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Our Story

Community engagement is not a new feature of life and learning at Pomona College. Our students, faculty, and staff have created a long and rich record of integration with the local communities of the greater Los Angeles region, communities which have also served as home to generations of the Pomona College family.

The Draper Center for Community Partnerships draws from this diverse history as it harnesses student creativity and passion while building lasting new traditions of mutually-beneficial partnerships.

The efforts behind the Draper Center began in earnest in the early 2000s, through the creation of the Office of Community and Multicultural Programs, under the direction of Motts Thomas. The initial programs of the office were America Reads, Pomona Partners (begun by Lorig Chakroudian ’95), and the Summer Scholars Enrichment Program, or SSEP (now called the Pomona College Academy for Youth Success, or “PAYS”).

In subsequent years, several programs were added including: Alternabreak (Sarah Kuriakose ’07); ESL Tutoring; Food Rescue (Tammy Zhu ’10); Learning in Collaboration (LINC); Sagehens Engage!; and Youth Earth Connections (Sam Lewis ’11).

In 2005, Maria Tucker became the Director of what had now become the Office of Community & Multicultural Programs and the Hart Volunteer Center. In 2007, the Administrative Assistant position was created and filled by Rita Shaw. In 2008, Sergio Marin joined the Center as the 1st Program Manager for Educational Outreach.

With a gift from Ranney Draper ’60 and his wife Priscilla Draper, the office was officially dedicated The Draper Center for Community Partnerships in fall 2009. The dedication included a festive dinner with 100 guests including local community leaders, alumni, faculty, students, staff and trustees. John Payton ’73 delivered an inspiring lecture and encouraged us to “get to work” on community issues.

The generosity of the Draper family allowed the campus to focus its efforts in the realm of community engagement, bringing together various traditions of campus service under one roof.

As the Draper Center for Community Partnerships, students, staff, and faculty work in a focused manner to implement a long-range growth and strategic plan. As part of that effort, in 2010, Prof. Tomás Summers Sandoval became the inaugural Faculty Coordinator of the Center. Also in 2010, the first project partnership was developed with Uncommon Good, a local community based organization.

Today, the Draper Center coordinates an assortment of programs, classes, and engagement opportunities, involving almost one-fifth of the Pomona College student population.

We hope you, too, will become part of our evolving story. To do so, come by our office in Smith Campus Center 228, call us at 909-607-1810,  or send us an email at drapercenter@pomona.edu.