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December 13, 2023

Highlights of a Memorable Year at CGU

CGU Staff & Faculty

ex·cel·lent
/ˈeks(ə)lənt/
adjective
1. very good of its kind: eminently good: FIRST-CLASS
2. the CGU community

You won’t find the second listing in Merriam-Webster, but the word inarguably describes the university’s faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends. We’ve captured this excellence with a few highlights from 2023.

Great Place to Work
Claremont Graduate University was recognized as one of the top 20 best small employers in California and one of the nation’s best small college workplaces in Forbes’ latest rankings. “It is a testament to the collaborative and supportive culture we have cultivated at CGU,” President Len Jessup said. “We believe that a strong work environment not only benefits our employees but also contributes to our students’ success.”

SES Doctoral Candidate Is California’s Teacher of the Year
Jason Torres-Rangel said the award provides “the chance to shine a light on the profession, to shine a light on my students’ voices, to uplift who they are and their stories, and really uplift and celebrate the work of my colleagues—not just teachers but the whole ecosystem that makes a schoolwork: counselors, librarians, nurses, groundskeepers, principals.”

Unwavering Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on admissions policies, CGU became the first university to publicly announce that it had signed the NAACP’s Diversity No Matter What Pledge. “This is by no means a victory lap. This is a continuous process, and much remains to be done,” President Len Jessup said. “We cannot change the past—the good or the bad—but we can commit to the present and the future.”

A University of Renowned Experts
The annual AD Scientific Index, which identifies faculty who are among the most cited in their field by peers, is a valued gauge of research accomplishment. Seventeen CGU faculty were in the top 10 percent worldwide.

‘Emergence and Adaptation’
CGU celebrated its newest graduates at the 96th Commencement. Aldon Morris, a strong voice for civil rights whose life journey took him from the Jim Crow South to the heights of academe, was the keynote speaker and honored guest.

‘An Absolute Superstar in the Making’
That’s how Distinguished Professor Stewart Donaldson described Assistant Professor Saida Heshmati, who earned the International Positive Psychology Association’s Early Career Researcher Award. Heshmati, who joined CGU in 2018, was recognized for contributing most significantly to the scientific advancement of knowledge in positive psychology.

Recognizing the Transformative Power of Poetry
Best Barbarian was selected for the annual Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, which recognizes the work of a mid-career poet. Roger Reeves, an English professor at the University of Texas, “took classical notions of history, literature, and the classics and made it his own,” said Lynne Thompson, Poet Laureate for the city of Los Angeles and Tufts Award judge. Robert Wood Lynn’s debut collection, Mothman Apologia, was named the Kate Tufts Discovery Award winner.

Yuhaaviatam Center for Health Studies Officially Opens
The new home for the School of Community & Global Health was made possible through a $14 million gift from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. The center will expand the ability of faculty and student researchers to improve lives, especially in communities that need it most.

Reconnecting with the City of Trees and PhDs
From Movies in the Park and Concerts in the Park to academic outreach and civic engagement, CGU took several steps to become Claremont’s hometown university. After all, more than 1,000 alumni call the city home.

PostNormal Times Podcast Launches
A culture of transdisciplinarity is one of CGU’s distinguishing characteristics. Andrew Vosko, associate provost and director of transdisciplinary studies explored ideas that transcend traditional academic boundaries and address pressing needs. He and his guests invited listeners to challenge their assumptions. Tune into the podcast here.

A Trailblazer Donates His Archives to the Drucker Institute
Tom Peters’ seminal 1982 work, In Search of Excellence (co-written with Robert H. Waterman), changed the conversation about leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship. “I am infinitely proud to be part of the Drucker family and hope my contributed papers will be of value to management thinkers and others in the years to come,” he said in announcing the donation.

Passings
We mourned the loss of several members of the CGU community in 2023, including Masatoshi Ito, Michael Scriven, Joseph C. Hough Jr., Larry Crosby, and Catherine Vail Bridge.

Hurry Up and Think
Six doctoral students had three minutes each to explain their years of research in the finals of the fourth annual Big Pitch competition. Christine Keelin, who is studying positive organizational psychology, won the top prize of $1,000 for her presentation on “Energy Vampire Bosses vs. Empowering Leaders: Is Your Workplace Draining Your Energy?” 

Future-Proof Your Future
CGU launched several professional doctorates, identifying an unmet need in higher education by offering options to professionals who want a terminal degree but don’t want to enter academia or research professions. (A master’s in transdisciplinary analysis was also added.) Several more programs are on the drawing board for 2024.