Did you know that Donald McKenna (3rd photo on left) proposed the idea for the Athenaeum in 1968?

He recommended this "student-faculty club or athenaeum" based on his memories of Wednesday evening discussion socials his parents hosted at The Claremont Inn in the late 1910s and early 1920s, and lively evenings hosted by George C. S. Benson P’61 at Lowell House at Harvard in the mid-1930s.

At both events, students, tutors and faculty, together with visiting guests, gathered in a convivial atmosphere for refreshment and wide-ranging discussion. Evenings such as these, McKenna believed, were of the essence of collegiate education; and he wanted the same magic to happen at CMC.

Read more about Athenaeum history:

Follow the Athenaeum to keep up with current speakers and events.
The Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum kicked off its virtual spring semester lineup this week with Harvard economics professor Raj Chetty. Through the use of various maps from his Opportunity Atlas, Chetty demonstrated how he uses gigantic data sets to inform smarter, stronger, and more effective government policies—which in the end, can help those most in need. Read our recap:
In observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, our virtual campus will be closed on Monday, January 18.

Stay tuned to the Athenaeum for information about our upcoming annual MLK Commemorative Lecture.
Our new Claremont McKenna College Office of Admission illustrated search cards are being sent to prospective students this month. The revamped designs and text focus on CMC pillars of excellence: liberal arts, leadership, the Athenaeum, teacher scholars, opportunity, research institutes, scholar athletes, community ... and some California sunshine thrown in for good measure. We hope it gets them excited to learn, lead, and succeed at CMC!

The Athenaeum shared the recipe for one of our campus favorites! Try it at home!

(See the recipe in the Athenaeum page stories.)
So many incredible memories from Ath events! My roommate and I even wrote papers on different art in the Ath for our Literature and Visual Arts course. 🥰
Starting this week, Claremont McKenna College’s beloved Athenaeum is bringing faces, stories, and recipes to the community through a new digital series called Postcards from the Ath.

Read more here:

Be sure to follow the Athenaeum page to catch all the new content!

Paul Beninger ’73 P’09 gave a compelling talk at the Athenaeum recently on the race to find a cure for AIDS in the early years.

Read more:

Registration is now open for Athenaeumevents through October 16!
We hope to see you at the Ath for more engaging topics and discussions.

Register online:

It was an exciting first week of events and speakers at the Athenaeum! Which speaker will you see next?

View the semester schedule here:

Senior Thesis Spotlight:

"Mystical Experience and Epistemic Injustice"
by Jake Hudson-Humphrey '19
Philosophy and Religious Studies dual major

"In my thesis, I apply Miranda Fricker’s framework of epistemic injustice to certain “mystical” experiences in order to shed light on the failures of communication that may occur when there is an attempt to share knowledge between someone who has had such an experience and someone who has not.

I chose this topic because I am excited about expanding the academic understanding of learning and knowledge, especially as they relate to religious or mystical experiences. My thesis was a first step in this direction and I look forward to doing more work on the intersections between religion, philosophy, experience, and knowledge."

To learn more, join us at the Senior Thesis Showcase at the Athenaeum on Wednesday, May 1, 5:30pm, where Jake will be presenting his research.

Jo Scott-Coe, Author at the Claremont Athenaeum in January 2018

A signature program of the Claremont McKenna College experience. Welcome to Athenaeum and the 2017-18 speaker program. We look forward to seeing you at the Ath.

Unique in American higher education, the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum (the “Ath”) is a signature program of Claremont McKenna College. Four nights a week during the school year, the Ath brings scholars, public figures, thought leaders, artists, and innovators to engage with the CMC and Claremont College community. In addition, the Ath also hosts lunch speakers, roundtables, and smaller presentation

Operating as usual

Timeline photos 09/21/2022

Meet our third and final Ath Fellow Miriam Farah ’23, a public policy and history major from Redondo Beach.

Miriam has frequented the Ath since she was a first-year for the opportunity to learn about new topics without the pressure of grades and assignments, and to hear her peers' perspectives.

"I always look forward to the Q&A section because I want to hear all the different ways students interpret the speaker’s talk. I want students to think critically about all the speakers, even the ones they may agree with," she said.

