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Claremont McKenna names legal scholar as next president

December 6, 2012 |  4:37 pm

Hiram E  Chodosh Photo  (2)
Claremont McKenna College announced its new president Thursday: Hiram E. Chodosh, the dean of the University of Utah’s law school and an expert on legal affairs and anti-corruption measures in the Middle East and Asia.

Chodosh will succeed Pamela B. Gann to head the 1,300-student liberal arts school in Claremont. He takes over July 1. She has led the highly ranked college since 1999.

Chodosh, 50, has been a judicial reform advisor to United Nations development efforts, the World Bank and the State Department, with special emphasis in Iraq and India. Born in New Jersey, he attended Wesleyan University and Yale law school and taught law at Case Western University before moving to the Utah campus in 2006.

Harry T. McMahon‚ chairman of Claremont McKenna’s trustees, described Chodosh as a talented professor and administrator whose career “exemplifies the unique mission of CMC: combining the liberal arts with real world and public policy experience.”

In an interview Thursday, Chodosh said he wanted the school -- well known for its economics and political science departments -- to strengthen offerings in pure sciences, computer science and technology studies.

He also said he hoped to expand internships and academic partnerships with industry, government, research institutes and humanitarian organizations so the college continues to attract students “who not only want to study a problem but also want to solve a problem.”

Gann led the school to successes in fundraising and faculty expansion. But she also faced controversy earlier this year after disclosures that an admissions official had inflated SAT scores and other data of incoming freshmen. In April, an investigation found that the admissions official had acted alone. The exaggerations turned out to be so small that the college did not lose its ranking as the nation’s ninth best liberal arts college in U.S. News & World Report’s listings.

Chodosh said he thought that Gann and the college had handled the incident very well. All colleges, he said, must “make sure they have the highest levels of transparency and of accountability in every aspect of what they do.”

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-- Larry Gordon

Photo: Incoming Claremont McKenna College President Hiram E. Chodosh. Credit: Claremont McKenna College

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