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Alumni, Parents and Friends

Nearly 1,300 alumni returned to celebrate reunion classes ranging from 1929-2004 during Alumni Weekend, held April 30-May 3, 2009. With the traditional class parade, concert performances and wine tasting, which included wines from 12 Pomona vintners, Alumni Weekend was the highlight of the year’s alumni events calendar. The weekend included the 20th annual Alumni Symposium centering on the theme “On Reading: Practice, Prohibition, Possibility,” in which various experts considered the experience of reading.

Lee ’48 and Claire ’47 Kingman McDonald are the 2009 Alumni Distinguished Service Award winners. Lee, a professor emeritus of government, taught at Pomona for 38 years, served as dean of the college for five and received an honorary degree in 1998. Both are former members of the Alumni Council, and have been active event and Pomonathon volunteers. Claire has chaired and co-chaired the Class of ’47 reunion activities committees, and Lee co-chaired the last two Class of ’48 reunion fund committees. The couple has chaired various committees, such as the one on social life on campus, which Lee led in the 1990s.

Bill Block ’71 is the 2009 Blaisdell Distinguished Alumni Award winner. Long-time advocate for low-income housing, Block gave up a law-firm partnership in 2005 to tackle the plight of the homeless in King County, Wash. As head of the Committee to End Homelessness, Block and his colleagues have established an ambitious 10-year plan to confront the issues that cause homelessness and to create the housing and support services needed to end homelessness. 2009 is the inaugural year of the Blaisdell award, which recognizes alumni for their high achievement in their professions of community service.

Melvin Yee ’00 is the 2009 Inspirational Young Alumni winner. In 2007, Yee co-founded The Wage Justice Center, a nonprofit that employs a variety of legal tools to collect unpaid wages for low-income workers. The Wage Justice Center is a unique resource that helps protect the basic economic rights of workers and enforce the collection of unpaid wages by employers who have previously escaped consequences.

Family Weekend in February was well-attended as more than 500 parents and other relatives descended on campus to attend classes and special lectures. Four parents of current students shared their experiences as working artists and explored the role of the arts in a liberal arts education. Standing-room-only audiences attended student-written “10-minute plays" and a discussion about current financial markets led by three Pomona economics professors and the College’s Vice President and Treasurer Karen Sisson ’79.

The Pomona College Annual Fund raised $4,525,678. The alumni participation rate was 43 percent, with 8,186 alumni contributing. The Parents’ Fund garnered a record $410,799 from 1,472 contributors. In all, there were 9,794 donors to the fund.