Ibram X. Kendi discusses how to be an anti-racist

Ibram X. Kendi would like to banish the term “not racist” from our vocabulary. The historian, scholar, and writer said it is important for people challenging inequities to actively become antiracist and not merely “not racist.” The reason, he said, is that progenitors of racist ideas have always self-identified their ideas as “not racist.”


How are we adapting to life during the pandemic? While many of us are experiencing brain fog, with a blurred sense of the future, David Eagleman sees a silver lining, an opportunity for our minds during lockdown.

“2020 has brought us events we’ve never before experienced in our lifetimes,” Eagleman said. “We’ve been talking about this for more than 180 days, nearly six months. How are our brains reacting and what does it all mean?”


When the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum’s speaker series kicks off its fall 2020 season next week, it will do so with a focus on pressing national issues—the COVID-19 pandemic, the fight for racial justice, the national election, and data security—front and center of an impressive fall lineup.

William Frankel ’21, Christopher Agard ’21, and Nandeeni Patel ’21

With the new Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum season set to begin next month, three CMC seniors are shaping the speaker series with the entire Claremont McKenna community in mind.

Throughout their CMC experiences, the 2020-21 Woolley Fellows—Christopher Agard ’21, William Frankel ’21, and Nandeeni Patel ’21– have each been inspired by speakers at “the Ath,” a signature program of the College that brings scholars, public figures, thought leaders, artists, and innovators to share their expertise and insights on a wide range of topics.


Claremont McKenna College’s beloved Athenaeum is bringing faces, stories, and recipes to the community through a new digital series called Postcards from the Ath​.

“The Ath is such an integral part of the CMC experience,” said Athenaeum Director Priya Junnar. “I want everybody, especially our students, to connect as much as possible. These are unprecedented times: We must be creative and bold. And to the extent we can, we must reimagine and repurpose.”

Jasmine Shirey speaks at the Athenaeum

At a party a few weeks after Jasmine Shirey ’18 arrived in Zimbabwe, someone asked if she had come to Africa to save it or exploit it. The question hit on a topic of primary interest to Shirey: the common narratives around the relationship between the United States and Africa.

It was an historic moment full of public dread and anxiety. But in the deepest chasm of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt delivered a quintessential expression of hopeful imagination.

During his first inaugural address, he famously told the nation, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Samantha Power’s political idealism—a granite faith in democracy and America’s moral duty to protect it around the world—began taking shape in 1989 on the day tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square.

Power, then a Yale student interning at an Atlanta news station, was taking notes on the Braves baseball game as she watched the scene in Beijing unfold on another screen in the newsroom. In the weeks that followed, Power couldn’t shake her discomfort—people her age were risking their lives to fight for democracy while she was watching baseball.

Paul Beninger ’73 P’09 recalls the haunting chant of gay rights activists outside Food and Drug Administration (FDA) headquarters in Washington, D.C., during the early years of the HIV/AIDS crisis.

“Give us the drugs,” the activists implored during a protest outside the FDA, where Beninger began his career in 1987 working in drug development.

“We’re dying,” he recalls them chanting.

Tara Westover speaking at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

There are few things more quintessentially American—or fascinating to educated Americans—than the autodidact. The excitement around Monday’s kickoff event in the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum proved as much.

The headliner in the first installment of CMC’s signature Ath lecture series was Tara Westover, author, historian, and self-made intellectual, who descended from the mountains of remote northern Idaho at age 17, having survived, and surmounted, her survivalist parents’ minimalist idea of homeschooling.