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2010 Commencement Recap

President David Oxtoby, Robert Price '64, Janet Napolitano and Robert Towne '56

President David Oxtoby, Robert Price '64, Janet Napolitano and Robert Towne '56

Class of 2010

Note: To view videos and read speeches, please use the navigation on the left or click on the speaker's name below. To view photos of Commencement, please visit our Flickr account.

May 16, 2010

As proud families and friends watched, approximately 375 students received their diplomas during the College's 117th Commencement on May 16 on Marston Quad under "String Theory," the artful and sustainable canopy first introduced at the 2009 Commencement.

In his charge to the Class of 2010, Pomona College President David W. Oxtoby discussed our graduates' new document--their diploma--and asked them to consider the plight of high school students who were brought into this country undocumented as children:

"Consider two students who have graduated from the same high school, gone on to college, and are now thinking about their futures. One was born in the US and is by law a US citizen; the other was brought to this country as a child and is undocumented. The first is eligible for in-state tuition and federal aid; the second cannot study abroad, cannot hold a job on or off campus, and must constantly worry that any encounter with the law may lead to deportation."

He announced the College's support of the DREAM Act, legislation announced in the House and Senate that would a pathway to legal permanent residency for high school graduates in this country, and his intention to write legislators about the bill.

After President Oxtoby's speech, Senior Class President Calvin Kagan '10 and Senior Class Speaker Michael Bright '10 gave their speeches.

Honorary degrees were then conferred upon Robert E. Price '64, Robert Towne '56 and Commencement Speaker Janet Napolitano.

  • Janet Napolitano, the third Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, previously served Arizona as U.S. Attorney, Attorney General and Governor. While Governor, Napolitano became the first woman to chair the National Governors Association, and was named by Time magazine one of the top five U.S. governors in 2005. Napolitano graduated summa cum laude from Santa Clara University in 1979, where she won a Truman Scholarship, and received her Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 1983 from the University of Virginia School of Law.
  • Entrepreneur and philanthropist Robert E. Price '64 is CEO and president of PriceSmart, a public international retail company built on the membership retail model. He and his father, Sol Price, founded the Price Company, which introduced the pioneering Price Clubs in 1976. The Price family has devoted resources, leadership and energy to philanthropy and community building, primarily through two charitable foundations: The Price Family Charitable Fund, a private family foundation, and The Price Charities, a public operation foundation. Price received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Pomona College in 1964, with a major in government. He served as a member of the Pomona College Board of Trustees from 1987 to 1991 and 1994 to 1998.
  • Robert Towne '56 is a four-time Academy Award nominee and Oscar winner for the classic Chinatown. Towne's many screenwriting credits include Shampoo, The Last Detail, Mission Impossible I and II, The Firm, Greystoke (under his nom de plume, P.H. Vazak, his much loved Komondor dog who, Towne felt, deserved a better screen credit), and Days of Thunder. Towne directed four of his own scripts: Personal Best; Tequila Sunrise; Without Limits; and Ask the Dust, a 2006 film of Towne's own adaptation of John Fante's book. Among many awards and honors, Towne is a two-time winner of the Writer's Guild of America Best Screenplay Award. He has served on the Board of Governors of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, and worked with the American Tunaboat Association, the Marine Mammal Commission, and the Environmental Defense Fund.