CMC’s 75th anniversary year comes to a close
“A-ha! Moments” at the Ath.
Memorable classes with favorite professors.
Cheering on CMS victories and CMC MUN championships.
These are among the memories that define the CMC experience. And as we wrap up a year’s worth of celebratory events to mark Claremont McKenna College’s 75th Anniversary, we’ve tapped into the essence of these memories, showcasing our history, while keeping an eye on the exciting festivities still to come.
Founded in 1946, the College continues to evolve with the times, while holding true to our foundational 75-year tradition of responsible leadership, and reflected in our original programming. This year, more than 6,000 alumni, parents, and friends took part in engaging virtual archival exhibits, a next-level Athenaeum speaker series, and the largest Alumni and 5-Year Reunion Weekends in the College’s history.
“While the formal 75th Anniversary year is ending, I encourage you to return to campus, join a lecture, attend a chapter event, and reconnect with friends and faculty to stay connected to CMC. The College continues to be at the forefront of responsible leadership and the next decades promise exciting opportunities for lifelong learning,” said Susan Matteson King '85, P'18, chair of the 75th Anniversary Committee and CMC Trustee.
As we celebrated CMC’s 75th Anniversary year with engaging festivities, we also heralded major announcements about our plans to transform and expand our campus. In the fall, we announced the new Robert Day Sciences Center, an iconic facility that will serve as home to CMC’s new integrated sciences program and further expand the College’s commitment to preparing future leaders. And in February, CMC announced the new Kravis Department of Integrated Sciences department, rooted in CMC’s foundational liberal arts and leadership mission. Rounding out the year, we revealed our plans for the Roberts Campus, which doubles our campus footprint.
Throughout 2021-22, CMC continued to evolve with the times, and achieved powerful milestones: We ranked No. 1 in the nation for free expression, earned an A+ from Forbes for our financial strength, and notched a record-breaking year in fundraising to our Campaign for CMC: Responsible Leadership, forging a partnership with 11,000 donors.
And, best of all, while celebrating our past, present and future, we’ve created some vivid new memories. Here is a retrospective of our 75th Anniversary festivities.
Elite lineup at the Athenaeum
The 75th Anniversary Distinguished Speaker Series kicked off at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum in September with Atul Gawande, M.D., M.P.H, a renowned surgeon, writer, and public health leader. Gawande was the first speaker in an illustrious lineup to grace the Athenaeum podium during 2021-22. As the year unfolded, a stellar roster of thought leaders and innovators offered the CMC community myriad opportunities to interact and hear from prominent experts who highlighted the themes of “Civilization and Commerce,” “Unity and Division,” and “Science and Policy”: Daron Acemoglu, Jennifer Burns, France Còrdova, Anna Deavere Smith, Fiona Hill, Martha Jones, Glenn Loury, Martha Minow, and Steven Pinker.
Dr. Hill’s appearance was especially timely. A leading authority on Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia, Hill joined the Athenaeum on March 9 for a conversation with Prof. Hilary Appel, less than two weeks from when Russian President Vladimir Putin led the invasion of Ukraine.
Engaging exhibits and discussions
During CMC’s 75th Anniversary year, CMCers proved that there is more than one way to celebrate the College, with festivities held across the country, and online.
Throughout the year, CMC hosted virtual tours of archival exhibits tracing the College’s history, covering a wide range of milestones, from examining the role WWII veterans played in the College’s founding to a spin through campus traditions.
In addition, we curated engaging online discussion panels further exploring the exhibits, while shining a light on the College’s future.
Among the popular online offerings:
- “Listen, Learn, Lead: Behind the Scenes with CMS Student-Athletes;” a discussion with current CMS athletes and the archival presentation, “Athletics at CMC”;
- Deep dives into CMC history, featuring the College’s origins, as well as the transition to co-education, “The Founding of the Men’s College in Claremont” and “Not for Men Only: CMC Becomes Coeducational” as well as a discussion centered on the first women to attend CMC, aka The Pioneers, “Breaking the Glass Ceiling at a Men's College”;
- A lively and memorable conversation with two former Athenaeum directors, Jil Stark '58 GP'11 and Bonnie Snortum GP'20, and current Athenaeum Director Priya Junnar;
- An update from CMC’s Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Civil Rights Officer Nyree Gray on CMC’s Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience in America.
