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Who We Are


Denver, CO

Jess Miller
CMC ’23 | Senior Student Manager
Philosophy, Politics, & Economics Major
Jess has conducted research on religious accommodations, disinformation, and free speech. She is particularly interested in the intersection of constitutional law and technology.

Glendale, CA

Kimiko Adler
CMC ’23 | Senior Student Manager
Government and Classical Studies Dual Major
Kimiko has researched the influences of Greco-Roman civilization on 19th century American political discourse. She is interested in constitutional legal history, political philosophy and free speech.

Deerfield, IL

Olivia Fish
CMC ’23 | Senior Research Assistant
Philosophy, Politics, & Economics Major
She is working with Professor Fortner on his book studying the crack epidemic and has previously been a Harrison fellow writing on the evolution of originalism. Olivia is particularly interested in the intersection of art and politics as well as the study of constitutional law in the United States.

Sascha Douglass 
CMC ’24 | Junior Research Assistant
Government Major

Fun Fact: She has a dog that looks like Scrat from Ice Age.

Portland, OR

Charlie Hatcher
CMC ‘ 25 | Sophomore Research Assistant
Government and Data Science Major
He is currently working on a research project about the legal origins of qualified immunity in the United States..

Pasadena, CA

Maribella Muñoz-Jimenez
CMC ’25 | Sophomore Research Assistant
Public Policy and Philosophy Dual Major
She is currently assisting Professor Jon Shields with his research about the Republican Party in Wyoming as well as researching abortion rights in the United States post-Roe v. Wade.

Eden Prairie, MN

Henry Long
CMC ’25 | Sophomore Research Assistant
Philosophy, Politics, & Economics and Data Science Dual Major.
He is currently assisting Professor Jon Shields with his research about the Republican Party in Wyoming as well as working on his own research about the Supreme Court and education.

Denver, CO

Jaxson Sharpe
CMC ’26 | Freshman Research Assistant
Philosophy, Politics, & Economics Major
He is currently assisting Professor Thomas in his research of antebellum interpretations of the Guarantee Clause in congressional debates. He also conducts research on Second Amendment jurisprudence and constitutional scrutiny.

Atlanta, GA

Tamoy Pitt
CMC’ 26 | Freshman Research Assistant
Economics and Public Policy Dual Major
Currently assisting Professor McWilliams on her research regarding 1960s political thought and counterculture. She has a distinct interest in African and Classical governmental systems, law, and philosophy.

Upland, CA

Andrew Rizko
CMC ’26 | Freshman Research Assistant
Philosophy, Politics & Economics Major
He is currently assisting Professor Fortner on his book studying the crack epidemic. Andrew is also co-writing a series of blog posts discussing prisoner reintegration programs in the United States.

United Arab Emirates

Abizer Mamnoon
CMC ’25 | Sophomore Research Assistant
Data Science Major
He is currently working on his own research about re-entry programs for prisoners.

Philadelphia, PA

Henry Fina
CMC ’25 | Sophomore Research Assistant
Philosophy, Politics, & Economics Major
He is currently working on an analysis of the French Third and Fourth Republican collapses and how they influenced the formation of the Fifth Republic’s constitution.


Dr. George Thomas


George Thomas is Wohlford Professor of American Political Institutions and Director of The Salvatori Center. He has authored books such as The (Un)Written Constitution: (Oxford University Press, 2021), The Founders and the Idea of a National University: Constituting the American Mind (Cambridge University Press, 2015), The Madisonian Constitution (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), and has co-authored American Constitutional Law: Essays, Cases, and Comparative Notes (West Academic, 2018), as well as numerous scholarly articles on American Constitutionalism.  His works have appeared in more popular journals such as National Affairs and The American Interest, as well as the Washington Post and The Atlantic.  He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Huntington Library and is the recipient of the Alexander George Award from the American Political Science Association.

Faculty Profile Page

Jennifer Valdez

Assistant Director
Jennifer Valdez is entering her twelfth year of working at CMC. For nearly five years, she has managed all events, budgets, and operations at the Salvatori Center. Before that, she was Mailroom Supervisor and Administrative Assistant for the Psychology and Religious Studies departments at the Faculty Support Center. She has a B.A. in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Arts Administration and recently completed an M.A. in Legal Studies.

Affiliated Faculty

Dr. Mark Blitz


Mark Blitz (A.B. and Ph.D. from Harvard University) is Fletcher Jones Professor of Political Philosophy. He served during the Reagan Administration as Associate Director of the United States Information Agency, where he was the United States Government’s senior official responsible for educational and cultural exchange, and as Senior Professional Staff Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He has been Vice President and Director of Political and Social Studies at the Hudson Institute, and has taught political theory at Harvard University and at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the co-editor (with William Kristol) of Educating the Prince, and the author of Plato’s Political Philosophy, of Duty Bound: Responsibility and American Public Life, of Heidegger’s “Being and Time” and the Possibility of Political Philosophy, and of many articles on political philosophy, public policy, and foreign affairs.

Faculty Profile Page
Publications (links to CV)

Dr. Michael Fortner

Associate Professor of Government

Michael Fortner is an Associate Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College. He earned his B.A. from Emory Univeristy, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard. His areas of expertise include: American Culture and Politics Crime and Criminal Justice History Inequality and Public Policy Public Administration Public Policy Race & Social Problems Race and Ethnicity.

Faculty Profile Page

Dr. Seth Lobis


Seth Lobis is Associate Professor of Literature at Claremont McKenna College. He earned his B.A. and his Ph.D. from Yale. He published “The Virtue of Sympathy: Magic, Philosophy, and Literature in Seventeenth-Century England” in 2015. His areas of expertise include Milton, Renaissance Literature, Shakespeare. 

