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Living Scandinavian History

The seven-time prime minister of Denmark, Anker Jorgensen, took part in a Pomona College seminar on post-war Scandinavia taught by Professor Steve Koblik. Also taking part in the seminar was Per Ahlmark, the former deputy prime minister and minister of labor for Sweden.

Minority Scholar in Residence

Marcyliena Morgan, a Ph.D. candidate in theoretical linguistics, was appointed as the first Minority Scholar in Residence at Pomona, a new position aimed at attracting Black and Latino scholars to the faculty.


Rains Center for Sport and Recreation

The new Liliore Green Rains Center for Sport and Recreation, was constructed in 1989 around the existing Memorial Gymnasium, which was refurbished and parts of which—the floor and walls of the basketball court, for example—were preserved. To the structure was added a second gymnasium named for Robert T. Voelkel, vice-president and dean of the college 1975–86, who had strongly supported the College’s athletic programs. Voelkel Gymnasium, home to the Pomona-Pitzer men’s and women’s basketball teams, was equipped with electronic scoreboards and motorized bleachers for 1,200 spectators. Three practice courts, along with the remodeled Memorial Gym, made possible simultaneous scheduling of intramural, recreational and intercollegiate sports.

The approximately 86,000-square-foot, wheelchair accessible center also included a state-of-the-art weight and training room; four racquetball and two squash courts (gift of Loma Sessions in honor of her husband T.J. Sessions); a library and conference room (Nancy and James L. Burke, Jr. Room); three locker rooms; space for physical therapy; a multipurpose room (Albert H. MacLeod Room) for dance and aerobics; and faculty and administrators’ offices.  At the time, Pomona’s athletics and recreation program included 15 intercollegiate, 13 intramural, and countless recreational sports activities. At the dedication of Rains Center on April 8, 1989 (Alumni Weekend), President Alexander noted that the facility represented Pomona’s commitment to the well-being and physical development, as well as the intellectual growth, of all its students.

Draper Walk and Plaza

Draper Walk and Plaza were constructed in 1989 to extend the College’s attractive east-west corridor eastward from the end of Stover Walk to Mills Avenue. It was funded by a gift from Ranney E. Draper ‘60.

Rains Center Artwork

Ranney E. Draper '60 also gifted a sculpture, In the Spirit of Excellence by Norman Hines '61, to sit at the end of Draper Walk near the west entrance of Rains Center. Draper dedicated the gift to his father, Ranney C. Draper '25.

Trustee John Argue gave Pomona 15 posters commissioned for the "XXIIIrd Olympiad Los Angeles 1984" by Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Richard Diebenkorn, Robert Rauschenberg and Jennifer Bartlett, among others, to adorn the walls of the new Liliore Green Rains center. Argue is recognized as being instrumental in bringing the Games to Los Angeles. 

1898 Check Found on Grounds

A groundskeeper found a check dated July 15, 1898, while raking Memorial Courtyard in spring of 1989. The check, written to the estate of Thomas Barrows and endorsed by David Prescott Barrows '94 to Pomona College, survived 91 years of sun, rain, even snow. The amount -- $139.47 -- would have bought a building lot in Claremont in 1898.



1989 saw the first appearance of the “Polympics,” or Pomona Olympics freshman orientation contests, a series of fun matches, competitions and games organized for freshmen by the Orientation Committee. This represented a big change from the ’50s and before, when the freshman men were supposed to wrestle and mud fight against each other or against the sophomores, and the freshman women were supposed to have their weight and measurements taken by sophomore men.


Raymond Barre

The eminent European economist and former premier of France, Raymond Barre, was the featured speaker at Pomona’s 96th annual commencement exercises.

Jesse Jackson

The Rev. Jesse Jackson gave a lecture at Big Bridges in January 1989 to an overflow crowd.


  • The 63-year reign of Hirohito, the 124th Emperor of Japan, ended with his death and the succession of his eldest son to the throne as Emperor Akihito.
  • The fall of the Berlin Wall, the legalization of the Solidarity labor union in Poland and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia signaled the beginning of the end of the Cold War.
  • The Tiananmen Square massacre took place in Beijing.