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Pomona College to Hold 113th Commencement on May 14

Pomona College, one of the nation's premier liberal arts colleges, will hold its 113th Annual Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 14, 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 2006 will receive their undergraduate degrees.

Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran, president of Kalamazoo College in Michigan, will give the keynote address and receive an honorary degree during the event. A member of the Pomona Class of 1969, she previously served as dean and vice president at Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC. During her 10-year tenure, Salem strengthened its academic component by renovating the science laboratories, creating a women in science program, and establishing the Salem College Center for Women Writers. She has also held teaching and administration positions at Winston-Salem State University and the University of Ife (now known as Obafemi Awolowo University) in Nigeria. Her scholarly focus is in child development and education in cross-cultural context, and she has published widely in this area. While in Nigeria, she served as a consultant for UNICEF (Nigeria) and designed a series of baseline surveys that became the model for assessing the status of children under five throughout the country. Her honors and awards include the Kent Fellowship and the Ford Foundation National Fellowship for graduate study. After earning her B.A. in sociology from Pomona College, she earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in education from the Claremont Graduate University.

In addition to Wilson-Oyelaran, the Rev. William Sloane Coffin (who will be honored posthumously) and Thomas Crow will also receive honorary degrees for their important achievements. Robert Mezey, professor of English emeritus, will receive the Trustee Medal of Merit.

Rev. William Sloane Coffin Jr., a renowned peace activist and former civil rights leader, served as chaplain of Yale University from 1958-1976 and later as a senior minister of the prominent Riverside Church in New York City for over 10 years. Coffin initially became famous at Yale University in the 1960's for his opposition to the Vietnam War. For several years, he served full-time as president of SANE/FREEZE (now Peace Action), the largest peace and justice organization in the U.S. He fought in World War II, worked for the CIA for three years, and has been immortalized as Reverend Sloan in the Doonesbury comic strip. Coffin is a prolific writer and is the author of several books including Letters to a Young Doubter (2005), Credo (2003), The Heart is a Little to the Left (1999) and A Passion for the Possible (1997).

Thomas Crow, Pomona Class of 1969 and an internationally recognized art historian, is director of the Getty Research Institute, one of the world’s largest research centers for art history, comprising of an 800,000-volume library, an expanding collection of primary source material for art historians, an active visiting scholars program, and public programs including exhibitions, lectures, seminars, and conferences. A prolific author, Crow has written five books, including the critically acclaimed The Intelligence of Art (1999) and influential Modern Art in the Common Culture (1996). He has been a contributing editor, since 1993, to Artforum magazine, and has served on the editorial board of the journal Art History.

Crow also holds an appointment as a professor of art history at the University of Southern California and has held teaching positions at Yale University, California Institute of the Arts, University of Chicago, Princeton University, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the University of Sussex, England. He earned his Ph.D. in the history of art at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1978.

Award-winning poet Robert Mezey is the author of nine volumes of collected poetry, most recently Collected Poems 1952-1999 (Random House 2000), and the editor of nine additional editions and anthologies, including A Word Like Fire: Selected Poetry of Dick Barnes (2005) and Poems of the American West (2002). His work has also appeared in numerous anthologies, journals and periodicals. His work has been recognized with The Poet’s Prize for Collected Poems, the Bassine Citation and the P.E.N. Poetry Award for Evening Wind (1987), and the Lamont Poetry Prize for The Lovemaker (1960), among others. He was a professor of English and poet-in-residence at Pomona College from 1976 until retiring in 1999.

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.