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Pitzer College Notable Alumni

Last Updated on January 22, 2023 by Team College Learners

Pitzer College is a private residential liberal arts college in Claremont, California. One of the Claremont Colleges, the college has a curricular emphasis on the social sciences, behavioral sciences, international programs, and media studies.[4] Pitzer is known for its social justice culture, nonconformist student body, and experimental pedagogical approach.


As a member of The Claremont College Consortium, Pitzer students have access to nearly all facilities available to students enrolled at the other colleges, in addition to all facilities administered by the Claremont College Consortium. Any student attending Pitzer can enroll in classes at the other four colleges, and can complete an off-campus major if the major is not offered by Pitzer.

Pitzer offers 41 majors and 22 minors,[39] many of them cross-disciplinary, and each student is assigned a faculty advisor upon their arrival on campus. The College expects students to take an active part in planning their course of study and has few distribution requirements.[40] The student/faculty ratio is 10:1, and 100% of Pitzer’s tenure-track faculty hold a Ph.D. or the terminal degree in their field.[40]

The college operates 58 study abroad programs, including 41 international exchanges and 6 domestic exchanges. Pitzer College also operates its own study abroad programs in Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Italy, Nepal, Tanzania/South Africa/Zimbabwe, and Vietnam.[41][42]

Pitzer has ranked as a top producer of Fulbright US Student Program awardees for 13 consecutive years thus far and is one of the nine baccalaureate institutes who have been top producers of Fulbright US students every year for at least the past decade.[43] From 2010-2015, The Chronicle of Higher Education listed Pitzer first in Fulbright Fellowships among all undergraduate institutions nationwide. In 11 of the past 12 years, Pitzer received more Fulbright Fellowships per capita than any other college or university nationwide.[44]

In 2015, Pitzer students and alums were awarded 21 Fulbrights. In its history, Pitzer students and alums have been awarded:

217 Fulbright Scholarships
31 Watson Fellowships
47 Teach for America Corps
15 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships
16 McNair Scholarships
9 Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarships
12 Kemper Scholarships
12 Coro Fellowships
6 Udall Scholarships
4 American Sociological Association Minority Fellowships
3 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Fellowships
3 Princeton in Asia Teaching Fellowships
2 Freeman Foundation Asia Fellowships
2 Point Foundation Scholarships
1 Princeton in Africa
1 Truman Fellowship
1 Clarendon Scholarship
1 Rhodes Scholarship[45][46]
Pitzer offers a Secularism major.[47][48]

Enrolled Fall Freshman Statistics
2019[49] 2018[50] 2017[51] 2016[52] 2015[53]
Applicants 4,415 4,358 3,753 4,142 4,149
Admits 605 581 608 569 559
Admit rate 13.7% 13.3% 16.2% 13.7% 13.5%
Enrolled 276 273 262 268 267
Yield rate 45.6% 47.0% 43.1% 47.1% 47.8%
SAT range 1350-1460 1340-1490 1310-1490 1300-1450 1250-1440
ACT range 30-33 30-33 29-32 29-32 29-32
Pitzer College does not require the SAT or ACT for students applying for admission.[54] For the Class of 2023 (enrolling fall 2019), of the 32% of enrolled freshmen submitting SAT scores, the middle 50% range was 1350-1460 for the composite score, 668–730 for evidence-based reading and writing, and 680–750 for math, while of the 28% of enrolled freshmen submitting ACT results, the middle 50% range for the composite score was 30–33.[49]

Student body
Pitzer College enrolls approximately 1000 students, making it the third largest of the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges (Claremont McKenna and Pomona have larger student bodies, while Harvey Mudd and Scripps are smaller). For the class of 2013, the median family income of Pitzer students is $229,100, the highest in California, with 48% of students coming from the top 5% highest-earning families and 18% from the bottom 60%.[55] Pitzer College ranks 25th nationwide among all Baccalaureate Colleges for percentage of its students who study abroad, and Pitzer has the highest rate of study abroad among the Claremont Colleges. Students of color constitute over 30% of the total student body and Pitzer enrolls 10% international students, the third largest among the Claremont Consortium behind Pomona College (12%) and Claremont Mckenna College (16%).[56]

