President Starr's Weekly Update (1/25/22)

Dear Pomona College Community,

We had a challenging weekend as fierce winds swept through Claremont and our region. Thank you to our dedicated staff and faculty who responded and kept the College running smoothly even as many faced prolonged power outages at their own homes. Please continue to take care and heed campus safety warnings. The City of Claremont has set up a web page with windstorm information.

At this point, most of our students are back on campus as we prepare to resume in-person classes on January 31. Last week, we had 39 positive COVID-19 results out of 1,492 tests, for a 2.61 percent positivity rate. For staff and faculty, we had 14 positives out of 396 tests, for a 3.54 percent positivity rate.

As we’ve noted, these rates are higher than last semester but lower than our medical experts forecast amid the Omicron surge. Case rates in our region remain very high but are starting to decline. Let’s move forward with our multi-layered safety strategy, including vaccine boosters.

Our mission of providing a world-class liberal arts education carries forward. Teaching and learning at Pomona offers a global outlook, and we’ve launched an intensive project to coordinate, connect and clarify our international work. The aim is to reach beyond disciplinary and national borders and better equip our students to engage with people and organizations worldwide.

I want to offer my kudos to Tom Lin ’18, who just received the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction for his debut novel, The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu. Lin was recently on campus for a Humanities Studio event and did an interview on his Pomona experience, among other topics.

The work of Pomona Art Professor Sandeep Mukherjee will soon be in the spotlight when the Super Bowl is played at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood next month. His art installation is prominently displayed at the YouTube Theater at the SoFi complex.

Finally, I want to return to campus and the winds with the sad recognition that we lost some beautiful trees on Marston Quad and other parts of campus. Our community will look for thoughtful ways to repurpose them. I know our tree canopy is an important part of Pomona, and we will move forward with care for future plantings as well.

Thanks once again for the tireless work of staff and faculty as in-person classes resume next week.


With best wishes,