Claremont McKenna College

Claremont McKenna College
Claremont McKenna College
Claremont McKenna College logo.png
Motto Crescit cum commercio civitas [1]
Motto in English Civilization prospers with commerce [1]
Established 1946
Type Private
Endowment $466.4 million[2]
President Pamela Gann
Academic staff 134
Undergraduates 1,211
Postgraduates 20
Location Claremont, California, United States
Campus Suburban, 50 acres (20 ha)
Nickname CMC, Claremont
Cmc type logo.png

Claremont McKenna College (CMC) is a private, coeducational liberal arts college and a member of the Claremont Colleges located in Claremont, California. The 56-acre (23 ha) campus is located 35 miles (56 km) east of Downtown Los Angeles.[3] CMC was founded in 1946 as Claremont Men's College and emphasizes programs in government, economics, and international affairs.



Claremont McKenna College was founded in 1946 soon after World War II ended as Claremont Men's College. Many of its first students were war veterans attending college on the G.I. Bill. CMC was founded with the mission to foster leadership in its students in the fields of government, economics, and international affairs. The school became coeducational in 1976 and was renamed after Donald McKenna, a founding trustee, in 1981. The college's motto is "Crescit cum commercio civitas," or "Civilization prospers with commerce."

Organization and administration

CMC is chartered as a private, non-profit organization and is a member of the seven-institution Claremont Colleges consortium. Students can take classes at any of the member colleges, and the colleges share libraries, a bookstore, athletic facilities, and various student services.[4] The privately-appointed 40 voting member board of trustees elects a president to serve as chief executive officer of the college.[1][5] Pamela Gann is CMC's fourth president and has served since July 1999. The president has a senior staff of 13 vice presidents including a Dean of Students and Dean of the Faculty.

Admission and Financial Aid

Admission to CMC is highly selective. For the class of 2015, CMC admitted 13.8% of applicants, one of the lowest acceptance rates among liberal arts colleges.[6] The class of 2012 has a median SAT score of 1410 (combined critical reading and math sections), and 85% of students were in the top tenth of their high school class.[7]

Tuition for the 2008–2009 school year was $36,825 (excluding room, board, materials, and fees). CMC admits students on a need-blind basis.[8] Students were awarded $14.1 million in need-based and merit financial aid in 2007, and approximately two-thirds of CMC students receive financial aid.[9][10] In 2008, the college announced that it would eliminate loans from its financial aid packages, meeting every student's demonstrated need with grants.[11]


Bauer Center, with the San Gabriel mountains in the background.

Although its specialty is public policy and economics, Claremont McKenna College requires students to complete courses in natural and social sciences, humanities, and foreign language. CMC students are required to take two first year classes in Literature and Civilization. Generally, most CMC students take introductory government and economics courses, calculus or discrete math, a course in both physical and biological science, physical education or participation on a team sport, a third or fourth semester equivalent of a foreign language, and at least several other humanities courses including literature, philosophy and religious studies, as well as other social science classes in psychology and history.

Claremont McKenna's curricular emphasis is on its social sciences, particularly economics, government, international relations, and psychology. About forty percent of CMC students major in either government or economics. CMC also offers an Oxford-style Philosophy, Politics, and Economics major. Other multi-disciplinary majors include management engineering, philosophy and public affairs, science and management, econ-accounting, biology-chemistry, and environment, economics, and politics (EEP). CMC also offers the Robert A. Day 4+1 BA/MBA, in which students receive both their BA from Claremont McKenna and their MBA from the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University in 5 years. In September 2007, Claremont McKenna College announced the largest gift ever to a liberal arts college - $200 million - donated by alum Robert A. Day (Chairman, TCW Group), to create the Robert Day Scholars Program, which has both an undergraduate and graduate component. Undergraduate Scholars, representing a variety of majors, pursue courses in economics, accounting, finance, and psychology, and upon completion, have the Robert Day Scholars designation noted on their transcript. Graduate Scholars, who already enter the Program with a solid foundation in economics, accounting, finance, and organizational psychology, take one year of advanced courses in corporate finance, econometrics, investments and valuation, culminating in a Master of Arts in Finance. All Robert Day Scholars are provided significant scholarship support and participate in a variety of co-curricular activities, including networking trips and private dinners with prominent guest speakers.

Instead of traditional minors, CMC offers interdisciplinary sequences in Asian-American Studies, computer science, ethics, financial economics, gender studies, human rights, genocide, and holocaust studies, leadership, and legal studies.

