A Perfect Match at Mudd

Known for its grueling curriculum of engineering and mathematics, Harvey Mudd College is equally well known as a home for eccentrics and pranksters. In Maria M. Klawe, its president since last summer, Mudd may have found the personification of its oddball self.

A video-game enthusiast, marathon runner, juggler, and painter, Ms. Klawe, 55, is a self-described klutz who credits her talents to intense practice. The hard work is part of her personal motto of "fail often and openly," she