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A new name for 'the conscience of our campus'

Spring-Summer 2015

Past directors and many familiar faces gather for a celebration of The Mgrublian Center for Human Rights


The CMC community gathered in April to celebrate the rechristening of the Center for Human Rights as The Mgrublian Center for Human Rights at Claremont McKenna College.

Named for the family of Trustee Board Chairman David Mgrublian ’82 P’11, the Center received a $4-million commitment from the Mgrublian family that will provide the resources necessary for the Center’s continuing mission to throw light on human rights atrocities around the world.

That mission, David Mgrublian told the audience, imposes “a great obligation” on all of us.

“Our family could think of no better way to honor that obligation and the memory of our ancestors who perished in the Armenian Genocide,” he said, referring to the genocide, which observed its 100th anniversary in April. “By instilling in our students an understanding of human rights as central to moral conduct and ethical decisions … we are sending our students into the world to do something about it.”

Along with President Chodosh, members of the Center’s Advisory Board, and Center Chair Leigh Crawford ’94 (who provided the Center’s first founding gift), attendees included many of the College’s Trustees, staff, and the Center’s directors past and present: John Roth, who delivered keynote remarks, current Director Wendy Lower, and Ed Haley and Jonathan Petropoulos.

A special video celebrated the beginnings of human rights study at CMC with the arrival of Roth in the late 1960s, and the center’s eventual founding and evolution. In the video, Petropoulos calls the Center “the conscience of our campus,” while Advisory Board Member and CMC Trustee Elyssa Elbaz ’94 hails the Mgrublian gift as “a real game-changer … to insure that the Center continues for many years to come.”

Roth’s keynote also praised the Mgrublians for their commitment in service to the cause of human rights.

“It has been said,” Roth told the audience, “that ‘moral beauty’ happens ‘when someone carves out a place for compassion in a largely ruthless universe.’ Margaret and David Mgrublian and their family have done just that. May our grateful and joyful response to their gift be a steadfast commitment to ensure that the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights at Claremont McKenna College remains and increasingly becomes the oppression-resisting, hope-sustaining, death-defying, life-giving, and joy-creating place that it must always be.”

To view a video about the Center and read Roth’s and Mgrublian’s full remarks, please visit: