Fred Leichter Named New Hive Director


A man with glasses smiles into the camera
Fred Leichter, current senior vice-president at Fidelity Investments and a lecturer at Stanford University’s Institute of Design, was recently named the Director of the Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity, known as the Hive. (Courtesy of Pomona College)

Fred Leichter has been chosen as the new director of the Claremont Colleges’ Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity, commonly known as the Hive, according to an email sent by Pomona College President David Oxtoby on Mar. 31.

Leichter, who is set to join the Claremont Community on Jul. 1, is the current senior vice-president at Fidelity Investments and a lecturer at Stanford University’s Institute of Design. He spent a semester as an exchange student at Pomona during his undergraduate years at Swarthmore College.

Hive student staff members are optimistic about Leichter’s contributions as the new director.

“I hope he can bring leadership and creativity! Everything was created from scratch. So in order to take Hive to the next level, we need prominent figures to take brave steps while maintaining existing drive and atmosphere,” Michelle Sun CM ’17 wrote in an email to TSL.

Noah Levan PZ ’16 is excited to see the Hive’s physical expansion under Leichter’s direction.

“Once we have a leader like him, we will be able to take over the whole building,” Levan said. “We are already pretty jammed for space.”

Currently, the Hive only takes up about 5-10 percent of the entire building; apart from a few Environmental Analysis offices, the remaining space is unused.

“And we are always redecorating the space. Fred could definitely bring more efforts in shaping the space to suit bigger events and different kind of workshops,” Sun wrote.

Nicki Maslan CM ’16 looks forward to seeing Leichter help the Hive continue to be a space that encourages creativity and inspires students.

“I would hope he offers mentorship to students, mentorship in the way of propelling you, like ‘keep going with this idea’ or advice if you need it, but really to get people working on their own projects here,” Maslan said.

Maslan and Levan both take pride in how involved students are in making the Hive such a success and they hope Leichter will note and encourage their independence.

“What makes the Hive the Hive is that it’s really student driven in a lot of facets. We will have his help with talking to administrators, but the coolest part about him [sic] coming is I think we are already extremely enabled,” Levan said.

As a center that opened last September, staff have been working hard to get projects going and to get all the 5C’s involved.

“We’ve talked as a Hive staff about the one thing that we value most about the culture right now: the inclusivity of it. I feel like we’ve brought a lot of different people from different backgrounds, disciplines, and campuses,” Maslan said. “We’ve really picked up steam in having a lot of workshops here and people coming in that we’ve never met before.”

“He will really try to immerse himself and start to educate himself on what it means to be part of the Hive and what it means to empower students to expand on their creativity…he’s got some big shoes to fill,” Levan said in reference to Leichter. “There are so many cool things on the drawing board which are still going in hopes that they don’t get lost.”

According to Levan, the Hive is considering creating a larger, semester-long project on a topic many students are interested in. The longer time frame would give students the opportunity to control their level of engagement in the project and participate when they have time.

Additionally, the Hive is to start a micro-grant program that will enable students to apply for funding as they reach different stages in their independent creative projects.

“I think Fred will play a role in helping structure the process and start approving the first round of proposals,” Sun wrote.

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