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President David Oxtoby Elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

David Oxtoby, president of Pomona College, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He will be inducted into the society at a formal ceremony in Cambridge, Mass., in October.

The Academy was chartered in 1780 to “cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.” Academy members are elected on the basis of their leadership in academics, the arts, business, or public affairs and have ranged from Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson to such 20th-century luminaries as Margaret Mead, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Akira Kurosawa.

For 2012, the Academy elected 220 new members. In addition to Oxtoby, the group includes Hillary Rodham Clinton, Clint Eastwood, Melinda Gates, Sir Paul McCartney, Mel Brooks, composer Andre Previn, historian David W. Blight, volcanologist Katharine V. Cashman, mathematician Ngô Bao Châu, director of Egypt’s Bibliotheca Alexendrina Ismail Serageldin, actor and playwright Neil Simon, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and television journalist Judy Woodruff.

Other newly elected members with Pomona ties include: Sally Elgin ’67 and Pomona parent, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor, Viktor Hamburger Professor of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Biology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine; Henry Wellman '70, the Harold W. Stevenson Collegiate Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan; and former Pomona faculty member Steven Koblik, currently president of the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. An alphabetical list of the new members is located at: [pdf] .

“Election to the Academy is both an honor for extraordinary accomplishment and a call to serve,” said Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz. “We look forward to drawing on the knowledge and expertise of these distinguished men and women to advance solutions to the pressing policy challenges of the day.”

The Academy has a current membership of approximately 4,000 American fellows and 600 foreign honorary members. It conducts multidisciplinary research on major social and intellectual issues and promotes public engagement with those issues through conferences, fellowships and publications.

Oxtoby, a physical chemist by training, is author or co-author of numerous scientific articles on such subjects as light scattering, chemical reaction dynamics and phase transitions. He has been invited as guest lecturer to conferences and institutions around the globe, and is the co-author of two first-year chemistry textbooks. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as a member of the American Chemical Society.

Active in several national higher education associations, Oxtoby served as the 2010-11 chair for the Association of American Colleges and Universities and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He currently serves on the Presidential Advisory Committee of the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, the Science Education Board for Howard Hughes Medical Center and the Boards of Toyota Technological Institute-Chicago, the Claremont University Consortium and Harvard University.