Billion-dollar breakthrough: CMC soars to new fundraising heights

CMC recently announced the $1 billion success of its most recent fundraising campaign. (Nora Wu • The Student Life)

On Oct. 2, Claremont McKenna College (CMC) announced it had raised over $1 billion in an eight year fundraising campaign, making it the largest single fundraising campaign in the United States at a liberal arts college. Over 65 percent of alumni contributed to this campaign, with 89 supporters donating $1 million or more.

According to CMC’s website, fundraising efforts for the campaign — officially known as the Campaign for Responsible Leadership — were centered around honoring the college’s leadership mission, expanding student opportunities and preparing leaders through integrated sciences.

Daphne Achilles CM ’25 feels that the $1 billion result of the fundraising campaign is due to the financial success of CMC’s alumni base.

“I’m under the impression that CMC’s ability to fund raise is tied pretty closely to the industries that its alumni enter like investment banking and other high-paying fields,” Achilles said.

CMC allotted the largest portion of the collected funds, over $415 million, for new scientific endeavors. These included the new Kravis Department of Integrated Sciences at CMC and the Robert Day Sciences Center. Both were launched in response to CMC’s 2018 decision to leave the intercollegiate W.M. Keck Science Department shared with Scripps College and Pitzer College.

Other recipients of the funding include CMC’s Open Academy initiative, which seeks to promote intellectual diversity on campus, the Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience in America and the Athenaeum.

Last spring, CMC purchased a 75-acre plot of land on the east side of Claremont Boulevard, which will house its new sciences center along with athletic facilities and recreational areas.

A large portion of the money raised since 2015 has also been invested in student financial aid, according to the LA Times. So far, CMC has endowed 72 new scholarships and increased the percent of Pell-eligible students from 10 percent to 18 percent and first-generation students from 9 percent to 17 percent.

“This collective accomplishment will truly shape and change the lives of our students,” Michelle Chamberlain, vice president of Advancement and Student Opportunities and dean of the Robert Day Scholars Program, said. “We are very grateful to our Claremont McKenna College community.”

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