Read more about Miriam's Ath experience:

Timeline photos 09/20/2022

Meet our second Ath Fellow Abrahan Vasquez ’23, a biology major from Los Angeles.

Abrahan sees the Ath as "one of the ways that CMC prepares students for the real world. I believe the Ath showcases CMC’s commitment to open dialogue in that it provides our community with the opportunity to listen, engage with, and question experts in their fields."

He also shared: "Don’t let ‘I wish I had gone to the Ath more’ be one of your CMC regrets! Come to the Ath, you never know where you might end up!”

Read more about Abrahan's Ath experience:

Timeline photos 09/20/2022

It's time to introduce our 2022-2023 Athenaeum Fellows!

Meet Rukmini Banerjee ’24, a politics and economics major from the Bay Area, who wanted to be a Fellow from the moment she first learned about the Ath.

"Dialogue is at the heart of the CMC curriculum. In almost every class, professors take care to facilitate dialogue and discussion between students. The Ath exemplifies this prioritization of dialogue by serving as a space where CMCers can engage in tough conversations about relevant and pertinent issues," she said.

Read more about Rukmini's experience at the Ath:


Ath Fellow Miriam Farah ’23 reunited with former Ath Fellow Michael Shear ’90 at last night's dinner program!

Last year, they hosted an episode on CMC Conversations to discuss journalism in politics, just days after the January 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol. Last night, Shear, along with Sahil Kapur ’09 and Elise Viebeck ’09, discussed covering that day from a journalists' perspective.

Listen to that episode of CMC Conversations:

Timeline photos 09/13/2022

Have you tried Vichaita's Thai Beef Salad at the Ath before?

Srirat (Sid) Vichaita was the pastry chef at the Athenaeum for 15 years, retiring in 2008. He instituted the pastry program the Athenaeum enjoys today. Sid also owned a Thai restaurant in Texas before he moved to California. He shared a collection of his recipes with the Athenaeum, which have become favorites of the students and staff.

Enjoy the recipe!


The Athenaeum season has officially begun!

From topics ranging from the fate of food to the future of the electoral college to the debate on reproductive rights to pressing international issues to reflections in poetry and music—to name just a few—the programming is rich and varied. CMCers can engage their intellectual curiosity in this iconic campus venue.

Tonight, journalist Amanda Little will kick off the semester for a timely discussion on climate change and food sustainability.

Check out the semester schedule and register:

Timeline photos 09/08/2022

Welcome to the Athenaeum!

Registration is now open for our first fall speakers. Our fall season begins next Monday. Check out next week's topics and register here:

Ath events are in-person and open to the 5C community, with preference given to CMC students. We hope to see you at the Ath soon!

Photos from Athenaeum's post 08/26/2022

Happy national dog day! You may often see this furry friend outside the Athenaeum. Theo, a friendly labradoodle, has grown up on the CMC campus and thinks of the Ath as his second home. When not cruising around campus, he lives with his humans, Ath director Priya Junnar and CMC President Hiram Chodosh.

Always excited to be with students, Theo is eager to make new friends and catch up with old ones!

If you see him, be sure to take a selfie and share !

Timeline photos 08/25/2022

Daron Acemoglu, professor of applied economics at MIT, spoke on why some nations prosper while others fail. He emphasized that the answer lies in economic and political institutions and in the balance of power between the state and society.

Acemoglu drew points from his co-authored book "Why Nations Fail," which espouses a new theory that nations that succeed do so because of their inclusive institutions, and those that fail do so because of their extractive institutions.

As one of CMC’s 75th Anniversary Distinguished Speakers, Professor Daron Acemoglu highlighted issues in “Civilization and Commerce.”

Watch his talk:

Timeline photos 08/22/2022

Located across from the Athenaeum is Emmett Student Center, also known as The Hub.

The Hub is a great place to study, eat, and meet up with friends while you wait for our evening program. Look for the green chairs!

Timeline photos 08/22/2022

Located across from the Athenaeum is Emmett Student Center, also known as The Hub.

The Hub is a great place to study, eat, and meet up with friends while you wait for our evening program. Look for the green chairs!

