The inauguration of Claremont McKenna College’s fifth president, Hiram E. Chodosh, will take place this weekend along with other events centered around the theme “Liberal Arts in Action.”
The theme was selected by Chodosh, according to Paul Hurley, philosophy professor and Chair of the Inauguration Steering Committee.
“He has been deeply involved in the planning of the inauguration,” Hurley wrote in an e-mail to TSL. “Indeed, I believe that he sees it as an opportunity to launch a series of conversations about questions that are important not just to CMC, but to the 5Cs and to liberal arts education generally.”
“President Chodosh is reflecting CMC’s place as an educational institution not only of reflection and inquiry, but of action and engagement,” wrote John Faranda, Vice President of Alumni and Parent Relations and a member of the Inauguration Steering Committee, in an e-mail to TSL. “And, yes, he wants to use the inauguration as the beginning of a series of discussions about extending CMC’s reach and making it an even finer institution than it is now.”
Chodosh’s installation ceremony will take place Oct. 5 at 2 p.m. at Bridges Auditorium. Inaugural events began Oct. 3 with a talk by Iranian human rights advocate and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. (See page 6 for TSL‘s coverage of the talk.)
Today’s events include teach-outs and panels that focus on applying a liberal arts education to decision-making.
“The steering committee particularly wanted to highlight CMC’s exceptionally talented faculty as a central part of the inauguration program,” wrote Audrey Bilger, literature professor and a member of the Inaugural Steering Committee, in an e-mail to TSL. “We came up with the idea of teach-out sessions and panels that would show what makes liberal arts education so exciting: the free exchange of ideas in a participatory setting.”
In the morning, faculty members will conduct a range of teach-out sessions including “Advanced Macroeconomics,” “The Age of Chivalry,” and “Security and War.”
Afternoon panels featuring faculty members and alumni will focus on theories behind individual and global decision-making to address political, economic, and humanitarian challenges. Panel titles include “The Pursuit of Happiness” and “Political Dysfunction and Democracy.”
Bilger wrote that she looks forward to seeing how Chodosh continues to explore ideas brought up in the inaugural events.
“I believe he seeks to understand the aspirations of our community, and the inauguration weekend will provide numerous opportunities for him to get to know us better and vice versa,” she wrote. “I know from our steering committee discussions that he does not want the conversations about liberal arts education to end with the inauguration; rather, he sees the events of this weekend as a starting place for discussions that will continue throughout the academic year and beyond.”
Bilger is chairing the Inauguration Prize Competition Committee, which will judge student submissions of writing, visual art, website designs, mobile apps, and other projects on the subject of the liberal arts in decision-making. Submissions are due Jan. 24, 2014.
“An inauguration can be viewed as a ceremony to get through, or it can be viewed as the launch of a new era of leadership and an opportunity to frame important discussions that the various constituents of the college need to have going forward,” Hurley wrote. “We are taking this latter approach.”