First Families of the American West: The Mudd Family

Dr. Seeley Wintersmith Mudd II '43 was the only son of Dr. Seeley Greenleaf Mudd, a prominent philanthropist in the early 1900’s. Seeley Wintersmith Mudd entered Occidental directly following his time at Webb to begin pre-medicine training. A graduate of Stanford Medical School, he served in the US Navy during the Korean War. He practiced Urology on the Monterey Peninsula for over 20 years.

Dr. Seeley Greenleaf Mudd, founder of The Seeley G. Mudd Fund of Los Angeles, was a Harvard University educated cardiologist. Dr. Seeley Greenleaf Mudd was a member of the California Institute of Technology faculty before becoming the Dean of the School of Medicine at University of Southern California. A member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Southern California, Dr. Mudd also served as a trustee of Pomona College, Stanford University, the California Institute of Technology, and the Carnegie Institute of Washington.

Interesting in promoting higher education, Dr. Seeley G. Mudd contributed more than $10 million to private colleges and universities. His will established a $44 million fund for American university and college buildings to support educational excellence through grants for the construction of buildings for teaching, learning, and research. To date, The Seeley G. Mudd Fund of Los Angeles has helped build libraries and science buildings at institutions like: Harvard University, Yale University, Duke University, University of Southern California, Pomona College (Claremont, CA), Lawrence University (Appleton, WI), University of Denver, Colby College (Waterville, ME), and Lehigh University.

The Mudd family initially came to prominence in the early 1900’s when Colonel Seeley W. Mudd, Seeley W. Mudd II’s grandfather, began work with the Guggenheim Exploration Company. In 1907, he started mining operations at the Ray Copper Mine in Arizona. In early 1914, just before World War I, he began drilling operations on the island of Cyprus where evidence of Roman and Phoenician mining of Copper ore had been found. After obtaining permission from the British government, which was ruling Cyprus at the time, Cyprus Mines Corporation was formally launched and in March 1916 and shares of stock authorized.

Another famous Mudd relative was his uncle, Harvey Seeley Mudd. Harvey Seeley Mudd was a mining engineer and co-founder, investor, and president of Cyprus Mines along with Seeley W. Mudd. Harvey Mudd had a particular interest in The Claremont Colleges in Claremont, California. He served as Chairman of the Board of Fellows of Claremont College, now The Claremont Graduate University, for a quarter of a century. Harvey Mudd helped in the founding of Claremont McKenna College in 1945. He also helped to plan Claremont's new undergraduate college of science and engineering that was chartered in 1955. Harvey Mudd College now bears his name.

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