• Jane Arnault-Factor
    Jane Arnault-Factor

June Greetings from the Associates President

Over the past eight months, the Associates have welcomed 55 new members (households)—a record number for the organization. Much of the increase derives both from members like you inviting friends and colleagues to join our educational adventures and from the focused efforts of the Associates' board, its committees, and our staff. We have together worked hard on recruitment, engagement, and stewardship of members; new travel and event offerings in Southern California and our regional programming in Northern California and on the East Coast; and raising the Associates' visibility and profile.

Top priorities of my presidential term are to expand programming and travel opportunities and to increase membership with a focus on the Westside and Orange County. Our two regions in Northern California and on the East Coast are flourishing due to their smart, energetic leadership. We are continuing to share timely, popular programs. For example, the panel on the future of driverless cars hosted at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View on September 28, 2016, was successfully repeated on campus on April 19, 2017, with professors Mory Gharib (PhD '83), Richard Murray (BS '85), and Pietro Perona and moderated by committee member Evangelos Simoudis (BS '83). As another example, David Baltimore, Nobel Prize winner, Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology, and former president of Caltech, recently addressed Northern California Associates on the complex and fascinating topic of gene editing in a dynamic interview with committee member David Larwood (BS '84).

Associates Board Meeting News

The Associates Board and committees met last month for the second of three board meetings this year. Not surprisingly, our discussions focused on membership growth, new regional programming, and the selection of new board members. How further to inspire and delight our Associates membership with our programming was a common theme throughout.

The Program Committee, chaired by Janice Ohta, and Travel Committee, chaired by Stephen Rogers, discussed new and exciting topics to highlight the leading-edge research of Caltech faculty and alumni through their talks to us and out travel together to destinations far and near (day trips). The Membership Committee, now co-chaired by Peter Clark (PhD '64) and someone soon to be selected, brainstormed membership growth and outreach. The Westside Committee continues to be chaired by Joyce Hameetman. Today, there are almost 2,000 members of the Associates, including business and community leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, educators, Caltech neighbors, members living in other cities (including our Northern California and East Coast regions), and even the occasional rocket scientist! As we look for ways to spread the word about our organization, we look to you, our members, for your involvement and feedback. Please contact me or Associates Executive Director Catherine Reeves with your suggestions.

I am happy to announce that over the next six months, the Associates will roll out new programming closer to home for Westside and Orange County members in order to minimize their travel time and traffic. Expect to see event listings for events beginning in fall 2017. Of course, the majority of our activities will remain on campus in Pasadena. 

The board also unanimously voted in five new board members, who bring a diversity of talents and expertise. Their term begins in October 2017. We welcome new board members Bill Bogaard, Charles (Chip) Fairchild, Betty Huang, Susan Murakami, and James Zhu.

It is also my great pleasure to announce our president elect, Stephen Rogers, who will assume my duties in October 2018. Immediate past president Lynda Boone Fetter, Catherine Reeves, and I have had the privilege of collaborating with Steve on our committee work, and I know that he will be a major contributor to the Associates.

Associates June Events

Don't miss the last event on the Associates calendar before we move into the quiet summer season. Associates will have the opportunity to privately roam the halls of the iconic Griffith Observatory on June 19 when it is closed to the public, hear a lecture from George Djorgovski, professor of astronomy and director of the Center for Data-Driven Discovery, and together enjoy a dinner under the stars. More.


Caltech is now preparing for graduation, and Associates members are invited to attend. Dr. Mae C. Jemison, already an engineer, physician, and scientist, trained further to become a NASA astronaut who went into space when she flew aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in 1992. Dr. Jemison will be an inspirational speaker for Caltech's class of 2017 at the 123rd annual commencement ceremony on Friday, June 16.

The Associates newsletter will take a summer recess, but we will be back in September with a snapshot of Caltech's Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy, which alone has 14 Nobel Prize winners, three Crafoord laureates, two Fundamental Physics Prize recipients, one Kavli Prize recipient, and 15 National Medal of Science recipients among its faculty and alumni.  

Wishing Associates and friends near and far a wonderful summer!

—Jane Arnault-Factor, PhD, Caltech Associates Board President