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In Memoriam: William Banks

William "Bill" Banks, a member of the Pomona College faculty for 42 years, died in Los Angeles on April 25, 2011. The cause was scleroderma.

As a professor and mentor at Pomona, Banks influenced hundreds of lives. He arrived at Pomona College in 1969, soon after earning his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, and quickly became a popular professor, known for his quirky sense of humor, his colorful class demonstrations of cognitive phenomena and his dedication to his students. His courses included Perception and Cognition, the Psychology of Evil, Seminar in Consciousness and Cognition and, since 1986, Intermediate Aerobics. He also taught first-year seminars that drew so many students that it was difficult to accommodate them all.

In 1978 and again in 2002, Banks received the Pomona College Wig Distinguished Professorship Award, the highest honor bestowed on faculty. On receiving the second award, Banks likened his teaching style to a form of show business, making his lectures enjoyable and hands-on to encourage his students to “think, talk and create.” He served as chair of the Psychology Department from 1977 to 1990 and again from 2001 to 2004....

For a full obituary, please click here.

Memorial Service

The memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 7, at 3 p.m. in Bridges Hall of Music. A reception will follow the service.

In Lieu of Flowers...

The family suggests donations to:

Scleroderma Foundation
Attn: Donations
300 Rosewood Drive, Suite 105
Danvers, MA 01923

Or online at 

Pomona College
c/o Don Pattison, Office of Donor Relations
550 N. College Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711

Personal Tributes

To submit your own personal tribute to Bill Banks, please email We will post your memories and thoughts on our Personal Tributes page.


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