Pomona College Magazine
Volume 41. No. 2.
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Supporting Pomona/ Pamela Creighton '79

Taking Flight

Like so many artists, Pamela Creighton '79 drew upon her own life experiences in her art, as well as Greek mythology, ancient history and the heavens. Fascinated by the play of light, meticulously positioning and photographing marbles and other glass objects and continually challenging herself to explore new media, Creighton felt indebted to Pomona College for inspiring her work.

It was at Pomona that, “she took her art to a new level,” according to close friend Jackie Jacobs Caster ’79, who fondly recalled Creighton’s typical uniform of paint-spattered clogs with overalls or painters’ pants. “She always had paint on her hands; she was immersed physically and emotionally in her paint.”

Following her death on Dec. 3, 2002, at the age of 45, Creighton left Pomona more than $1 million, which she had directed two decades previously in her estate plans. The majority of these funds will be used in the next few years to renovate art faculty studios and will help to ensure that the studio art program continues to thrive.

In recognition of the importance of the College in Creighton’s life and her own conviction that the arts are critical to our society, Creighton’s mother, Margaret S. Hunter of Washington, D.C., has donated a major gift in Creighton’s memory. The Pamela Townley Creighton ’79 Scholarship Fund in the Creative Arts will support students with financial need who declare a major or minor in studio art, dance, theatre, music, English (including, but not limited to, creative writing) and media studies. An average of five or six students will receive scholarship awards each academic year, although the number may fluctuate annually depending on the size of the awards.

“I am truly delighted to be able to make these scholarships possible for talented students in honor of Pamela, as creating her art and writing were so important to her,” said Hunter, who is particularly pleased that the scholarship will be available to students of media studies. “Pamela was so interested in and adept at using computers in her work and employed a wide range of media. This is a perfect match.”

Recognizing Creighton’s early talent and interest in creative expression, Hunter encouraged Creighton’s artistic endeavors during her years at the National Cathedral School and the Madeira School, from which she graduated before entering Pomona in the fall of 1975.

“She came to Claremont a talented writer and artist, but it was here that she gained the freedom, confidence and support to really take flight,” said Minott Wessinger ’79 who, with fellow Claremont alumni Cellin Gluck (Pitzer ’80) and Gretchen Greenwood ’80, organized a well-attended retrospective show of her art at the Smith Campus Center in May 2003 during Pomona’s Alumni Weekend. “Pamela believed that her art flourished at Pomona.”

Influenced as an undergraduate by artists Wassily Kandinsky and Jackson Pollock, “her early works were in oils,” said Greenwood, “but she stopped using them exclusively for a while and experimented, very successfully, with collage, mixed media, photography and computer graphics.”

These gifts are particularly timely as Pomona launches a strategic planning process to ensure the College’s bright future. “Since arriving at Pomona College more than two years ago, I have placed the arts at the top of my list of priorities, as they are a key component of a liberal arts education,” said President David Oxtoby. “The study of the creative arts encourages students to see the world in a different way. Funding for scholarships in the arts and for arts facilities will help Pomona to achieve its vision of providing one of the finest programs in the country in the creative arts. We are deeply grateful to Mrs. Hunter and to our alumna Pamela.”

Hunter takes pleasure knowing that Creighton will have a lasting influence on the College. “We need to foster the arts in this world,” said Hunter. “If we don’t have them, what do we have?”
—Lynn Sarf
©Copyright 2004
by Pomona College
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