CMC Receives $20 Million Grant For Interdisciplinary Science Scholarships

Claremont McKenna College has received a $20 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create a new full-tuition scholarship, the Interdisciplinary Science Scholarship Program.

The Interdisciplinary Science Scholarship (ISS) Program is designed to increase interest in science leadership and engage students with economic need. Claremont McKenna College’s strategic plan, adopted in 2002, recognizes that sweeping global changes are creating an increasingly interdependent world in which science and technology are essential to economic progress, health care advances, national security, environmental management, and many other critical issues. The new Interdisciplinary Science Scholars program will address those needs.

“Clearly, the world’s largest problems require interdisciplinary solutions,” said President Pamela Gann. “In the global environment of the new century, the convergence of leadership and science is absolutely essential. Our graduates exhibit extraordinary preparation for both.”

ISS Scholars will be selected based on financial need, academic excellence, and leadership potential. They will be required to dual/double major in a science and a non-science discipline, such as science and philosophy, to tackle issues of bioethics, or science and government, for example.

Recruitment will begin this fall, and the first group of 10 ISS scholars will matriculate in 2008. Approximately 13 incoming students will receive the award each subsequent year until the grant’s conclusion. In total, CMC expects to graduate 170 Interdisciplinary Science Scholars during the projected 15-year life of the gift.

“By coupling rigorous science education with outstanding leadership training, the Interdisciplinary Science Scholars program will provide its students with an invaluable learning experience,” said Hilary Pennington, director of U.S. Special Initiatives at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We are hopeful these scholars will strengthen not only the Claremont McKenna community, but the global community as well.”

The Gates Foundation grant is the largest foundation grant received by CMC since its founding in 1946. The grant will be allocated entirely toward scholarships, and will be administered by a committee including admission, academics, and student life.

The Interdisciplinary Science Scholars program represents another important track for expanding access to higher education with its full-tuition scholarship focus.
CMC’s strong tradition of higher education access is demonstrated through its need-blind admission policy and meet-all-need financial aid guidelines, which assure access to all admitted students regardless of their economic circumstances.

“This unprecedented grant presents a splendid opportunity. We expect the science disciplines to be represented more prominently with each graduating class, with nearly one-fifth of each class graduating as dual and double science majors within a few years,” added Gann. “We are confident these scholars will make immediate and meaningful contributions to the challenges facing mankind and the significant problems the world must solve.”

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people especially those with the fewest resources have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the Foundation is led by CEO Patty Stonesifer and co-chair William H. Gates, Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. Visit for more information about the Foundation.