W.M. Keck Joint Science Center

CMC's science program is offered through the Joint Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges. The Joint Science Department has been offering a new double year-long introductory science class [1] to allow more flexibility than the former 3 year-long introductory biology, chemistry, and physics courses that most science majors must complete.

Nearly half of CMC students study abroad. Another popular option for off-campus study is The Washington Program. According to the program's website, "CMC's program is rooted in a full-time internship and a serious discussion of contemporary political issues."[12]

77% percent of CMC students attend graduate school within five years of graduation, and those who choose to go straight to the workforce average a starting salary of $52,115. 80% of CMC graduates applying to medical school get into their first or second choice institutions. [2] According to a 2009 PayScale report, CMC ranked 1st among all liberal arts colleges in the nation for highest starting salary. [3]


  • U.S. News and World Report ranked Claremont McKenna as the 9th best liberal arts college in the nation for 2012.[13]
  • In 2010, Forbes named CMC the 9th best college/ university nationwide and placing it second among all colleges and universities in California .[14]
  • The Princeton Review 2011 Best Colleges lists Claremont McKenna among the nation's top twenty schools for several categories, including: "Happiest Students" (2), "Most Popular Study Abroad Program" (11), "Best Career Services" (7), "Dorms Like Palaces" (8), "Lots of Race/Class Interaction" (16), "Most Politically Active Students" (10), "Most Accessible Professors" (12), "School Runs Like Butter" (7), "Great Financial Aid" (13), "Easiest Campus to Get Around" (8), and "Best Quality of Life" (4).
  • In August 2007, Newsweek ranked CMC as one of the "25 Hottest Colleges" in the nation, naming it "Hottest for Election Year."[15] The Princeton Review named CMC the "Most Politically Active College" in 2005, and in 2010 ranked it the fourth most politically active college.[16]
  • The Wall Street Journal listed it as the eighth best liberal arts feeder school into elite graduate universities for law, business and medicine.[17]
  • CMC ranked 4th on TrendTopper Media Buzz's Top 25 Colleges list for 2012.[19]
  • Consumer's Digest ranked it fifth in "Top Value" among private liberal arts colleges. The rankings are based on attributes that validate or define the institutions' academic prowess, factored against annual cost of tuition, fees and room and board.[20]
  • Newsweek ranked it among the top 25 schools in America in several top 25 categories in 2011. It was ranked the 20th "Most Desirable School," 8th "Most Desirable Suburban School," 7th "Most Desirable Small Schools," 24th "Brainiac Schools", 17th "Stocked With Jocks," and 7th "Great Education, Great Tan." [21]
University rankings (overall)
Forbes[22] 9
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[23] 9
  • In 2003, The Atlantic Monthly ranked Claremont McKenna as the 22nd best undergraduate college/university in the nation based on admission rate, SAT scores and rank in high-school class.
  • The Daily Beast ranked Claremont McKenna the "Happiest College" in the country in 2010 and 2011.[24]

Campus life

Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

The Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum hosts more than one hundred dinner and lecture events with speakers each year, serving as the college's central intellectual and social hub. Students enjoy getting to know their professors at wine and cheese receptions and formal dinners preceding lectures. The Athenaeum hosts speakers four nights a week, and also serves daily afternoon tea in its library, featuring chocolate-covered strawberries and pastries. Afternoon tea is free to students, faculty, and staff. The Athenaeum has hosted such speakers as former President Bill Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, authors Gore Vidal and Salman Rushdie, cybernetics expert Kevin Warwick, former Attorney General Janet Reno, filmmaker Spike Lee, environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, U2 frontman and activist Bono, award-winning CNN journalist Anderson Cooper, former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, and former governor of Massachusetts and 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney.


Claremont Hall
Towers at South Quad

As a residential community, student life is centered on campus and four years of housing is guaranteed. Claremont's dorms are divided into three regions: North Quad, Mid Quad, and South Quad. In addition, the student apartments sit on the East edge of campus, and are occupied primarily by seniors. All dorm rooms are attended to by housekeeping staff every week. North Quad comprises Appleby, Boswell, Green, and Wohlford dormitories, which were the campus's first dorms. In north quad, every room opens to the outdoors instead of opening to an interior hallway. North quad rooms are all doubles grouped into suites of four rooms that share a bathroom. North Quad is the center of the social scene at CMC. CMC's Mid Quad is home to Beckett, Berger and Phillips Halls, which feature long interior corridors, double and single rooms, large shared-bathroom facilities, and all-dorm lounge areas. Claremont Hall, completed in 2008, is the newest dormitory with space for 109 students. The three story modern building is the first LEED Silver-rated building on campus. The tallest buildings in Claremont are "The Towers," Auen, Fawcett, and Stark Halls, which make up South Quad with Marks and Benson Halls. Each tower has seven floors with approximately twelve students per floor. Each floor has a common area and a large shared bathroom, and there is an all-dorm lounge area on the ground floor. Stark Hall, the newest of the South Quad dorms, is substance-free. Auen and Fawcett underwent complete interior renovations in the summer of 2008.

Senior Apartments

The Senior Apartments lie to the east of the college's athletic facilities and to the west of Claremont Boulevard, and are divided into four buildings numbered 651, 661, 671 and 681. Each apartment is divided into four bedrooms and two bathrooms, and an apartment application must have four names on it. Until recently, half the apartments were reserved for men and half for women, and apartments were allotted based on credits. However, in 2005 the college abolished the 50/50 male/female ratio and began to assign apartments strictly on credits, which has had the effect of skewing the ratio slightly toward the female side. In any given year, most of CMC's 260 - 300 seniors can live in the apartments, though due to limited space some must live in the dorms.

Living in the apartments is considered highly desirable amongst CMC's senior class. Seniors get the chance to live with three friends of their choice, and they also have the option to stay on a meal plan and eat at one of the 5-C dining halls, or cook for themselves. Apartment dwellers do not get the maid service of the dorms, but they do get a cable hookup, which the dorms don't have. Noise levels are more manageable, and tend to be quiet during much of the week and in the days leading up to thesis, and loud from Thursday to Saturday. Most parties and social events at the apartments take place between buildings 661 and 671 or on the "dunk hoops" (a small basketball court with hoops that are 7 feet (2.1 m) high).

Student Journalism

CMC attracts many students with an interest in journalism, many of whom go on to careers in professional journalism. Its student publications include the following:

  • The CMC Forum: The Forum is the official publication of Claremont McKenna College and the oldest newspaper on campus. The Forum was founded to provide affiliates of Claremont McKenna College a medium for the free exchange of ideas. Over the years, the publication has become a source of reliable news and procrastination-friendly entertainment of the CMC variety. It is now solely an online news source funded in part by the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College. For information on current editors and writers, visit the About Us page.
  • The Claremont Independent: Founded in 1996, this magazine of conservative and libertarian writers does investigative reporting and publishes political and social commentary on campus news. It has broken several notable stories, and its writers have won awards for student journalism. It is funded entirely through private donations and refuses money from any of the Claremont Colleges.
  • The Claremont Port Side: Founded in 2003, this progressive 5C magazine offers reporting and analysis on everything from global to campus issues. The paper receives funding from both Claremont McKenna College and Campus Progress, an affiliate of the Center for American Progress.
  • Good Morning CMC: Founded in 2011, the daily electronic newsletter began at Claremont McKenna but has since expanded to the other campuses. The letter covers daily talks, athletic events, deadlines, and other on campus news.


  • Many incoming freshmen participate in W.O.A.!, or "Wilderness Orientation Adventure." W.O.A.! is a student-run preorientation program. Options have included backpacking, camping, and rock-climbing at Yosemite, canoeing down the Colorado River, and beach camping at Catalina Island. Each trip is led by current students and a member of the faculty or alumni. W.O.A.! allows incoming students to develop friendships and get a sense for the college community before the formal beginning of their college careers.
  • The "Madrigal Feast" was an annual dinner held in the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum. Both current students as well as alumni typically attended. Guests were treated to a medieval-themed feast, complete with wassail, and a spirited musical performance put on by other students in medieval dress. This 26 year tradition was suspended in 2009 but may resume in 2010.[25]

Several of Claremont McKenna College's traditions are water-related:

  • It is a tradition for students to get ponded (thrown in to one of the two fountains located on campus) by their peers on their birthday.[citation needed]
  • At noon on the due dates of senior theses, the students turn in their theses to the registrar, after which they are given a bottle of champagne by the registrar. In recent years, the class president has provided the champagne. The students spend the remainder of the afternoon in the fountains at the school, drinking, singing, celebrating and enjoying the warm California sun.[citation needed]

The Consortium

All five colleges are part of the Claremont University Consortium, also known as "the 5-Cs." Together the campuses cover over 300 acres (120 ha) and enroll 6,000 students. In addition there are over 3,500 faculty and staff and more than 2,500 courses available.

