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Star Trek Connection

Star Trek Enterprise

When Captain Jean-Luc Picard (a.k.a. Shakespearean actor Patrick Stewart) beamed down to accept an honorary degree and speak at Pomona's 103rd Commencement on May 14, 1995, it wasn't the College's first close encounter with the modern Star Trek series ("Next Generation," "Deep Space Nine," and "Voyager.")

Avid viewers may have already noticed the somewhat conspicuous use of the number 47 in episode after episode--but few probably realize the connection between Pomona College, 47, and Star Trek. The crew stops at Sub-space Relay Station 47, Data is unconscious for 47 seconds, a main character shrinks to 47 centimeters, there are 47 survivors on the planet, the crew discovers element 247....

Is it a coincidence that Pomona's magic number appears in so many episodes -- in fact, virtually every episode -- of the different "Trek" series?

Not quite. The inclusion of 47 in episode after episode was begun by Joe Menosky, a 1979 Pomona graduate who was writer and co-producer for all three Star Trek series sequels. He included the numbers as a conscious tribute to Pomona and its 47 tradition. Afterwards, the tradition took on a life of its own as the 47 tease was adopted by others on the production teams, as confirmed by "Voyager" producer Brannon Braga.

Another bit of unsubstantiated Pomona College/Star Trek lore regarding the origin of The Borg and their uncanny similarities to a certain labyrinthine dormitory on campus has been floating around cyberspace and the campus computing network for some time now.