It’s personal: CMC memories
As we launched our celebration, we invited members of the CMC community to share their personal piece of the CMC story, some were amusing, some heartwarming, and all sincere. Here are a few highlights:
“Kathy (Evans) Hurley ’80 P’07 has the fabulous distinction of being the first woman admitted to the newly co-educational Claremont Men’s College. I believe I have the slightly less fabulous distinction of being the last man admitted in the last year of the male-only CMC.”
“In 2006, as a junior, I went to Marc “Dad” Massoud for help because I dreamt of living and working abroad and was exploring ways to do it. He enthusiastically connected me to another student, Greg Pelz ’06, who had done an internship in Frankfurt. I followed in his footsteps, and that was the starting point for a career in the private sector abroad… I’ve had a meaningful career and a lifetime of adventure thanks to Prof. Massoud’s help and my CMC network.”
“In August 1981, I arrived in Claremont from Mexico City. Back then, I never imagined that this lovely city, and southern California in general, would play such a key role in my life. I am very grateful that I was able to graduate from CMC. At CMC I met my best friend in life, Andy Walter, class of ’85.”
Read the entire collection here.
To commemorate the 75th Anniversary of CMC, we published a double issue of CMC Magazine in tribute to the College’s history, featuring notable faculty, personal reflections, key moments from the past seven-and-a-half decades, as well as a record-breaking edition of Class Notes! Read the complete issue here.
We also produced “Then, Today, and Tomorrow,” a video tour of where we’ve been and where we’re headed. And, to countdown the days until the celebration, we chronicled the CMC journey, creating daily time capsules that we shared on social media.
Diehard Stags and Athenas fans had their loyalty rewarded with a comprehensive compilation of the greatest moments from CMS Athletics history.
CMC socials span the globe
CMCers across the country and around the world also gathered in-person for region-specific alumni events, spanning California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Texas, Utah, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, and the United Kingdom. Alumni got to know CMC students, and learned more about the future Kravis Department of Integrated Sciences and Robert Day Sciences Center.
The year culminated in mid-June, when CMCers came together in London for Worldmeet 2022, where they were treated to a private tour of the Tate Modern organized by Christopher Walker '69, chair of the CMC Board of Trustees Public Art Committee, and had the opportunity to connect with incoming international students.
Celebrations within celebrations
As we celebrated CMC’s 75th Anniversary, we also marked further anniversaries, such as the founding of the Center for Writing and Public Discourse 10 years ago, and the fifth anniversary of the CARE Center.
Meanwhile, the Gould Center helped CMC celebrate by presenting the 75 Books Project, a series of one-minute videos from diverse members of the CMC community sharing how a book has personally impacted them.
Under a big tent
In May, CMC alumni from a total of 45 classes joined us on-campus to celebrate both the College’s 75th and their class reunions, making this year’s Alumni Weekend the largest in CMC history. The festive energy could be felt all weekend, with some alumni choosing to relive their residence hall experiences, while others simply enjoyed being back together on-campus for a meal in Collins, or to catch up with longtime friends, and to hear about CMC's future plans from President Hiram E. Chodosh.
The gathering ended up making its own CMC history, when for the first time, the three living presidents of Claremont McKenna College—Jack Stark ’57 GP’11 (1971-1999), Pamela Gann (1999-2013), and Hiram Chodosh, CMC’s current president (2013-)—convened for a panel discussion that encompassed CMC’s 75 years of swift growth and its remarkably steep trajectory. Moderated by CMC Trustee Sue Matteson King ’85 P’18, chair of the 75th Anniversary Committee, the discussion ended with the crowd of CMCers standing and cheering, unified in celebration.
The 75th celebration continues down Colorado Blvd.
We are thrilled to announce that the 75th Anniversary will be extended to include the College’s participation in the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 2, 2023. Stay tuned for numerous ways to get involved and join the celebration!