CMC announces the Roberts Campus

Photo composite of Alumnus and Trustee George R. Roberts ’66 P’93 (center) with render of Roberts Campus (right) and black and white historic photos of students, faculty, and past presidents (left).

Claremont McKenna College today announced a $140 million gift from Alumnus and Trustee George R. Roberts ’66 P’93, co-founder and co-executive chairman of the global investment firm KKR & Co. to expand and fully develop the eastern half of the CMC campus.

Through the gift, which will provide funding and leverage further investment by creating matching grants to attract additional donors, CMC will double the footprint of its residential Claremont campus to over 150 acres to prepare current and future generations of leaders in business, government, and the professions. The plan includes new academic facilities and student housing, recreation and playing fields, and enhanced pedestrian walkways and gathering spaces to encourage engagement and interaction.

“By investing in CMC infrastructure, George is providing leadership that encourages others to follow,” said David G. Mgrublian ’82 P’11, Chair of the CMC Board of Trustees. “To my knowledge, no other donor to a liberal arts college has done this. But then again, there also is no other donor like George and no other liberal arts college like CMC.”

The gift will build improvements in the central and eastern areas of CMC as envisioned in this video of the future campus. This includes 75 acres east of Claremont Boulevard across from the new Robert Day Sciences Center. This new development area is bounded by Foothill Boulevard on the north, Arrow Route on the south, Claremont Boulevard on the west, and Monte Vista Avenue on the east.

This expansion creates the opportunity for CMC to realize all its future academic, social, and residential opportunities. Initiatives supported by the Roberts gift include: 

  • Development of eight athletic and practice fields, a new aquatics center, golf practice range, and recreational area, as well as a pedestrian bridge across Claremont Boulevard;
  • Three pedestrian malls created to encourage interaction, engagement, and public art; and
  • Construction of academic and administrative buildings, expanded student apartments, and a Commencement Green.

Reflecting on his selection of Claremont Men’s College in 1962, Roberts said his decision to attend CMC was “one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.”

To honor Roberts’ gift, the Board of Trustees has designated the entire CMC campus east of Mills Avenue “The Roberts Campus.”

“Throughout its 75 years, CMC has continually endeavored to raise expectations. Whatever plateau we may have reached today, it is not about the hill we just climbed; it is about the next mountain we are about to ascend,” said CMC President Hiram E. Chodosh.

By providing the infrastructure and seed funding, the structure of the Roberts gift encourages other participants at all philanthropic levels to position CMC for continued leadership for generations to come.

“I hope this gift enables CMC to ensure its place as the college for the future, and provides the education and experience to help deserving young people contribute and compete in the world of the future,” Roberts said.

Along with support from nearly 11,000 donors at all giving levels, this gift brings the Campaign for CMC: Responsible Leadership to $916 million. The Campaign funds the priorities of the 2019 CMC Strategy Report: honoring our leadership mission, preparing future leaders through integrated sciences, and expanding transformative student opportunities.

“The Campaign is already having an exponential impact on the future trajectory of the College: from new faculty chairs to the Open Academy commitments; from the launch of the Kravis Department of Integrated Sciences to the construction of the Robert Day Sciences Center this summer; from financial and social support for emerging young leaders to take full advantage of the CMC experience, to expanded opportunity, and elevated success for our alumni,” Chodosh said.

“The greatest gift that someone can be given or earned,” Roberts said, “is the gift to be able to help others, which is the recipe for happiness.”

In September 1946, 86 students and seven faculty members opened a new “undergraduate school of men” in Claremont, California, incorporated in 1947 as Claremont Men’s College. Many of the first students, including the College’s first president, George Benson, were returning World War II GIs. The new college’s mission was clear: to prepare future leaders of private and public enterprise through a distinctive liberal arts curriculum; rather than train students for specific careers in government and industry, the College sought to prepare graduates through lessons not only from business and government, but the study of history, philosophy, literature, the arts, and sciences, as well. Women were admitted in 1976, and the College was renamed Claremont McKenna College in 1981, recognizing the role of founding benefactor and Trustee Donald McKenna. The third college within The Claremont Colleges and currently celebrating its 75th Anniversary year, CMC is home to approximately 1400 students and among the top liberal arts colleges in the nation, reflecting its mission “to educate its students for thoughtful and productive lives and responsible leadership in business, government, and the professions.


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