Community involvement
The Pitzer College community is known for its involvement outside of the classroom. Its students, faculty, and staff donate over 100,000 hours to community service annually. The College has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll seven times.[57]

Much of Pitzer’s community engagement occurs in the Community Engagement Center (CEC).[58] The CEC runs the Pitzer in Ontario Program, a comprehensive semester-long service learning and cultural immersion program with a strong theoretical foundation in the human sciences informed by the best practices in the field of experiential education. The program integrates extensive internship experiences in city, private or non-profit organizations with interdisciplinary coursework that provides the theoretical framework from which social and urban issues can be effectively evaluated. Through living in Ontario, students have the opportunity to engage firsthand the diversity of voices, perspectives, and agendas that are driving those demands, and to come to a better understanding of the many layers of engaged citizenship.[59]

At the Campus Compact 20/20 Visioning Summit on October 17, 2006, the Corporation for National and Community Service recognized Pitzer as one of 28 California campuses distinguished for community service and Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Pitzer College received Mother Jones Magazine 2006 Campus Activism for Thinking Outside of the Box.[60][61]

Pitzer College students including former Speaker of the California State Assembly Fabian Nunez ’97 helped in founding the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center.[62] Through the Community Engagement Center, dozens of Pitzer students volunteer each semester with programs at Camp Afflerbaugh and California Youth Authority Chino.

Events and traditions
Kohoutek Music and Arts Festival began in 1974 and is a student-run multi-day outdoor music and arts festival held each spring on the Pitzer campus. The event, which is free and open to all Claremont Colleges community members, is named after Comet Kohoutek, discovered by Czech astronomer Lubos Kohoutek. Past groups that have headlined Kohoutek include: O.A.R, Blackalicious, The Roots, Tea Leaf Green, Breakestra, Zolar X, Lyrics Born, Akron/Family, Zion I and Toubab Krewe. Last year’s headliners were Matt & Kim, Blu and Mr. Lif and featured a performance by special guests Mandrill. The festival generally includes a number of non-music components including off-campus and student vendors, fire performances, a farmers market, and other activities.[63]

Groove at the Grove: refers to those concerts or other performances held on Thursday nights at the Grove House, but the term may be used at other times as well. The event represents Pitzer’s most consistent contribution to the weeknight arts and music scene at the Claremont Colleges. Acts set up on the front steps of the Grove House with the audience standing immediately in front of the structure. Numerous student and professional groups have performed at the event, including We Are Scientists.[citation needed]

Hammocks on The Mounds: refers to the hanging of hammocks on the Pitzer Mounds, the uneven grassy area located directly north of McConnell Center. The hammocks are generally donated by students and/or alumni, or purchased by the student government.[citation needed]

Orientation Adventure or OA is the College’s pre-Welcome Week program for incoming First-Year, Transfer, and New Resource students.[64] The program offers multi-day thematic trips throughout California, led by student leaders. Over the program’s history themes have included backpacking, sustainability, coastal biking, grassroots movements, surfing, and Los Angeles arts & music. Trips generally vary in length from three to four days and destinations of past trips have included: Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, Chávez National Center, San Gabriel River Trail, Newport Beach, Los Angeles, San Onofre, community gardens, and San Diego.[citation needed]

Murals provide unique visual atmosphere to Pitzer college. Murals are painted by students, staff, and guests artists on the interiors and exteriors of campus buildings. Diverse themes include portraits, politics, literature, and purely whimsical imagery.[65]

Snackie Snack occurs weekly, and is a free late-night snack served by the Pitzer Activities (PAct) Programming Board. During exam periods, Snackie Snack is served by the president and members of the cabinet.[66]

“Reggae Fest” began in 2003 as a fall concert event. Sometimes referred to as “BobFest”, the event occurs during the first weekend in November and features Reggae, Dancehall, Afrobeat, and World music. The festival runs over the course of a single day and features 5-9 live, professional bands, free food and beverages. The event has been hosted by California reggae personality Junor Francis each year since its inception.

