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2018 Founders' Night

The 122nd Founders’ Night festivities began, as it does every year, with the induction ceremony of many new Gnomes in the Athenaeum library. This year the room was full with over 30 new Gnomes deciding to join our club! All we were welcomed into the club by learning about the storied history, the indelible tales of portals and the crescent moon and finally learning the secret passcode and handshake.

The 2018 Founders' night felt really special. There was a sense of excitement in the air. Attendance hit record levels with over 110 attendees! That's almost a 60% increase from the year before! The many new Gnomes began their new journey by sharing their experiences as undergraduates with the crowd. Each of the four students described their Caltech experiences noting how they each enriched and supported the Caltech community and the lives of their fellow students.

After the students, the Gnomes and their guests formally introduced the featured speaker, Sam Wang, B.S. '86. Sam Wang is a professor of neuroscience and molecular biology at Princeton University and a faculty associate of the Program in Law and Public Affairs. He is also noted for pioneering statistical methods to analyze U.S. presidential election polls, starting in 2004 at the Princeton Election Consortium. His talk focused on gerrymandering and the impact it has had throughout history on politics, the general population and the election of politicians. He also discussed in great detail his efforts to apply these methods to help define and limit partisan gerrymandering. A very intense Q&A session was held, where we dove into very detailed questions about the current and future state of politics.

After Sam’s presentation, the president, Tim Boyd, discussed the overarching vision for the club and highlighted the key initiatives being focused on by the board. These included: Refocus, Regionalize, Reconnect, Refinance, Reorganize and Revitalize.

After this discussion, the Club conducted its annual meeting, beginning with its well-known ritual. Members who had passed away in the previous twelve months were remembered, our stable financial state was reported, and new Board members and officers were elected. All Gnomes are encouraged to mark March 9, 2019, a Saturday, on their calendars and plan now to join their friends at the 123rd Founders’ Night!

Photos courtesy: Kevin Noertker

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