Claremont, Calif. (May 11, 2017)—The Pitzer Family Foundation donated $1 million to Pitzer College to support the growth and expansion of science facilities at the W.M. Keck Science Department (KSD), a joint program of Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna College and Scripps College.
Since 2002, the number of Pitzer students majoring in sciences at KSD has increased by more than 200 percent. The College also saw a 147 percent increase in students receiving science degrees since 2004. In 2016, biology and human biology were among the 10 top majors within Pitzer’s graduating class. More Pitzer students now major in one of the biological sciences, which include biochemistry, biology, biophysics, human biology, molecular and organismal biology, than in any other discipline.
“With this gift, the Pitzer family is pleased to continue its support for science at the Claremont Colleges,” said Russell M. Pitzer, Pitzer College emeritus trustee and emeritus professor of chemistry at The Ohio State University, on behalf of the Pitzer Family Foundation. “Kenneth S. Pitzer, son of the founder of Pitzer College, was not only involved with the original plans for the Keck Joint Science building, but also consulted at various times with Pomona College and Harvey Mudd College about their programs. He and his wife, Jean M. Pitzer, endowed three professorships at Pitzer College related to scientific fields. The Pitzer family is delighted that interest in science has increased to the point that the Keck Science Center must be expanded and is happy to support that expansion with this gift.”
Due to increased student interest and enrollment in science courses at each of the KSD colleges, this gift provides significant and much-needed support for the department’s continued growth.
“The College is grateful to the Pitzer Family Foundation for believing in the value of science education at Pitzer and the Keck Science Department. Support for faculty and students as they pursue their teaching, learning and research in the sciences is an invaluable gift,” said Pitzer College President Melvin L. Oliver.
The W.M. Keck Science Department focuses exclusively on undergraduate science education and provides instruction in small-classroom and lab settings while offering numerous opportunities for students to conduct research. KSD is administered cooperatively by the three participating colleges and is a national leader in the development of interdisciplinary science courses and programs.
Pitzer College was founded in 1963 by citrus grower and philanthropist Russell K. Pitzer. The Pitzer Family Foundation (PFF) has continued his tradition of generous support of the College. In 2007, the PFF provided $5 million for the construction of Sanborn Hall in Phase I of the College’s Residential Life Project in memory of Flora Sanborn Pitzer, the founder’s wife. The foundation also gave $500,000 to establish the Pitzer Archive and Conference Center in Residential Life Project Phase II in 2012. The founder’s grandchildren, Ann E., Russell M. and John S. Pitzer, contributed to the development of the Jean M. Pitzer Archaeology Laboratory. In addition, members of the Pitzer family have established numerous endowed scholarships, professorships and an endowed directorship of international programs at the College.