Photos from Athenaeum's post 08/18/2022

Jennifer Burns, author and Stanford University history professor, wove together how Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman set about the task of mooring capitalism, a heretofore value-neutral economic system, to an ethical framework. Ultimately, Burns challenged students to view market ideas through an adaptive lens.

As one of CMC’s 75th Anniversary Distinguished Speakers, Professor Jennifer Burns highlighted issues in “Civilization and Commerce.”

Watch her talk:

Photos from Athenaeum's post 08/15/2022

The Ath engages both intellectual and visual senses! It hosts two public art sites on campus—an iconic Mary Weatherford painting and a whimsical Bruce Wolfe bronze sculpture depicting Jil Stark, former Ath director and first lady of CMC (both pieces shown in the photos).

Additional art and photography pieces are featured throughout the building. Be sure to browse the art and libraries when you visit the Ath.

Photos from Athenaeum's post 08/11/2022

Steven Pinker, award-winning experimental psychologist and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, engaged with students last fall at a discussion organized by the Salvatori Center prior to his Ath presentation on "Progress and Enlightenment in the 21st Century."

Are we healthier, richer, freer, safer, and happier than our ancestors? Whatever our personal feelings in the face of dismaying news about racism, climate change, or the pandemic, the data point to yes,” argued Pinker in his presentation.

As one of CMC’s 75th Anniversary Distinguished Speakers, Professor Pinker highlighted issues in “Civilization and Commerce.”

Timeline photos 08/09/2022

Ath events kick off with a reception where everyone has a chance to interact with the speaker and are immediately followed by sit-down meals that are delicious from start to finish—fresh salads, distinctive entrées, and irresistible desserts.

Whether or not you are at the head table, most fun is getting to know the other people at your table. Don't hesitate to sit at a table where you don't know anyone. It’s a great way to make a new friend or be inspired by a new topic.


We are counting down the days until the fall semester! In three weeks, we look forward to hosting Ath tea every afternoon for the CMC community. 🌷

Ath tea is a great way to meet other students, faculty, and staff while grabbing a delicious afternoon snack, homemade right here at the Ath and served by our very own student staff.

See you August 29!

Timeline photos 05/12/2022

Congratulations to Ath Fellows Maria Gutierrez-Vera ’22 and Maya Ghosh ’22 who will be graduating this Saturday!

Thank you for your great leadership at the Ath, along with Maya Kurkhill ’23, during this momentous and celebratory back to in-person Ath.

Photos from Athenaeum's post 04/07/2022

As part of CMC’s 75th Anniversary Distinguished Speakers series, author and professor Jennifer Burns visited CMC to speak to students about her work chronicling the personal and intellectual history of Ayn Rand.

Referencing disciplines from politics, to economics, to media studies, Burns’ research provided students with a framework to approach news media, culture, and politics.

Read more via our bio link.

Timeline photos 03/29/2022

The Athenaeum prides itself in serving a variety of meal options for our guests, like Vegetarian Moussaka. Made with Japanese eggplant, fingerling potatoes, and sun-dried tomatoes, it's a flavorful dish that can be served hot or cold.

Follow the recipe:

Tag us with if you try any of our recipes!

Timeline photos 03/21/2022

Happy !

Earlier this month, the Athenaeum was fortunate to welcome Nobel Laureate Louise Glück for an evening of poetry.

Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2020 for her "unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal," Louise Glück is considered by many to be one of America’s most talented contemporary poets. Known for her poetry’s technical precision, sensitivity, and insight into loneliness, family relationships, divorce, and death, Glück offered her reflections of her work and read from her vast collection.

Photo credit: Gasper-Tringale


Reposted from :

Had the most wonderful time speaking about my book and journey writing it, at my alma mater two weeks ago! It was great to be back on campus after five years, and such an honor to be invited to speak at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum, where I spent so many evenings as an undergrad listening to and engaging with some of the most inspiring speakers and thinkers of our times.

Photos from Athenaeum's post 03/11/2022

Dr. Fiona Hill, one of the world’s most-respected experts on Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia, engaged a full house at the Athenaeum this week. Addressing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the strong and coordinated international response, the American capacity to prevent further escalation, and Putin’s motivations, the in-depth discussion was moderated by CMC Professor Hilary Appel.

