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Alma Mater Controversy

In February, a controversy erupted on campus after it became widely known that the College’s alma mater, "Hail, Pomona, Hail," had been written—according to the account of its author, Richard Loucks 1913—as the closing song for a blackface minstrel show in 1910. After a meeting with concerned students, who maintained that the song’s direct association with a racist tradition made it uncomfortable for them to sing it at College events, President David Oxtoby suspended performances of the song by student groups and appointed a committee to consider the future of that and other College songs. Concerned alumni protested the suspension of this long-standing tradition for what they saw as guilt by association, and some challenged Loucks’ memory of the events, asserting that the evidence is contradictory. The committee recommended that the alma mater be retired and that a new one be commissioned. President Oxtoby, however, decided on a compromise, retaining the song as Pomona’s official alma mater but suspending its use at official functions involving students.

Treasurer Carlene Miller Retires and Karen Sisson '79 Begins

After 19 years as vice president and treasurer of Pomona College, Carlene Miller retired in 2008. Karen Sisson '79, an international major while at Pomona and former CFO for Los Angeles Airport and city administrative officer for Los Angeles, replaced her.

First Sustainability Coordinator

As part of the College’s efforts to step up its commitment to sustainability, Pomona hired Bowen Patterson '06 as Pomona’s first Sustainability Coordinator, a new  permanent staff position designed to help improve energy efficiency, reduce waste and deal with other related issues at the College.


Peter W. Stanley Academic Quadrangle

The Peter W. Stanley Academic Quadrangle was dedicated during the 2008 Commencement weekend. It is flanked on three sides by Crookshank, Mason and Pearsons halls, and capped a series of building renovations that began in 2002 on those halls. The quad is named for former Pomona College President Peter W. Stanley.

Mason Hall Renovated

Mason Hall reopened after being completely gutted and renovated, with significant upgrades in the building’s structure, interior spaces and facilities. The renovation also recovered some original architectural details that had been lost in previous renovations.

Foreign Language Resource Center

The new Foreign Language Resource Center opened in Mason Hall, replacing the old language laboratory. 

The Goddess Pomona

A statue of the goddess Pomona was installed in the Organic Farm in 2008. The marble statue was commissioned by Ronald Lee Fleming ’63 and sculpted by noted artist Mark Mennin.

Pomona Named Top Wired College

Pomona College was been named one of PC Magazine’s “Top 20 Wired Colleges” of 2008. Pomona was listed at #5.


Zoot Suit

Professor Alma Martinez directed the first Los Angeles staging of Zoot Suit, the seminal play about the "Sleepy Lagoon" trials that preceded the Zoot Suit Riots, in which a group of Mexican-American youths were wrongly convicted of murder charges, since its 1978 premiere. Martinez performed in the original musical and the 1981 film adaptation. The play, written by Luis Valdez, was the first Chicano-produced musical to hit Broadway.

David Foster Wallace

Pomona lost a legendary literary figure from its faculty in 2008 when the internationally known author David Foster Wallace, the first Disney Professor of Creative Writing, died by his own hand. Wallace had been a member of the Pomona faculty since 2002.


Bike Sharing

Taking its commitment to sustainability to the streets, Pomona College unveiled a new bike-sharing program designed to build on the College’s already strong on-campus bike culture. The new program permitted students to borrow state-of-the-art folding bicycles for use in exploring Los Angeles via train and bike, or simply for taking a ride around the campus.


Tennis Title

Siobhan Finicane won the national singles title for the women’s tennis team, which won the West Region and advanced to the NCAA semifinals. Ann Lebedeff earned the National Coach of the Year Award.


Junot Diaz

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz gave a reading in November at the Smith Campus Center.


  • The price of petroleum hit $100 per barrel for the first time.
  • SpaceX Falcon 1 became the world's first privately developed space launch vehicle to successfully make orbit.
  • The “housing bubble” bursts, sending the U.S. economy into a tailspin and launching a worldwide financial crisis.