2011

Celebrating the 47th birthday of 47
Sontag Hall
Bill Gates meets with students in 2011
Elemental Arts Initiative launches at Founders Day 2011

LEADERSHIP

New Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Seth Allen

Seth Allen was appointed vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid at Pomona College. He came to Pomona after serving as dean of admission and financial aid at Grinnell College and dean of admissions at Dickinson College. Allen replaced Bruce Poch, who stepped down from his position after 23 years of service.

Work Authorization Controversy

A complaint to the Board of Trustees accusing President David Oxtoby and his administration of systematically failing to obtain legal right-to-work documentation from employees set off an investigation and a chain of events that led to the dismissal in December of 17 long-time Pomona employees, creating deep divisions in the campus community and leading to a firestorm of protests and accusations. Although the investigation found that the administration had done nothing wrong and the administration asserted that legal constraints had left the College with no other options, the fact that the dismissals took place during a unionization drive by a group of Dining Service employees provoked suspicions that fueled controversy and made the events the subject of national media coverage ranging from the Spanish-language television station Telemundo to The New York Times.

CAMPUS

Sontag Hall and Pomona Hall

Two new residence halls, named Sontag Hall and Pomona Hall, were built on north campus to house approximately 150 students in suite-style apartments, with three to six single bedrooms, a common room, shared baths and a kitchenette. Each of the residence halls consisted of two buildings in an L-shape configuration with the second and third floors connected by a glass walkway. Each floor also boasted a full kitchen and family-style lounge to give students a larger community gathering space. Combined, the buildings enclosed 78,000 square feet of space and sat on a 4.3 acre site. The total project cost was $53 million.

After construction, both buildings were certified LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council, becoming the first college residence halls in California to achieve that rating and only the second new, large-scale residence project in the nation to earn that distinction nationwide. Platinum is the highest level recognized for sustainable building through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design criteria.

Sontag Hall, adjacent to Athearn Field, was made possible by a lead gift of $7.5 million from Rick Sontag (Harvey Mudd ’64) and Susan Sontag ’64. Included among its unique amenities was a rooftop garden. Pomona Hall, which received an anonymous $7.5 million lead gift, featured a large fireplace lounge equipped with a projection system and houses the Outdoor Education Center and a rooftop educational classroom focusing on the building’s energy-conserving features.

New Parking Structure

The South Campus Parking Structure, located on First Street, opened in summer 2011. The structure, which includes a lacrosse field on the roof, is part of a larger effort to create a greener and more pedestrian-friendly campus. The structure's many sustainable features included a motion-controlled lighting system, high-efficiency plumbing, reclaimed building materials, and alternative transportation features like bike racks, priority parking for carpools, and six electric vehicle-charging stations.

The 600-space structure paved the way for other changes on campus, including the closures of the parking lots and spaces at Bridges Auditorium, Seaver Theatre, Oldenborg, Kenyon House, Haldeman Pool and Fourth Street between College Avenue and College Way; the closure and landscaping of the street between Harwood Court and Mudd-Blaisdell; and the conversion of Alexander Hall parking to visitor parking. The old Seaver Theatre lot became the site of the new Studio Art Building, to open in 2014, while plans for Fourth Street included landscaping to extend Marston Quad.

80th Anniversary of Prometheus

The College celebrated the 80th anniversary of José Clemente Orozco's mural Prometheus with a student-curated exhibition at the Pomona College Museum of Art. The exhibition uncovered the history of the mural, including the origin of the mural and its long and sometimes controversial past in Frary Dining Hall. Paulette Barros '11 and theory friction practice '12 curated the exhibition.

ACADEMICS

Funding for New Scanning Electron Microscope

Pomona College and Harvey Mudd College received a $546,273 National Science Foundation grant for a new field-emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM). The FE-SEM opened for student and faculty use in 2013. The collaborative grant proposal was led by Pomona College Physics Professor David Tanenbaum. At many other institutions, use of this high-level equipment requires a fee, but Pomona and Harvey Mudd, through the grant funding and each College's funds, have covered the service costs for seven years.

