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2013 Commencement Recap

May 19, 2013

As proud families and friends watched, 373 students received their diplomas during the College's 120th Commencement on May 19 on Marston Quad under "String Theory," the artful and sustainable canopy first introduced at the 2009 Commencement. 

In his charge to the Class of 2013, Pomona College President David W. Oxtoby reflects upon the future of liberal arts colleges in an era of massively open online courses and talk of efficiency in education. He has "great confidence that our colleges will survive and indeed thrive, ungainly and complex as we are.  Cost pressures and new technology will certainly drive change, but the core mission of gathering students and faculty together, not remotely but face to face, to bounce ideas off each another, to learn in discussion based classes and through individual and group research projects, and to be part of a supportive residential community, is as timely as it has ever been.  The most urgent need we have is for daring, creative minds, the products of a liberal education, to work to resolve the problems in our society today."

After President Oxtoby's speech, Senior Class President Emily Ujifusa '13 and Senior Class Speaker Katherine Bent '13 gave their speeches.

Honorary degrees were then conferred upon Commencement Speaker Walter Isaacson, Ranney E. Draper '60 and Sharon Camp '65. 

Walter Isaacson is president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute. He is a former chairman and CEO of CNN and former editor of TIME. In 2012, he was selected as one of the Time 100, the magazine’s list of the most influential people in the world. Isaacson is the author of Steve Jobs (2011), Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003) and Kissinger: A Biography (1992), and co-author of The Six Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (1986). He began his career at The Sunday Times of London and then moved to the New Orleans Times-Picayune/States-Item. He joined TIME in 1978 and served as a political correspondent, national editor and editor of new media before becoming editor in 1996. He was named chairman of CNN in 2001, and then president and CEO of the Aspen Institute in 2003. He is the chairman of the board for Teach for America; vice chair of Partners for a New Beginning, a public-private group tasked with forging ties between the United States and the Muslim World; and from 2009-2012, served as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and other international broadcasts of the U.S. From 2005-2007, he was vice chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. He is a graduate of Harvard University and of Pembroke College of Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

Ranney E. Draper ’60 founded Diversified Shopping Centers, which developed over 75 commercial shopping centers in California and the West, in 1966. After selling the business in 1998 he became involved in philanthropy with a focus on issues related to the educational achievement gap. He and his wife, Priscilla, established the Draper Family Foundation at the Orange County Community Foundation and then launched and funded dozens of programs with the OCCF and United Way to help at-risk students succeed in school and to improve access to college. He is a significant supporter of AVID (Achievement Via Individual Determination) and helped establish a program to assist low-income, high-achieving students access private universities and colleges with high levels of financial aid. A member of the Pomona College Board of Trustees for more than 25 years, Draper’s generosity has benefited Pomona, its students and surrounding communities in profound ways. In 2009, the Draper Center for Community Partnerships was named in honor of Ranney and Priscilla Draper in recognition of their key role in establishing a number of educational outreach programs at Pomona, including the Pomona Academy for Youth Success (PAYS), a comprehensive college-access and academic skills building program, and Pomona Partners. The Drapers’ generosity has also supported a number of other important programs and projects on campus. As a student at Pomona College, Draper majored in history and served as captain of the football team and secretary of the Ghosts Honor Society.

Sharon Camp ’65 is the president and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute, the leading policy research organization in sexual and reproductive health and rights. Prior to leading the Guttmacher Institute, she served as the president and CEO of Women’s Capital Corporation, a start-up responsible for the development and commercialization of Plan B emergency contraception and as senior vice president of Population Action International. She was also largely responsible for bringing together the highly successful International Consortium for Emergency Contraception. The author or co-author of more than 70 publications on family planning and related subjects, she has chaired the boards of Family Health International, the National Council for International Health, the International Center for Research on Women, and the Reproductive Health Technologies Project. She has served as an elected director of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA), AVSC International, Management Sciences for Health and Population Action International, and currently serves as a senior lecturer in the Department of Population and Family Health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. While a student at Pomona College, Camp worked on the Metate yearbook staff, served as a tour guide, played badminton, participated in Model United Nations, and completed a major in international relations. In addition to her Pomona College degree, Camp holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.