The World Needs Daring Minds
A message from David Oxtoby, President of Pomona College.
In every field of human endeavor—science and the arts, business and the professions, scholarship and public service—important things happen when daring, innovative, principled thinkers have the courage to step forward with new ideas. That is why, at Pomona College, we dare our students to dream boldly, push them to think broadly and deeply, encourage them to stretch their creative muscles and to take intellectual risks, and challenge them—in the words inscribed upon our gates—to “bear their added riches in trust for mankind.”
Pomona College students thrive in this challenging setting because they are not only bright, talented and highly motivated—they are also venturesome by choice. In fact, this may be their most distinguishing characteristic. They are eager to work closely with their faculty mentors, to test themselves against meaningful problems and to take the creative risks that are essential to preparing themselves for the ultimate challenge of making a difference.
I’m thinking of students like Dante Benson ’10, who came to Pomona to major in Computer Science, took a class in Chinese and ended up earning a Fulbright Fellowship to teach in Taiwan. Or Meredith Course ’12, a talented cellist who has continued to explore her love of music while discovering a passion for research in Professor Karl Johnson’s Neuroscience lab. Or Rico Chenyek ’11, whose goal of becoming an engaged family physician called for something more than the usual pre-med coursework, leading him to create his own demanding path blending science with a major in Chicana/o Studies.
It is to support daring young minds like these—and to dare them to reach even higher—that the College has launched Campaign Pomona. The aim of this campaign is to ensure that talented, venturesome students such as these will always be able to afford a Pomona education, and that we will be able to provide them with a learning environment even stronger in the kind of creative and experiential opportunities that play such a vital role in making our graduates leaders in their fields. As one of America’s preeminent liberal arts colleges, Pomona is uniquely positioned to provide to some of the nation’s most promising young scholars a distinctive brand of liberal arts education with creativity and active engagement at its core. The geographic and cultural diversity of our Southern California home, our proximity to one of the most dynamic urban centers in the world, and the remarkable resources and relationships we offer, both on campus and off, provide our students with a wealth of life-shaping opportunities for educational depth, cultural exposure, creative inspiration and practical experience. The greatest challenge facing Pomona today is building the networks, facilities and resources needed to enable all of our students to take full advantage of these important opportunities, both locally and internationally.
Since its founding in 1887, Pomona’s leaders and supporters—like its students—have made a habit of choosing not the easy status quo, but the more challenging paths that lead to greater achievements. Over the years, this tradition of innovation has led to such accomplishments as the unparalleled consortium of The Claremont Colleges, the first Asian Studies program at an American liberal arts college, and one of the most effective small-college science programs in the world. Today, this commitment to seeking better ways to prepare our students has led to the initiatives that make up our strategic plan for the coming decade.
These initiatives include increased support for scholarships, a renewed investment in the arts, opportunities for all of our students to test their knowledge and abilities through intensive internships and research, enhanced opportunities to interact across international and cultural boundaries, support for the outstanding Pomona professors of tomorrow, and an expanded Annual Fund to provide immediate funding for some of our most pressing priorities.
To achieve these goals, Pomona has launched the most ambitious fundraising campaign in its history. This endeavor will make essential, targeted investments in people, programs, infrastructure and opportunities—investments that will enhance and strengthen all that we value most in a Pomona College education. In so doing, the Campaign will also reaffirm and redefine Pomona’s place among the liberal arts colleges at the apex of American higher education.
To realize these important initiatives will require a profound commitment from all who love this College and care about its extraordinary legacy. For my part, I pledge to devote all of my energies over the coming years to ensuring that this daring vision of Pomona’s future becomes a reality, and I hope you will join me in in this exciting effort. On behalf of the entire College family, I thank you for your past and future support.