2006 Alumni Distinguished Service Award: Byron Hayes '56
The Chance to Bond
In 1952, Byron Hayes was admitted to Pomona on a scholarship that awarded him $3,000 for each of his four years. The young man from San Gabriel took full advantage of the experience. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1956, was named the outstanding senior in economics, played first base for the varsity baseball team and was a member of the Phi Delta fraternity.
Pomona transformed his life—and he has been returning the favor ever since. Hayes has been president of both the Alumni Association and the board of the Pomona Torchbearers. The Toluca Lake resident has led fundraising drives, sat on reunion committees and hosted groups of prospective Pomona students in his home.
All of which is why Hayes has been awarded Pomona’s Alumni Distinguished Service Award for 2005–06. He will receive the honor during Alumni Weekend, when his class gathers for its 50-year reunion.
“I’m very grateful to Pomona and the people of Pomona—the professors and others there—for the quality of the education I got,” Hayes says. “I attribute a lot of my success in life to Pomona.”
Hayes earned his law degree from Harvard Law School and worked as an attorney in Los Angeles for 40 years. One of his key contributions to the College involved property in Padua Hills, owned by a corporation in which Pomona had a controlling interest. Hired in 1989 by Pomona to help sell the land, Hayes persevered with a complex plan that had stalled for years. After retiring in 1999, Hayes continued to work on the case pro bono. In 2003, Pomona completed a long-awaited real estate deal, part of which involved selling 125 home sites to a developer. Hayes says the transaction probably netted at least $7 million.
“If we hadn’t had Byron, there’s no way in the world we would have been able to put together that hillside deal,” says Arlene Crowe, Pomona’s retired director of real property and assistant treasurer.
In his many volunteer ventures for Pomona, Hayes has received an assist from his wife of 45 years, Deanne.
The chance to bond with fellow Pomona people is why Hayes says he’s always enjoyed helping with alumni programs. “I’ve made a lot of friends.”
—Paul Sterman ’84