The Claremont Colleges are expanding their reach to the Far East by hosting alumni, professors and parents at a conference in Hong Kong to discuss the developing Asian marketplace Nov. 16 to 18.
“It basically is part of the strategy of the presidents of the Claremont Colleges to expand our outreach internationally,” said John Faranda CM ’79, Vice President for Alumni and Parents Relations at Claremont McKenna College. “There are a lot of alumni from all of the colleges in Hong Kong, and also it’s a hub for Asia, so we’ve invited alumni and parents from throughout Asia to participate in this weekend.”
The presidents of CMC, Pitzer College, Pomona College and Scripps College will also be in attendance and will host a panel discussion on the value of a liberal arts education.
“In Asia, the liberal arts education model is not very prominent,” Faranda said. “One thing we’ll do is talk with them about the value of liberal arts and how it can be a very effective educational tool for people who might be interested in things that are quite popular in Asia, like engineering and sciences.”
The excursion to Hong Kong follows a similar gathering that the 5Cs hosted in London a year and a half ago.
“We are holding a mix of events, some with an academic slant, like panels discussing finance, business and politics in Asia,” said Catherine Okereke, Regional Director of Advancement for Asia and Northern California at Pomona. “We’re also providing people with plenty of chances to get to know one another through receptions and even a private boat tour of the Hong Kong harbor lights at night.”
The 5Cs chose Hong Kong as the location for the conference due to the number of alumni in the area and its prominence in the Asian marketplace.
“We had a study to look and see where the pockets of alumni and parents are in our constituencies,” Faranda said. “A large group seemed to be centered around Hong Kong.”
The trip will not focus on recruiting international students.
“We’re not really meeting with prospective students or things like that,” Faranda said. “We have invited some high school counselors for one of the sessions, but it’s really a time for alumni and parents to get together and have a big alumni event.”
Harvey Mudd College will be mostly absent from the event, as HMC President Maria Klawe will not be in attendance and none of the slated alumni speakers are HMC alumni.
“Harvey Mudd participation is quite slim,” Faranda said. “Hong Kong is really more of a business and finance center than it is a science and industry center. Harvey Mudd also, of the colleges, has the smallest alumni population. Any time we do things, they’re not going to be as prominent just because of their demographics.”
Almost 150 associates of the 5Cs are scheduled to attend the event as of this week.