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2021 Alumni Distinguished Service Award Recipients Announced

Each year, Pomona College recognizes an alumnus, alumna or alumni for their selfless commitment and ongoing volunteer service to the College. The Alumni Distinguished Service Award was inaugurated in 1991 and recipients are selected by the Committee of Past Presidents of the Alumni Association. This year, the honorees are Peggy Olson ’61, Kelly Perine ’91 and Dodie Bump ’76. 

Join us in in congratulating these honorees for their dedication to community service! 

Peggy Olson ’61

Peggy Olson is a talented vocalist and dedicated Pomona College alumna, having served two terms on the Alumni Association Board. Her passion for Pomona has been strong from the very beginning, when she was attracted to the College for its beauty and for the opportunity to sing. As a freshman, she lived in Harwood Court, just steps away from Little Bridges, which quickly became her second home, as the College Choir, Glee Clubs and College Church Choir all practiced in that building. Olson and her husband Marty Olson ’60, were married in Little Bridges on the night of her graduation. They sang the “Hawaiian Wedding Song” and members of the Men’s and Women’s Glee Clubs participated from the balcony throughout the ceremony.

After graduating, Olson remained connected to the College and over the years she has been quite committed to Pomona. The Alumni Association Board is honoring her for her volunteerism and service – she has returned to campus to work on Pomonathons and on many class reunions, singing with the glee clubs whenever given the opportunity. Throughout the decades Olson has been an active member of the Class of ’61 and has connected with a variety of alumni representing different generations of the College and working with them as they supported the various goals of Pomona.

Olson has two sons, Todd and Peter, who both graduated from “Pomona of the North” —also known as Stanford University. A highlight in her life was being a part of both of her sons’ weddings. Her son Todd was married to Renee, with the elder couple being invited to sing the “Hawaiian Wedding Song” again. Her son Peter was married to Eric, in a ceremony just months before Marty’s passing. Fortunately, Marty saw both of his grandsons, Chris and Erik, growing up as they lived only eight doors away.

Olson discovered Transcendental Meditation (TM) in 1968 and saw it as a profound method of improving one’s quality of life. She thought the technique an excellent fit for the Pomona community, and in 2019 she was able to sponsor a small class and has been thrilled with the enthusiastic response. After 64 years, Peggy’s passion for Pomona is still as strong as ever and she’s looking forward to stepping again onto Marston Quad to soak in its beauty and especially that of her second home, Little Bridges.

Kelly Perine ’91

Kelly Perine is an American television actor, writer, director, producer and comedian. The Alumni Association Board is recognizing Perine this year due to his dedication to connecting with students and giving them career opportunity. If it is a Kelly Perine project, the number 47 will appear in it somewhere and Pomona grads will be working on it in some capacity.

Perine credits his experience creating a film studies path at Pomona for helping him to realize that his artistry and talent could lead him to Hollywood success. His time at Pomona College as a sponsor and spending a semester abroad in Alicante, Spain all found their way into his acting, writing and directing career. He also met his current directing partner Bry Sanders ’92 while moving into his dorm in 1987. After Pomona College, Perine continued his education and received an M.F.A. in drama from the University of California, Irvine (UCI).

Perine has been a staple in film and television for the past 27 years, known for his roles on “One on One” and “Between Brothers” from UPN, “The Drew Carey Show” that aired on ABC and Nickelodeon’s “Knight Squad.” One of his proudest accomplishments is helping to create the Claremont in Entertainment & Media (CEM) networking group, which now has thousands of members.

“I just remember thinking to myself one day that I know a pool of the smartest people around, and I want to collect them in one place, under one umbrella, so we can all help each other successfully navigate the crazy world that is the entertainment industry. I’m trying to create a secret handshake so fellow Sagehens can identify each other. I put Pomona folks in my movies, have them as writing and directing partners, and simply call on them when I need inspiration.”

Through CEM, Perine supports Claremont grads and helps them find other professionals in the field. You can find everything from directors to gaffers, and the group has members from Los Angeles to New York. Perine has several film and television projects in the works and doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

Dodie Bump ’76 

Dodie Bump is a committed Pomona College alumna and former Alumni Association Board president. An art history major and Mortar Board Society member, Bump pursued her hobby of photography at Pomona, with athletics as her biggest extracurricular activity. She played on the women’s basketball and volleyball teams, managed the men’s track team coached by Pat Mulcahy ’66, and even threw the javelin on the not-quite-official women’s track team. She also was an athletic trainer for football, track and field as well as other sports which was a rarity for a female student at the time. In her first year after graduating Pomona, she worked on campus as an administrative assistant to Athletic Director Ed Malan ’48. From there it was on to Xerox Corp. in El Segundo, where she worked in a variety of administrative and marketing roles.

After more than a decade with Xerox, Bump decided to take a voluntary buyout and move across the country to Wellesley, MA where she quickly became a leader in the New England Sagehen community. For over 15 years, she held marketing positions at several software companies in the Boston area. In 2004, she landed her “best job ever” as director of communications for the Newton-Wellesley Hospital Charitable Foundation. During her time at the hospital, she joined the Pomona Alumni Association Board in 2006 and became president in 2011.

In early 2015, Bump made another big move, this time retiring to Stonington on the southeast Connecticut shoreline where she now lives. There she has stayed connected to Pomona through her class reunion committees, volunteering for alumni weekend, and participating in a variety of Pomona-sponsored events and programs, both in person and virtually. She has funded several student internships through the Benton Museum of Art, creating opportunities for practical curatorial experience that she didn’t have when studying art history back in the 1970s. Almost as busy in retirement as when she was working, Bump volunteers with various non-profit organizations in Stonington, continues her love of photography, plays Mah Jongg and is an avid tennis player.

“Serving Pomona as a volunteer has certainly enriched my life. The alumni, staff and faculty I’ve met through the years have impacted my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined as a first-year student in Wig Hall,” said Bump. “And receiving the Alumni Distinguished Service Award means more to me than I can ever express. I am beyond grateful.”