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Pomona College Holds 112th Commencement on Sunday, May 15

Pomona College, one of the nation's premier liberal arts colleges, will hold its 112th Annual Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 15, beginning at 2:30 p.m. During the ceremonies, which will be held at Bridges Auditorium (450 N. College Way, Claremont), approximately 375 members of the Class of 2005 will receive their undergraduate degrees.

John Payton, widely considered to be one of the nation's leading civil rights attorneys, will give the keynote address and receive an honorary degree, during the event. A member of the Pomona Class of 1973, Payton is a partner in the firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr and was the lead counsel for the University of Michigan in the two landmark college admissions affirmative action cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004.

He has served in leadership roles in the National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, and the Free South Africa movement. Payton is also a past president of the District of Columbia Bar Association. A native of Los Angeles, Payton earned his law degree from Harvard Law School.

In addition to Payton, Steve Koblik and Thomas Dean Pollard will also receive honorary degrees for their important achievements and will address the audience as well.

Steven Koblik is president of the Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens. The Library’ rare books and manuscripts comprise one of the largest and most extensively used collections in America outside of the Library of Congress. From 1968–1991, Koblik was the Warren Finney Day Professor of History at Pomona College, where he received three Wig Awards for outstanding teaching. He has also served as dean of the faculty at Scripps College and as President of Reed College (1992-2001). Koblik is active in numerous civil service organizations including the California Council for the Humanities and the Pasadena Library Foundation, and he is a member of the Scripps College Board of Trustees. He received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University.

Thomas Dean Pollard, M.D., Pomona Class of 1964, is a professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University. Pollard, who is chair of Yale’s Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, previously served as president of the prestigious Salk Institute for Biological Studies (1996–2000) and as a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (1976–1996). Pollard’s research focuses on the molecular mechanisms that make cells move. In 2004, he received the E.B. Wilson Medal, the highest scientific honor of the American Society for Cell Biology. The award was given in recognition of “the pioneering studies of his laboratory on cellular motility including the discovery of the Arp2/3 complex… The discovery of this fundamental system has immense implications in human health from fetal development to cancer biology.” Among his numerous publications, Pollard is the co-author of the textbook Cell Biology (second ed., 2004). He earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical School.

Pomona College, founded in 1887, offers a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research.