President Oxtoby Promotes the Liberal Arts in Asia
President David Oxtoby traveled to India, Singapore and Hong Kong in January as an ambassador for the American model of liberal arts colleges. In India, he spoke at a groundbreaking conference, co-sponsored by Pomona and organized by Professor of Physics and Astronomy Bryan Penprase, about the future of the liberal arts in that country. In Singapore, he met with leaders of the fledgling Yale-NUS (National University of Singapore) College. And in Hong Kong, he met with presidents of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Lingnan University, both institutions embarking on expanded liberal arts programs. “Given the ongoing debate here at home about the value of a liberal arts education,” he said after returning, “it was good to be reminded that we’re all part of an international competition in which U.S. higher education is considered the gold standard, in large part because of its breadth and multiple pathways, including a vigorous liberal arts tradition.”
President Oxtoby Attends White House Summit
President David Oxtoby represented the College in January at the White House Summit on College Opportunity, during which President Barack Obama announced the White House College Pipeline Initiative, asking colleges to make new, quantifiable commitments to increase access by low-income students. Pomona committed to increasing the number of students eligible for Pell Grants, to add a new Posse cohort from Miami and to build partnerships with local community colleges in order to increase the number of low-income and underrepresented community college transfer students at Pomona.
Grigsby Named Acting Vice President and Dean of the Faculty
Jill S. Grigsby, the Richard Steele Professor of Social Sciences and professor of sociology, was named Acting Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, to serve until a new dean was installed through a national search.
Studio Art Hall Completed
The Studio Art Hall was completed, providing 35,000 square feet of space for student and faculty artists in a design that reflects the College’s integrated vision of the arts. The innovative building’s canopy roof and open, free-flowing design made the new home of the Art Department one the most striking buildings on campus. The structure was designed to achieve a LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. With more than half the wall space taken up by glass, the new building creates a village of interconnected studios and open spaces, bringing together disciplines ranging from sculpture and painting to digital arts and multimedia. The building held its formal opening on Founders Day.
Pomona Aims for Climate Neutrality by 2030
In February, the College committed itself publicly to a goal of achieving net climate neutrality by 2030. “I believe that a target date of 2030, while ambitious, will allow time for us to retro-commission all campus facilities (other than new LEED buildings), develop and implement a renewable energy plan, and make institutional changes to move us further toward renewable and potential on-site energy production,” President David Oxtoby said in announcing the decision. “It is my desire that we advance swiftly and wisely toward our goal and, if possible, find smart ways to accelerate our progress.”
Rankine Wins Jackson Poetry Prize
Claudia Rankine, the Henry G. Lee Professor of English, received the 2014 Jackson Poetry Prize, a $50,000 award honoring an American poet deserving of wider recognition. Professor Rankine, the author of four collections of poetry, was honored, according to the judges, for her “singular perspective,” “consummate talent,” and “courageous spirit.”
Commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients were Valerie B. Jarrett, senior advisor to President Barack Obama; Father Gregory Boyle, executive director of Homeboy Industries; singer and conductor Plácido Domingo; and Michael Starbird ’70, professor of mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin.
Thai Princess Receives Honorary Degree
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand received an honorary degree from Pomona College during a visit to campus in February, in recognition of her work in education and development in Thailand. Speakers at the convocation, which took place at Bridges Hall of Music, included Sirindhorn, President David Oxtoby, trustee Bernard Chan’88, Witisada Wattananimitgul’16, and Professor of Politics John Seery.
THE CLAREMONT COLLEGES
Lanesskog Named CEO of CUC
Stig Lanesskog was appointed as the new chief executive officer of the Claremont University Consortium, the support organization that provides 34 shared services such as campus safety and health services to the seven campuses of The Claremont Colleges consortium. Before accepting the position, Lanesskog worked as a professional consultant and, most recently, as the associate provost for strategic planning and assessment at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Schatz Wins Hawaii Senate Race
Senator Brian Schatz ’94 of Hawaii was elected to the U.S. Senate in his own right in November, two years after being appointed to the post following the death of longtime Senator Daniel Inouye. The Democrat defeated his Republican rival with 70 percent of the vote.
An Ebola epidemic in West Africa begins, eventually killing more than 11,300 people.
Russia formally annexes Crimea after a referendum in the Ukrainian region.
President Barak Obama announces resumption of normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba.