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Veritas Academy: Faith, Learning, & Making the Most of College

A Pre-College Retreat for Incoming Claremont Colleges Freshmen: July 20-23, 2018

Veritas Academy is a four-day, three-night residential experience for incoming Claremont Colleges freshmen, held July 20-23 on the Claremont McKenna campus. Led by Christian faculty, upperclassmen and alumni, this experience helps incoming students ask the big questions, design a meaningful college experience, learn practical tips, and build a faith community among peers – all before arriving on campus in the fall. The curriculum draws upon The Veritas Forum’s 25 years of experience engaging faith and reason on America’s leading campuses.

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Faculty Mentors:

Francis Su talking

Francis Su, Professor of Mathematics, Harvey Mudd College

Francis Edward Su is the Benediktsson-Karwa Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College. He received his B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. His research is in geometric and topological combinatorics and applications to the social sciences, and he has co-authored more than 40 papers, many with undergraduates. His solution to a common roommate problem was featured recently in the New York Times: “Divide Your Rent Fairly.” He also has a passion for teaching and popularizing mathematics. From the Mathematical Association of America, he received the 2001 Hasse Prize for expository writing, and the 2004 Alder Award and the 2013 Haimo Award for distinguished teaching. He authors the popular Math Fun Facts website
and iPhone app. His hobbies include songwriting, gardening, photography, and theology.


Ken Miller, Associate Professor of Government, Claremont McKenna College

Kenneth P. Miller is a professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College specializing in California politics, direct democracy, and state constitutional law. Miller is the Associate Director of the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, a research institute known for its expertise in redistricting, elections, demographic research, and public policy analysis. He is also co-founder and co-director of Claremont’s Dreier Roundtable, which focuses on questions of national politics and policy. Ken attended Pomona College, Harvard Law School, and earned his Ph.D. from Berkeley. In 2011-2012, Miller served as the Ann and Herbert W. Vaughan Visiting Fellow atPrinceton University’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, founded by Professor Robert P. George.


Mary Poplin, Professor of Education, Claremont Graduate University

Mary Poplin earned her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Texas. She began her career teaching elementary school and special education, later becoming a professor at Claremont Graduate University in California where she was director of the Teacher Education Program, 1985-1995 and Dean of the School of Educational Studies, 2000-04. Between those positions Poplin worked with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta. She is the author of “Voices from the Inside: A Report on Schooling from Inside the Classroom” (1992). More recently, Poplin has begun to work on the application of the intellectual, social, and psychological principles of the Judeo-Christian worldview as they apply to higher education, particularly among culturally and linguistically diverse peoples
and the poor. Poplin has published two books with Veritas through InterVarsity Press: Is Reality Secular? Testing the Assumptions of Four Global Worldviews (2013) and Finding Calcutta: What Mother Teresa Taught Me About Meaningful Work and Service (2008).

Kevin Dettmar, Professor of English, Pomona College

Kevin Dettmar splits his research and teaching between British & Irish modernism, especially James Joyce, and contemporary popular music. A literary, music, and cultural critic, he has written for academic anthologies as well as popular publications like The Atlantic Monthly and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is the co-editor for Oxford University Press book series Modernist Literature & Culture, and general editor of the Longman Anthology of British Literature. Professor Dettmar taught at Loyola Marymount University, Clemson University, Columbia University, and Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, before coming to Pomona in 2008.

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Stephen Davis, Professor of Philosophy, Claremont McKenna College

Stephen T. Davis is a CGU Ph.D. in philosophy (1970). He is the Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy at Claremont McKenna College. Steve specializes in the philosophy of
religion and Christian thought. He is the author and/or editor of fifteen books, including Encountering Evil (Westminster John Knox Press, 2nd ed., 2001), Christian Philosophical Theology (Oxford University Press, 2006), and Disputed Issues (Baylor University Press, 2009). He has also written over seventy academic articles and reviews. During his entire career at CMC, he has worked closely with the Philosophy Department and the School of Religion at CGU, serving on dissertation committees, participating in conferences, and occasionally teaching courses. In 1988, the Alumni Council of CGU awarded Steve the Distinguished Alumnus Award. In April, 2010, Steve joined five other American
philosophers of religion for a week-long series of academic conferences with
Iranian scholars at the University of Tehran, the University of Qum, and the University of Esfahan.


Talithia Williams, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Harvey Mudd College

As an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, Williams has made it her life’s work to get people—students, parents, educators and community members—more excited about the possibilities inherent in a STEM education. As illustrated in her popular TedTalk, “Own Your Body’s Data,” she demystifies the mathematical process in amusing and insightful ways, using statistics as a way of seeing the world in a new light and transforming our future through the bold new possibilities inherent in the STEM fields. Williams received her B.S. in mathematics from Spelman College, master’s degrees in both mathematics from Howard University and statistics from Rice University, and a PhD in statistics from Rice University. Her professional experiences include research appointments at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the National Security Agency (NSA), and NASA.

Students will come out of Veritas Academy with: 

  • Relationships with faculty, upperclassmen, and alumni
  • A framework for integrating faith and learning in college
  • Tools for designing a meaningful college experience
  • A vision for serving and contributing to campus life
  • A faith community of peers before orientation starts

WhenJuly 20 – July 23, 2018
Where: Claremont Colleges Campus
Who: Soon-to-be freshmen at the Claremont Colleges who are excited to cultivate their faith in college, intentionally contribute to campus life, and meet Christian faculty, upperclassmen, alumni, and peers
What: An intensive learning experience that provides incoming Claremont Colleges freshmen with the tools, resources, community and vision to flourish in college

How: Apply by June 30

Cost: $199

Scholarships (including travel costs) are available upon application. Have further questions? Send an email to