Garrison Theater

Student life revolves around the five colleges as they interact socially and also share seven dining halls, four main libraries, and other facilities spread throughout the campuses. Notable facilities include:

  • Honnold/Mudd Library and the Libraries of the Claremont Colleges, the largest collection of any liberal arts college[26]
  • Bridges Auditorium and Concert Hall
  • Scripps Performing Arts Center and Seaver Theater Complex
  • W.M. Keck Science Center
  • Monsour Counseling Center
  • Huntley Bookstore

Students attending Claremont McKenna can enroll in up to 2/3 of their classes at the other four colleges, and can also major at any of the other colleges if the major is not offered at CMC. This is the general academic policy at all five schools, and is meant to give students the resources of a larger university while still maintaining the qualities of a small, liberal-arts college.

Research institutes

CMC sponsors ten different on-campus research institutes and centers. They seek to produce new research and publications while involving undergraduate students in rigorous academic work. Many are named in honor of the college's donors.

  • The Berger Institute for Work, Family and Children
  • The Financial Economics Institute
  • The Center for Human Rights Leadership
  • The Family of Benjamin Z. Gould Center for Humanistic Studies
  • The Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies
  • The Kravis Leadership Institute
  • The Lowe Institute of Political Economy
  • The Roberts Environmental Center
  • The Rose Institute of State and Local Government [4]
  • The Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World [5]


Athletes from CMC, Harvey Mudd College, and Scripps College compete under one program - CMS Athletics. The mascot for the men's team is Stag, and that of the women's teams is Athena. The 19 teams participate in the NCAA's Division III and in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Ducey Gymnasium has been slated for a complete overhaul beginning in 2009, with new fitness facilities including a weight and cardio room overlooking Zinda Field.[27]

Axelrood Pool

The Biszantz Family Tennis Center opened in 2009 and hosted the NCAA Division III Championships. The facility offers locker-rooms, offices, restrooms, an adjacent parking lot and a "championship court". It is located south of Sixth Street at Brooks Avenue.[28]

Over the years, a rivalry has formed between the opposing sports teams CMS (Claremont-Mudd-Scripps) and PP (Pomona-Pitzer). These teams, however, mostly consist of students enrolled at Claremont McKenna and Pomona, which has intensified the rivalry between these particular neighbors. Recently, the rivalry has spread off the field and into classrooms and parties, making the rivalry not just athletic, but social and academic as well.

The Claremont McKenna golf team ranked first among NCAA Division III teams according to Golf Digest, and 17th overall (including Division 1 schools). The rankings are based on the "Balanced" category which is "for students who place equal emphasis on school and sports."[6]

Campaign for Claremont McKenna

  • Claremont McKenna is currently undertaking the largest campaign ever initiated by a liberal arts college. The Campaign, officially announced in March 2008, aims to raise $600 million by 2012. Plans include a 130,000 sq ft (12,000 m2) academic center designed by Rafael Viñoly, as well as renovations to dormitories, new athletic facilities, an expanded faculty and enlarged student body.

On July 1, Claremont McKenna issued a press release reporting that Henry Kravis of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts gave $75 million. The college has named the academic center after him.[29]

  • The Campaign for Claremont McKenna calls for commitments in five priorities:

• $110 million for students: need-based financial aid and merit scholarships, internships, research, speaker series, and other experiences

• $110 million for faculty: chairs, research, and new curricula

• $100 million for facilities: new buildings, renovations, and master planning projects

• $200 million for the Robert Day Scholars Program[30]

• $80 million for The Fund for CMC: operating costs[31]


  • On the evening of March 9, 2004, after attending and speaking at a campus forum concerning a recent spate of racially insensitive incidents, Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology Kerri F. Dunn reported that her car had been vandalized and painted with racist, sexist and anti-semitic slurs. In response the Claremont Colleges and a series of demonstrations, candlelight vigils and community meetings were called to address the threat posed by an alleged and previously unknown group of violently intolerant students. Subsequent investigation by the City of Claremont's police department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed that Dunn had, in fact, slashed her own tires and applied the insulting phrases to her own vehicle. She was subsequently found guilty of filing a false police report and attempted insurance fraud. She was sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay a fine of approximately $19,000 in restitution. [32]
  • On September 27, 2007, the College announced a $200 million gift from alumnus and trustee Robert A. Day '65 to create the Robert Day Scholars Program and a masters program in finance.[33] CMC literature professor Robert Faggen sent a letter signed by several other literature professors to President Gann, saying they are concerned that the gift will "distort the college into a single focus trade school."[34]
  • Professor Jonathan Petropoulos' resignation in April 2008 as director of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Center, amid controversy over the failed restitution of a Pissarro painting looted by the Nazis in 1938.[35]


