The Claremont Colleges were formally established in 1925 under the direction of James Blaisdell, then President of Pomona College. In their constitution was a commitment to “found and develop new colleges and educational institutions or programs” as needs were identified and resources were made available.
Seventy-two years later, it was Henry E. Riggs, then President of Harvey Mudd College, who identified the need that would lead to the founding of Keck Graduate Institute, the seventh and newest member of The Claremont Colleges. The need was a simple one: we need scientists and engineers who can help translate basic scientific discoveries into practical applications that will improve the health of people.
In 1997, through a generous $50 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation, Keck Graduate Institute was born. Riggs became KGI’s founding President and led the institution through its first seven years. Today, under the direction of President Sheldon Schuster, KGI is continuing to grow both in terms of its number of enrolled students and in its reputation for excellence.
KGI represents The Claremont Colleges’ first entry into graduate-level, application-based scientific research and education. It remains the only graduate institute in the country with this sole focus.
The Claremont Colleges
KGI derives immeasurable benefits from its membership in The Claremont Colleges. A group of seven private, highly selective, independent institutions which share a wide range of central facilities and services, The Claremont Colleges have a structure and organization unique in American higher education.
The Claremont consortium was begun by Pomona College in 1925 with the establishment of The Claremont Colleges Services (formerly known as the Claremont University Consortium), the purchase of a large parcel of land for future institutions, and the founding of the Claremont Graduate University. Scripps College was founded in 1926, Claremont McKenna College in 1946, Harvey Mudd College in 1955, and Pitzer College in 1963. Two of these, Claremont McKenna and Harvey Mudd Colleges, are the only two colleges founded after World War II ranked among the top undergraduate colleges in the country.
Much of KGI’s support infrastructure is obtained through The Claremont Colleges central programs and services. KGI’s students and faculty have access to a top-quality library, equivalent to those of the nation’s research universities. Students can participate in a broad array of available courses offered by consortium members. Connections with the Drucker Graduate School of Management provide opportunities for additional coursework that addresses management, policy, and economic issues. In addition, a joint degree program with Claremont McKenna College in applied biology offers students majoring in a natural science the opportunity to attend a liberal arts college for three years and then to complete KGI’s MBS program in two additional years.
KGI also interacts, both formally and informally, with the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s graduate program in botany, with the strong applied mathematics programs at Claremont Graduate University and Harvey Mudd College, and with the well-recognized undergraduate science programs across all of Claremont’s undergraduate colleges. The liberal arts traditions of The Claremont Colleges, as well as the professional programs of Claremont Graduate University, assure that KGI can effectively engage the many ethical, societal, and policy issues that arise with the evolving technology of the life sciences.