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2006 Commencement Recap

May 14, 2006

As proud families and friends watched, 375 students received their diplomas during the College's 113th Commencement on May 14 in Bridges Auditorium.

Students in the Class of 2006 came from as far away as Bulgaria, Ghana and India. Their majors ran the gamut from chemistry to psychology to art history. As they headed off to graduate fellowships, careers and other adventures, the class joined the ranks of more than 19,000 Pomona alumni living around the globe.

In his charge to the class of 2006, Pomona College President David W. Oxtoby urged graduates to take with them the fundamental values they've acquired at Pomona: "a willingness to challenge accepted truths, an openness to new facts and persuasive arguments, and an engagement with the world and the difficult issues we face together."

"Resist dogmatic stances and be prepared to change your mind, of course, but at the same time be prepared to draw the line when it comes to defining core values of free expression and human dignity," Oxtoby said.

James Solomon '06 and Senior Class President Caleb Oken-Berg '06 gave the student speeches. Honorary degrees were awarded to:

  • Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran, president of Kalamazoo College in Michigan, who gave the keynote address during the ceremony. A member of the Pomona Class of 1969, she previously served as dean and vice president at Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC. During her 10-year tenure, Salem strengthened its academic component by renovating the science laboratories, creating a women in science program, and establishing the Salem College Center for Women Writers.
  • Rev. William Sloane Coffin Jr., (honored posthumously) a renowned peace activist and former civil rights leader, served as chaplain of Yale University from 1958-1976 and later as a senior minister of the prominent Riverside Church in New York City for over 10 years. Coffin became famous at Yale University in the 1960's for his opposition to the Vietnam War. Coffin is the author of Letters to a Young Doubter (2005) and The Heart is a Little to the Left (1999). Coffin died in April at the age of 81, and his wife, Randy, accepted the honorary degree at Commencement.
  • Thomas Crow '69, an internationally recognized art historian, is director of the Getty Research Institute, one of the world’s largest research centers for art history. Crow has written five books and also holds an appointment as a professor of art history at the University of Southern California.    
  • Award-winning poet Robert Mezey received the Trustee Medal of Merit. Mezey is the author of nine volumes of collected poetry, most recently Collected Poems 1952-1999 (Random House 2000), and the editor of nine additional editions and anthologies, including A Word Like Fire: Selected Poetry of Dick Barnes (2005). His awards include The Poet’s Prize for Collected Poems and the P.E.N. Poetry Award for Evening Wind (1987). He was a professor of English and poet-in-residence at Pomona College from 1976 until retiring in 1999.