They’re one of the premier engineering, science and mathematics colleges in the United States.
They’re also unique because they are a liberal arts college. Aren’t engineering, science and mathematics mutually exclusive of the liberal arts? Maybe at some places, but not at Harvey Mudd.
They educate engineers, scientists and mathematicians who become leaders in their fields and have a clear understanding of the impact their work has on society. That’s the big picture.
Mudd offers nine engineering, science and mathematics-based majors, all grounded in a solid core curriculum that includes a healthy dose of humanities and social science courses. Why? Because they know that you don’t have to sacrifice your interest in music or art (or anything else) to be good scientists. And because an understanding of history and politics will make them more effective engineers, chemists, lawyers, doctors and human beings. Add to that all of the hands-on experience they get through their high-level research projects and through their world-renowned Clinic Program, and they fearless Mudders go into the world ready for anything.
Not that Mudd’s all academics. They’re people, too. Longboards get them around campus, the Honor Code gives them freedom and responsibility, pranks keep them laughing, and parties make them famous. So not only do they know how to get things done, they know how to have a good time.
And for all of this, they have Harvey S. Mudd to thank. In the 1950s Mudd, an accomplished mining engineer, wanted to overcome many of the shortcomings of traditional, narrow technical training of his day. Mudd, and his successors who helped establish the college, delivered on his vision in a big way. Not only did they understand the world of science, they understood the people behind it. And today they have Harvey Mudd College, a place created by and for future, forward thinking scientists.
History of Harvey Mudd College
Harvey Mudd College, the nation’s top liberal arts college of engineering, science and mathematics, was chartered in December 1955.
Two years later, in 1957, when the Space Race made technical education a priority in the United States, the College opened its doors. The founders’ vision—to attract the nation’s brightest students and offer them a rigorous scientific and technological education coupled with a strong curricular emphasis in the humanities and social sciences—has been successfully realized and expanded. In 1963, the College initiated the nationally recognized Clinic Program, which allows student teams to solve problems posed by sponsoring industry, government and nonprofit organizations. The emphasis on undergraduate research for all students has led to Harvey Mudd graduates earning PhD degrees in science and engineering at one of the highest rates in the nation.
Harvey Mudd College Opens
Harvey Mudd College opened in September 1957, less than a month before Sputnik I ushered in the Space Age. Forty-eight students and seven faculty who shared the dream of starting a technical college that would emphasize the humanistic aspects of technology were on hand when the school opened its doors. Nuclear physicist Joseph B. Platt served the fledgling institution as its first president, and new courses and a new curriculum were formulated under a grant from the Carnegie Corp.
Progress and Success
Slowly, classrooms and dorms were built, and students began to fill them. By 1965, 284 students were enrolled in classes and faculty numbered 43. Harvey Mudd celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1975, with student enrollment at 497 and climbing.
In 1976, D. Kenneth Baker became the second president of Harvey Mudd College, followed by Henry E. Riggs in 1988, Jon C. Strauss in 1997 and Maria M. Klawe in 2006. Today, about 800 extraordinary students are enrolled at Harvey Mudd College, learning through rigorous and challenging educational experiences from a highly committed faculty. Recently, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges reaffirmed the institutional accreditation for the College. In their final report, the WASC team wrote, “Harvey Mudd is characterized by excellence and success, and is widely regarded as among the nation’s best undergraduate science and engineering colleges.”
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