Welcome to The Founding of a Men’s College in Claremont. In honor of Claremont McKenna College’s 75th Anniversary, join us as we celebrate our vibrant history through a series of exhibitions commemorating the historic milestones, achievements, and individuals who have shaped the College. Reflecting back on Claremont McKenna College’s modest origins will lead to perspectives on the College’s current success, and will inform the College’s aspirations for the future. The first exhibition in the series, The Founding of a Men’s College in Claremont explores the “prehistory” of Claremont McKenna College, focusing on a timeline of events that led to the much-delayed founding of a new member of The Claremont Colleges—the men’s college. The story of the College’s founding begins more than 100 years ago at Pomona College and ends with the first day of classes at Claremont Undergraduate School for Men on September 23, 1946.

The Archives consulted a variety of sources in compiling this exhibit and are indebted to those historic resources, most notably, Commerce and Civilization, Claremont McKenna College: The First Fifty Years 1946-1996 by Kevin Starr, An Idea Becomes a College by Mabel Gibberd Benson, and CMC’s 50th Anniversary timeline.


Seven of Claremont McKenna College's founding trustees are honored during a campus event in 1972. From left to right: Burnet C. Wohlford, Russell K. Pitzer, Donald C. McKenna, John M. Marble, Robert J. Bernard, Garner A. Beckett, George C. S. Benson.

The archives contain historical documents, some of which include perspectives and language reflecting the time in which they were written. Claremont McKenna College does not endorse all the views expressed in these documents.