President Starr’s Weekly Update (11/16/21)

Dear Pomona College Community,

A year ago, the U.S. was at the start of a devastating surge in COVID-19 cases, vaccines had yet to arrive and our students were scattered around the globe taking their classes online.

Today, our students are back on campus and learning in our classrooms. We just enjoyed a warm weekend full of Sagehen athletic competitions – with some key victories – as well as the public welcoming event for our stunning new Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College. Our students once again are enjoying the return of some outdoor trips to such places as Joshua Tree National Park.

So much has changed and we have much to be thankful for. Let me thank all of you for your care and commitment in following our community’s safety protocols.

Those safety steps remain essential. The pandemic isn’t over, and so many of us have lost loved ones since it began. We need to stay vigilant in the face of pandemic fatigue as Los Angeles County Department of Public Health warns that “we confront the real possibility of a winter surge.”

Let’s stay on course with the close of fall semester now in sight. At Pomona last week, we had two positive COVID-19 tests results among students and one from faculty and staff out of more than 2,000 tests, making for a 0.15 percent test positivity rate.

We strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster – and please be aware that California in recent days expanded eligibility to everyone 18 years old or over.

As we approach the Thanksgiving break, let’s take care of ourselves and one another. Wellness will be an important theme in the months ahead as our task force prepares recommendations, and construction moves forward for our new athletics, recreation and wellness center.

We also must continue to look beyond our gates to Pomona’s role as an engine of opportunity in American higher education. In the years ahead, with the help of our supporters, we will bolster our enduring commitments to financial aid and pursue new partnerships to promote college access as part of our Strategic Vision.

Let me close by wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I’m so thankful to be part of this caring community.


With best wishes,