Jean Ferguson Platt

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Jean Platt was trained in mathematics and deeply involved in the founding of Harvey Mudd College, providing her energy and intellect to establish the College and support its mission.  She was the wife of Harvey Mudd College Founding President and physics Professor Joseph B. Platt.

Here’s a remembrance from Art Benjamin:

There’s a famous story that shortly before Harvey Mudd College was open, one of the trustees said to its founding president Joe Platt, “Naturally I assume that this college of science and engineering will be all male.”
Platt replied, “Actually I assumed that the school would be open to men and women.”
The trustee then said, “Really? But who would ever marry a female mathematician?”
Platt said “I did!” and that ended the discussion. HMC has been co-ed since its inception and Jean Platt served as a wonderful first lady and role model for all of its students.

Jean also was active in the Claremont, CA community as an ex-officer
of Campus Women, one of the founding members of Foothill Philharmonic
and a member of the ARCS Foundation. In addition, she was active in the
United Church of Christ, the Red Cross and the Girl Scouts. She was
deeply involved in two of Claremont’s retirement communities, Pilgrim
Place and Mt. San Antonio Gardens. She served on the board of
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.

Jean passed away Monday, February 18, 2013.  I will try to gather some additional remembrances here about this remarkable woman.

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3 Responses to Jean Ferguson Platt

  1. Arthur Benjamin says:

    There’s a famous story that shortly before Harvey Mudd College was open, one of the trustees said to its founding president Joe Platt, “Naturally I assume that this college of science and engineering will be all male.”
    Platt replied, “Actually I assumed that the school would be open to men and women.”
    The trustee then said, “Really? But who would ever marry a female mathematician?”
    Platt said “I did!” and that ended the discussion. HMC has been co-ed since its inception and Jean Platt served as a wonderful first lady and role model for all of its students.

  2. Erin Byrne says:

    I met Jean when I was a student at Harvey Mudd. Over the course of a 5-8 minute conversation, I could tell she was caring, quick, and genuinely interested in the people around her. It was a true pleasure. She was a wonderful woman.

  3. Dagan Karp says:

    I’m loving this blog, Ray! Thanks for this!

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