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Endowed Chairs

Pomona College appointed four professors to endowed chairs in 2008-09. Bryan Penprase (physics and astronomy) was named to the Frank Parkhurst Brackett Professorship. Lynn Rapaport (sociology) was appointed to the Henry Snyder Professorship. John Seery (politics) was named to the George Erving Thompson Memorial Professorship in Government. Daniel O'Leary (chemistry) was appointed the Carnegie Professor of Chemistry.

New Faculty

The College hired six new faculty for the 2008-09 academic year:

  • Tony Boston, assistant professor of physical education
  • Paul Cahill, assistant professor of Romance Languages and Literatures
  • W. Bowman Cutter, assistant professor of economics
  • Kevin J.H. Dettmar, W.M. Keck Professor of English
  • Michael J. Green, assistant professor of philosophy
  • Virginie Pouzet-Duzer, assistant professor of Romance languages and literatures

Books, Publications & Recordings

William Banks (psychology) is editor-in-chief of the new two-volume Encyclopedia of Consciousness (Elsevier, 2009).

Allan Barr’s (Asian languages & literatures) translation of Yu Hua’s essay “China’s Forgotten Revolution” appeared on the op-ed page of the New York Times on May 31.

Pianist Gayle Blankenburg (music) and her chamber music ensemble released the CD “inauthentica” (MSR Classics label, MS1208), which features the music of Arnold Schoenberg, including his masterwork “Pierrot lunaire.”

Kevin Dettmar (English) edited and contributed to The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan, published by Cambridge University Press.

Richard Hazlett (geology) co-authored The American West at Risk: Science, Myths, and the Politics of Land Abuse and Recovery, with Howard G. Wilshire and Jane E. Nielson. selected the book as one of its 2008 Top 10 Books in “Outdoors and Nature.”

Jen Hofer (Moseley Fellow, English) co-authored The Route, an epistolary and poetic collaboration with Patrick Durgin (Berkeley, CA: Atelos, 2008), and translated sexoPUROsexoVELOZ and Septiembre, books two and three of Dolores Dorantes’ Dolores Dorantes.

Thomas Leabhart’s (theatre & dance) book The Decroux Sourcebook, co-edited with Franc Chamberlain, was published by Routledge.

Pardis Mahdavi (anthropology) is the author of Passionate Uprisings: The Intersection of Sexuality and Politics in Post-Revolutionary Iran. She gave a talk on the work to the World Affairs Council and was interviewed the subject and politics in Iran by CNN, NPR, BBC Radio, The Nation and other media outlets. Chapter “Who Will Catch Me If I Fall? Health and the Infrastructure of Risk for Urban Iranians,” in Contemporary Iran.

David Menefee-Libey’s (politics) book Learning from L.A.: Institutional Change in American Public Education, co-authored with Charles Taylor Kerchner (CGU), Laura Steen Mulfinger (CGU), and Stephanie E. Clayton, was published by Harvard Education Press.

Char Miller edited the volume Water in the 21st-Century West: A High Country News Reader.

Jennifer Perry (anthropology) coauthored The Punta Arena Site: Early and Middle Holocene Cultural Development on Santa Cruz Island, with Michael Glassow and Peter Paige.

Fundamentals of Japanese Dance, a translation by Leonard Pronko (theatre & dance) and Takao Tomono of a book by Hanayagi Chiyo, was published by Kodansha. The book has 16 editions in Japan, and this is the first of its kind in English

Monique Saigal (Romance languages & literatures) is the author of Héroïnes Françaises 1940-1945: Courage, Force et Ingéniosité, about women in the French Resistance. She was an invited speaker about the topic throughout France and in the U.S. and Canada.

Lectures, Readings, Exhibitions & Performances

Laurie Cameron (dance) performed the 1915 Denishawn solo "Floor Plastique" as part of the "Spirit of Denishawn" lecture/performance (with Robin Rice) at the International Sacred Dance Festival at Connecticut College on July 22.

Jon Bailey's (music) EPIPHANIES, a 30-minute work for chorus, boy soprano, baritone and four percussionists composed for the 125th Anniversary of All Saints Church Pasadena, premiered in June.

Ann Lebedeff (physical education) was a featured speaker at the 13th Annual World Team Tennis Junior Nationals, sponsored by Billie Jean King and World Team Tennis, in San Diego, where she gave a talk on "The Right Stuff for Competitive Play." She was also the guest speaker at the U.S. Tennis Association National Tennis Teachers' Conference, held during the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, on "What Makes a Great Coach?"

Lynne Miyake (Asian languages & literatures) gave a talk, “Contemporary Japanese Culture: Dialogic, Fluid, and Pragmatic,” as part of orientation for the 2009 Japanese American Leadership Delegation to Japan.

Sheila Pinkel (art & art history) helped curate the exhibition and symposium “In Transition Russia 2008” at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Ekaterinburg, Russia, which included her work as did the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art exhibit “Just How Does a Patriot Act?”

