Professor Elliott awarding the Truman Prize to Jessica Brody '99, September, 1998.

Burnet C. Wohlford Professor of American Political Institutions 
Claremont McKenna College 
850 North Columbia Avenue 
Claremont CA 91711-6420 


Pitzer Hall, 201 
Office Hours: M 2-4; Tu 4:15-5 
(909) 607-3649/3394 
Fax (909) 621-8419 


Ward Elliott has three degrees from Harvard, one from the University of Virginia. He has taught government, battled smog, and given singing parties at Claremont McKenna College since 1968. He is one of CMC’s notable stable of contrarian discoverers. He has shown that a number of widely-believed “passionate truths” of the late 20th Century have turned out to be more passionate than true. He was one of the first political scientists to demonstrate that reapportionment and the McGovern Reforms did not revitalize government, as predicted, but increased factionalism and gridlock. He was the first political scientist to challenge the once-conventional view that high-science, therapeutic “California” correctional techniques “cured” criminals better than low-science, punitive “Arkansas” ones. He was among the first to challenge the widely-accepted argument that Rapid Rail would solve Southern California’s transportation and smog problems. He was the first person to apply congestion-charge and emissions-charge theories to Southern California, the first to devise practical ways of phasing them in, and the principal drafter of the economic-incentives language of the 1990 Federal Clean Air Act Amendments. He is the inventor of the HOT Lane concept. His Rise of Guardian Democracy (1975) was nominated for the Pulitzer and Bancroft Prizes in history.

He was president of the California Coalition for Clean Air from 1980 to 1986 and played a leading role in reducing annual first-stage smog alerts from 120 in 1979 to zero in 1999 and in getting tradable emissions permits and two HOT lane projects adopted in Southern California in the 1990’s. Both programs were the first of their kind in the country. He was founder and co-advisor of the Claremont Shakespeare Clinic from 1987 to 1994. This student-run Clinic used computers to show that none of 37 claimed “True Shakespeares,” and none of the 30-odd poems and plays of the Shakespeare Apocrypha, matched Shakespeare. Its findings were reported by ABC, NBC, BBC, CBC, JBC, NHK-TV, KBC, NZBC, VOA, four scholarly journals, and scores of newspapers all over the world. He is currently writing a book on the Clinic’s discoveries. For more on his discoveries and impacts, see his Discoveries and Impacts and his Selected Current and Archived Writing

He has taught the politics leg of CMC’s Politics, Philosophy, and Economics major, and chosen and prepped CMC’s Truman Scholarship candidates, since 1986. Since then, CMC has won more Truman Scholarships per capita than any other college in the country. In 1998, along with Columbia, Dartmouth, and Chicago, CMC was designated a Truman Honor Institution. He has toured Ireland, Italy, and South Africa with the Claremont Rugby Football Club , gone down 52 rivers in 11 countries, one river for all but three letters of the alphabet (G,L,and X). He has played the parts of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth’s doctor, and Sir Oliver Martext in student Shakespeare performances and translated the text of Carmina Burana. His poems have appeared in the pages of Undercurrents and The National Review. He is a member of the D.C. Bar and the First Cavalry Division Alumni Association. He is a founding member of the Society for the Preservation of the Middle Class and the Claremont Bicentenntial Power Lawn Mower Drill Team. He is a life member of the CMC Alumni Association, an honorary member of the CMC Class of '74, and CMC's leading collector of Stagomania. His students are now playing leading roles in developing oil from the Caspian Sea , in revolutionizing construction and packaging design, and in developing synthetic human collagen . He has written 40 pages on notes on CMC history and is the author of Elliott’s Laws , two of which are quoted here: “You are only middle-aged once.” “Life is like Latin. If it were easy, the teacher never would have assigned it.”