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University President Rocks

by Shari Graydon

Top 4 Reasons I’m a fan of Dr. Maria Klawe, President of Harvey Mudd University in Claremont, CA

#1: She’s been actively challenging stereotypes about science and engineering in a bid to encourage more women to pursue such fields for two decades. (I interviewed her on this subject back in 1995 for a TV series I was producing. She was as passionate and compelling then as she appears to be now — based on the NY Times feature quoted below.)

Reasons 2 through 4:

Now 60, Dr. Klawe is most often seen on campus in jeans – even, sometimes, on a skateboard, a skill she taught herself in just the last few years…

In a nod to Mudd’s very personal character, Dr. Klawe said, every summer she uses a flash card program to memorize the names of the nearly 200 incoming freshmen. On campus, she greets each student she passes by name…

 Dr. Klawe sometimes does the recruiting herself, sending personal messages to fence-sitters. “You tell her about a kid you really want and within four seconds, she’s sent an e-mail,” said Thyra Briggs, Mudd’s vice president for admission and financial aid.