Watch her Ath talk:


The Athenaeum has been honored to work with Chef Dave Skinner since 1992. This year, we honor Chef Dave and his 30th year creating delicious and memorable dishes for the community and leading the kitchen staff at the Athenaeum.

Have you worked with Chef Dave? Share a message for him below!

Timeline photos 02/17/2022

The Athenaeum is proud to welcome Annette Gordon-Reed tonight for The Gould Center for Humanistic Studies’ 2022 Lerner Lecture on Hinge Moments in History.

Weaving together American history, family chronicle, and personal memoir in her most recent book On Juneteenth, Annette Gordon-Reed, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard University, provides a historian’s view of the country’s long road to Juneteenth, recounting both its origins in Texas and the enormous hardships that African-Americans have endured in the century since, from Reconstruction through Jim Crow and beyond.

Professor Gordon-Reed’s presentation is co-sponsored by CMC’s Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience in America.

Photos from Athenaeum's post 02/16/2022

Athenaeum registration through Feb. 24 is now open! Register for these events:

Scott Ellsworth P’24
“Hidden History: The Tulsa Race Massacre and the Challenge of Facing Up to Our Past”
Wednesday, February 16, 2022 – Dinner Program

Annette Gordon-Reed
“On Juneteenth”
Thursday, February 17, 2022 – Dinner Program

John Shrewsberry ’87 P’24
"Trends in Finance: The Long View"
Friday, February 18, 2022 - Dinner Program

Erik Anderson ’80 P’23
“Financing Global Decarbonization”
Monday, February 21, 2022 – Dinner Program

Datta Dave '02 and Matt Pyken '83
"The CMC Way: Entrepreneurship, Creativity, and Following Your Own Path"
Tuesday, February 22, 2022 - Dinner Program

Vivan Marwaha ’17
“What Millenials Want”
Wednesday, February 23, 2022 – Dinner Program

Ray Mentzer
“Reformed Worship and Huguenot Identity”
Thursday, February 24, 2022 – Dinner Program

Timeline photos 02/14/2022

Happy Valentine’s Day! We love being an intellectual venue on campus that brings students, staff, and faculty together for open dialogue on a wide range of topics. You never know who you might meet!

If you met a new friend at an Ath event, tag them below!

What do you love about the Ath?

Timeline photos 02/10/2022

The Athenaeum head table—where students are seated with the evening speaker and two Ath Fellows—is reserved for students only, offering a unique opportunity for CMC students to meet distinguished guests.

Pictured here are students at the head table engaging in discussion with surgeon, author, and public health researcher Atul Gawande last semester.

If you've sat at the Ath head table before, comment below with the name of the Ath speaker and year!

Timeline photos 02/08/2022

One of the Ath's classic hors d'oeuvres are the Roasted Dates with Applewood Smoke Bacon and Goat Cheese.

Impress your next dining guest (or just enjoy them yourself) using this recipe:

What is your favorite Ath hors d'oeuvres?

Photos from Athenaeum's post 02/07/2022

Ath tea is back!

Stop by the Ath patio between 3-4:30pm daily to grab a snack and chat with friends before your next class!

Timeline photos 02/04/2022

In an electric, emotionally powerful appearance at the Athenaeum last semester as part of our 75th Anniversary Distinguished Speaker Series, Anna Deavere Smith challenged the audience to shift their opinions “a quarter of an inch from where they started,” and encouraged everyone to sing the hymn “Amazing Grace” together.

“My heart is beating really hard right now,” a CMC student told Smith afterward during the Q&A.

The Athenaeum is thrilled to continue our 75th Anniversary Distinguished Speaker Series this semester. Stay tuned for more information!

Photos from Athenaeum's post 02/02/2022

Athenaeum registration for our first speakers of the semester is now open! We hope to see you at the Ath soon!

Cynthia Dewi Oka
“Fire Is Not A Country: A Poetry Reading”
Tuesday, February 8, 2022 – Dinner Program

Ragen Chastain
“Fatphobia and Capitalism”
Wednesday, February 9, 2022 – Dinner Program

Barry Eichengreen
“Digital Currencies–More than a Passing Fad?”
Thursday, February 10, 2022 – Dinner Program

Register for these events:

Please note, only CMC students, faculty, and staff can register for Ath meals at this time.