Outdoor Education Center Opens

The Outdoor Education Center opened its doors in 2011, housed in the new Pomona Hall residence building. The OEC became the organizing force behind several outdoor programs already in place, including Orientation Adventure and faculty-led field trips. Additionally, the OEC began offering workshops, new physical education classes, and a new three-level Outdoor Leadership Series certification program. The OEC also supports the popular On the Loose outdoors club through equipment management and safety training for members.

Elemental Arts Initiative

Pomona College embarked on a four-year "Elemental Arts" Initiative, funded by the Mellon Foundation, in 2011. Each year revolved around a theme (earth, wind, fire and water) with a goal of fostering creativity through the arts and collaboration across disciplines. Program elements included a summer internship program, guest artist residencies, academic symposia and events, and re-aligned offerings like the 10-Minute Play Festival and Theatre for Young Audiences.

The Martha Graham Dance Company Residency

Celebrated contemporary dance company, The Martha Graham Dance Company, was in residency at Pomona College in February. Students participated in a choreography workshop, watch rehearsals and were able to perform in a multimedia program of dance works, Panorama, at Bridges Auditorium on March 1. Twenty-six students from the Claremont Colleges rehearsed for months before the program, under the direction of former Graham Company member David Zurak and Professor Laurie Cameron.

ATHLETICS

Cross Country Stand-out

Annie Lydens ’13 finished third in the NCAA Women’s Cross Country Championship, the highest finish in program history (men or women).

Claremont Braineaters Win National Championship

The men's 5-College ultimate Frisbee team, the Claremont Braineaters, won the USA Ultimate Men’s Division III National Championship in 2011. Markham Shofner ’11 was voted one of the top 10 players in the country by other ultimate players, and Tommy Li ’12 was voted as one of the top 14 players in the California, Arizona and New Mexico region.

EVENTS

Celebrating 47 Twice

Sagehens had two great reasons to celebrate 47 in 2011: First, it was the 47th year of 47 and the campus celebrated on April 7 with contests and fun at Smith Campus Center. This year also saw Binary 47 Day, which was on either October 10 or November 10 (10/11/12), depending how one formats the date. The Mathematics Department threw a party, and Professor Ami Radunskaya explained the date's significance in a video.

Landmark Museum Exhibition: "It Happened at Pomona"

The Pomona College Museum of Art staged an ambitious three-part exhibition exploring art at Pomona College in 1969-1973, a significant time of groundbreaking installation and performance artwork by art faculty, curators, students and visiting artists. The exhibition was part of Pacific Standard Time, an unprecedented collaboration among 60 Southern California institutions that chronicled art in post-WWII Los Angeles. Notably, the Museum stayed open 24 hours a day for nine weeks in restaging a work by Michael Asher, and presented three performance pieces by renowned artists Judy Chicago, James Turrell '65 and John M. White. 

Bill Gates Speaks at Pomona

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Bill Gates spoke at Bridges Auditorium on March 10. The event was co-sponsored by the Harvey Mudd College Annenberg Speakers Series and the Pomona College Distinguished Speakers Series, and Gates met with students from both campuses. At the event, he spoke about his philanthropic efforts to solve global health issues, among other subjects.

Oliver Stone Screens South of the Border

Film director Oliver Stone screened his documentary South of the Border and participated in a Q&A in Edmunds Ballroom on February 17.

CONSORTIUM

QRC Goes 7C

Pomona's Queer Resource Center, which officially came into existence in 1993, became a 7C institution after an agreement from all five Claremont Colleges and two graduate schools to provide program funding.

ELSEWHERE

  • The dictators of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya fell as part of the "Arab Spring" of unrest and revolution across the region.
  • President Barack Obama announced that Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been killed during an American military operation in Pakistan.
  • Space Shuttle Atlantis landed at Kennedy Space Center after completing STS-135, bringing America’s 30-year space shuttle program to an end.

COMMENTS

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