Announcement of opening of the new Kravis Lab for Social Impact at Claremont McKenna College

September 21, 2018

From the Office of the Dean of Faculty

Dear CMC Faculty, Staff, and Students,

I am pleased to announce the opening of the Kravis Lab for Social Impact, a timely and important resource to help CMC students learn valuable skills for success and build their capacity to have a positive impact locally, nationally, and around the globe. The Kravis Lab for Social Impact is supported by trustee Henry R. Kravis ’67 and Marie-Josée Kravis to prepare our students for roles of responsible leadership in the social sector.

The Kravis Lab for Social Impact fulfills three major objectives for CMC. It helps students develop core skills for success in college and in life; teaches students to work with nonprofits to improve lives in local, national, and global communities; and trains students to become social innovators and entrepreneurs who create solutions to address some of the world’s most pressing problems.

In 2014, Ashoka U recognized the leadership of the Kravis Leadership Institute and CMC in social innovation and designated the College as a Changemaker Campus. Then in 2016, building on a prior decade of investment in the Kravis Prize in Nonprofit Leadership, Henry and Marie-Josée Kravis generously funded a fully integrated program to promote leadership through social innovation within KLI. Since the summer of 2016, Scott Sherman and Gemma Bulos have provided CMC students with leadership experience in social innovation and entrepreneurship.

This programming has become fundamental to inculcating the creativity, collaboration, and courage the world needs from this generation of scholar-leaders. The Kravis Lab for Social Impact will now serve as a standalone office to reach even more students. We are fortunate that Scott and Gemma are able to lead this continued expansion of student opportunities.

Over the past 18 months, Scott and Gemma have already introduced a number of signature programs with over 700 students in attendance, including:

  • The Core Skills for Success Program aspires to reach all students at CMC, creating innovative programming to train CMCers in the essential capacities they will need to thrive in the coming decades, including transformative communication, an action mindset, and resilience. This four-year trajectory builds on the existing Sophomore Leadership Experience. Last year, they developed a similar program for first-year students to develop the tools they need to navigate challenges as newcomers to CMC. This year, they will be offering relevant skill-building experiences for juniors and seniors as they prepare for thoughtful and productive lives and roles of responsible leadership.
  • The Community Impact Program provides our students with an invaluable learning opportunity to make a substantive impact on the community. The Dinners with World-Changers and Non-profit Success Series brought over 50 award-winning social entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors to campus to meet, mentor, and train CMC students in cutting-edge methodologies for social impact. These student and community events attracted and brought together over 400 students, members of our community, and Inland Empire nonprofits.
  • The Social Innovation Program — A signature social innovation program for students who are interested in becoming social entrepreneurs is the Moonshot House. This program gives students the ability to incubate ideas for businesses that could have a transformative impact on the world. The idea of the Moonshot is inspired by the Apollo mission of the 1960s. The Kravis Lab Moonshot House is designed to stimulate and shape a bold, visionary business idea that could improve the human condition. One project that emerged from the Moonshot House last year brought well deserved recognition to CMC Alumna Vanessa Gill ’18, who was a National Geographic Genius Finalist in her senior year at CMC. She was selected for the prestigious Halcyon Incubator upon graduation. Look for her Social Cipher product launch in 2019.
  • Curricular offerings — Leading Social Innovation (LEAD142) — This course focuses on the practical aspects of social entrepreneurship in promoting social change. Inspired and guided by guest lecturers who are award-winning social entrepreneurs, students from the 5Cs benefit from the collaborative learning environment to better understand the key determinants of social innovation and how to generate and refine their ideas. In this course, Henry Dolin PZ ’20 and Victoria Najas CMC ’20 came up with a revolutionary roof tile that would reduce the need for air conditioning. From there, they built a prototype in the Kravis Lab Makership program that may be used in villages with no electricity.
  • Internships and Research Fellowships with award-winning social enterprises — Students have the opportunity to work on a project alongside internationally recognized changemakers who are affecting systems change. For example, last summer Nathalie Limandibhratha CMC ’19 and Elise Thompson SC ’18 designed and conducted a Gender Audit of Rainwater Harvesting Masons. The report was presented to the Ministry of Water in Uganda, which resulted in a partnership between the social enterprise and the Ministry influencing national policy.

As a co-curricular program, the Kravis Lab for Social Impact will work in close collaboration with the offices of the Dean of Faculty and Dean of Students. It will be located on the 2nd floor of Bauer North. The Kravis Leadership Institute will continue to be located on the 4th floor of the Kravis Center and fulfill its mission of supporting and promoting faculty and student research, overseeing leadership education, and offering student internships, workshops, and other academic and experiential opportunities related to leadership.

To learn more about the Kravis Lab for Social Impact, visit or contact Gemma Bulos at I look forward to working with the lab on its ambitious agenda.


Peter Uvin
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty