About Our College
Pitzer was founded in 1963 as a women's college by Russell K. Pitzer (1878–1978), a California citrus magnate, philanthropist, and Pomona College alumnus. In April 1963, John W. Atherton, the dean of faculty and a professor of English at Claremont Men's College (now Claremont McKenna College) was hired as Pitzer's first president, and over the next seventeen months he recruited students, faculty, and trustees and constructed Scott and Sanborn Halls just in time for the fall 1964 semester. During the College's first year, students and faculty created the curriculum and the school's system of governance. The College graduated its first class of students in 1965 and became co-educational in the fall of 1970. The first academic term in the fall of 1964 began with eleven professors and 153 students from sixteen states and five countries. Pitzer's current president is the first African American to lead any of the five Claremont Colleges.