Robert L. Emett, a member of the inaugural class of 1950 and Life Trustee of Claremont McKenna College, has agreed to give the College approximately $20 million to greatly expand programs offering loans and paid internships to students facing financial challenges.
Emett, 90, was a Navy seaman returning from service in World War II when he learned that Claremont Men’s College (later renamed Claremont McKenna College) was admitting its first class, in 1946. He earned a business degree in 1950 and went on to lead Emett & Chandler, an insurance company that was worth $60 million when it was sold in 1986.
The longtime Orange County resident became one of CMC’s most generous benefactors. He funded scholarships and the construction of the Emett Student Center.
In 1994 he agreed to convert the scholarship program into a loan fund. Over the past 23 years, the program has made $1.7 million in no-interest loans to more than 150 students. Most of the students have repaid their loans within 10 years of graduating. Many have become generous donors to the College, including members of the Board of Trustees.
“Bob’s past investment in our students has paid off handsomely – an engine of personal success and contributions back to society.” President Hiram E. Chodosh said. “He is now generously putting even more capital into a proven idea: supporting CMC students pays great returns for the College and our nation.”
According to his agreement with the College, after his death and that of his wife, Mary Anne, his estate will bequeath as much as $20 million to the institution, with the final amount depending on the sale of real estate and other assets.
About $5 million to $8 million will be used to expand a program that provides financial aid to students with paid summer internships. The College hopes to one day make paid internships available to all students regardless of financial need, according to Jefferson Huang, CMC Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid.
The bulk of the Emett gift – about $10 million – will be earmarked for the Robert L. Emett College Loan Fund. The loans have helped students whose family income dropped when parents lost or changed jobs or faced medical emergencies and other crises. For many students, the loans have provided a crucial assist when the family budget was strained by the need to pay tuition for a second or third child entering college.
– Elaine Woo