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Pomona Launches $250 Million "Daring Minds" Campaign

The speakers at the Founders Day event: Professor Jill Grigsby, Dean of the College Cecilia Conrad, Kimbia Arno '11, Chair of the Board of Trustees Paul Efron '76, President David Oxtoby, and Chair of the Campaign Stewart Smith '68

The speakers at the Founders Day event: Professor Jill Grigsby, Dean of the College Cecilia Conrad, Kimbia Arno '11, Chair of the Board of Trustees Paul Efron '76, President David Oxtoby, and Chair of the Campaign Stewart Smith '68

A student shows off her Campaign Pomona: Daring Minds t-shirt at the Pomona College Founders Day picnic.

Meredith Course '12 shows off her Campaign Pomona: Daring Minds T-shirt at the Founders Day picnic.

Saturday, Oct. 16, marked the official launch of Campaign Pomona: Daring Minds, the most ambitious fundraising campaign in Pomona College’s history. The minimum goal of the campaign is $250 million and, thus far in the campaign’s “quiet phase,” a total of $120.8 million in gifts and pledges has been raised.

Based on a planning process that included trustees, faculty, staff and students, the five-year campaign will focus on raising money for four areas: endowed scholarship aid, enhancing teaching and learning, improving critical facilities, and expanding the Annual Fund.

Highlights include:

  • $65,000,000 for expanded support of scholarships to support the College’s commitment to meeting the full, financial aid need of every admitted student;
  • $20,000,000 to provide more opportunities, both domestic and international, for the expansion of its successful summer research program and student internship program;
  • $11,500,000 for initiatives “fostering creativity in the arts,” including funding for new programming in a range of artistic disciplines;
  • $10,000,000 for a new Studio Art building;
  • $18,000,000 for two new residence halls to alleviate overcrowding and reinforce connections between living and learning that are one reason 98 percent of students choose to live on campus; and
  • $25,000,000 to build a new international center and language immersion residence hall.

To view more information about each goal and some of the gifts and pledges already received, please visit our new Campaign website at

According to Pomona College President David W. Oxtoby, “The aim of the campaign is to ensure that talented, venturesome students will always be able to afford a Pomona education and that we will be able to provide them with a learning environment even stronger in the creative and experiential opportunities that play such a vital role in making our graduates leaders in their fields.”

The Campaign Celebration

Around 275 guests, who included trustees, alumni and friends of the College, attended Saturday’s festivities. A number of Daring Minds sessions provided information related to key goals of the campaign, including summer research and internships, studio arts and the Museum, cultivating global knowledge and engagement, sustainability and the new residence halls, and the Draper Center for Community Partnerships.

After the sessions, the guests gathered in Bridges Hall of Music for the main presentation. Four campaign videos about the theme of daring minds, financial aid, and the College Gates quote (“They only are loyal to this College who departing bear their added riches in trust for mankind”) were shown interspersed with speeches. You can watch the "What Is A Daring Mind?" video on our Campaign website.

Paul Efron ’76, the chair of the Board of Trustees, opened the event after the first video, saying “Daring Minds is not just the theme of the campaign. It is, in fact, what Pomona is all about. From our remarkable students to our accomplished and dedicated faculty, the campus is filled by people who are intellectually adventurous, willing to take chances, and who have a passion to engage in scholarship and research.”

Campaign chair Stewart R. Smith ’68 and co-chairs John Payton ’73 and Libby Armintrout ’86 also spoke. Smith charged the audience with this goal: “The hallowed tradition at Pomona is that each generation leaves the College ever better, and ‘dares’ the next to come forward in similar fashion. I personally embrace this compelling charge from our predecessors, and I invite you to join me in welcoming that mandate as we establish our own legacy for the generations that will very soon follow us. The students and faculty, the staff and administrators, the alumni, the many supporters and volunteers for the College—those of today, yesterday and tomorrow—deserve all that this campaign envisions.”

Payton, who couldn’t be at the event and spoke via video, discussed his days at Pomona and how they influenced his career as a lawyer and president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, saying “There was an openness and a skepticism at Pomona that I found almost intoxicating. It was throughout the campus. I wanted to learn everything. And I questioned everything. I retain that questioning attitude and that deep interest in learning to this day.”

Later, Cecilia Conrad, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college, spoke and President David Oxtoby closed the event with a speech in which he related former president James Blaisdell’s indelible charge on the College gates to the campaign:

“Many institutions ‘talk’ about the importance of giving back,” said President Oxtoby,” but at Pomona College, the notion is etched into our granite gates and into our hearts. In this campaign, we seek to provide future Pomona College students opportunities, the ‘added riches’ that will prepare them for committed lives of meaning and distinction.”

At a dinner after the presentation, former President Peter Stanley and Kimbia Arno ’11 and Charles Bufalino ’10—who were featured in the Daring Minds videos—also spoke. Wine from Cathy Corison ’75 and Corison Winery and dark chocolate truffles from Mark West ’78, chocolatier and owner of Monique’s Chocolates, were also featured at the dinner.

The celebration on Saturday was preceded by a campus-only campaign introduction on Thursday, October 14, which is Founders Day. Students, faculty and staff were invited to a preview of Saturday night’s program, with a few different speakers, including Professor Jill Grigsby, and stayed to enjoy a picnic dinner, music, games and a bounce house on the Smith Campus Center south lawn.

Campaign History

Campaign Pomona: Daring Minds is only the 10th campaign in the College’s 123-year history. The last campaign, “The Campaign for Pomona College,” began in 1997 with a goal of $150 million to increase endowed scholarships for students, create professorships, and expand international studies and Study Abroad. The campaign concluded in 2002, having reached $206 million, including funds to build the Smith Campus Center, Andrew Science Building and the Richard C. Seaver Biology Building.

Recently, we looked at the full history of Pomona's campaigns since the first in 1890. Read about all 10 campaigns in "From 'Canvass for Funds to Daring Minds."