Jack Sanders (music) performed 16 concerts on baroque and classic guitars in Wyoming, Louisiana and California, sponsored by either the Wyoming Arts Council or under the auspices of the Piatigorsky Foundation of New York.

Shahriar Shahriari (mathematics) co-organized an international conference on Combinatorics, held at the Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences in Tehran, May 15-21. At the conference he gave a talk, “Chain Partitions of Normalized Matching Posets.” He was also an invited speaker at the 2008 International Conference on Discrete Mathematics, in Mysore, India, where he spoke on “Normalized Matching Posets and Chain Partitions.”

Slavi Slavov (economics) gave his paper “Do Common Currencies Facilitate the Net Flow of Capital among Countries?” at the 15th World Congress of the International Economic Association in Istanbul.

For the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, Samuel Yamashita (history) gave two lectures at in conjunction with their “Samurai” exhibition: "An Introduction to Warriors" "Vendettas and the Tokugawa Order.”

Awards & Honors

The Wig Distinguished Professor Awards for Excellence in Teaching is determined by a student vote and recognizes exceptional teaching, concern for students and service to the College and community. The 2009 recipients were: Eleanor P. Brown (economics, fifth Wig Award), Stephan R. Garcia (mathematics), Susan J. McWilliams (politics), Gilda L. Ochoa (sociology and Chicano/a studies, second Wig Award), Ghassan Sarkis (mathematics), Tómas Summers Sandoval, Jr. (history and Chicano/a studies) and Jonathan C. Wright (biology, second award).

Fred Sontag (philosophy), the longest-serving faculty member in the history of the College, received the Trustee Medal of Merit during the May Commencement ceremony. “While Fred’s faculty colleagues at Pomona and around the world have long celebrated his extraordinary scholarly achievements … today we honor Fred Sontag for his compassionate mentorship and counseling of students,” said Stewart Smith ’68. A gifted and beloved teacher who spent 57 years at the College, Sontag passed away in June.

Mark Allen (art & art history) was invited to join the board of directors of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. In November, he led 35 artists in "A Machine Project's Field Guide to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art," a day-long event that included performances, installations and workshops, which received rave reviews in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

Vice President and Dean Cecilia Conrad (economics) received a 2008 National Urban League Women of Power Award.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick (English and media studies) has been named to the Program Committee of the Modern Language Association.

Tom Flaherty (music) was composer-in-residence for the Nevada Encounters of New Music, held April 7-11 in Las Vegas.

Kathleen Howe (art history) was selected for the Getty Leadership Institute’s renowned Museum Leadership Institute, joining more than 30 museum leaders from around the world.

Pardis Mahdavi (anthropology) was awarded an American Council of Learned Societies fellowship for her project “Traffic Jam: Labor, Migration and Trafficking in Dubai,” and was named a 2009-10 Woodrow Wilson International Scholar, an Asia Society Fellow and a Keddie-Balzan Fellow for spring 2010.

April Mayes (history) was selected as a Fulbright Scholar. With the award, she will spend the 2009-2010 academic year in the Dominican Republic, affiliated with the Instituto Filosófico Pedro Francisco Bonó.

John Seery (politics) was selected for the Phi Beta Kappa Society Senate 2009 Sidney Hook Memorial Award, a triennial award recognizing “national distinction by a single scholar in each of three endeavors—scholarship, undergraduate teaching and leadership in the cause of liberal arts education.”

Hung Cam Thai (sociology and Asian American studies) was awarded a Senior Scholar Fellowship at the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore.

Dwight Whitaker (physics and astronomy) received an award from Laser Focus World for "Commendation for Excellence in Technical Writing" for his article "High-speed images capture processes in botanical systems."


Tzu-Yi Chen (computer science) was part of a group awarded a $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for the collaborative research project “Commonsense Computing: What Students Know Before We Teach.”

Mary Coffey (Romance languages & literatures) has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities summer stipend for her project “Tracing the Ghost of Colonial Experience in 19th-Century Spanish Literature.”

Lorn Foster (politics) was awarded a $50,000 Seaver Foundation grant for his project “Eight Black First Churches” in Los Angeles.

Fred Grieman (chemistry) received a Summer Faculty Research Award to work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology for summer 2009.

Karl Johnson (biology and neuroscience) received an Academic Research Enhancement Award of $216,556 from the National Institutes of Health for his project “Characterizing the Function of Syndecan during CNS Development.”

Nina Karnovsky (biology) received a $21,340 grant from the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program to conduct oceanographic research around the Channel Islands during summer 2009, assessing the foraging conditions for rare seabirds with Kristen Boysen ’10 and Augie Lagemann ’10.

Bryan Penprase (physics & astronomy) was part of an international team that was given 500 hours on NASA’s Spitzer Space telescope to study near-earth asteroids. As part of the project, Pomona received a $39,000 grant to help fund remote observations and hire Claremont Colleges students for summer research.

Charles Taylor (chemistry) received a $90,000 research grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology for his work with preparing selective chemical sensors for electronic noses (ENoses).