The newest student residence hall is now a 'Crown' jewel

The re-naming of Claremont Residence Hall on March 6 was, quite literally, a crowning achievement.

The dedication, in part, recognizes a $7.5-million unrestricted gift from CMC Trustee Steve Crown '74 and his wife, Nancy. The Crown Family is also behind the Crown Challenge, an innovative approach to re-engaging alumni that has helped increase alumni participation from 38 percent to 48 percent in three years. Their recent gift helped propel The Campaign for Claremont McKenna past the $610-million mark.

Present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony with Crown were his daughter and son-in-law and a distinguished gathering of CMCers including: Trustee David Mgrublian '82 P'11, Chairman of CMC’s buildings and grounds committee; CMC President Pamela Gann; President-Elect Hiram Chodosh; President-Emeritus Jack Stark '57 GP'11 and his wife, Jil, and Deborah Freund, who is president of Claremont Graduate University.

“Crown Hall is a new paradigm for dormitories on campus,” Mgrublian said. “Whether it’s the high ceilings or the lounge space, the architecture or just the feel of the building, it really is an amazing dormitory that goes quickly in our room draw.”

In addition to financial contributions, Mgrublian cited Crown’s leadership on the buildings and grounds committee as a crucial component in making the ambitious master plan of building on campus a reality.

Although Mgrublian cited Crown’s liberal donation of “time, talent and treasure,” he chided that CMC has yet to receive one of the Crown children as a student.

“We’re hoping to get one of your grandchildren to enroll,” Mgrublian said, which drew laughs from the crowd gathered for the ceremony.

Mohammad Abdul-Rahim ’15 spoke about Crown Hall from the student perspective. He described the wonderful Resident Assistants and others who made his time at the dorm feel like a vibrant close-knit community, a family, a home.

Finally, it was Steve Crown’s turn to speak.

“It’s a great honor to have my family’s name associated with Claremont for many, many years to come,” he said. “I wish I were coming to Claremont over the next 20 years, because what this place will evolve into in the next 20 years... it’s going to be a game-changer.”

To emphasize the crown theme, the ceremony included paper gold crowns, as well as T-shirts with red, silk-screen crowns. After the ribbon was cut, attendees were invited inside the dorm for refreshments.

Crown Hall is an award-winning, Silver LEED-certified student residence hall located on Amherst Avenue.

Architectural judges were captivated by the building’s combination of living and sustainable design features, and the hall was selected as the recipient of the 2009 Residential Architect Design Award (RADA), which was presented as part of a highly-acclaimed annual residential design competition that draws applicants from around the country.