Manuel Ricardo Townes Appointed Dean of Campus Life at Pomona College
Manuel Ricardo Townes has been appointed dean of campus life and associate dean of students at Pomona College, one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges. As dean of campus life, Townes will oversee the office that manages new student orientation, first-year programs, the residence halls, the student judiciary, and other programs that affect student life on campus. He served as interim associate dean of campus life during the 2004-2005 academic year.
Ann Quinley, vice president and dean of students, led the search committee that chose Townes from among 120 applicants. “He stood out as the best in a variety of dimensions,” she said. “Students felt that he was warm and approachable and that they could talk with him about almost any campus issue or personal concern. He brought experience and a measure of wisdom to the position. He demonstrated the vision and leadership needed to help Pomona develop its residential life program in new and interesting ways.”
Townes brings more than two decades of student affairs experience to Pomona. He started at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst as an academic advisor and was quickly promoted to assistant, then associate director for academic support services and community outreach. He also served as special assistant to the vice chancellor for student affairs, associate dean of students and director of Greek affairs, and associate dean of academic support services. Promoted in 1994 to assistant vice chancellor for campus activities, he was responsible for the operations of the campus division that organized programming for 11,600 residential college students and 6000 off-campus students. Among his other accomplishments were facilitating university-wide multicultural initiatives, serving on the faculty senate committee on admissions and records, serving as the coordinator of minority affairs, and supervising a faculty-student mentoring program that involved more than 150 faculty and 300 students.
After a successful career in public higher education, Townes is excited about a move to a private college. “It doesn’t get any better than Pomona in terms of a small, private college,” he said. “At Pomona a lot of great people have come together who care about the development of students. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”
Townes grew up in Boston. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and an master’s in business administration from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He lives in Claremont with his wife, Valerie, a speech pathologist, and their daughter, Carimah, who attends Pomona Catholic High School. Another daughter, Johari, is a first-year law student at the University of Southern California.
Pomona College enrolls about 1500 students and 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.