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Harvey Mudd College

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  • Statistics

    Claremont, CA
    Most Selective
    Acceptance Rate:
    21 %
    Tuition and Fees:
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  • Summary

    Mix math-science brilliance, liberal politics, a slavish work ethic and a commitment to social life, and you’ve got the typical “Mudder.”

    Harvey Mudd College is one of the five Claremont Colleges—a consortium of interdependent California schools within walking distance of each other. For the most part Mudders love their school. There are no graduate schools, so professors focus all their attention on undergraduates—with lots of opportunities for research. Academic expectations are beyond rigorous—there’s no grade inflation, and students take five courses and a lab each semester—but the pressure encourages collaboration, not competition. Harvey Mudd emphasizes producing well-rounded graduates:

    students must also take about a third of their courses in the humanities (a good motivation to enroll in classes at other Claremont Colleges). Harvey Mudd’s social culture is as particular as its academics. The guy-girl ratio is far from even (guys outnumber girls seven to three), but all-girls Scripps College is right next door. Students are diverse in race, ethnicity and sexual orientation, and actively promote LGBT rights. There’s no Greek life, but Mudders pride themselves on their thriving party scene, and excel at balancing rigorous academics with social lives.

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  • Additional Info

    Harvey Mudd College was chartered in 1955 and admitted its first class in 1957. Six year later, Harvey Mudd introduced the Clinic Program, through which students solve problems posed by outside corporate, nonprofit, and governmental organizations. Harvey Mudd is now a premier liberal arts college of engineering. The school keeps its student body and faculty small—fostering both an undergraduate-focused educational experience and high selectivity rates.

    Harvey Mudd’s small campus of 33 acres is only a block wide and about 10 blocks long. The academic buildings sit at one end, the dorms occupy the other, and the dining hall and Joseph B. Platt Campus Center are in the middle. The campus features two fountains, a koi pond,and a small waterfall. Edward Durell Stone designed the campus’s original buildings, which are covered with thousands of “warts,” or concrete squares. (In fact, Harvey Mudd’s unofficial mascot is “Wally the Wart,” a concrete square with appendages and a face.) Warts serve as shelves for unicycles and skateboards—popular forms of transportation among Mudders. The concrete buildings—the Libra Complex—house computer labs and classrooms in their basements. These are all connected underground.

    Harvey Mudd is one of the five Claremont Colleges (the other four are Claremont-McKenna, Pitzer, Pomona and Scripps). These five schools are within walking distance of each other in Claremont, California—and students can take classes and join organizations at any of the schools in the consortium. Claremont serves these five schools with a college town atmosphere. It’s about 30 miles east of downtown L.A. and features an area called The Village, with stores, boutiques, art galleries, offices, and restaurants. Though Claremont was once a series of citrus groves, it’s now primarily residential, with many large homes. There’s also a wilderness park that spans 1,740 acres.

    Nearby joint Del Taco offers three tacos for a dollar on Hundred Taco Night, when students eat as many tacos as possible while watching Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

    Harvey Mudd’s rivalry with Cal Tech goes back decades. In 1986, for instance, Mudd students stole Cal Tech’s memorial cannon by disguising themselves as maintenance workers.

    Bar Monkey, at West Hall, offers almost 200 mixed drinks—and the bartenders can whip any of them up in fewer than 10 seconds.

    Case dorm hosts Happy Wednesdays, full of alcohol-induced fun, every week.

    Donald D. Chamberlin (1966) co-invented SQL, a database query language. Jonathan Gay (1989) created Flash software. Richard H. Jones (1972) is the U.S.’s Ambassador to Israel. Eric B. Kim (1976) is Intel’s Chief Marketing Officer. Dominic Mazzoni (1998) created the Audacity sound editing program. George “Pinky” Nelson (1972), an astronaut, flew on three Space Shuttle program missions. Joe Pelton (2000) won the 2006 Legends of Poker tournament. Michael G. Wilson (1963) produced the James Bond film series.

    Harvey Mudd students join with students from Claremont McKenna and Scripps Colleges to compete as single athletic teams. This intercollegiate athletic program is known as Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, or CMS. Male teams are the Stags; female teams are the Athenas. All 20 CMS teams compete in Division III of the NCAA and in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

    Intramural sports are popular at Harvey Mudd—in fact, these teams often have more fan support than the varsity teams. Intramurals draw on the rivalry between Harvey Mudd’s dorms, which compete in sports including inner-tube water polo, flag football, ultimate Frisbee, and floor hockey. The Claremont Colleges also collectively offer a number of club sports, from ballroom dancing to rowing.

    Bill Nye (yup, the science guy) spoke at Harvey Mudd’s 2008 commencement.

    Only six Harvey Mudd students have ever received a perfect 4.0 GPA.

    Harvey Mudd’s Honor Code is student-developed and student-enforced.

    Harvey Mudd has no Greek life—instead, students self-segregate based on dorms. Each dorm has a specific personality, ranging from the jock dorm to the party dorm to the raver dorm to the computer-gamer dorm. Most juniors and seniors can secure singles if they wish. Mudd’s dorms include Mildred E. Mudd Hall, or “East Dorm;” West Hall, or “West,” which throws a tequila-centered party known as TQ Nite; North Hall, or “North,” which throws an annual formal called Long Tall; Marks Residence Hall, or “South”; J.L. Atwood Residence Hall, or “Atwood”; Case Residence Hall, known variously as “Case,” “Seventh Dorm,” and “Pink Dorm;” Ronald and Maxine Linde Residence Hall, or “Linde;” and Frederick and Susan Sontag Residence Hall, or “Sontag.”