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New Rankings from Forbes, Princeton Review

With a revamped set of standards designed to place more emphasis on student achievement, Forbes Magazine ranked Pomona College number 2 on its list of America’s best institutions of higher learning, with Stanford University taking the top spot. The Princeton Review ranked Pomona number 5 in its top 10 best values among private institutions of higher learning. Both rankings received wide coverage in the national news.

Pomona Named to Green Honor Roll

Pomona was one of 22 colleges in the country named to The Princeton Review 2014 Green Honor Roll for earning the highest possible score (99) based on its environmentally related practices, policies and academic offerings.

Pomona Dining Hall Staff Unionize; Union, College Reach Agreement

Following an agreement between Pomona College and the union UNITE HERE, the College's dining hall employees took part in a secret-ballot election administered by the National Labor Relations Board on April 30, 2013, to determine whether or not they wish to be represented by the union. The vote was 56 to 27 in favor of the union. Representatives of the College administration and the union began formal negotiations toward an initial contract later in the summer. Negotiations for a new contract began during the summer and continued during the fall, with the parties coming to agreement on a three-year contract in late December.

College Declines to Divest from Fossil Fuels

In response to calls from campus groups to consider divesting its endowment from fossil fuel companies, the College directed its principal financial advisors, Cambridge Associates, to do a thorough examination of the potential financial impact of such a move. Based on the resulting report, which indicated that such a move would result in decreased performance of almost $500 million over a 10-year period, and on doubts concerning the effectiveness of such a move in combating global warming, the Board of Trustees declined to divest.

Pomona Joins the Say Yes Compact

At a media event on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., in September, the nonprofit organization Say Yes to Education announced that Pomona and 10 other private colleges and universities had joined the Say Yes Higher Education Compact, with a commitment to offer free tuition to eligible inner city students from areas served by the organization.


Hudgings Named Dean, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Pomona College selected Janice Hudgings, previously associate dean of faculty and professor of physics at Mount Holyoke College, to be its new vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college. In her new position, Hudgings serves as Pomona’s chief academic officer, responsible for coordinating and supporting academic programs; teaching and research; and ultimately shaping and sustaining the intellectual life of the college.

Besnard Appointed Vice President for Advancement

Pamela Besnard, previously vice president for development and alumni relations at The New School in New York City, was appointed as Pomona’s new vice president for advancement. At Pomona, Besnard oversees the College’s fundraising operations as well as outreach programs for alumni, parents and other constituents. Among her responsibilities is the successful completion of the College’s $250 million Campaign Pomona: Daring Minds.

Senior Advisor on International Initiatives

Bertil Lindblad ’78 became Pomona's first senior advisor on international initiatives. Lindblad, a native of Sweden, was a long-time administrator at the United Nations who had served as senior advisor/child protection at UNICEF headquarters, UNAIDS regional director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and most recently, director of the UNAIDS New York Office. In his newly created position, he works with College leadership and faculty to coordinate and expand Pomona's global connections and international activities through collaborative relationships.


Construction Begins on Studio Art Center

Work began on Pomona’s new 36,000-square-foot Studio Art Center on the east side of campus. Expected to cost about $29 million, the building featured an open design with extensive use of glass and natural lighting, a central courtyard, studios and common areas where students can display work and socialize. Designed by wHY Architects, of Culver City, the new facility is being built to achieve at least a Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification program. Completion is scheduled for July 2014.

Old Millikan Demolished to Make Way for New Millikan

As the academic year came to an end, Millikan Hall, built in 1958, was demolished to make way for the construction of a new, updated Millikan. Scheduled for completion in August 2015, the new facility would provide an updated home for Pomona’s Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy departments. Plans called for the new 74,868-square-foot building, like its predecessor, to feature cast-in-place concrete, masonry design elements, textured plaster, a red tile room and an entrance patio. A planetarium dome was planned for the southwest corner. As called for in Pomona’s Green Buildings Standards, the design and construction aimed at a minimum LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. 

Sontag, Pomona Halls Win Awards

Pomona’s newest residence halls, Sontag and Pomona Halls, completed in 2011, received the 2013 Green Good Design Award from the European Centre for Architecture, Art Design and Urban Studies and the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design. They were also chosen as one of seven grand winners in the 2013 Builder’s Choice and Custom Home Design Awards for cutting-edge, inspired projects, as announced in Builder Magazine. The two facilities were the first large-scale residence project in California to earn LEE Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

New Electron Scanning Microscope

A new field-emission scanning electron microscope was installed in Seaver South, replacing a 15-year-old instrument. The new microscope, funded by a $546,273 grant from the National Science Foundation, is shared by Harvey Mudd College. It can magnify materials like fibers, cells and particles on the nanometer scale, with magnifications of up to a million times.

