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Pomona College to Celebrate 125th Anniversary With Community Open House Featuring Tours and a Variety of Entertainment

Poster for Pomona College's 125th anniversary

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Pomona College, one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges and the founding member of The Claremont Colleges, was founded in 1887 in the desert landscape that was Southern California. Far from the ivied halls of the Northeast, Pomona's founders envisioned "a college of the New England type," with small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a green jewel of a campus.  

On Sunday, October 14, Pomona College will celebrate its 125th anniversary, or quasquicentennial, with a festive celebration and open house from 1-5 p.m., centered on Marston Quadrangle. The guiding theme of the occasion is “community,” and Pomona College invites the public to join in its Founders Day festivities.

Among the planned events and attractions are open-air student dance and music performances; a hands-on display of rock, fossil and mineral specimens from California and beyond by the Department of Geology; access to the College’s Native American Study Collection and conversation with the curator and students; chemistry department demonstrations and lab tours, open telescopes and discussion of the upcoming “solar max” at the Brackett Observatory; and the opportunity to see just what Pomona’s new state-of-the-art Scanning Electron Microscope can do.

The afternoon will also include special events at the Pomona College Museum of Art related to the John Cage exhibition, a performance by the Pomona College Jazz Ensemble, Balinese Music, and a Pomona College Orchestra concert at 3 p.m., in Mabel Shaw Bridges Hall of Music.

There will also be ongoing activities and entertainment for young and not so young guests, including a carousel, inflatables, games, airbrush tattoos and photo booths. Refreshments will also be available throughout the afternoon.

Pomona College launched the celebration of its quasquicentennial on the first day of classes, Sept. 4, with its annual Opening Convocation ceremony followed by the performance of Chart of Landing, a dance/music event, and in the evening, a Native American Ceremony that offered an opportunity for College community to honor and connect with individuals whose ancestors inhabited the site long before Pomona’s founding.

Anniversary observances will continue with special events throughout the year. Launching Oct. 14 will be an innovative, interactive timeline on the College’s website that will provide in-depth information about Pomona’s history, personalities, and life on campus through the years. Once the site is live, alumni, students, faculty and staff will be invited to add their photos and memories, to create a vibrant record of life at Pomona, in the past and today.  

To learn about the day-to-day life of current Pomona College students, visit the 125 Days Blog (, a “a social media time capsule” of student lives during the 125 days of the Fall 2012 semester.

Within less than a year of its founding in 1887, Pomona College offered its first classes in Sept. 1888, in a small house located at the corner of Fifth Street (now Mission) and White Avenue in Pomona. Today, the College has approximately 1,560 students and offers more than 600 classes in a range of disciplines, offering 47 major fields.  The garden-like campus encompasses 140 acres and 63 buildings, including 14 residence halls. As a member of the Claremont Colleges Consortium, Pomona offers its students the personal experience of a small, academically superb liberal arts college and the range of resources normally associated with major universities.