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Claremont McKenna College
Former names
Claremont Men's College (1946–1981)
MottoCrescit cum commercio civitas[1] (Latin)
Motto in English
Civilization prospers with commerce[1]
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Established1946; 78 years ago (1946)
Academic affiliations
Endowment$1.2 billion (2020)[3]
Budget$101.9 million (2020)[3]
PresidentHiram Chodosh
Academic staff
Students1,349 (fall 2015)
Undergraduates1,328 (fall 2015)[4]
Postgraduates21 (fall 2015)[4]
Location, ,
United States

34°06′06″N 117°42′25″W / 34.10171°N 117.70700°W / 34.10171; -117.70700
CampusSuburban, 69 acres (28 ha)[5]
ColorsMaroon and black[6]
NicknameClaremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags and Athenas
Sporting affiliations

Claremont McKenna College (CMC) is a private liberal arts college in Claremont, California. It has a curricular emphasis on government, economics, public affairs, finance, and international relations. CMC is a member of the Claremont Colleges consortium.

Founded as a men's college in 1946, CMC became coeducational in 1976. The college focuses primarily on undergraduate education, but in 2007 it established the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, which offers a master's program in finance. CMC is known for its faculty's conservative political orientation relative to comparable liberal arts colleges.[7][8][9][10] As of 2019, there were 1,338 undergraduate students and postgraduate students.[11]

CMC competes in the NCAA Division III's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) conference in a joint athletic program with Harvey Mudd College and Scripps College. Notable alumni include three Rhodes Scholars, prominent politicians, and financiers such as Henry Kravis, a significant benefactor of CMC.


Early history

Claremont McKenna College began as Claremont Men's College in September 1946 with a founding class of 86 students and seven faculty.[12] Many of its first students were veterans of World War II attending college on the G.I. Bill.[13] Claremont Men's College was the third Claremont College, following Pomona College and Scripps College. CMC founded with the mission to foster leadership in its students in the fields of government, economics, and international affairs. The college's motto is "Crescit cum commercio civitas", or "Civilization prospers with commerce".[1]


Following a national trend toward coeducation among colleges such as Yale, Williams, Amherst and Dartmouth, Claremont Men's College faced compelling arguments to admit women in the 1970s. With support from students represented by the Associated Students of Claremont's Men College, the trustees of the college voted to admit women to CMC with a two-thirds vote.[14] A year later, in 1976 Claremont Men's College admitted the first women to their freshman class. Jack Stark, the president of Claremont Men's College during this transition, would later say the admission of women was the college's most important moment.[14] The women of the earliest classes of CMC are known as "Pioneers" and graduated with degrees that still bore the "Claremont's Mens College" moniker.[15] It was not until 1981 that the college was renamed Claremont McKenna College after Donald McKenna, a founding trustee.[16]

In November 1989, a father of a CMC student hired a stripper to perform in the college's dining hall, sparking protests among some students. Then-president Jack Stark told The New York Times he did not wish to comment on "whether [the incident] was or was not degrading to women".[17]


On September 27, 2007, the college announced a $200 million gift from alumnus and trustee Robert Addison Day to create the "Robert Day Scholars Program" and a master's program in finance.[18] CMC literature professor Robert Faggen sent a letter signed by several other literature professors to CMC president Pamela Gann, saying they were concerned that the gift will "distort the college into a single focus trade school."[19] In June 2020, RePEc ranked the college's economics department, the Robert Day School, as #4 in its list of top US Economics Departments at Liberal Arts Colleges.[20]

On January 30, 2012, President Gann revealed that a "high-ranking admissions official," later identified as the school's former dean of admissions, Richard C. Vos,[21] had been inflating SAT scores reported to the U.S. News & World Report by 10–20 points over the previous six years.[22][23] A 2013 Time article opined that "such a small differential could not have significantly affected U.S. News & World Report rankings".[24] A report commissioned by the college claimed to have found no evidence that these misrepresentations were made to inflate the school's rankings.[25] The controversy prompted Forbes to omit CMC from its annual rankings in 2013.[26]

In November 2015, the college made national news[27][28][29] when the dean of students resigned after students protested what they called a lack of institutional resources for marginalized students; the dean had implied in an email that minority students did not fit the "CMC mold" (the dean had sent the student an email stating:

We have a lot to do as a college and a community. Would you be willing to talk to me about these issues? .... They are important to me and the DOS staff and we are working on how we can better serve students, especially those that don't fit our CMC mold.[30]

and her response to an incident of allegedly culturally appropriative Halloween costumes was seen as lacking. These protests closely followed and were associated with the 2015 University of Missouri protests.[31][32]

