Baxter Science Building built in 1955.

Impact Stories

CMC Expands Science Curriculum

Joint management engineering program brought first science professors to campus

Science has long held an important place in the curriculum. In 1953, CMC President George C. S. Benson told the trustees that CMC should at least be offering basic courses in physics and chemistry. At that time, CMC students were taking their science classes at Pomona. Without a basic science program, (Benson mentioned the possibility of a new science wing for Pitzer Hall) CMC could not hope to attract superior students, an effort then at the core of the CMC admissions campaign.

In December 1953, at the suggestion of trustee Herbert Hoover Jr., the CMC faculty approved a joint five-year program in engineering and business administration (soon renamed management engineering), leading to a bachelor of arts degree from CMC in business administration, and a bachelor of science in engineering from Stanford University. In their first three years at CMC, students in this program completed all basic requirements for a CMC degree with approximately a third of their work devoted to physics, chemistry, and mathematics.

The joint CMC-Stanford management engineering program brought the first science professors to CMC. Leonard Dart joined the faculty in September 1954 as professor of physics and Freeman Bovard as professor of chemistry the following September. In 1957, CMC hired its first full-time mathematician, John Ferling.

The Baxter Science Center, built as part of the Tenth Anniversary Building Program in 1955 underscored the arrival of science and pre-med majors at CMC. It was named with a $100K gift from Dr. George Baxter (a member of the Claremont College Board of Fellows since 1946) and his wife. By academic year 1963-64, majors were available in chemistry, physics, and mathematics.