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Keck Graduate Institute Announces Year-Long 25th Anniversary Celebration

Reflecting on its tradition of developing leaders in healthcare and the applied life sciences, Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) is proud to announce a year-long celebration of its 25th anniversary, from January through December of 2022.

KGI’s story began in 1995 when the late Henry E. (“Hank”) Riggs, president of Harvey Mudd College since 1988, gathered a team to contemplate a “new venture.” He envisioned a stellar new institution in The Claremont Colleges that would be innovative in higher education, productive for our nation and the region’s economy, and beneficial to our society in solving critical problems related to the emerging field of biotechnology.

In July 1997, the W.M. Keck Foundation provided a $50 million founding gift that transformed KGI from a dream into a reality. Riggs departed Mudd in 1997 to become the founding president of KGI. He was a visionary who could see that the next century would be ruled by the life sciences and knew it was important to educate its leaders in novel ways.

KGI’s pioneer program—the Master of Business and Science—began its first classes in 2000 and conferred its first degrees in 2002 with an inaugural graduating class of 28.

After eight years of guiding the “new venture,” Riggs retired in 2003, and Dr. Sheldon Schuster became KGI’s second president. Guiding accelerated growth for KGI, Schuster put together plans for an additional set of innovative programs. In 2004, the W.M. Keck Foundation made a $20 million grant, challenging KGI to raise an additional $30 million over seven years. KGI completed the challenge one year ahead of schedule.

“The initial approach of this institution led to innovative degree programs that are team-based, hands-on, and real-world,” Schuster said.

“That vision is alive today, and it’s incredibly unique and special.”

Since the mid-2000s, KGI has rapidly expanded its degree offerings, adding a PhD in Applied Life Sciences in 2006 and the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Certificate in 2010.

At the start of 2014, Schuster collaborated with Biocon Limited founder and current KGI Board of Trustee Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw to establish the Biocon Academy in Bangalore, India, offering certificate programs taught online by KGI faculty.

A monumental milestone occurred in August of 2014, as KGI’s Doctor of Pharmacy program enrolled its first cohort. The program showcased KGI’s innovative spirit by responding to the needs of industry. This creative mindset was further celebrated in 2016 when the first class of KGI’s Master of Engineering in Biopharmaceutical Processing program enrolled.

Through the 2016-2017 academic year, KGI shifted from a commuter campus to a residential setting. The community celebrated a ribbon-cutting at 1 North Indian Hill Blvd. in Claremont in November 2016. In March 2017, KGI opened its first full-service café. Then in May 2017, the KGI and Claremont communities rallied together to break ground on the school’s first housing complex. The 225,000-square-foot facility, Oasis KGI Commons, opened in the fall of 2019.

Another monumental shift occurred in 2018 when KGI announced plans for a new School of Medicine. In the fall of 2018, two programs in genetics—the Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling and Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genomic Data Analytics—along with a Master of Science in Medical Device Engineering and Master of Science in Translational Medicine started their first cohorts. These new programs further showcased KGI’s response to industry needs and ability to stay on the cutting edge of higher education.

Within the last year, KGI has expanded its healthcare offerings with two new programs set to enroll in 2022: Occupational Therapy Doctorate and Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. Additionally, a first-of-its-kind Master of Science in Community Medicine program is set to enroll its first cohort later this month.

With dynamic flexibility, KGI continues to meet society’s ever-changing needs. Whether this means researching vaccines for new viruses or developing products to enhance human welfare, KGI students and faculty are a vital part of the process that shapes the future of bioscience and healthcare. KGI instills a sense of readiness in its students to solve world problems, and students continue to meet that expectation.

As part of the 25th Anniversary Celebration, special events and series will be scheduled to connect with students, alumni, corporate partners, and other friends of KGI. More details will be shared soon.

The planning committee for the 25th Anniversary Celebration includes KGI alumni, board of trustees, staff, faculty, and students.

To access more information about the anniversary and to share your memories, visit 25.kgi.edu.