  • George C.S. Benson, founding president (1946–1969)
  • Howard R. Neville (1969–1970)
  • Jack L. Stark (1970–1999)
  • Pamela Gann (1999–present)

Notable alumni and faculty

Notable alumni of Claremont McKenna College include Chairman & CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Michael S. Jeffries '66, founders of global private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts Henry Kravis '67 and George R. Roberts '66, CEO and founder of Trust Company of the West, Robert A. Day '65, former President and CEO of Toys "R" Us Robert Nakasone '69, California Congressman David Dreier '75, "Freeway Killer" Randy Steven Kraft '68, filmmaker Paul Brickman '71, and My Lai massacre whistleblower Ron Ridenhour '72. Claremont McKenna's most famous dropout is Academy Award-winning actor and stand-up comedian Robin Williams. Notable faculty have included economist Eric Helland and presidential speechwriter and comedian Mort Sahl. Political scientist Minxin Pei and author Jamaica Kincaid currently teach at CMC.


  1. ^ a b c "Faculty Handbook". Office of the Dean of the Faculty, Claremont McKenna College. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2010. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2010 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2009 to FY 2010" (PDF). 2010 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  3. ^ "2008–2009 Fact Sheet, About CMC". Claremont McKenna College. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  4. ^ "Catalog 2008–2009: About Claremont McKenna College". Claremont McKenna College. 2009. 
  5. ^ "Claremont McKenna College Board of Trustees 2007–2008". Claremont McKenna College. Archived from the original on 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  6. ^ "Admissions Office Announces Class of 2015 Acceptance Rate". The Forum. 2011. 
  7. ^ "Fact Sheet". Claremont McKenna College. 
  8. ^ "Financial Aid FAQ". Claremont McKenna College. 
  9. ^ "Expenses, Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Other Financial Information". Claremont McKenna College. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  10. ^ "Common Data Set". Claremont McKenna College. 2007-2008. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  11. ^ "". Claremont McKenna College. 
  12. ^ Washington Program, Off Campus Study, Claremont McKenna College
  13. ^ "Liberal Arts Rankings". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  14. ^ "America's Best Colleges 2010". Forbes. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  15. ^ "25 Hottest Universities". MSNBC. Archived from the original on 2007-08-18. Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  16. ^ " Ranking". 
  17. ^ "Ranking the Colleges: The Best Feeder Schools". The Wall Street Journal. 2007-04-06. Retrieved 2007-04-10. 
  18. ^ "Financial Aid Honor Roll". 2011-09-11. Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  19. ^ "TrendTopper Media Buzz's Top 25 Colleges". 2011-09-11. Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  20. ^ "Consumer's Digest "Top Value" Colleges". Consumer's Digest. 2011-05-07. Retrieved 2011-05-07. 
  21. ^ "Finding the Right College for You". Kaplan-Newsweek. 2007-04-06. Retrieved 2007-04-10. 
  22. ^ "America's Best Colleges". Forbes. 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  24. ^ The Daily Beast. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ The Libraries of The Claremont Colleges
  27. ^ YouTube - Claremont McKenna College Ducey Gym
  28. ^ News Release, News and Events, Claremont McKenna College
  29. ^ News Release, News and Events, Claremont McKenna College
  30. ^ The Robert Day Scholars Program, Claremont McKenna College
  31. ^ The Campaign For Claremont McKenna, Claremont McKenna College
  32. ^ "An education in hate". St. Petersburg Times. 2004-06-06. Retrieved 2011-02-10. 
  33. ^ "Claremont McKenna Gets $200-Million Donation". Chronicle of Higher Education. 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  34. ^ "Claremont McKenna receives $200-million gift". Los Angeles Times. 2007-09-27.,1,631493.story. Retrieved 2007-10-06. [dead link]
  35. ^ Boehm, Mike (2008-04-15). "Prof ensnared in case of Pissarro looted by Nazis". Los Angeles Times.,1,139448.story. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 

External links

Coordinates: 34°06′06″N 117°42′25″W / 34.10171°N 117.70700°W / 34.10171; -117.70700

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