Rally Round Scripps’ Student-Athletes for this Year’s 1946 Challenge

By Emily Glory Peters

Megan Maley ’23 (left) is just one of the many Scripps Athenas impacted by gifts to CMS Athletics during the 1946 Challenge

When CMS Women’s Head Golf Coach Jodie Burton saw her student-athletes reunite in person after 18 months apart, she was struck by their emotion. These weren’t polite, workaday hugs, she observed—they were the embraces of those who know the magic of belonging to a team.

“It’s the relationships that makes athletics special,” she says. “You get to laugh together, be sad together, journey together, work hard together—it was just so joyful to see them all again.”

Burton’s golfers are just a few of the student-athletes impacted by the 1946 Challenge, the annual fundraising event taking place this year on October 13–14 in honor of the founding year of Claremont McKenna College. As a member of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) athletic alliance, Scripps and its athletes also benefit from the campaign, with many parents, alums, and friends giving to CMS in celebration of the incredible contributions of our women’s team, the Athenas.

“Year in and year out, we’re tops in the conferences and NCAA—I’m not sure most people are aware of that,” Burton says. “The talent we have is extraordinary, with some exceptional athletes from Scripps.”

CMS Athletics Make a Difference for Students at Scripps

Computer science major Megan Maley ’23 is among these talented students. A runner since middle school, Maley has competed on the CMS track and cross country teams, and credits athletics for keeping her happy and motivated to excel in the classroom and on the field. Especially through the pandemic, she says, CMS has been a source of hope and encouragement—and the overall highlight of her time at Scripps.

“As a woman in sport, the relationships I’ve made with the strong group of Athenas have been the backbone of my college experience. I am inspired by each one of my teammates and I know I can rely on them and they can rely on me,” she says. “Having such an extensive support system and the opportunity to be a team leader is incredibly important for women in college, and athletics provide a perfect environment for that.”

Although athletics were part of the consortium’s history almost from the very beginning, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s teams weren’t officially introduced until 1976. Burton—a gifted multi-sport athlete who was “ready to compete from birth”—joined the coaching staff a couple of years later, eager to provide other women with the opportunity to train and compete. But more could be done for student-athletes like Maley, and donors have played a significant role in making that possible.

“Donations enhance my programs tremendously,” Burton says, noting how donor funding has helped expand CMS women’s athletics over her 43-year tenure by adding teams for soccer, softball, water polo, lacrosse, golf, and more. Gifts also help cover everything from bringing a greater number of students to elite competitions to grabbing an ice cream cone together as a team.

“That’s not in the ordinary budget,” she adds. “Donor gifts allow me to decide where we need more support and pick what’s important for each year’s team.”

By giving, supporters of CMS have also stoked the local rivalry in college sports between CMS and Pomona-Pitzer, adding something intangible to the Scripps experience: intercollegiate pride.

“Running for a nationally ranked team so deeply rooted in tradition, boasting over 10 straight Southern California Intercollege Athletic Conference (SCIAC) titles—it forges a strong sense of pride and community,” says Maley. “CMS athletics builds bridges in and outside of the classroom to make the 5C bond even stronger.”

Burton agrees—and knows the broader Claremont Colleges community is part of that shared magic.

“All three schools have been tremendous in their support and have encouraged us to be competitive—to be outstanding and high achieving. I am so appreciative of the gifts that have helped make CMS what it is today,” she says. “Alumnae and parents make our programs better.”

Athletics help create an exceptional Scripps experience for all students. To support Scripps’ student-athletes with a gift during the CMS 1946 Challenge, please click here.