Bryan Beak ’84


Bryan Beak 84
Bryan Beak ’84.

Hometown: Urbana, IL, currently residing in Seattle, WA

Pitzer Majors: Psychology & Organizational Behavior

Occupation: Amazon executive

“Pitzer is an incredibly diverse set of individuals, knit together by the core values. Everyone finds their people. It’s what a community would be like if you took the 20 most interesting, unique, accomplished students from high schools around the world, and dropped them into Claremont, CA for four years!”

Favorite Pitzer memory: 
As president of the Student Investment Club, Pitzer gave us $10,000 to manage any way we wanted. This seemed like an impossibly large amount to me at the time, and we spent hours poring over equity research and selecting common stocks to buy. At one point we were completely confused, and got to spend an hour with the College treasurer, who evaluated our decisions and offered his advice. Hard to imagine that happening at most schools!

On choosing Pitzer:
I chose to attend due to Pitzer’s focus on the social sciences, academic reputation, and membership in The Claremont Colleges. I did an overnight visit when I was touring colleges, and really enjoyed the time I spent on campus. The students were smart, interesting and diverse, and I just saw myself fitting in. Also, it was a long way from the Midwest, where I grew up and went to high school.

On the liberal arts:
I’ve always been a big fan of a liberal arts education. In my view, undergraduates should worry less about gaining deep knowledge in a single field, and more about becoming well-rounded. Take a class in a subject you’re not sure you’re interested in, try a little bit of everything, and develop an appreciation for a different point of view. Learning how to learn, reason and think critically are crucial skills that will help you long after you leave Claremont.

On the best way to get to know Pitzer as a prospective student:
Go visit campus. If at all possible, you need to attend a class or two, have coffee at the Grove House, eat at McConnell Dining Hall, wander around the other Claremont College campuses, and maybe even spend the night. It’s important for both the student and Pitzer to make the right decision in college selection, and I think it’s hard to commit to spending four years in a place you’ve never visited. If that’s impossible, opt for an interview with either alumni or Admission representatives when they’re available in your area.