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Lee Harlan '55, Long-Time Director of Alumni Relations, Has Died

Lee Harlan

The College has created a personal tribute page for Lee Harlan. You can send your thoughts and memories of him to, for posting.

The director of Pomona’s alumni program from 1969-1997, Harlan managed the development of an alumni relations program that became the model for many liberal arts colleges across the country. During his tenure, Pomona’s alumni population grew from 11,000 to 18,000. To meet their needs, he developed a robust regional alumni presence throughout the U.S. and started the College’s alumni travel study program. Among the first for small liberal arts colleges, it has sent alumni to France, the Galapagos, Germany, Greece, Greenland, South Africa and Spain among many other wonderful locations. The class reunion giving program was also initiated under his guidance and now provides important financial support to the College through the Alumni Fund. Always a Sagehen, he continued to assist Pomona College as an alumni volunteer following his retirement.

Recognized by many as the consummate expert in alumni relations, Harlan mentored scores of colleagues across the country and served as a long-time volunteer for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). He was recognized by CASE with the District VII Tribute Award for his service to the advancement profession.

At Pomona College, in addition to his alumni duties, Harlan also managed the college mail room for six years, served as director of corporate relations for two years, was instrumental in establishing the Torchbearer program for the College’s larger donors, oversaw the relocation of the Seaver House to campus in 1979, and designed literature, handled donor recognition, helped in major gift solicitation and handled special events in conjunction with a six month $1 million cash campaign to restore Little Bridges. His portrait hangs next to the front door of Seaver House and reminds all of his legacy of service to Pomona.

In addition to his dedicated service to the College, Harlan was very active in Rotary International, serving as a district governor; was an active member of the Claremont Presbyterian Church; and served on several committees at Mt. San Antonio Gardens.

A California native, Harlan was born in Los Angeles and attended El Monte Union High School and Rosemead High School. He graduated from Pomona in 1955 with an economics major. His mother, La Moyne Harlan, was also a Sagehen, graduating from Pomona College in 1925.

Harlan is survived by his wife, Joan Harlan, and his sons, Jeff and Michael. His memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 21 at 10:30 am at the Claremont Presbyterian Church (1111 N. Mountain Ave., Claremont). Contributions in his memory can be sent to Pomona College, in care of Don Pattison, 550 North College Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711, to the Lee ’55 and Joan Harlan Seaver House Fund.


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