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2005 Alumni Distinguished Service Award: Bruce and Carolyn Prestwich

Serving Pomona as a team

Bruce Prestwich ’55 was among the first in his family to go to college, thanks to a scholarship provided by Pomona alumni. Carolyn Tranquada Prestwich ’54 was immersed in Pomona lore from a young age since her parents and many other relatives were graduates.

They met working in the dining hall. A lineman on the football team, Bruce knew right away that Carolyn was somebody he wanted to spend time with. Carolyn took a little convincing. “He was an underclassman,” she recalls. “I had to do a little research.”

They wound up getting married in Little Bridges, just like Carolyn’s parents had. Today that relationship is still going strong, and so is their commitment to Pomona.

For their decades of volunteer service, the pair will receive the Alumni Distinguished Service Award during Alumni Weekend at the end of April. They are only the second couple to receive this honor.

Over the years, both Bruce and Carolyn have served on the Alumni Council. Bruce also has chaired many of his class reunion fund committees and served as an alumni admissions volunteer, interviewing high school students. “For us, Pomona kind of became a lifestyle,” says Carolyn.

Barbry Hogue ’72, a past president of the Alumni Association who served on the Alumni Council with Carolyn, notes that Bruce also would show up at meetings to help and offer input.

”I really think of Bruce and Carolyn as a wonderful team,” she says. “I think it’s terrific that the two of them are receiving this award together.”

She says the Prestwiches aren’t the kind of people who are looking for recognition, which made the award all the more fitting. “They do this out of love for the College,” she says.

The Prestwiches enjoyed their time at Pomona so much that it seemed only natural to stay connected. The alumni secretary signed them on before they graduated. “I don’t think we ever had a doubt that that would be something we wanted to be involved in doing,” says Carolyn.

A sociology major, Carolyn sang in the choir and served as a sponsor in the dorms. Besides four years of football, economics major Bruce sang in the glee club and also was a sponsor.

Bruce’s job as a salesman for IBM meant they moved often over the years, living in Riverside, Glendale, Santa Barbara and Saratoga, California near San Jose. Carolyn worked as an elementary school teacher and in church ministry for children, but devoted most of her time to raising their four kids.

Pomona instilled in them a commitment to community service, and as they moved from city to city, Carolyn quickly got involved in PTA, church and other community activities.
And they always stayed in touch with Pomona, serving as area alumni representatives in different communities they lived in.

Retired today in San Diego County, they always feel at home returning to campus. Marston Quad brings back memories for Carolyn as the center of campus life. Bruce looks for the old oak tree where the football players used to hang their sweaty clothes between three-a-day practices.

He still vividly remembers the day – May 1, 1951 – that his acceptance letter arrived from Pomona. “I couldn’t stop walking around the house with the letter in my hands,” he says.