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Goldberg Named VP, COO and Treasurer

In October, Robert Goldberg was named as the new vice president, chief operating officer (COO) and treasurer of Pomona College, effective on Jan. 1, 2020. He was formerly the chief operating officer of Barnard College and, before that, a long-time senior budget official for the U.S. State Department.

Watson Appointed VP for Advancement

Maria Watson was confirmed by the Board in December to become Pomona College’s vice president for advancement starting Jan. 6, 2020. Watson brought to Pomona more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience. Before Pomona, her career had taken her from cultural institutions such as Lincoln Center and the New World Symphony to Fordham University and, most recently, the University of Southern California, where she served as the associate vice president of development. 


Ranked for Financial Aid

Pomona College was No. 5 on The Princeton Review’s “Best Financial Aid” list, featured in the organization’s new book, Best Value Colleges: 200 Schools with Exceptional ROI for Your Tuition Investment. Pomona was also listed at No. 30 for “Top 50 Green Colleges” and No. 24 for “Top 50 Best Value Colleges.”

Top 10 Fulbright Producer

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Pomona was one of the top producers of U.S. Fulbright students and scholars for 2018–2019 among bachelor’s institutions. At No. 6 on the list, Pomona was the only California institution in the Top 10.


The Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College

The College received a $15 million naming gift from Janet Inskeep Benton ’79 for its new art museum, which was set to open in fall of 2020 as The Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College. The new 33,000-square-foot facility, which was completed in the fall of 2019, cost a total of $44 million and features cast-in-place concrete walls, accented with wood and glass, and a distinctive sloping roofline. Built to LEED gold standards of sustainability, the U-shaped museum was built to define a central courtyard, with a pavilion for events. Built on three levels, the entire building was conceived and designed as a teaching museum, fostering instruction within collection areas and exhibition spaces, creating opportunities for active encounters with original works of art and providing state-of-the-art storage and ease of access for a growing permanent collection of over 14,000 objects. The new building replaced the existing Pomona College Museum of Art, which was housed in a ’50s-era facility.



Foreign policy expert Esther Brimmer ’83 delivered the commencement address to Pomona College’s Class of 2019 on May 19. Brimmer held several positions within the U.S. Department of State, most recently serving as assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs from 2009 through 2013, where she was responsible for the U.S. diplomatic representation to United Nations locations and its agencies.


Fossil Discovery

Geology Professor Robert Gaines was the only non-Chinese member of the team that has been exploring a newly discovered, 500-million-year-old Burgess-Shale-type fossil site in South China. The Qingjiang biota, as it was named, is home to an extraordinarily diverse fossil record characterized by near-pristine preservation of soft-bodied organisms.


During 2019, Pomona lost three beloved faculty with service time totaling more than a century, including Music Professor Gwendolyn Lytle (35 years at Pomona); Biology Professor Jonathan Wright (21 years at Pomona); and Theatre and Dance Professor Emeritus Leonard Pronko (57 years at Pomona).


Center for Speaking, Writing and the Image

Pomona College’s Writing Center received a $250,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations to expand its support to include, in addition to written communication, oral and visual communication. The two-year grant was to fund programs in which students could engage rigorously with the written, oral and visual literacies that will help them become effective communicators and leaders. The vision for the new, reimagined Pomona College Center for Speaking, Writing and the Image was to continue to teach, support and engage thoughtfully with writing through peer mentoring and workshops, but also to develop new methods for supporting the development of oral and visual competencies in all Pomona students. The center was the first at a liberal arts college to name visual communication as one of its supported literacies.


National Title for Men’s Cross Country

The Pomona-Pitzer men's cross-country team claimed its first national championship, winning the NCAA Division III title at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky, and ending the three-year reign of North Central College, a perennial power from Illinois that had won seven of the last 10 titles. In addition, two Pomona-Pitzer men and two Sagehen women claimed All-American honors at the event. Ethan Widlansky ’22 came off his NCAA West Region Championship to take a seventh-place national finish in a time of 24:32.9. Not far behind him was Dante Paszkeicz ’22, who also earned All-American honors with a 16th-place finish in 24:48.5. Lila Cardillo ’22 led the way for the women with a 12th-place finish at 21:38.3 and Helen Guo ’20 took 14th at 21:41.0.

Women’s Soccer Final Four

The Pomona-Pitzer Women’s Soccer team made it all the way to the Final Four of the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament before being eliminated with a loss to No. 2-ranked William Smith College. Midfielder Bria VarnBuhler ’20 was subsequently named the United Soccer Coaches Division III National Player of the Year.


Chinese probe Chang'e 4 became the first human-made object to land on the far side of the Moon.

11,000 scientists from around the world publish a study in the journal BioScience, warning “clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.”

The U.S. House of Representatives approves two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, making him the third president to be impeached in the nation's history.