Iconic CMC touchpoint now named The Massoud
Pushing students to shine
Before and after the naming ceremony former and current students from a wide range of class years, shared their own Massoud memories.
Marshall Ozawa ’86, now a managing director at Union Bank, fondly recalled how Massoud would gently tease Ozawa when he skipped Massoud’s 8 a.m. class. “He’d say, ‘We missed you in class.’ He has a way of treating everyone that makes us feel like we were family.”
As they stood in the long line to sign Massoud’s guest book, current CMC sophomores and members of the CMS Lacrosse team, Bella Lynch ’25 and Taylor Daetz ’25, shared admiration for their Accounting professor.
“When you’re stressed, he calms you down,” said Daetz, an economics major. “Even though we are done with his class, we still stop by his office to chat.”
“Now he’s influencing our future career paths. We’re bouncing ideas off of him and he’s pushing us to get references,” added Lynch, who is majoring in economics with a minor in finance.
“My students are like diamonds,” Massoud said before the ceremony. “The more I push, the more they shine.”
Campus landmark, the Kravis Living Room, will now be known as The Massoud in honor of Professor Marc Massoud P’89. The naming recognizes and celebrates the profound influence the beloved and devoted accounting professor has had on the CMC community for more than four decades.
Held during ImpactCMC weekend, the Oct. 1 unveiling ceremony felt more like a once-in-a-generation family reunion than a formal event, which was entirely appropriate for a professor known as “Dad” to his current and former students.
As he took his place in front of the packed audience at Gann Quadrangle, Massoud shared hugs, asked staff and alumni for updates on their loved ones, and posed for photos, ensuring that everyone who encountered him felt special.
The feeling was definitely mutual. “The hugs, they mean a lot to me,” Massoud said with a smile as he savored the moment.
“What an amazing, glorious day!” enthused his son, Joe ’89.
Massoud, who is the Robert Day Distinguished Professor of Accounting, arrived at CMC in 1980, and since then he’s been honored 13 times with the Huntoon Superior Teaching award, and also recognized with the CMC Presidential Award for Merit, the Alumni Association Jack Stark ’57 GP’11 Distinguished Service Award, as well as the John P. Faranda ’79 Student Service Award.
Former CMC presidents Jack Stark and Pamela Gann and CMC’s current President Hiram Chodosh—representing more than 52 years of continuous presidential leadership—joined together for the renaming of an iconic campus touchpoint after an iconic professor, paying tribute to Massoud and his legacy, along with members of Massoud’s family, CMC colleagues, and former students.
Reverend Dr. Joel D. Daniels, Protestant chaplain at the Claremont Colleges, led the invocation, focusing on Massoud’s steadfast dedication to CMC, which Daniels said fit perfectly into ImpactCMC as a “weekend of service.”
“While his professional career is celebrated today, whenever I hear someone speak of Professor Massoud, the first trait they share is how selfless and caring he is,” Daniels said.
Stella Ho ’97 credits Massoud for influencing her decision to major in economics-accounting and eventually complete an MBA at UCLA however, it’s the care and encouragement she felt while she was one of his students that impacted her life the most.
“He represents who we are at CMC and defines the standard of excellence that we all should strive for, not just in the classroom, but as good human beings,” she said.
Massoud and Ho—who is now a partner at LightBay Capital—have remained close, with Ho not only inviting Massoud to her wedding, but seating him at the same table as her parents.
“People are always amazed that I’m still so close to a professor even though I graduated 25 years ago. People think that it’s like some sort of unicorn relationship. But honestly, I’m very confident that there are a lot of alumni here today who can tell you similar versions of the exact same experience,” she said.
CMC President Emeritus Jack Stark recalled wooing Massoud to CMC from Cal Poly Pomona in 1980. “At the time we didn’t know he would become one of the most sensational teachers in the life of this College,” Stark said. “His dedication is what makes Marc such a great teacher. He will do anything to help his students succeed.”
An inspiring leader
Longtime friend and colleague Prof. James Taylor called Massoud an “inspiring leader.” Taylor highlighted Massoud’s scholarly accomplishments, citing his “14-page-long” curriculum vitae. In the classroom, Taylor explained that Massoud promises his students that “accounting is the language of business, and by the end of the semester, I assure you that you are going to understand that language.”
