will focus on faculty, students, campus buildings, presidents, coeducation, research institutes, the role of veterans, and others.

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My Adventure at CUSM

– Sam Bader ’50

“While the veterans moved into Bridges, I moved into Story House with the non-vets. The plan was for all of us to sleep on outdoor porches, as the rooms inside were only small study rooms with no beds. A few frozen nights later, the administration realized that outdoor sleeping was not a great idea, so they put beds in the tiny rooms on Story’s second and third floors to prevent us from freezing at night.”



Please Please Me

– Jim Carson ’67

“When the first Beatles album came out, the first guy on campus to get the record knew he had to share it. He had a great setup on the Appleby balcony with a record player, an amp, and giant speakers. As soon as he got the Beatles album, he blasted the music across the campus. He wanted to make sure everyone could enjoy it. We definitely did.”


Eileen (O’Donnell) Goodwin ’81 P’16

“As a result of all of my various pool-related jobs, I pretty much lived in my bathing suit and a pair of track shorts and flip flops. For my first two years at CMC, I went to my classes dressed to lifeguard. I spent my junior year partially in Denmark and the other half in DC on an internship, so I was not around on campus. Early senior year, I remember one of my professors said to me, “Oh, you do own real clothes,” when she saw me in a dress and shoes for the first time at the Athenaeum event. It was at that moment that I remembered how small the community was at CMC and how even the smallest quirks were taken note of even by the faculty and staff, not just our fellow students.”


Dorm Living

Two students relax and study in their uniquely laid-out dorm room.

A student sits on her bed reading a newspaper in a tower dorm room. Parents Field and Bauer Center can be seen in the background.

A group of students play a game of backgammon in a Fawcett Hall room.

Protest within a Protest

Neil Yeager ’70

“News of the bombing in Cambodia in 1969 caused great turmoil on college campuses nationwide, including at CMC. One of the major news organizations had gotten word that we were going to protest the bombing. Apparently, they didn’t think we were capable of such a feat: When they came to film, the news teams brought pre-made protest posters, in case we didn’t have any. Well, CMC students didn’t take very kindly to whoever had the audacity to suggest that we couldn’t run our own protest. We showed just how good we were at creating posters by quickly whipping up some new ones–complete with slogans protesting not the Cambodian bombing, but superficial motives of the news organization.”



Spaghetti Fight

“Food fights also happened once or twice a semester, usually around finals time when people needed to let off a little stress. Perhaps the messiest, and therefore best, food fight took place on spaghetti night. When someone discovered the technique of firmly holding onto a plate, swinging their arm, and letting the spaghetti launch into the air, the fight began. Watching the plate loads of spaghetti fly across Collins was a site to behold.” – Paul Novak ’86


Students Eating in Collins Dining Hall

Students Outside of Collins Dining Hall


With several fountains now at CMC, the tradition has been continued on campus. The tradition is not just limited to students, but also includes some of our furry friends. Here, President Chodosh’s own Theo takes a dip in a fountain to celebrate his first birthday.

students jumping

Explore More CMC History in the Digital Archive