On April 6, 2017, a group of approximately 300 student protesters (many of whom attended the other Claremont Colleges) blockaded the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum in an attempt to shut down a speech by conservative pundit Heather Mac Donald.[33][34] The college livestreamed the talk, as audiences were unable to enter the building. The college disciplined seven of its students who participated in the blockade, including suspending two for a semester and three for a full year.[35][36]

In 2021, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education ranked CMC No. 1 out of all colleges and universities in the United States for free speech.[37]

The Campaign for CMC: Responsible Leadership raised more than $1 billion to double the size of its campus and expand science programs, faculty and financial aid.[38]


The "Kube", designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, part of the Kravis Center.
CMC's campus, looking west from the Bauer Center

The predominant architectural style of CMC's campus is California modernism, reflecting the style popular at the time of the college's founding in the 1940s.[39] In recent years, the older, more pedestrian and utilitarian buildings have begun to be replaced by new, more ostentatious constructions, namely the Kravis Center at the western edge of campus and the $70 million Roberts Pavilion athletics center.[39] The campus also has sculptures and murals created by contemporary artists.[40][41][42][43][44][45][non-primary source needed]

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, student health, a bookstore, athletic facilities, and various student services.[46] The privately appointed, 40-voting-member board of trustees elects a president to serve as chief executive officer of the college.[1][47] Hiram Chodosh is CMC's fifth president. The president has an executive cabinet of 9 vice presidents, including a VP of Students Affairs and VP of Academic Affairs.[48]


  1. George C. S. Benson, founding president (1946–1969)[49]
  2. Howard R. Neville (1969–1970)
  3. Jack L. Stark (1970–1999)
  4. Pamela Gann (1999–2013)
  5. Hiram Chodosh (since 2013)



U.S. News & World Report's 2021 rankings rated Claremont McKenna as the 6th-best liberal arts college in the United States.[50] Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education US College Rankings 2020 ranked Claremont Mckenna as the 6th-best liberal arts college.[51] In 2017, Forbes ranked Claremont McKenna as the 13th-best among 650 colleges, universities and service academies in the nation.[52] Claremont McKenna is the 10th-most selective college in the nation according to collegesimply.[53] Claremont McKenna is ranked 30th nationally in "Best Universities and Colleges by Salary Potential" by Payscale.[54]


Admission statistics
  2021[55] 2020[56] 2019[57] 2018[58] 2017[59] 2016[60] 2015[61] 2014[62]
Applicants 5,632 5,306 6,066 6,272 6,349 6,342 7,152 6,043
Admits 633 708 625 584 658 599 698 613
Admit rate 11.2% 13.3% 10.3% 9.3% 10.4% 9.4% 9.8% 10.1%
Enrolled 358 315 328 325 352 321 343 327
SAT range 1470 1330–1460 1380–1490 1350–1500 1340–1510 1320–1490 1340–1530 1350–1520
ACT range 33 31–34 31–34 31–34 30–34 31–33 29–33 30–33

CMC is classified as "most selective" by U.S. News & World Report.[63] For the incoming class of 2024, CMC accepted 633 applicants (11.2%) from a pool of 5,632.[64]

Financial aid

Tuition for the 2018–2019 school year is $54,160 ($27,080 per semester) for a full-time student, and room and board is on average $15,930 ($7,965 per semester for double room and 12 meals per week), for a total annual cost of attendance of $70,212.50 with other expected costs included.[65] CMC admits students on a need-blind basis and guarantees to meet the financial need of all its students as determined by the FAFSA and the College Board's CSS Profile.[66] For the 2016–2017 year, CMC awarded a total of $27,021,024 in financial aid. 38.9% of students received need-based financial aid with an average total grant aid package of $42,445, while 5.8% of students received merit aid, with an average award of $15,744.[60]

The college, which operates on a semester system, has 12 academic departments, 11 research institutes and 33 on-campus majors, the most popular of which are economics, government, psychology, economics-accounting and international relations.[5] However, as a member of the Claremont Colleges, students at CMC also have the option to study any major that is not offered at CMC given that one of the other colleges has such a major. A popular example is computer science, which is offered by both Harvey Mudd College and Pomona College. The student to faculty ratio is 8:1 with an average class size of 18. 85% of the classes have fewer than 19 students. The six-year graduation rate is 93.3%, and the freshman retention rate is 92.7%.[60]


The Bauer Center houses the office of CMC's president (in north building, left) and the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance (in south building, right), as well as an auditorium and other facilities

