Nearly 1,000 members of the Claremont McKenna College community gathered Sept. 30 for the Roberts Pavilion Dedication and Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony. It was a day 11 years in the making: CMC’s plan for a campus ﬁtness, athletics, and events center began more than a decade ago as a possible renovation of the venerable Ducey Gymnasium.
Trustee Kenneth Novack ’67 said, “It started out as a renovation of Ducey Gymnasium and here we are 11 years later in something that is far more signiﬁcant than a renovation.”
Over the years, the project evolved into Roberts Pavilion, a building much grander in scope, functionality, and sparkle than what would have been possible with a reworking of Ducey Gym.
“Just think about what this space does,” said Trustee George Roberts ’66 P’93, for whom the new facility is named. “It has really surpassed, quite frankly, anything my imagination and desires were.”
With Mr. Roberts and the Roberts family on hand for the dedication, the College had its opportunity to say thank you to the Roberts family and everyone involved in the project, and to revel in the excitement surrounding the oﬃcial opening of Roberts Pavilion.
“This is a spectacular facility for competition and for ﬁtness and for health and for well-being,” CMC President Hiram Chodosh said. “And beyond that, it’s an amazing place for our community to come and be together, to enjoy the views, and to enjoy one another.”
The afternoon began with building tours and numerous dedication activities. Guests heard musical performances by the After School Specials a capella group and three other student groups, snapped pictures in the ribbon-cutting photo booth, exercised in the Nakasone Family Fitness Center, played pingpong, sampled ﬁtness classes, learned about Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ athletics history on the touch screens in the Ted Ducey CMS Hall of Fame, and much more. And a special art showcase, presented by CMC’s Student Arts Council, featured artwork by 11 student artists, ranging from photography to graphic design works.
For many in attendance, Friday was a ﬁrst in-person look at Roberts Pavilion.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony in the main arena, President Chodosh led oﬀ the program with remarks on the importance of the balance between community, ﬁtness, and intercollegiate athletics.
“Each turn of the treadmill, click of the scoreboard, spoken word heard in dialogue, line of advice at an aﬀair or community event, and each musical riﬀ honors the Pavilion by breathing even more powerful experiences into it, expanding and tightening the social fabric, and realizing the singular value of our Claremont communities,” Chodosh said. “Thus, this monumental facility remains in a way, soft clay in our hands for each of us to shape.” President Chodosh paid tribute to the many individuals from the College and CMS Athletics who laid the groundwork for construction of the Pavilion. Architect John Friedman, Mr. Novack, Chair of the Board of Trustees David Mgrublian ’82 P’11, and Mr. Roberts were among the speakers. An 11-minute video presentation recapped some of the major milestones from the building process, and included interviews and thank-you messages from a few of the key contributors to the project as well as several students. Mr. Roberts closed the program by highlighting his hopes for the use of Roberts Pavilion: the promotion of physical health and wellness, the ability to attract excellent student-athletes, and a venue used for open discussion.
“Look at all the events that can be brought into this place,” Roberts said. “With all the students together, all the faculty together, and speakers from the outside world, folks can really listen to each other and ﬁgure out a way to solve problems. And I think the more we listen to people with diverse backgrounds and diﬀerent the stronger we will all become, and that’s my biggest hope for this Pavilion.”
“As I have said many times before, as an events center, this is our campus center. It is the beating heart of the CMC campus and a wonderful facility for CMS Athletics,” Mgrublian said. “But it really is going to be the community center for CMC. This is where we gather, this is where we dialogue, this is where we hear great speakers, this is where we can be as a community, the CMC community.”
By Chris Watts