CLAREMONT, Calif. (December 8, 2020) –
Claremont Graduate University (CGU) announces one
of the largest gifts in its nearly 100-year history—$14 million—from the San Manuel Band of
Mission Indians in Highland, CA, to purchase the Huntley Bookstore building at the heart of The
Claremont Colleges, a unique group of institutions in U.S. higher education.
An iconic example of mid-20th century architecture, the building will serve as the home of the
Yuhaaviatam Center for Health Studies, an innovative, multi-disciplinary health research center
rooted in a health and well-being initiative launched more than a year ago.
Bearing a name that means “People of the Pines” (which refers to the original inhabitants of the
area who are the ancestors of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians), the center will facilitate
the collaboration among CGU researchers, scientists, and outside partners to address health and
well-being challenges especially prevalent in underserved, vulnerable populations of the Inland
Empire and Indian Country.
Meeting a Need for Proactive Health Research
CGU is located on the threshold of the Inland Empire, a region with a high prevalence of chronic
disease where many underserved residents lack sufficient health coverage or awareness of the
benefits of wellness and preventative care.
When residents need a doctor, they face challenges to access due to an overstressed healthcare
system. Such underserved populations include Native American communities, which historically
have higher rates of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, mental health issues, lack of overall wellbeing,
and other chronic conditions.
San Manuel’s collaboration with CGU demonstrates how partnerships can provide a strong and
effective framework to address longstanding social inequities. Discussion of this historic gift began
in 2019 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, and it comes at a time when such
partnerships are needed to produce even more meaningful responses to public health challenges.
CGU President Len Jessup said the partnership between CGU and the tribe will make it possible to
create “powerful new collaborations on preventive and proactive responses to the kinds of chronic
illness affecting so many today.”
Future research at the center, he added, will address “many of the ‘underlying conditions’ we’ve
been hearing about during the pandemic. It’s our hope to eventually produce the kinds of research
at this center that will help prepare everyone, especially our most vulnerable populations, for the
challenges of another global crisis.”
Integrating Many Disciplines Under One Roof
Today, scholars across CGU’s seven schools and divisions are conducting innovative research on
proactive and behavioral approaches to disease prevention and designing health-driven
technologies improve accessibility to health management programs by underserved populations.
These efforts along with those of outside partners will come together in the Huntley Bookstore
building, a 23,000 square-foot facility, which has served as The Claremont Colleges’ central
bookstore for 50 years. The School of Community & Global Health will serve as the anchor tenant.
“Real, substantial breakthroughs happen when people from many disciplines come together and
collaborate. That’s the hallmark of our transdisciplinary philosophy,” Jessup explained, “and the
purchase of the Huntley makes it possible to create such a space for that kind of engagement on
San Manuel’s partnership with CGU builds on a relationship with the university dating to 2006 and
the establishment of the university’s Tribal Administration Program. That program provides
intensive training in areas of management as related to tribal governance and administration.
The Huntley building also will serve as that program’s home and the location of an envisioned
tribal community governance and jurisdiction center focused on health, well-being, and other
issues affecting Indian Country.
Improving Lives in the IE and Beyond
Plans for the center’s collaborative environment include bringing together university scholars,
outside partners, and leaders of outreach programs focused on integrative health and advanced
research to improve healthcare for vulnerable populations.
The focus won’t be on the Inland Empire alone but also extend to the L.A. Basin, which is home to
the largest population of Native Americans found in an urban area of the U.S. The tribe
understands the obstacles facing many of the region’s underserved communities because of its own
past economic and health-related struggles.
“In our role as stewards of our ancestral lands, we support our neighboring communities, in
addition to our Tribe. For generations, low-income communities and underserved populations have
needed quality healthcare. Our gift is an investment in future healthier communities and one we
are happy to make,” said San Manuel Tribal Chair Ken Ramirez.
Deron Marquez is the former San Manuel Chair, a CGU alumnus, and member of the university’s
Board of Trustees. He believes that the center’s work will resonate far beyond Southern California.
“The types of health and well-being research that will be tackled by the center are relevant to the
needs and situations of so many today. Its benefits will ripple out,” Marquez said. “To bring
together the university’s pioneering approach to research with San Manuel’s philanthropic vision
is truly exciting.”
For more about the Yuhaaviatam Center for Health Studies, visit info.cgu.edu/ychs/
About the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
The San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians is a federally recognized American Indian tribe located
near the city of Highland, Calif. The Serrano Indians are the indigenous people of the San Bernardino
highlands, passes, valleys and mountains who share a common language and culture. The San Manuel
reservation was established in 1891 and recognized as a sovereign nation with the right of
self-government. As an indigenous community the origins and history of the San Manuel Band of Mission
Indians stem from our relationship with the land and to all who share it. Since ancient times we have
expressed ourselves through a culture of giving. Today, San Manuel is able to answer the call of Yawa'
(Serrano word meaning “to act on one's beliefs”) through partnerships with charitable organizations. We
have drawn upon our history, knowledge, expertise and cultural values to direct our philanthropic giving
in our local region, as well as to Native American causes nationwide. For more information, visit
About Claremont Graduate University
Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is one of a select few American universities
devoted solely to graduate-level education. The university is a founding member of The Claremont
Colleges, which include Pomona College, Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna College, Scripps
College, Harvey Mudd College, and Keck Graduate Institute. CGU comprises seven schools
offering 76 degree and certificate programs. The university’s unique transdisciplinary perspective
encourages students to explore complex issues across academic disciplines. CGU is home to the
Peter F. Drucker & Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management and the annual Kingsley and
Kate Tufts Poetry Awards. Visit www.cgu.edu
About the Huntley Bookstore
Dedicated in 1969, the three-story building that has served as The Claremont Colleges’ central
bookstore for 50 years was made possible through a gift from the Earl W. Huntley Foundation. The
building was designed by acclaimed architects A. Quincy Jones and Frederick Emmons, whose firm
also designed many private homes (including the home of actor Gary Cooper) and public buildings
(including the Otis College of Art and Design, UCLA’s Charles E. Young Research Library, and St.
Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Studio City) in Southern California.
The Huntley building’s design features—which include exposed timber post and beams as well as
floor-to-ceiling glass—are considered hallmarks of the mid-century modern style that integrates
interiors with the outdoors. The building, at the heart of the Claremont Colleges, is an ideal
location for the Yuhaaviatam Center for Health Studies at Claremont Graduate University. The
historically important exterior will remain, and the remodeled interior will provide opportunities
for discovery and collaboration.
Download in PDF
Manager, Public Relations
San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
Executive Communications Director
Claremont Graduate University