About one third of the classes students complete are general education requirements. These include a humanities seminar and a writing seminar their first year, three semesters of a foreign language or demonstrated proficiency, a mathematics or computer science course, one laboratory science course and three semesters of a P.E. course or two seasons on a sports team. In addition, students must complete at least two humanities courses and three social science courses, all in areas outside the student's major. All students must complete a senior thesis, which can be either one-semester in length or, to receive departmental honors, two semesters. Claremont McKenna's curricular emphasis is on its social sciences, particularly economics, government, international relations, and psychology. CMC also offers an Oxford-style tutorial Philosophy, Politics, and Economics major with two separate tracks of 14 students each. 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.[citation needed] Its most popular undergraduate majors, by 2021 graduates,[67] were:

Economics (90)
Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies (27)
Political Science and Government (24)
Computer Science (17)
Experimental Psychology (16)
International Relations and Affairs (16)

CMC's science program is currently offered through the Keck Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer and Scripps Colleges. The Keck Science Department offers a double year-long introductory science class to allow more flexibility than the former 3 year-long introductory biology, chemistry and physics courses that most science majors must complete. In October 2018, CMC announced that it plans to withdraw from Keck to create its own science department.[68]

Many CMC students study abroad or participate in one of two domestic programs, one in Washington, D.C., and the other in the Silicon Valley. In both of these programs, students complete a full-time internship with a business or government department, remaining full-time students taught at night by CMC professors stationed in the two locations".[69]

More than 75% percent of students attend graduate school within five years of graduation, and those who choose to go straight to the workforce average a starting salary of $57,156 for the class of 2014, with average signing bonuses averaging $7,905.[70] Of those CMC graduates applying to medical school, 80% get into their first or second choice institutions.[71]

Several CMC students have received notable scholarships.[72][73][74][75][improper synthesis?]

Campus life

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View of the Kravis Center, completed in 2011, from Columbia Avenue.

CMC is known for its active party scene and relatively lenient policies on alcohol use.[76][77] Although the college's social scene draws students from the other schools in the consortium and is enjoyed by many, it has also drawn criticism. A 2012 Campus Climate Task Force report published by the school described a "pervasive, 'hyper-masculine' and heteronormative ethos at CMC" and noted that "while female students are valued as friends and intellectual colleagues during the day, at night and particularly on the weekends, female students reportedly feel they are objectified targets for sex or 'hook-ups.'"[78] Since 2015, CMC and the other consortium schools have ramped up efforts to reform this culture, including hiring a dedicated Title IX staff member,[clarification needed][79] creating the 7c EmPOWER Center,[clarification needed][80] conducting bystander training under the Teal Dot certification[clarification needed][79] and the establishing a student-run advocates organization that provides 24/7 support for victims of sexual assault.[81]

There is also an abundance of substance-free social programming available for students, notably including events planned by the College Programming Board such as the annual Disneyland trip as well as other on-campus events like arts and service events.[82]

Racial composition of degree-seeking Claremont McKenna College students (2019–2020)[83]
Category Percent
White, Non-Hispanic 41%
Hispanic/Latino 15%
Asian, Non-Hispanic 12%
Black, Non-Hispanic 4%
American Indian or Alaskan Native, and

Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Non-Hispanic

both < 1%
Two or more races 7%
Race or ethnicity unknown 5%

As of fall 2019, student enrollment consisted of 1,335 degree-seeking undergraduate students. The median family income of CMC students is $201,300, the second-highest in California, with 58% of students coming from the top 10% highest-earning families and 15% from the bottom 60%.[84] The student body is roughly equally split between men and women, and 21% of students are first-generation. 95% freshman return for their second year.[85] Students hail from 47 US states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and 46 foreign countries, including 16% of students who identify as nonresident alien.[83]

The Claremont Colleges

Claremont McKenna College is a member of the Claremont Colleges Consortium, and most social activities revolve around the five colleges, or "5Cs". Claremont McKenna College, Pomona College, Scripps College, Pitzer College, and Harvey Mudd College share dining halls, libraries, and other facilities throughout the contiguous campuses. All five colleges, along with Claremont Graduate University and the Keck Graduate Institute, are part of the Claremont University Consortium. Notable benefits of being in the consortium include equal access to seven dining halls and 10 additional on-campus eateries, the fifth largest private library collection in California, interaction with over 7,000 students, access to programs such as Harvey Mudd's Clinic Program and Claremont McKenna's Semester in Washington (DC) program, and the opportunity to do a housing exchange with a student at another college.[86] Most events sponsored by each school are open to students from all of the Claremont Colleges, including invited speakers and performers, employment and recruiting events, and social events.

Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

The Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum hosts more than one hundred dinner and lecture events with speakers representing a range of disciplines and ideological perspectives each year, serving as the college's central intellectual and social hub. The Athenaeum hosts speakers four nights a week,[87] 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, The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, U2 frontman and activist Bono, CNN journalist Anderson Cooper, former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, Harvard Professor Danielle Allen, former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, retired U.S. Army General Stanley A. McChrystal and former governor of Massachusetts and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney.


Boswell Hall on North Quad

As a residential community, student life is centered on campus with 96% of students living on campus;[83] four years of housing is guaranteed.[88] 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 is made up of Appleby, Boswell, Green and Wohlford Halls, 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.

CMC's Mid Quad is home to Beckett, Berger, Benson, Phillips, Crown, Marks and Claremont Halls, which feature long interior corridors, double and single rooms, large shared-bathroom facilities and all-dorm lounge areas.[88] Berger, Claremont and Benson Halls are connected, and make up a larger building known on campus as BCB. As of 2022, Claremont Hall has been renamned to Valach Hall, therefore changing BCB into BVB.[89]

The tallest buildings in Claremont are "The Towers", Auen, Fawcett, and Stark Halls, which make up South Quad. Each tower has seven floors with approximately twelve students per floor. Each floor has a common area and a large shared bathroom, while there is also 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.

Crown Hall

The Student Apartments lie to the east of the college's athletic facilities and to the west of Claremont Boulevard. Each apartment is divided into four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Until recently, half the apartments were reserved for men and half for women, and apartments were allotted based on credits. In any given year, most of CMC's 260–300 seniors can live in the apartments.[88]

Student government

The Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC) is the official student government of Claremont McKenna College.[90] ASCMC is composed of an executive board and a student senate. The executive board consists of both elected and appointed positions. It is chaired by the President, and meets weekly to discuss long-term projects and endeavors. Permanent committees led by members of executive board include the events team, the diversity & inclusion committee, and the residential life committee. Additionally, each class president has a cabinet to carry out class programming. The Senate is chaired by the executive vice president of ASCMC, and is tasked with passing resolutions to influence institutional policy, funding student-led initiatives, and bringing in administrators and other college stakeholders for town hall discussions. Senate has four standing committees: administrative affairs & appropriations (AAA), environmental affairs, campus improvements, and student engagement.

Affinity Groups

CMC has numerous identity-based clubs and organizations, including 1 Gen, for first generation college students), Asian Pacific American Mentors, Black Student Associations, ¡Mi Gente! (for Latinx students), Sexuality and Gender Alliance, Women's Forum, and International Connect.[91] These clubs and organizations host a variety of support programming and social events for students to participate in.

Student journalism

Towers at South Quad

CMC attracts many students with an interest in journalism. Its student publications include the following:


Main article: Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags and Athenas

Axelrood Pool

Athletes from CMC compete alongside athletes from Harvey Mudd College and Scripps College as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags and Athenas.[98] The teams participate in NCAA Division III in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The mascot for the men's teams is Stanley the Stag, and the women's teams are the Athenas. Their colors are cardinal and gold. In 2016, a new 144,000 square-foot recreation facility, named the Roberts Pavilion,[99] was completed.

Athletics history

According to the Division III Fall Learfield Director's Cup Standings for the 2016–2017 year, CMS ranks 12th among all Division III programs, and first among SCIAC colleges.[100]


There are 21 men's and women's teams.[101]

Men's sports

Women's sports

Athletic facilities


The other sports combination of the Claremont Colleges, and CMS' primary rival, is the team made up of Pomona College and Pitzer College known as the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens (P-P).


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

The Consortium

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All seven colleges are part of the Claremont University Consortium, also known as "the 7 Cs". Together the campuses cover over 300 acres (120 ha) and enroll over 6,000 students. In addition there are over 3,500 faculty and staff and more than 2,500 courses available.

Garrison Theater at Scripps College

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

Students attending Claremont McKenna can enroll in up to 2/3 of their classes at the other undergraduate colleges and can also major at any other college if the major is not offered at CMC. This is the general academic policy at the 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 twelve different on-campus research institutes and centers. They seek to produce new research and publications while involving undergraduate students in rigorous academic work.


Claremont McKenna completed what was then the largest fundraising campaign ever initiated by a liberal arts college, raising $635 million, from 2008 - 2013.[118] The campaign for Claremont McKenna fulfilled for commitments in five priorities:

As part of the campaign, the college built the Kravis Center, an academic building that includes classrooms, faculty offices and research areas. The building, designed by Rafael Viñoly, was completed in 2011. It is named after 1967 alumnus Henry Kravis of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts who donated $75 million for the building.[121]

Notable alumni and faculty

Main article: List of Claremont McKenna College people

Notable alumni include:

Notable faculty include:


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