Pamela Gann, who served as CMC president from 1999 to 2013, shared how when she arrived at the College, Massoud approached her and said, “‘We have a job to do. We need to hire faculty who are teacher-scholars, who will be tenured members of the economics-accounting program.’”
“And we accomplished that goal,” Gann said, achieving a “unique combination”— an accounting program housed in an economics department and “an accounting program at one of the best liberal arts colleges in the United States…that has attracted faculty, and I think, has had outstanding results for so many students.”
Driven by love
Massoud’s eldest grandson, Nicholas, and son, Joe, also paid tribute, sharing personal insights into what makes “Giddo”—as his grandchildren call him—tick.
“My grandfather has built his life around these three principles, faith, hope and love, and has worked tirelessly to live these principles out and to inspire the people around him,” Nicholas said.
“Above all, my grandfather is driven by deep and immense love,” Nicholas continued, sharing that he observed his grandfather demonstrating and expressing this love through small details, such as remembering birthdays, and sharing meals with students in the Collins dining hall.
Nicholas then introduced his father, Joe, who is also “one of my grandfather’s former students.”
Joe, who is managing partner at Anholt Services (USA), said that for 80 percent of his life, his father has been a professor at CMC. “You found the perfect job and the perfect place to do the job,” Joe said, addressing his father.
To illustrate the impact that his father has had on the CMC community, Joe, who is based on the East Coast, shared that every year he runs into at least five people—from his father’s students, to his father’s students’ parents—whose lives he has touched.
“And I always find myself shaking my head and chuckling to myself that this kind and simple guy has had such an impact,” Joe said.
Joe also movingly related how after the death of his mother, Vivienne, as his father grieved, the CMC community helped to fill the void. He described how friends and colleagues supported his father through this dark time, including him in their own families’ lives. Most of all, he said, the void was filled by the influx of new students, “the young people who flood onto this campus every year” who encouraged him to come to their water polo matches, to the Ath, or to grab a chicken kebab at Café X20 together.
Most of all, Joe shared how proud he was of his father because “in every moment he tries to be the best teacher. He tries to be the best father. He tries to be the best friend. He tries to be the best.”
President Chodosh paid tribute to the influence Massoud has had on the CMC community, which he attributes to Massoud’s capacity for love. “First, it’s the love of peace in the world. And on a personal level, the ability to bring people together and to overcome anything that separates them,” he said. “The second is the love that Marc has for every single person on earth, the belief that they can learn, that they can overcome any barriers that they think are in their way. That’s Marc’s magic.”
Then it was time for the official unveiling of The Massoud, in recognition of Massoud’s more than 40 years of service to CMC and in appreciation of the Massoud family’s generosity.
Chodosh paused to reflect that “today we have the opportunity to fill this beautiful transparent structure that vividly floats on our campus with the love and the legacy of Marc Massoud. I hope everyone will join me, from this moment on, in referring to this building as The Massoud.”
Massoud’s grandsons, Brendan and Alexander, revealed replicas of the pavers that will be placed in front of The Massoud. They read:
In recognition and celebration of Professor Marc Massoud P’89
- Illustrious Professor of Accounting from 1980 to 2023
- Robert A. Day Distinguished Professor
- 13-Time Recipient of the Huntoon Superior Teaching Award
- Beloved Father Figure to Countless Students
- Proud Claremont McKenna College Parent
- A gift made with love and admiration by the Massoud Family, Ihab (Joe) ’89, Elizabeth, Nicholas, Brendan and Alexander
“This is a big day,” Massoud said during his closing remarks. “I had big dreams, but I never dreamed I’d have an academic chair and a beautiful room at a wonderful school named after me!”
During the College’s 1946 Challenge Oct. 12-13, you can contribute in honor of Professor Massoud, or support any area that’s meaningful to you at www.cmc.edu/1946 .
Through the Campaign for CMC: Responsible Leadership and the specific pillar of honoring our leadership mission, we will ensure that the College continues to deliver on its liberal arts and leadership mission.