The Claremont Comeback: 5C Alumni Return to Teach

As the old adage goes, “If you love something, set it free.” In the cases of some professors at the Claremont Colleges, though, it should be edited to say, “If you love something, come back and teach there.”

The journey back to Claremont is not always an expected one. Of five different 5C alumni who are now back in Claremont, none anticipated their return.

Most unexpected was Paul Faulstich PZ ’79, who never envisioned that he would be a professor. With plans to attend art school, teaching was simply not on his radar. Now an environmental analysis professor at Pitzer College, Faulstich teaches “The Desert is a Place,” a course inspired from his time at Pitzer.

Another Pitzer graduate, Char Miller PZ ’75, now the W. M. Keck Professor of Environmental Analysis at Pomona College, spent a year at the University of Miami and then 26 years at Trinity University before making his way back to The Claremont Colleges.

While at Trinity, Miller worked with peer Gary Kates PZ ’74, who acted as both a dean and a professor. Kates came back to Pomona in 2001 as a Dean of the College and now works as a history professor. Originally, the two had met at the Huntley bookstore.

Both Kates and Miller were part of some of the first co-ed classes at Pitzer, an experience that Kates describes as “much weirder than I thought it would be.”

During his first year, Kates remembers going to the dining hall and seeing women at breakfast in their bathrobes, curlers and hairnets. That shortly died out.

Many forget that Pitzer started out as a women’s college. In fact, the College began as one in 1963 when Kitty Maryatt SC ’66 was a student. For most of her undergraduate career, Pitzer did not even exist.

Maryatt returned to Claremont in 1988 as an art professor and is currently the director of the Scripps College Press. As the director, she oversees the bi-annual creation and production of student books.

Prior to coming back to Scripps, Maryatt used her Scripps math major in working as a high school math teacher.

Maryatt’s experience was unique—she had the opportunity to attend both a men’s and a women’s college at the same time. There were no math classes available at Scripps, so Maryatt took all of her math classes at CMC, a men’s college at the time. In the classroom she was either the only woman, or one of two.

“There I was, a woman in a man’s world, in math classes, trying to not only keep up but also to shine,” Maryatt said. “It was challenging, but I was really glad that I had the chance to take classes off campus.”

More than gender ratios have changed since these professors attended the Claremont Colleges. Said Faulstitch, “I think the colleges have in some ways become less distinct.”

“While there is still considerable differentiation between the colleges, there also seems to be a bit more of homogenization, and the student bodies tend to be more similar than dissimilar and that wasn’t always the case,” Faulstitch continued.

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