Dean of Students William E. Nicholl retired after 31 years at the College, including 29 years as Dean of Students. Also retiring was the College’s well-loved choir and Glee Club leader, Professor Ralph H. Lyman, who also completed 31 years of service to the College as a member of its Music Department.
Fall semester saw the arrival of 429 new students, including 269 freshmen from 18 states and 104 veterans. The total enrollment of 1153—691 men and 462 women—set a new record.
A recent tradition of mid-year graduations continued with 55 seniors awarded diplomas at the combined opening convocation and commencement in Bridges Auditorium in February. A matriculation ceremony, in conjunction with Parents’ Day, was held three weeks later.
Short story writer Katherine Ann Porter spent a week on campus, meeting with student groups and classes, lecturing at the Thursday morning assembly and holding individual conferences with budding young writers. Later in the year, English poet and literary critic Stephen Spender spent several days at Pomona meeting with advanced classes and individual students and giving a public lecture.
All Claremont College students were fingerprinted during registration for the second semester. Claremont Police Chief Paul Gordon said the fingerprinting was to deter campus crimes by serving as a warning against possible thefts in the dormitories and on college grounds. The last time fingerprinting of Pomona College students had been done, in 1943, it was part of a national effort to record the prints of everyone in the United States.
Daylight Savings Time
A Student Life headline “Pomona Prepares for Daylight Savings Time” was in response to the passage of a bill by the California State Assembly and Senate proclaiming that Daylight Savings Time would start Sunday, March 14, at 2:01 a.m. In the article, George Sherman noted that he held “no grudge against DST personally, it’s the principle of the thing. It’s much easier to get up with the sunlight streaming through the window than to dress in the dark.”
Associate College Dance
The first annual Associate College’s dance was held in the Student Union ballroom, with the goal of encouraging students from Pomona, Scripps and Claremont Men’s College to socialize more with one another.
The year 1948 marked the end of the College’s use of three houses in the community, known as Haddon, Denison and Baldwin, as residences for sophomore women. The two-story clapboard houses had been home to as many as 39 women for a number of years. The 1948 Metate lamented that “antiquated and inconvenient as they were, their private kitchens and pianos made them favorite stopping-places for footloose North-campusers and resulted in the most distinctive spreads to be found anywhere.”
Stassen Wins Straw Poll
Pomona College students overwhelmingly indicated a preference for Harold Stassen for president. Stassen received 290 votes to Thomas Dewey’s 46, with President Harry Truman pulling in only 18 votes and Dwight Eisenhower receiving 14 write-in votes.
Sagehen Magazine Revived
The Sagehen magazine--the comedic magazine created by students in 1923 and folded in 1947--reappeared in November with features on campus life and activities, including photos of social events, freshmen vs. sophomore contests, a tirade against students in general and Pomona students in particular by a professor who preferred to remain anonymous, and a special section on Pomona-Whittier football.
The Echo Rally, a longstanding Pomona tradition, was held in November before the Pomona-Whittier homecoming game. Students stood on the steps of Carnegie Library and chanted or shouted cheers, with the sound vibrating back as an echo from Big Bridges. The rally also featured the Frosh Pajamerino, where every freshman was expected to wear “his loudest, gaudiest pajamas,” according to The Student Life.
Another popular event, held later that month before the Pomona-Oxy game, was the bonfire rally. Freshmen (only the males) were assigned to collect logs, railroad ties, telephone poles and “anything that would make a good fire,” said TSL. The 1948 rally also included pep talks, fireworks and a performance by the Blue and White, who appeared on the darkened Alumni Field to present their version of “Torchbearers.”
Renowned contralto Marion Anderson performed in Bridges Auditorium in February as part of the Colleges Artist Series of solo concerts.
Nelson Eddy appeared in Bridges Auditorium to launch his national spring concert tour. It was Eddy’s third appearance in Claremont.
Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse.
President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981, ending racial segregation in the United States Armed Forces.
The Berlin Blockade began.