Weinberg Foundation Awards Claremont Colleges Major Science Gift

CLAREMONT, Calif. (February 24, 2010) — Scripps College and Claremont McKenna College announced today a $5 million gift from the Sidney J. Weinberg, Jr. Foundation to create the Weinberg Family Dean of Science Endowment Fund for the Joint Science Department (JSD) of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges.

The gift awards $5 million, funded over five years, to the two founding members of the JSD: $3 million to Scripps College and $2 million to Claremont McKenna College. Specifically, the endowment will support research, student-faculty engagement, and compensation related to the newly-established position of Dean for the JSD. This gift also generated a $1 million matching gift through the Roberts Challenge, established by CMC Trustee George Roberts ’66 P’93. This additional gift will support the deanship and, at CMC, Hansen will carry the title of Weinberg Family Dean of Science and Roberts Fellow.

“The Weinberg Family’s contribution will help ensure that the Joint Science Department continues to offer a comprehensive and vibrant education in science,” said David Hansen, Dean of the Joint Science Department. “This significant gift further enhances an already outstanding program that prides itself on small class sizes, rigorous majors—many of which are multidisciplinary—and research opportunities for our undergraduate students.”

The JSD combines biology, chemistry, and physics into a single department and is the largest academic enterprise at The Claremont Colleges. The generous gift will enhance the many student-faculty research collaborations ongoing in the JSD, and it will strengthen and develop the department’s faculty, academic program, and facilities. The gift also establishes a new Joint Science Advisory Board, which will—in consultation with the Dean—advise and support the department on its curriculum, faculty fields and appointments, research programs, and facilities use.

“Scripps College sets the gold standard in interdisciplinary education, and the study of science ensures that Scripps graduates can assume positions of leadership in any field,” said Scripps President Lori Bettison-Varga. “Thanks to the Weinberg Family, Scripps College and the Joint Science Department will continue to cultivate outstanding women scientists who bring to their work a humanistic perspective.”

“Claremont McKenna College places a significant emphasis on the importance of science in a liberal arts education and also in the development of future leaders in business, the professions, and public affairs,” said CMC President Pamela Gann. “Science excellence provides much of this country’s comparative economic advantages and leads to discoveries that improve our health, safety, and overall quality of life. The Weinbergs’ gift will strengthen the science education of our students, many of whom will lead scientific and technology oriented businesses and will become state and national legislators who must shape our public policy choices based on scientific knowledge.”

The JSD’s sole focus is on undergraduate education, and the department offers small classes, both at the introductory and advanced levels. The program offers numerous research opportunities, and its students co-publish and attend conferences with their faculty advisors. The JSD also offers greater integration and diversity of study, including unique programs in management and engineering; environment, economics, and politics; and science and management.

During the past two decades, the JSD has undergone substantial growth. Enrollment and the number of faculty have almost tripled.

The Joint Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges is the oldest undergraduate, consortium-based science program in the country. Its faculty receives tenure from each of the three participating colleges. The department provides a unique, interdisciplinary experience, allowing participating students dual or double-major opportunities in non-science fields.

Claremont McKenna College, established in 1946, is among the highest-ranked and most selective liberal arts colleges in the nation. CMC excels in preparing students for leadership through the liberal arts in business, the professions, and public affairs. The College is home to more than 130 accomplished teacher-scholars who are dedicated to teaching and to offering unparalleled opportunities for student collaboration in the research process. Enrolling approximately 1,200 students in 2009, CMC launched the Robert Day Scholars Program and added a Master of Arts in Finance degree. CMC combines highly-selective admission, need-blind financial aid, innovative programs, a 9-to-1 student-faculty ratio, ten research institutes, the impact of the seven-member Claremont College Consortium, and a strong and committed network of alumni, to educate its graduates for a lifetime of leadership.