Pomona College was incorporated on October 14, 1887, by a group of Congregationalists who wanted to recreate “a college of the New England type” on the West Coast. Instruction began the next year in a small, rented house in the city of Pomona.
The following January, an unfinished hotel in nearby Claremont, along with the adjacent land, was given to the College. The College relocated there, but the name "Pomona College" stuck. Pomona awarded its first diplomas to the Class of 1894.
By the 1920s, Pomona President James A. Blaisdell faced a difficult choice—to limit expansion to retain the College’s unique character or allow growth and expand into a university. Under Blaisdell’s guidance, the College chose a third path. Using Oxford and Cambridge as models, Pomona founded a consortium unlike any other in America.
Over the next 75 years, two graduate schools and four other undergraduate colleges joined Pomona as members of The Claremont Colleges, located on neighboring campuses, allowing cross-registration and sharing important facilities such as libraries.