Notable alumni

Anne Archer 1969, actress
Matthew Berkowitz, filmmaker
David Bloom 1985, anchor, NBC News
Max Brooks 1994, author and lecturer, son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft
Dennis Cooper, novelist, poet, critic, and performance artist
John Darnielle 1995, novelist and lead singer of The Mountain Goats
Eric Douglas American actor and stand-up comedian, son of Kirk Douglas, brother of Michael Douglas
Mablean Ephriam ’71, former prosecutor for the city of Los Angeles, television personality and actress
Kevin de León 2003, president of the California State Senate
Eli Erlick 2016, transgender activist, director of Trans Student Educational Resources
Susan Feniger 1976, celebrity chef and restaurateur
Tom Freund 1993, singer-songwriter and musician
Amy Gerstler 1978, poet and winner of the 1991 National Books Critics Circle Award for Bitter Angel
Jenniphr Goodman 1984, writer/director of The Tao of Steve
Steven González 1985, Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court
Matthew Karatz 1994, deputy mayor of Los Angeles
John Landgraf 1984, FX Network president
J.Lately 2009, rapper[87]
Dana Levin 1987, poet
Hunter Lovins, co-founder of Rocky Mountain Institute
Setha Low 1969, anthropologist, director of the Public Space Research Group
Rob Magnuson Smith 1991, author
Jonah Matranga 1991, singer-songwriter and musician, former frontman for Far and Gratitude.
Sandra Mitchell 1973, award-winning author, professor and philosopher of science
Sharon Monsky 1975, founder of the Scleroderma Research Foundation
Dee Mosbacher, documentary filmmaker, gay rights activist, and psychiatrist[88]
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida’s 26th district
Matt Nathanson 1995, singer-songwriter and musician
Ashwin Navin 1998, CEO of Sambaa.
Fabian Núñez, former Speaker of the California State Assembly
Susan Patron 1969, children’s author and winner of the 2007 Newbery Medal for The Higher Power of Lucky
Nick Simmons 2011, reality television personality, son of Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed
Michael Simpson 1986, Grammy-Award-winning producer/composer; one half of the Dust Brothers
Rob Magnuson Smith 1991, author
Debra Wong Yang 1981, former United States Attorney for Central District of California; first Asian-American woman U.S. attorney.

pitzer college ranking

Academic rankings
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[23] 36
Washington Monthly[24] 130
Forbes[25] 54
THE/WSJ[26] 77
The U.S. News & World Report College and University rankings 2021 edition ranks Pitzer College tied for the 36th best national liberal arts college overall, and tied for 167th in “Top Performers on Social Mobility” out of 216 evaluated liberal arts colleges.[27] In 2015, Pitzer was recognized nationally as the 8th most selective liberal arts college; 20th most selective among all college and universities; 44th in best freshmen retention rate; and 55th for highest proportion of classes with fewer than 20 students.[28][29][30][31][32]

In Forbes’ 2019 college rankings, Pitzer was named 54th best among the 650 top-ranked colleges, universities and service academies in the U.S.[33] In addition, Pitzer was named the 44th best private college, the 22nd best liberal arts college, and the 11th best college in the West.[33]

In 2021, Pitzer ranked 31st on Academic Influence’s 50 Best Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities of 2021 list.[34][35]

Pitzer earned an A for Campus Food[36] from Niche and a Perfect 10 for Greenest College in the Country from College Prowler.[37] College Raptor ranked Pitzer as the “Hidden Gem” among small colleges in California.