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Fourth Rhodes Scholar

Alan Thornton ’50 became Pomona’s fourth Rhodes Scholar.


Memorial Gymnasium

In 1945, the trustees approved enlarging the College’s facilities for physical education as a memorial to Pomona men and women who had died during two world wars (five men in World War I, 77 men and two women in World War II). The site and architect were selected by 1948, and ground was broken in 1950. Architect Wallace Neff integrated the old Memorial Training quarters and added a dressing and shower room for women. The combined buildings offered a covered entrance on Sixth Street and a new gateway to Alumni Field. Neff had performed a similar transformation of an old building at Loyola University. The new facility, with a total 27,233 square feet of floor space, included everything required for Physical Education at the time.

The new gymnasium was the first priority of the Alumni Association’s campaigns between 1946 and 1950, and the necessary funds were raised primarily from alumni, parents, trustees, and other friends of the College. Although there were several large gifts, most were small; the effort included more alumni than had ever contributed to a single project. The building was dedicated on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1950.

Fire at Greek Theatre

On Nov. 2, 1950, a fire damaged the wooden bleachers at Pomona’s Greek Theatre.


Applications Increase

Applications to Pomona increased in 1950, with 1,714 students applying for 260 places in the freshman class.

Russian Offered

Russian language study was first offered at Pomona in 1950–51.


The Sponsor System

The successful sponsor program that had been in place for Pomona women since 1927 was expanded in 1950 to include first-year men. In this program, which continues today, upperclass students are selected to serve as sponsors for groups of 10 or 12 freshmen, living alongside them and assisting them in dealing with the challenges of college life.


Campus Filming: Saturday’s Hero

Pomona College played the role of Jackson University in 1950 during the filming of Saturday’s Hero, starring John Derek and Donna Reed. Derek played a college football star, with Reed as his girlfriend. Reed would be back two years later with co-star John Wayne for the filming of Trouble Along the Way.

Graham Chorus

The Graham Chorus, a modern dance group directed by choreographer Martha Graham, performed on campus.

Horowitz Concert

Famed pianist Vladimir Horowitz gave a concert at Pomona.


  • Accused communist spy Alger Hiss was convicted of perjury.
  • Egypt demanded that Britain remove all its troops in the Suez Canal.
  • General Douglas MacArthur threatened to use nuclear weapons in Korea.