Building on CMC’s historic success

CMC students hold up gold mylar balloons reading "1946."
We Did It!

The CMC community came together to support the sixth annual 1946 Challenge, topping last year’s record with 2,336 donors, representing 46 states and nine countries. The top three classes by donors were 2022, 2011, and 2020. Missed the Challenge? You can still support CMC today! A huge thank you to all of our donors!

1,946 minutes in honor of CMC’s founding year

The thrilling announcement just came out this month: Claremont McKenna College is the first liberal arts college in history to surpass $1 billion in a single campaign.

Energized by the record-breaking Campaign for CMC: Responsible Leadership, the CMC community is gearing up for a different kind of fundraiser and spirit-booster. High-energy and fast-paced, the sixth annual 1946 Challenge takes place over two days: Wednesday, Oct. 11, and Thursday, Oct. 12.

Instead of $800 million over eight years, the goal is 1,946 donors in 1,946 minutes. The 1946 Challenge, launched in honor of the College’s founding year, seeks gifts of $19.46—or any amount—that can be designated to any area of the College. While the Campaign sets a foundation for CMC’s future, gifts to the 1946 Challenge will help CMC students today.

Whether it’s the Challenge, the Campaign for CMC, or any College endeavor, the key to success is always a tight-knit community dedicated to the College’s mission: to prepare students for thoughtful and productive lives and responsible leadership in business, government, and the professions.

ImpactCMC weekend, September 30-October 1, 2023.

“What I love about the 1946 Challenge is that it’s incredibly accessible and it’s fun!” said Honorary Chair Jacinth Sohi ’11. “I think it’s just a really cool campaign, it’s something that everybody can get behind.”

“I’ve participated every year since it started, and it’s just so easy to donate—like $19.46. My first year, that’s what I did. Maybe two years after, I was more financially stable, I started doing $194.60,” Sohi said. “And I’m excited at this point to be able to continue to increase that to $1,946, as part of my annual commitment with the Rose Institute, where I am part of the Board of Governors.”

Gifts from the Challenge are typically directed to support student financial aid through the Alumni Fund.  However, another fun aspect of the 1946 Challenge is that gifts can be designated for anything that is meaningful to you at CMC. Maybe that’s the Ath, an athletic team, your department major, or an institute.

For Sohi, the experiences that defined her time at CMC—the Rose Institute, Robert Day Scholars, the PPE program, and mock trial—inform her desire to give back. 

“The farther I get outside graduation, the more I have an understanding and an appreciation for how so many of the programs that I participated in—some of my favorite experiences and, honestly, most impactful experiences for my career—at CMC only existed because of donors or philanthropy,” she said. “So, I want to make sure that future generations of Claremont students all have access to those amazing opportunities. Contributions from alumni have really helped create that incredible culture that I experienced at CMC, and I want to make sure other students have that too.”

Alternatively, you can earmark a gift for new experiences and programs as the College continues to expand student opportunities.

“This is a really cool opportunity to support something that you didn't have a chance to do at Claremont, but now students do, and you can recognize the incredible growth that we’ve had at the College,” Sohi said. “When I was a student, we didn’t have the data science sequence, for example, and seeing the growth in the technology programs and the other types of opportunities, such as student groups that have been formed, focusing more on STEM, for example. It’s really cool to see those programs start to proliferate on campus.”

The 1946 Challenge is a nod to how far the school has come—from an all-male college with one building, stellar faculty, and an ambitious vision in 1946, to its distinguished position among the best liberal arts institutions in the nation today.

But it also looks to its future, this year building on the extraordinary success of the Campaign for CMC, in which 12,269 donors contributed nearly $1.1 billion—funds that have helped launch the revolutionary Kravis Department of Integrated Sciences and state-of-the-art Robert Day Sciences Center, the Kravis Opportunity Fund, endowed scholarships, increased financial aid, named professorships and chairs, and more.

The Challenge is about further elevating the CMC experience for students, while also boosting that community spirit that built the College and fuels its growth.

“My hope with this campaign,” Sohi said, “is getting people who maybe haven’t been as involved the chance to get involved again, to see what’s going on with students on campus, riding the wave of that really historic fundraising milestone and understanding how they can continue to help the College to prepare the next generation of responsible leaders.”

Click here to participate in the sixth annual 1946 Challenge.


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