Chodosh leaves CMC for six-month sabbatical

President Chodosh stands at a podium with a red backdrop that includes the CMC logo.
After a 10 year tenure, CMC president Hiram Chodosh is on a sabbatical for the fall 2023 semester. (Courtesy: Claremont McKenna College)

This fall, students at Claremont McKenna College (CMC) returned to campus eager to embrace the same intense, high-energy community they left back in May. One thing, however, was different — Hiram Chodosh, who has served as CMC’s president for the last ten years, was gone.

On Jul. 1, Chodosh began his six-month sabbatical, which is set to end Jan. 1, 2024. Sharon Basso, former vice president of student affairs, will serve as acting president during his leave.

In an email sent to CMC’s student body earlier this semester, Chair of CMC’s Board of Trustees David G. Mgrublian expressed his full support of Chodosh’s leave, thanking him for his “visionary leadership and tireless dedication.”

Mgrublian also shared his wishes for Chodosh to make the most of his sabbatical.

“We wish Hiram a rejuvenating and productive sabbatical and look forward to his return in January,” he wrote in the Jun. 1 email. 

In the email, Mgrublian acknowledged some of CMC’s major accomplishments during Chodosh’s presidency, such as the increase in Pell Grant student enrollment by over 70%, the almost doubling of first-generation enrollment and the more than doubling of the college’s endowment.

He did not provide a reason for Chodosh’s sabbatical, and Chodosh — having already started his sabbatical — did not respond to TSL’s inquiries about the subject.

Apart from Gabrielle Starr, who has served as president of Pomona College since 2017, Chodosh is the only president at the 5Cs with over one year of experience. In December 2022, Strom Thacker was announced as Pitzer College’s seventh president and began his tenure on Jul. 1, 2023. At Scripps College, Amy Marcus-Newhall was announced as the college’s 11th president just last April. Meanwhile, Harriet Nembhard became Harvey Mudd College’s 6th president this past July.

Chodosh’s leave also follows a year of controversy during which he faced backlash from some students and faculty for postponing a proposed general education (GE) requirement focusing on racial-ethnic understanding.

Priya Junnar, Director of the Athenaeum and Chodosh’s wife, will be taking leave at the same time as Chodosh. Brian Davidson will take over for Junnar as acting director of the Athenaeum. Davidson will serve in this role in addition to his current role as director of CMC Fellowships Advising.

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