Faculty Profile Page

Dr. Susan J. McWilliams


Susan McWilliams is a Professor of Politics at Pomona College, where she has twice won the Wig Award for Excellence in Teaching.

She is the author of Traveling Back: Toward a Global Political Theory (Oxford University Press, 2014) and a co-editor of several books, most recently The Best Kind of College: An Insiders’ Guide to America’s Small Liberal Arts Colleges (co-edited with John Seery, SUNY Press). Her writing has been published widely, including in Boston ReviewBustFront Porch RepublicPerspectives on Political SciencePolitical Science QuarterlyThe Review of Politics, and The Star-Ledger.

McWilliams received her B.A. in political science and Russian from Amherst College, where she was Phi Beta Kappa, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University, where she won the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni University Teaching Award.

In 2014 she won both the Graves Award in the Humanities and a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship. She lives in Claremont, California, with her husband and two children.

Faculty Profile Page

Dr. James H. Nichols, Jr.


James H. Nichols, Jr., is Professor of Government and Dr. Jules L. Whitehill Professor of Humanism and Ethics at Claremont McKenna College and Avery Fellow at Claremont Graduate University. Educated at Yale and Cornell, he has also taught at McMaster University, the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research, and Yale University, and spent a year working at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, as Associate Director of the Division of General Programs. He teaches chiefly courses in political philosophy and also the Freshman Humanities Seminar. His publications include Epicurean Political Philosophy: The De rerum natura of Lucretius; translations with introduction, notes, and interpretative essays of Plato’s Gorgias and Phaedrus; and articles on pragmatism, human rights, Plato’s view of philosophic education, liberalism, and political economy. His most recent book is Alexandre Kojève: Wisdom at the End of History, and his current research focuses on the Roman imperial historian Tacitus.

Faculty Profile Page
Publications (links to CV)

Dr. Emily Pears


Emily Pears is Assistant Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College. She earned her B.A. in government from Claremont McKenna College, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Politics from the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on the development of patriotic attachments and constitutional union in the American Founding and early 19th century, and she is broadly interested in questions of nationalism and political culture in American political thought.

Faculty Profile Page

Dr. John J. Pitney, Jr.


Jack Pitney is the Roy P. Crocker Professor of Politics at Claremont McKenna College. He earned his B.A. from Union College, and his M.A., M.Phil and Ph.D. from Yale. His areas of expertise include: American Politics, California Politics, Congress, Electoral Politics, Internet & Politics, Media Politics, National Elections, Obama Administration, Political Advertising, Political Parties, Presidency, and Public Policy.

Faculty Profile Page

Dr. Jon A. Shields


Jon A. Shields is associate professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. He is the author of The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right(Princeton University Press) and coauthor of Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University (Oxford University Press). His commentary has appeared in the Los Angeles TimesNew RepublicNew York TimesWall Street JournalWashington Post, and Wilson Quarterly. Currently he is working on a book (with Stephanie Muravchik) on long-standing Democratic communities that voted for Donald Trump. His recent course offerings include classes on campus politics, racial inequality, and the American culture wars.

Faculty Profile Page


Board of Governors

Spencer Abraham P’19
Chairman and CEO of the Abraham Group, and former Secretary of Energy and United States Senator

Robert Ernst III ’74, P’05, P’10
Director Banbury Fund, Inc.
Carmel, CA

William Kristol (Chairman)
The Bulwark
Washington, DC

Diane McGimsey ‘99
Sullivan and Cromwell
Santa Monica, CA

Vincent Phillip Munoz ’93
Associate Professor of Religion & Public Life
Department of Political Science at University of Notre Dame
South Bend, IN

James Piereson
President of the William E. Simon Foundation
New York, NY

Jonathan Zimmerman
Professor of Education at Penn Graduate School of Education
Philadelphia, PA

Henry Salvatori

The Henry Salvatori Center began more than thirty years ago in a conversation between George C.S. Benson, the founding president of CMC, and Henry Salvatori. Its inspiration was Mr. Salvatori’s concern for the nature and problems of freedom in the modern world.

Born in Italy in 1901, he emigrated to America with his family in 1906. He earned his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and then went on to work for Bell Laboratories in New Jersey while earning an M.A. in Physics from Columbia University. After responding to an ad on a bulletin board, he set out for Oklahoma to experiment with seismic methods of exploring for oil. Working for Geophysical Research Corporation, Salvatori discovered many of the basic techniques of this new applied science. By 1930, he ran the company’s California and west coast operations. In 1933, with a capital investment of one truck and some equipment, he started his own company, Western Geophysical Corporation, which quickly became the industry leader, pioneering methods of offshore oil exploration and establishing offices around the globe.

Salvatori sold his company in 1960 and began a second career as a philanthropist and political activist. He was a major benefactor to numerous private colleges, to Los Angeles civic causes, and to think-tanks and research institutes across the country. His wife, the late Grace Ford Salvatori, was a primary fundraiser for the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital.

A dedicated anti-Communist who had been active in Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign, Salvatori soon became the leader of the small group of men (the so-called “kitchen cabinet”) who encouraged Ronald Reagan to enter politics and run for the governorship of California in 1966. Salvatori was concerned not only with the Communist threat to the Free World, but also with the long-range and more fundamental problem of the internal cohesion, the sense of purpose and self-confidence of the West, particularly the United States. With this in mind, he founded the Henry Salvatori Center at Claremont McKenna College to study the moral and intellectual foundations of civil society-the factors that inspire and ordain liberty, elevating it above mere license.

In 1990, after the collapse of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe, he established the Henry Salvatori Foundation to further the study of the American Founding and those civic principles that unite all Americans into one people.