Presidential Welcome – Spring 2013

Dear CMC Community,

It is my pleasure to welcome you back to campus. I hope that everyone had an enjoyable, restful winter break. As we look ahead, I want to highlight some important information for you about the spring semester at Claremont McKenna College.

As you already may know, the College experienced an exciting, historic fall. The Campaign for Claremont McKenna not only achieved its $600-million goal but also surpassed it – and is steadily climbing as we approach the Campaign’s completion in June.

Our presidential search committee also selected my successor, Hiram E. Chodosh, dean of the S.J. Quinney School of Law at the University of Utah. In the weeks and months to come, you will receive more information as we prepare for his arrival and for my transition into the role of Professor of Legal Studies at the College.

As 2013 opened, however, the enthusiasm generated in the fall was tempered by tragic news.

About two weeks ago, the College received word of the death of junior Tamar Kaplan ’14 after a car accident in Bolivia, where she had been traveling after completing a fall semester abroad in Ecuador.

I know that this is a very difficult note upon which to return to campus and settle into the daily life of the College. Tamar was one of our bright lights, a talented, young woman who ventured into the world to learn more about social justice, and a kind, friendly spirit who touched so many of you.

I want you to know that the College is planning a memorial service on campus not only to honor Tamar and express our condolences to her family as a united, compassionate community, but also to help those of you who knew Tamar and need our support during this time.

More information about the service will be provided to you soon.

I also would like to alert you to several other important events and activities taking place this spring.

Right before the opening of the new semester, a group of twelve students returned from Delhi, India, where they participated in the three-week seminar, “Contemporary Religious Leadership in India.” This was the program’s inaugural session, held December 28, 2012 through January 19, 2013. Accompanied by Associate Professor of Religious Studies Cynthia Humes and Assistant Director of Financial Aid Catherine Mayfield, the students visited Agra (site of the Taj Mahal), Amritsar (location of the Golden Temple), and the Pakistan/India border. Another three-week course focused on India is being developed by the Center for Global Education and will be offered during CMC’s summer session.

January and February are busy months for sports at CMC. The spring season is right around the corner, with women’s water polo playing its first match on the road on January 27. Both the baseball and softball teams play their first home games on February 1.

This season’s speakers at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum include some of the publishing world’s greatest literary voices, including: novelist Jonathan Franzen, the bestselling author of the novels The Corrections and Freedom, visits tomorrow night, January 23; novelist Joyce Carol Oates, whose many books include We Were the Mulvaneys and the forthcoming The Accursed, visits on February 4; presidential biographer Robert Caro, author of the three-volume The Years of Lyndon Johnson, visits on February 14; and Rebecca Skloot visits April 3 to discuss her bestselling The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

We also will receive an Athenaeum visit from Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, vice provost for global initiatives and chair of the Medical Ethics and Health Policy Department at the University of Pennsylvania, and the brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. This event is scheduled for March 11.

Also in March, we are pleased to welcome General Stanley A. McChrystal, who commanded U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He will speak at a March 27 luncheon gathering in Los Angeles of the College’s Res Publica Society, followed by an evening address on campus at the Athenaeum.

Another central event of the spring is the award ceremony for this year’s Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership, which will be held April 18 on campus. Trustee Henry R. Kravis ‘67 and Marie-Josée Kravis established the prize in 2006 to recognize visionary leadership in the non-profit arena. We will announce the 2013 recipient next month.

Faculty installation ceremonies will be held for Shana Levin as Crown Professor of Psychology and Roberts Fellow (on March 6), for David Bjerk as Russell S. Bock Associate Professor of Economics (on March 26), and for Diane Halpern as McElwee Family Professor of Psychology and Roberts Fellow (on April 23).

Students, please remind your families about Parents Weekend, February 16-17. We also look forward to seeing many of our alumni during Alumni Weekend, May 3-5.

On a final note, this spring welcome announcement is my last one as President of Claremont McKenna College.

I feel both pride and heartfelt gratitude in serving this community for fourteen years. I also feel excitement over my new role as a member of the faculty and the opportunities that I will have to know many of you.

In the months to come, I will be thinking of all that we have done, together, to make CMC the destination for students and scholars from around the world. Have a great spring semester.


Pamela Gann