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Comments-letters from readers

Spring-Summer 2015


Recently, I had the honor of being invited to sit in on an all-day meeting of the Admissions Committee, and it was a real eye-opener! There were about a dozen people sitting around a conference table. What really stood out was the ‘holistic’ nature of CMC’s admissions process ... the group spent anywhere from 5-15 minutes discussing EVERY applicant. Since this was the 2nd or 3rd round these applicants had already been ‘vetted,’ and certainly not all 7,500+ applicants were subjected to this level of scrutiny. But the quality of each person who had made it to this stage of the process was truly astounding.

I thought about this as I looked at the last issue of the magazine, which describes the College’s “imperative” to increase access for students. It became clear to me that, having turned down it’s fair share of valedictorians and perfect 800 SAT applicants, CMC is about more than just the numbers.

There’s a thoughtful process going on to make sure that the best students are here. I saw it for myself. That group kept pushing each other to consider the “intangible” qualities of each: Which would be a better fit? Which one shows “leadership potential” sufficient to gain one of those “coveted admit spots?” Clearly, CMC is still attracting the “best of the best.”

Al Dauber ’71
San Diego, CA

"The Student Imperative"

I read your interesting coverage of CMC’s Imperative initiative (Winter 2015) and couldn’t help looking for some coverage of the other side of the economic structure of college tuition; namely, about the cost curve. In my coursework in economics at CMC in the late 1960s, I learned that prices—in this case, tuition—are set by demand and supply. In the current world of higher education it seems that the laws of economics don’t apply due to the huge artificial subsidies in the form of student loans that are allowing higher tuitions to explode beyond the level of any other factors in the economy. (Just wait until these loans are never repaid ... maybe the colleges should be charged back the costs of the loans that go into default.)

If there were true market forces at work, there would be intensive efforts to reduce costs. Has anyone at the CMC Econ or Accounting departments ever done a forensic analysis of the costs of providing a CMC education compared to that of 30 or 40 years ago? I have seen all the new buildings on campus, and I assume most were paid for by individual donations, not tuition.

Why today does it cost so much more than simple inflation to provide the same education I received in the 1960s? I see that Stanford will be giving free tuition to families that make less than $125,000 per year, very nice for the 1% that can get into Stanford now. So what is CMC doing to reduce the cost of building their product?

J. Mark Helm ’72
Newport Beach, CA

The Student Imperative is a pointless and ineffectual exercise that seems to do nothing to address the absurdity of CMC’s costs. There was not one word about the iniquitous annual tuition increases that are typically three times (or more) than that of the CPI. There was not one word about the undemanding and cushy teaching schedules of professors. There was not one word about developing other revenue sources or about effective cost management. Of course, the pitch to raise ever more money was highlighted (followed rather crassly by the CMC Honor Roll— hint, hint), but not a word about the struggles of middle-class families who are too wealthy to receive scholarships and too poor to pay the contemptible costs of sending a child to CMC. I would have needed more than $2 million of income for the privilege of sending my four top-scholarship children to CMC. My youngest child attends the top private university in Israel at a total cost of $19,000 per year, less than one-third the cost of CMC.

If CMC wanted to do something truly revolutionary to address this state of exorbitant tuitions—and be true to its conservative legacy—it should start by cleaning up its own house and by lowering tuition by 5% per year for the next five year. Now that would be a conscientious, efficacious response to The Student Imperative.

Sloane Citron ’78
Stanford Graduate School of Business ’80
Menlo Park, CA

Battling the UCLA ‘Goliath’ in soccer

CMC Magazine’s Endpaper last fall— which was about comedian Robin Williams’ time at the college, noting that he played on Coach Steve Davis’ 1969 league championship soccer team— brought two things immediately to mind: first, what a magnanimous gift Robin’s comedy and wit were to so many of our country’s military troops and charities and to each of us who had the privilege of listening to and watching him over the years.

Secondly, I was reminded that CMC’s historical soccer roots reach back at least into the 1950s and early 1960s when the Claremont Colleges soccer team—open to players from now-archrival Pomona, CMC, Harvey Mudd, Claremont Graduate School (supplying two fine coaches) and the Theological Institute—also won their league championship and I think provided for each team member a high point in his soccer career.

Most often referred to as Pomona- Claremont (P-C), we finished second in our league in 1961, under Coach Moky Quandour (conference coach of the year) and began our next season with guarded optimism. In biblical parlance, all but one of the league teams were “Davids” while the single team that could be called “Goliath” was UCLA, with far and away the largest student body and number of foreign students to draw from.

A win against UCLA was our “Holy Grail,” and—if we could win all of our other games, home and away—that win against UCLA would also be the key to a league championship. It seemed like a longshot, especially since UCLA had amassed 96 consecutive victories over five seasons!

Slowly, under the spirited direction of Claremont Grad School player/coach Don Blything (G.B.), who occasionally substituted himself in to replace an injured player, slowly our wins were tallied -Redlands, UC Riverside, Caltech, Biola.

Our first encounter with UCLA was a night game on Pomona’s Alumni Field. UCLA appeared quietly (and justifiably) confident as they came on the field. Before long, early in the game, a pass by left wing Claremont grad student Pat Bacchus to center was routed away from the Bruin defense by Pomona student Bander Faisal, who kicked it into the UCLA net. P-C goal, 1-0!

Now the P-C defense was thoroughly energized for the onslaught they knew was imminent; they held the score, protecting their single goal through the first half.

As the second half began, P-C’s defense continued to stand firm and CMC’s Kork Berzeg scored a second goal, followed by a pass to CMC’s Bob Worcester for a third. Though UCLA came back with one score it was clear they became dispirited, in the game’s final minutes, by our overwhelming lead. Our “Goliath” had been vanquished, and we went on (after holding UCLA to a tie in another game on their home field) to win the 1962 Southern California Soccer Association championship. The grail was ours at last.

The spirit of comradery on our P-C team is a reminder that uniting with others around a common vision will create a synergy that makes greater things happen than you thought were possible. I suppose that’s the ideal for any sports team, and a worthy goal in the stages of your life after graduation, too.

John Sanger ’63
Santa Barbara, Calif.

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