Part of Fourth Street Becomes Pedestrian-Only

In a continuation of a project designed to make the campus more pedestrian friendly, a section of Fourth Street was closed permanently and resurfaced as a pedestrian walk similar to Stover Walk on the opposite side of Marston Quadrangle. The project also included new landscaping around Bridges Auditorium.

First ReCoopOFFICE Sale

Pomona’s first ReCoopOFFICE sale, held December 13-15, successfully found new homes for more than five tons of office furnishings ranging from glass display cabinets, desks and chairs to lighting and binders. The items were free to Pomona College offices or available for purchase at a low cost to individuals. More than 150 items were recycled including 53 chairs, 13 file cabinets, 18 tables, 17 bookshelves, seven desks and two microscope cabinets. The successful sale netted more than $1,500 with proceeds for the Sustainability Integration Office's educational programs and campaigns on campus.


Five-Year “Africa Initiative” Launched

To emphasize the growing importance of Africa on the world stage, Pomona launched a five-year “Africa Initiative” to promote interest in and understanding of African history, politics, economics and culture. Professor of Politics Pierre Englebert, who also published a textbook in 2013 titled “Inside African Politics,” said, “If we are to train the leaders of tomorrow, it’s essential to prepare them better to deal with Africa, its politics and political economy.” The initiative was to include visits from a number of speakers and scholars with connections to Africa, including U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, New York Times West and Central Africa Bureau Chief Adam Nossiter, and Senegalese hip-hop artist and political activist Malal Talla.


Rankine Appointed as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets

Claudia Rankine, the Henry G. Lee Professor of English, was elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, a distinguished position held in the past by such poets as W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop and Adrienne Rich. Fifteen members of the Academy’s current Board of Chancellors selected Rankine for the six-year term of service. The chancellors act as ambassadors of poetry in the world at large, advocate for the programmatic work of the Academy, consult with the organization on matters of artistic direction and programming, and elect award recipients.

Tompkins Receives Two Book Awards

Professor of English Kyla Tompkins received two awards—the Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize from the American Studies Association and the Best Book in Food Studies award from the Association for the Study of Food and Society—for her book, Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the Nineteenth Century.

Taylor Awarded $600,000 NSF Grant

Charles Taylor was part of a research team awarded a $599,858 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships for Innovation program for the project “Raman Spectroscopic Platform for Analysis of Volatile Organic Compound Biomarkers. Raman spectroscopy is a form of molecular spectroscopy that can be used for fingerprinting chemicals. In the past, explains Taylor, it required large pieces of equipment such as lasers, monochromators and high-voltage power supplies. But over the last two decades, instrumentation has improved and now the required equipment can fit in a small bench-top unit. The new Raman spectrometer, which was purchased with the grant, was installed in Taylor’s Seaver South lab earlier this year, and he reported that the “preliminary results are promising!”

Faculty Books:

Literary Remains: Death, Trauma, and Lu Xun's Refusal to Mourn, by Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Literatures Eileen Cheng

Inside African Politics, by Professor of Politics Pierre Englebert

From Trafficking to Terror: Constructing a Global Social Problem, by Associate Professor of Anthropology Pardis Mahdavi

Seeking the Greatest Good, by Professor of Environmental Analysis Char Miller

Academic Profiling: Latinos, Asian Americans, and the Achievement Gap, by Professor of Sociology and Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies Gilda Ochoa

L'Impressionnisme littéraire, by Assistant Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures Virginie Pouzet-Duzer

In Memoriam:

Professor of Music Katherine Hagedorn

Emeritus Professor of Botany Edwin Phillips


Endowment Tops $2 Billion

After tumbling by about 25% during the financial turndown of fall 2008, Pomona’s endowment recovered its losses and topped the $2 billion mark in late 2013.


Metate Discontinued After 118 Years

The Associated Students of Pomona College voted to discontinue the 118-year-old yearbook known as the Metate due to low sales and lack of student interest. Pomona’s yearbook was printed for the first time in 1894 under the name Speculum and was later renamed Metate. More recently, yearbook sales began to decline nationally as social media gained popularity, but the Metate remained in production through 2012, accumulating losses totaling $30,000 in recent years. 

Best Insight at DataFest

Nine Pomona students on two teams advised by Mathematics Professor Johanna Hardin—Team Chirp and Team Stingrays—earned a “Best Insight” award at this year’s DataFest, a 48-hour competition held at UCLA on April 19-21. Thirty-two teams from UCLA, USC, UC Riverside and Cal State University, Long Beach competed in the data analysis competition which used data from one million users of the online dating site eHarmony. The teams were whittled down by the end and allowed to pair up, ending with the combined Pomona team winning one of two “Best Insight” awards, the competition’s best-in-show prize.

Krunk Fu Battle Battle

The Pomona College Theatre and Dance Department presented the hip-hop musical Krunk Fu Battle Battle in April at the Pomona College Seaver Theatre, directed by Joyce Lu.


