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How CMS teams became the Stags and Athenas

Fall 2016

By Yi Shun Lai ’96

StagsIntercollegiate athletics teams at CMC are nicknamed the Athenas and Stags, but that has not always been the case. For 11 school years beginning in 1947-48, the College operated under a joint athletics partnership with Pomona College and competed as the Sagehens (Pomona’s already established mascot) in the distinguished Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Despite key contributions to the Pomona-Claremont teams, CMC athletes’ accomplishments were often overlooked in the media in favor of students attending the older, larger Pomona College, even in the local press. Then-CMC President George Benson wasn’t pleased with the lack of recognition for CMC athletes, prompting Benson to write to a broad array of media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times and producers of sports broadcast programs, urging better coverage of CMC’s athletes.

Around the same time, in 1948-49, CMC adopted the Stag as its mascot, even while till competing in athletics as the Sagehens. It was the founding of Harvey Mudd College that enabled CMC to break off from Pomona College in athletics entirely, and in the fall of 1959, Claremont-Mudd entered intercollegiate competition as the Stags, 

AthenasLater, CMC’s first co-educational class matriculated in 1976, demanding a mascot further acknowledging female athletes’ presence, rather than the singular, masculine Stag. (Scripps College’s athletes also joined the nascent athletics program then to form Claremont-Mudd-Scripps) Thus the Athena was born.

Now, nearly 70 years after CMC began competing in intercollegiate sports, “Three Colleges, two mascots, one spirit” is an often-heard rallying cry that encapsulates how the mascots and athletics at CMC and CMS have evolved over the years.


3 colleges 2 mascots 1 spirit