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from the Editor
A college president is remembered for a word, a deed, a
gesturesomething personal to each one of us. A presidency, however,
is remembered for more enduring things. It is, after all, a slice of history,
to be evaluated in the hard light of lasting accomplishments. That is
why the task of selecting a new president is such a daunting one. As one
past member of a presidential search committee put it, You dont
really know how well youve done until 10 or 12 years down the line.
Stepping down after more than a decade, Peter Stanley himself will be
remembered for many little thingshis ramrod posture, his eloquent
turn of phrase, his determined civility even when provoked, his piercing
intellect, his kindness in times of strain, his good-natured cameo as
the Wizard of Oz in a staff spoof
Thats just part of my personal
list. Others are sure to have lists of their own, compilations of memories,
good and bad, but rarely indifferent. Presidents, you see, tend to rouse
strong emotions one way or the other.
The Stanley presidency, however, will in all likelihood be remembered
for one very big thingthe fact that it coincided with one of the
greatest periods of achievement, confidence and financial strength in
Pomona history. Thats pretty much a documented fact. In recent years,
both applications and SAT scores have soared. Impressive new facilities
range from the high-tech Andrew Building to the imposing Smith Campus
Center, and a cycle of renovations has virtually banished deferred maintenance.
Meanwhile, the endowment has grown from $300 million to more than $1 billion.
And those are just a few of the tangibles.
Of course, Peter Stanley would be the first to point out that the credit
for such things belongs to many. It all happened, however, on this presidents
watch, and the significance of that should not be underestimated. The
truth is that institutional progress is by its nature a messy process.
It takes a remarkable array of skills to manage it successfully. The correct
analogy here isnt, perhaps, the firm hand on the helm, but the polyglot
diplomat finding common ground between competing factions, the person
whose determined civility slowly wears down walls.
Now, of course, its time to say good-bye. And hello.
Saying good-bye to a president, reflecting upon the little gestures and
the big accomplishments, offering a small measure of the public gratitude
an institution wants to express at the end of such a long and successful
presidencythat is one important duty for an alumni magazine. Introducing
a new president to the College family, exploring a life of thought, deed,
accomplishment and style as preparation for the challenge of the presidency
of this institution at this point in timethat is another important
In this issue, we try to do boththe look back and the look forwardin
one exuberant swoop. We do this because, to be honest, this is the way
we experience such times. For better or worse, the magic of times of transition
is in the way they combine the nostalgia of the known with the excitement
of the not-yet-known. Pomona is not yet finished saying thank you to Peter
Stanley, but at the same time, it has scarcely begun the process of saying
welcome to David Oxtoby.
to the Editor
I was excited to have read in the Winter 02 edition of PCM
of Cecilia Conrads selection as California Professor of the Year
for her fine work in economics. That Nicole Weekes and Katherine Hagedorm
were previously honored speaks volumes about the quality of teaching offered
by Pomona. It also served as a reminder that considerable credit for accomplishments
such as theirs must be tendered to President Peter Stanley. The efforts
of free thinkers like Conrad, Weekes, and Hagedorm substantiate a liberal
arts education as envisioned by Dr. Stanley at a time in our educational
history when specialization seems the theme.
It was interesting to learn also of Edward Copelands retention of
connectedness with former students, the imaginative art of James Turrell
65, and the seismic preparedness efforts of Bryan Tucker 67,
Pomona family all. We owe much to them for their grand accomplishments
toward the betterment of others lives, which favorably reflect upon
the Pomona experience.
Naturally, such endeavors are possible only when a college establishes
a milieu that allows for action decisions to be grounded in vision and
a willingness to reach beyond that which is safe and protective
of the status quo.
In my many visits to liberal arts campuses across our country and overseas,
I have discovered a striking correlation between those colleges that support
progressive leadership and the attraction of ambitious students and a
creative faculty. Pomona has followed such a course. Much gratitude must
be extended to the most recent overseer of the colleges philosophical
path and of the definer of even broader dimensions to a liberal arts education,
President Peter Stanley. Jinx and I join the Pomona community in wishing
the Stanleys the best in the years ahead.
Professor of Physical Education and Director of Athletics Emeritus
Creativity and Aging
Creativity [topic of the Winter 2002 PCM] is important, but lets
get more real (and maybe down and dirty) over the sad plight of increasing
numbers of neglected, unwanted old people in our society. The determined
upbeat descriptions of the happy attainments of the aged by our
media is unrealand cruelly neglects the bald truth about most of
them: Talk about persona non grata, they are itpoor underappreciated,
in the way of our fast-moving society.
No one wants to go to a nursing (convalescent) home, but there is nowhere
else to go when helpless. If you really knew what these places are like,
you would not put your worst enemy there.
This is spoken by an old Stanford-Pomona RN of 81 years who knows of what
Will our current vaunted modern society show the creativity
to turn this situation around? Now its even difficult to die in
ones own home with sufficient money because of being at the mercy
of low-caliber, poorly trained help availablenot to mention untrustworthy.
To Americas shame we have arrived at this point (in the old days
other great cultures at least cared for their aged in families). Do you
dare to face this problem with your ballyhooed creativity?
Think about it as a possible next subject for PCM (not a pleasant
Jo Jean DeCristoforo
My mom (Jackie Keyser Thomas Showalter 66) found the following letter
among a bunch of mementos and gave it to me:
Congratulations on the arrival of your baby daughter! We were delighted
to have your note today, and although we shall miss you on Thursday
evening, we are very happy for you. Will she be a member of Pomonas
class of 1988?
With very best wishes,
Carolyn B. Lyon
April 22, 1966
I got a kick out of it and thought you would too.
Suzanne Thomas Macdonald
Editors Note: This
letter arrived with two enclosures: a photocopy of the cited letter from
Carolyn Lyon, wife of Pomona President E. Wilson Lyon, and a birth announcement
for Elizabeth Therese Macdonald, born to Paul and Suzanne Macdonald on
Oct. 5, 2002 (see Births). So the obvious question is: Will she be a member
of Pomonas class of 2024?
Pauleys Rightful Year
Im sure Im not the first to point out that Dr. Steve Pauley
mentioned in Cynthia Peters charming story about Fred Sontags
50 years at Pomona [in the Fall 2002 PCM] is in the Class of 1962,
and put our class on the map with his very generous gifts to the college
in honor of our 40th reunion in May of this year. His wife, the lovely
Marylyn Prosser Pauley, is in the Class of 1964. Im sure the Class
of 64 would like to claim them both, but we had dibs first.
Bonnie Bennett Home 62
San Jose, CA
Congratulations on your wonderful story in the Fall 2002 issue of PCM
on Fred Sontag. I saw Fred at the recent Capital Campaign dinner on campus
and, of course, he very much appreciates your good writing in the magazine.
Your article caused me to reflect. When I started out as a freshman in
1952 at Pomona, while I never had a class with Fred, I did become good
friends with him and liked his tough style, as it was perceived in those
days. When I graduated I came to Washington, and Fred was always fascinated
to hear my stories about the nations capital whenever we got together
on campus or elsewhere.
In retrospect, as Fred completes 50 years at the College, I am also completing
50 years in Washington, having arrived in 1956. Even now I have been classed
the senior federal advocate in the nations capital and most recently
dean of the federal lobbying corps. So I read with interest
your 50 years and again send congratulations.
Del Smith 55
A Prank of a Different Color
A previous issue of PCM suggested that we alumni inform you about
pranks we participated in during our time at that wonderful school [see
The Pranksters Rules, Spring 2002 PCM]. I am
enclosing an account of perhaps one of the most truly unique pranks ever
in Pomonas history. I realize that my submission is late, but I
thought you should have it anyway.
During the spring of 1948, a group of students led by Jim Steere, student
body president for that year, pulled off one of the most unique pranks
ever in the annals of that wonderful Claremont institution. Jim had a
handsome gelding named Stormy, nearly all white in color, which he kept
in a corral several of us built just east of Harwood in the Wash.
At that time, Jim occupied a single room in Clark Hall, on the top floor
of the three-story section of the dormitory. Several friends were in the
eight rooms on that floor, including Harold Witherbee 49, now a
physician in Claremont. One Friday evening, Witherbee had a date with
a girl from Scripps, while most of his friends, including Jim and myself,
were idle. Knowing that he would be out for the evening prompted
us to commence our prank, knowing that we had plenty of time.
We proceeded to lead Stormy from his corral to Clark, negotiated the three
floors of stairs quickly, and took the horse into Witherbees room.
The first thing the horse did was deposit his apples. The
horse then stood quietly looking out the window, its posterior just inside
the entrance door. We pinned a sign which read From one to another
on Stormys tail, then settled down to wait for Harold. Jim stayed
the room with a camera to catch Witherbees reaction.
A couple of hours went by before we heard Witherbee trudging up the stairs.
He opened his door, mumbled something, then backed out into the hall.
He was shocked, but his calm nature prevented any real outburst. He looked
around and simply advised us that wed better get that damned horse
out of his room.
The most difficult part of the prank then commenced. That involved getting
Stormy back down the three flights of stairs. The horse balked intensely
at first, so much so that we wondered if he might spend the entire night
with us. Finally, with much urging, Jim was successful, so back to the
corral the horse went. There was a photograph, but alas, it was lost long
Craig W. Tyler 50
We welcome letters about the College or magazine. Letters
may be edited for length, style and clarity. When a letter raises significant
questions, an appropriate respondent may be invited to reply. The editor
reserves the right to cut off debate on an issue after a reasonable period