Evers-Williams Gives Inaugural Invocation

Civil rights activist and scholar Myrlie Evers-Williams '68 was tapped to deliver the invocation at President Barack Obama's second inauguration on January 21. She was the first woman and non-clergy member to say the prayer that precedes the ceremonial oath, according to the Washington Post. While still a student studying sociology at Pomona College, Evers-Williams wrote For Us, the Living, which chronicled her late husband's life and work. She was the first black woman to serve as head of the Board of Public Works of Los Angeles and, in 1995, became the first woman to head the NAACP.

PCM Turns 50

Pomona College Magazine celebrated its 50th year of publication. The magazine was first published in 1963.


A Record-Breaking Week

Pomona-Pitzer set an unofficial athletic department record by having 13 sports in action in the same week (all four winter sports, and nine of the 10 spring sports). However, this accomplishment was overshadowed by the breaking of 15 official records. Most of the damage to the record books was done at the SCIAC Swimming and Diving Championships, where the Sagehens set 14 new program records, 12 by the Women’s Swimming team (out of 18 total events). Men’s Swimming added two records at SCIACs, while Women’s Track and Field capped off the week with yet another school record in the 4x800 relay.

Coach Kat Earns 400th Win

On the final day of 2013, Head Basketball Coach Charles Katsiaficas, in his 26th season with the Sagehens, picked up his 400th career win as Pomona-Pitzer used a late surge to defeat Trinity 68-63.

Peace Pipe Retired

In November, Pomona-Pitzer Athletics and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athletics agreed to retire and replace the Peace Pipe trophy, which had been exchanged by the players of the two programs following their annual football game each year since the trophy was created in 1959. The decision was a result of ongoing discussions between the athletic programs and members of The Claremont Colleges’ Indigenous Student Alliance (ISA), who expressed their cultural concerns about using a sacred object as a trophy. Both athletic departments agreed to retire the trophy and replace it with a new tradition in time for the following year’s game.


The Heart of the Liberal Arts

A year-long speaker series titled “The Heart of the Liberal Arts: Humanities in the Liberal Arts College” was organized to bring seven prominent national speakers from various disciplines to campus to explore the changing role and the continuing importance of the humanities in the context of a liberal arts education.

The Moving Mind

The departments of Dance and Neuroscience joined to present a public symposium titled "The Moving Mind: A Forum for Dialogue Between the Arts and Sciences," bringing together workshops, lectures and exhibits focusing on fostering a cross-disciplinary dialogue on the use of embodied exploration as a way of understanding the mind.

Comedian Bill Maher

Emmy-nominated political comedian Bill Maher, called “one of the establishment’s most entertaining critics” by The New York Times, performed on Sunday, May 12 at Pomona College. Maher, who has garnered 23 Emmy nominations over 18 years, is the host of HBO’s television series “Real Time.”

Grammy Winner Ben Harper

Two-time Grammy Award-winning blues, gospel, roots and R&B musician Ben Harper returned to his native Claremont to perform a pair of concerts at Bridges Auditorium in November.

Engagement and Sustainability Powwow

Pomona College hosted a Community Engagement and Sustainability Powwow at Walker Beach, sponsored by the Draper Center for Community Partnerships. The Powwow included local Native American community members, including representatives of the Gabrielino Tongva, whose land Pomona College is located on, and other local and statewide tribes. The day was filled with a wide variety of Native cultural experiences, including drumming performances and traditional Native American dances. Several Native vendors of artisanal products displayed their items and world-champion hoop dancer Terry Goedel (Yakima, Tulalip) provided a special dance exhibition at the Powwow.


Mulroy Heads Library

The Claremont Colleges have appointed Kevin Mulroy to serve as the A.J. McFadden Dean of The Claremont Colleges Library. Kevin comes to The Claremont Colleges from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he has served since 2008 as the associate university librarian for academic services.

Fire Hits BFS, North Campus Properties

In September, a fire hit the southwest corner of the Bernard Field Station and the north campus properties of Pitzer, Scripps and Harvey Mudd colleges. The fire burned a total of about 86 acres before being extinguished. 

Claremont Colleges Lead Nation in Fulbrights

Graduates from the five undergraduate institutions of The Claremont Colleges received a total of 55 Fulbright Scholarships, more than the total received by graduates of any research university in the country. Pitzer led the group with 22 awards, followed by Pomona with 16, Scripps with nine, Claremont McKenna with seven and Harvey Mudd with one. In comparison to the colleges’ total of 55, the leading institution among research universities, Harvard University, totaled 39 awards and the runner-up, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, totaled 32.


The most powerful meteor to strike Earth's atmosphere in over a century exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk.

Benedict XVI resigned as pope, becoming the first to do so since Gregory XII in 1415.

Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union.