Only 5C students, faculty, and staff are permitted for general seating for the foreseeable future and all guests must be masked for the duration of the presentation.

Photos from Athenaeum's post 12/17/2021

Last week, the Athenaeum celebrated the anniversaries of some of our beloved employees. Congratulations to each of these staff members for their years of service to the CMC community!

David Edwards - 35 Years
Chef David Skinner - 30 Years
Angela Fitch - 15 Years
Byron Figueroa - 10 Years

Share a special message or memory below to celebrate our Athenaeum staff!

Timeline photos 10/08/2021

Coming up at the Ath:

The Tongva have long struggled to gain acknowledgment on their ancestral land of Tovangaar, located in the Los Angeles basin, and to be able to fulfill their responsibility to be stewards to the land, plants, and animals of the region. While the community gained state recognition in 1994, the struggle to gain federal recognition is ongoing. But as Wallace Cleaves, associate professor of teaching and associate director in the University Writing Program at UCR will outline, too often the process is flawed, limited and not relational. The Tongva now look beyond these sometimes performative and incomplete acts to develop meaningful agreements with these institutions and have formed their own land conservancy to protect their heritage and Tovaangar.

Professor Cleaves is the featured speaker in recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Check out our stories to learn more about Cleaves and set your reminder for the event on Monday, October 11, 5:30pm PDT.

Timeline photos 10/05/2021

Coming up at the Ath:

The controversies swirling around policies and inequities in a pandemic age provide an opening to explore the place of structural and institutional violence in comparative genocide studies. Adam Jones, a William F. Podlich Distinguished Fellow at CMC this fall, is a political scientist, writer, and photojournalist based at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Utilizing his extensive scholarship on genocide and structural violence, Jones will propose analytical angles and empirical standards by which structural violence can be incorporated in a genocide framework, highlighting issue-areas related to Covid-19 that urgently require attention and intervention.

Check out our stories to learn more about Jones and set your reminder for the event tonight, October 5, 5:30pm.

Photos from Athenaeum's post 10/01/2021

TBT: February 1, 2016

Women in the World of High Tech: Voices from Silicon Valley

Panelists Candace Adelberg '10, Kristie Howard '15, Mayumi Matsuno '01, Jacinth Sohi '11 and moderator Frederick Lynch, address a range of topics including: preparation for careers in tech, how to leverage past accomplishments and personal and professional networks to develop careers in tech, obstacles and challenges faced in the competitive and male-dominated culture of Silicon Valley, and approaches for problem solving, including work/life balance issues.

Watch the archived video:

A Signature Program at CMC

Welcome to Athenaeum.

Unique in American higher education, the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum (the “Ath”) is a signature program of Claremont McKenna College. Four nights a week during the school year, the Ath brings scholars, public figures, thought leaders, artists, and innovators to engage with the CMC and Claremont College community in the Eggert Dining Room. In addition, the Ath also hosts lunch speakers, roundtables, and smaller presentations in its two auxiliary dining rooms.

For decades, the Ath has hosted a spectrum of luminaries with expertise and insight on a wide range of topics, both historical and contemporary. In the Ath’s intimate yet stimulating setting, students, faculty, staff, and other community members gather to hear the speaker, pose questions, and also to build community and exchange ideas over a shared meal.

At the core of the Ath is a longstanding commitment to student growth and learning. Central to the Ath are its two student Fellows, selected annually to host, introduce, and moderate discussion with the featured speaker. Priority is given to students in attendance during the question-and-answer session following every presentation. Moreover, speakers often take extra time to visit a class, meet with student interest groups, or give an interview to the student press and podcast team.

Videos (show all)

Welcome from Athenaeum Director Priya Junnar!
#AthArchives - Judy Grisel
Esther Chung-Kim, associate professor of religious studies, relates what the history of poverty can teach us about the c...
#AthArchives - Susan Hockfield
#AthThesis - Caitlyn Kwun ’20
#AthAcademy - Seth Lobis
#Ath Archives - Nolan Williams, M.D. - September 17, 2019
#AthThesis - Rachel Lim ’20
#AthAcademy - Jennifer Feitosa
#AthArchives - Paul Beninger ’73 P’09
#AthThesis - Linnea Uyeno ’20



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