The Tortugateers of Prado Dam, succeeded in name by The Mara Togas, was an unincorporated social club in the 1950s and 1960s at Claremont Men's College, later renamed Claremont McKenna College.  The membership was entirely male, in keeping with the then make-up of the College, and was by invitation only, extended by current undergraduate members to individuals who had completed at least one year at the College, or one semester in the case of a transfer from another college.

There were no formal qualifications for membership, but the following is an accurate description of the persons who might be invited to join the club: someone who works "smart", plays "smart", enjoys life and loves a few good tricks.  For the members, the learning opportunities available while at CMC were not limited to the classroom or activities sponsored by the College.  The tendency of members to push boundaries did not always sit well with the  College administration and it was not unusual for one or several members to be the subject of disciplinary measures applied by the college.

However, almost all members of the club graduated from the college in good standing. A significant number went on to obtain higher degrees from prominent universities. A large proportion of the members have enjoyed successful careers and have been acknowledged leaders in their respective professions and communities.  Some members have served on the College's Board of Trustees, others have been active with the Alumni Association and several are parents of succeeding generations of students enrolled at the College.

Over the years the members have maintained their bonds.  Reunions began to take place in the 1980s, were repeated every five years and in recent years at shorter intervals.  Jerry Cadagan '60 and Willy Chamberlin '62, both now deceased, coordinated the reunions, many of which took place at the Chamberlin Ranch near Olivos, Ca.  At the 2005 reunion many of the members present indicated support for creating an endowment at the College funded by Tortugateers and Mara Togas. This has become a reality and as of mid-2017 about $650,000 has been contributed to the Tortugateers of Prado Dam/Mara Toga Scholarship Fund.  Yes, we now have graduated and undergraduate Tortuga Scholars.

The success of the scholarship fund has re-opened doors for the group at the College.   We have a presence at Homecoming Events and are very visible at the annual Scholarship Luncheon.

Elsewhere on this website the reader will find further information about past and future reunions,  scholarship luncheons and additional background about the club.   Click around the site, study the photos, see who looks familiar, and be in touch.


Membership Card Rear

Membership Card Face

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