2009

"String Theory" canopy for Pomona College Commencement

LEADERSHIP

Dean Cecilia Conrad

Cecilia Conrad became Vice President and Dean of the College of Pomona College, replacing Dean Gary Kates, who stepped down after eight years to return to the classroom as a professor in Pomona’s History Department. Conrad, a member of Pomona’s faculty since 1995, returned to the College after a two-year leave from her post as the Stedman-Sumner Professor of Economics during which she served as Vice President and Dean of Faculty at Scripps College. Conrad was the first person of color to serve as Pomona’s academic dean.

CAMPUS

Seaver South

Seaver Laboratory for Biology, fondly known as Seaver South, reopened in January 2009 after extensive renovation. The building contains state-of-the-art laboratories for introductory and upper-level courses in Biology and Neuroscience, as well as a computing lab, classrooms, and faculty and staff offices. Seaver South now houses the Biology Department’s aquarium rooms and storage facilities.

Mudd Science Library Closed

The Seeley G. Mudd Science Library was closed as a library in 2009 as part of a restructuring of the Claremont Colleges library system.

String Theory Commencement Canopy

The 2009 Commencement ceremony marked the first use of Pomona College: String Theory, the artful and sustainable blue canopy designed by Artists Jenna Didier and Oliver Hess and architectural designer Emily White. The shade structure is based on Voronoi tessellations, algorithms of weaving and lace-making, coordinated with a solar incidence angle study that determines an optimum density pattern, allowing for shade where most needed, and keeping the canopy as lightweight and wind transparent as possible. The streamers hang 10 to 20 feet overhead. 

Lichen Discovered

A new species of lichen found at the Claremont Colleges’ Robert J. Bernard Biological Field Station was named in honor of former Pomona College biology professor, Philip Munz. Kerry Knudsen, curator of lichens at University of California Riverside, discovered the new species Lecanora munzii, and named it in honor of Munz, who served on the faculty of Pomona from 1917 to 1944. After leaving for two years at Cornell, Munz returned to Southern California as director of the then newly founded Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens where he spent the remainder of his professional career.

FACULTY

Fred Sontag

After more than 40 years on the Pomona faculty, Philosophy Professor Fred Sontag retired in 2009 and died soon thereafter.

STUDENT LIFE

The Draper Center

The Draper Center for Community Partnerships was officially dedicated in October when the expanded Office of Community Programs was renamed in honor of trustee Ranney Draper ’60 his wife Priscilla, who, along with the couple’s Draper Family Foundation, provided a $5.5 million gift for the Center’s programs and operations. Dedicated to supporting educational and community outreach, the new center was intended to expand on earlier outreach programs, such as the Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS), a college-prep summer program for local high school students.

ATHLETICS

Baseball Team No. 1

The baseball team climbed as high as No. 1 in the nation on its way to a 37-7 final record. Drew Hedman was named the National Player of the Year after almost winning the NCAA Division III triple crown (.489, 24 homers, 87 RBI) and was later drafted by the Boston Red Sox.

EVENTS

Global Warming Discussion

In September, Pomona College hosted residents of the greater Los Angeles area to discuss views and perceptions about global warming. The meeting was one of five hosted in the United States as part of an event sprawling across six continents, 38 countries and including over 4,000 participants. Politics professor Rick Worthington led the effort to bring one of the consultations to Pomona College. The worldwide project was organized by the Danish Board of Technology, which aimed to give everyday citizens around the world a chance to weigh in on global climate policy in preparation for the December Copenhagen talks, in which world leaders would discuss global environmental issues.

ELSEWHERE

  • Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States and the first African American ever to be elected to that position.
  • The outbreak of the H1N1 influenza strain, commonly referred to as “swine flu,” was declared a global pandemic.
  • Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

COMMENTS

Members of the College family are part of Pomona history, and we invite them to add their memories to these pages. If you notice an objectionable comment (see our commenting policy), please flag it to bring it to our attention.