|Established||October 14, 1887|
|President||David W. Oxtoby|
|Location||Claremont, California, United States|
|Campus||Suburban, 140 acres (57 ha)|
The founding member of the Claremont Colleges, Pomona is a non-sectarian, coeducational school. Since 1925, the Claremont Colleges, which have grown to include five undergraduate and two graduate institutions, have provided Pomona's student body with the resources of a larger university while preserving the closeness of a small college.
- 1 History
- 2 Campus
- 3 Academics
- 4 Demographics and admissions
- 5 Rankings
- 6 Student life
- 7 Unique traditions
- 8 Recent controversies
- 9 Alumni and faculty
- 10 Notes
- 11 External links
Pomona College was established as a coeducational institution on October 14, 1887. The group’s goal was to create a college in the same mold as small New England institutions. The College was originally formed in Pomona; classes first began in a rental house on September 12, 1888. The next year, the school moved to Claremont, at the site of an unfinished hotel. This building would eventually become Sumner Hall, current location of the Admissions and the Office of Campus Life. The name – Pomona College – remained after the relocation. The College’s first graduating class had ten members in 1894.
Its founders’ values led to the College’s belief in educational equity. Like other Congregationalist-founded colleges such as Harvard, Dartmouth, Middlebury and Bowdoin, Pomona received its own governing board, ensuring its independence. The board of trustees was originally composed of graduates of Williams, Dartmouth, Colby and Yale, among others, to help create "a college of the New England type."
In the early 1920s, the College’s growth led its president, James A. Blaisdell, to call for “a group of institutions divided into small colleges—somewhat of an Oxford type—around a library and other utilities which they would use in common.” This would allow Pomona to retain its small, liberal arts-focused teaching while gaining the resources of a larger university. On October 14, 1925, Pomona College’s 38th anniversary, the Claremont Colleges were incorporated. By 1997, the consortium reached its present membership of 5 undergraduate and 2 graduate institutions.
Today, Pomona is one of the most selective and endowed colleges in the world, with an admitted student SAT and ACT range paralleling that of Ivy League institutions, and one of the largest endowments per student in the country. It has been recognized for the quality of its education, financial aid, distinguished professors, quality of life, career preparation, retention rate, sustainability efforts, and post-graduate success. With internship programs that sponsor nearly 200 Pomona students every year, and an annual summer research program that hosts 200 Pomona students, Pomona has one of the largest career preparation programs per capita. Pomona ranks 8th in the country for graduates receiving the most competitive graduate fellowships per capita. In 2013, Pomona students received the most Goldwater Scholarships of any liberal arts college, and more than most universities. Nearly 85% of recent alumni attend graduate or professional school within 10 years, with recent graduates represented at the nation's leading graduate programs. Pomona is also well known for offering a liberal arts experience with the resources of a larger university, thanks to its partnership with the Claremont Colleges.
Pomona’s campus is in Claremont, California, covering an area of 140 acres (57 ha). It includes 63 buildings, including 14 residence halls. The campus in Claremont originally began with the donation of an incomplete hotel—what would become Sumner Hall. It quickly expanded from 7 buildings in 1909—the time James Blaisdell took over as President. He had the foresight to purchase the empty land around the College while it was still available, securing the College’s future and allowing for expansion for years to come.First Street borders the campus on the south, Mills and Amherst Avenues to the east, Eighth Street on the north, and Harvard Avenue on the west. Claremont Graduate University, Scripps College and Claremont McKenna College are adjacent to Pomona’s north, from west to east respectively. Pomona is divided into North Campus and South Campus, casually divided by Sixth Street, with a few exceptions. Many of the earlier buildings were in the Spanish Renaissance Revival and Mission Styles, usually only one or two stories in height. Designed by Pasadena architect Myron Hunt, Bridges Hall of Music, is an example of these styles combined. Later buildings took inspiration from these styles, with usually three or fewer stories and stucco walls.
South Campus consists of mostly first-year and sophomore housing and academic buildings for the social sciences and humanities. Among the notable dormitories are Harwood Court, originally a women’s dorm built in 1921, and Oldenborg Center, a foreign language housing option for students that includes a foreign language dining hall. Also of note is Sumner Hall, Pomona’s first building, Bridges Auditorium (“Big Bridges”) —used for concerts and speakers with a capacity of 2,500—Bridges Hall of Music (“Little Bridges”), a concert hall built in 1915 with seating for 600, and Carnegie Building, which houses the Politics and Economics departments. It was originally built in 1929 as a library for the College. Marston Quadrangle is located between Carnegie Building and Bridges Auditorium, one of two quadrangles on campus. The Pomona College Organic Farm is hidden behind The Wash on the southeastern corner of campus. A new studio arts building is in the works, to be located behind the Oldenborg Center.
North Campus is also a mix of residential and academic buildings. Most of the academic buildings house science departments. Among the notable buildings are the Richard C. Seaver Biology Building (“Seaver West”), built with environmentally friendly features, completed in 2005, the Lincoln and Edmunds buildings, both completed in 2007, and the Sontag and Pomona residence halls, both completed in 2011.
The Lincoln and Edmunds buildings were the first buildings in Claremont to garner a gold certification award from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Program. The two new academic buildings also house the first publicly accessible Skyspace art installation by renowned artist and alumnus James Turrell '65. Pomona and Sontag Hall were built to LEED platinum standards, only the second large-scale residence halls in the country to earn that designation by their completion time.
North Campus dormitories house mostly juniors and seniors. Smiley Hall is the oldest dorm West of the Mississippi. It was built in 1908. Frary Dining Hall, one of two dining halls on campus, is the location of the murals “Prometheus” by José Clemente Orozco, his first work in the US, and “Genesis” by Rico Lebrun.
Along the south side of Sixth Street are buildings central to the campus. Smith Campus Center is home to many student services, including a mailroom, a recreation room, The Coop Store, and two restaurants; Alexander Hall houses administrative offices. Athletic facilities are to the south of Sixth Street and to the east of Smiley Hall. The Rains Center is the main athletic facility with a fitness center, gym and locker rooms. Adjacent to Rains Center is Merritt Football Field, Alumni Baseball Field and Haldeman Pool. A new parking structure on First Street serves as both a parking space for 600 vehicles and a soccer and lacrosse field. Other Pomona facilities of note include the student group and lounge in Walker Hall known as the Women's Union, the Claremont Colleges' radio station, KSPC 88.7fm, located in the basement of Thatcher Music Building, the Sontag Greek Theatre—an outdoor amphitheater, as well as The Farm, an experiment in sustainable farming, and the Seaver Theatre Complex, built in 1990 with a 335-seat auditorium, 100-seat experimental theater and several other studios and rehearsal spaces. Another notable resource is the Robert J. Bernard Field Station north of Foothill Boulevard, and the Trail Ends Ranch, 3.9 miles away from campus and owned by Pomona College.
Along the north side of campus are several joint buildings maintained by the Claremont University Consortium. These include the Tranquada Student Center, home to student health and psychological services, Campus Safety, and the Huntley Bookstore. Mudd-Honnold Library, the joint Claremont Colleges library, holds 2 million volumes, 60,000 periodicals, 30,000 reels of microfilm, and over 1 million microfiche and microcards.
The southern side of campus is directly adjacent to the Claremont Village, and less than 5 minutes away from the Claremont Metrolink Station. The campus is less than five miles (8 km) south of the San Gabriel Mountains, on top of the alluvial fans that have come from nearby San Antonio Canyon. The campus is relatively flat, with a slight uphill grade from south to north, because of this. Mount San Antonio (also known as Mount Baldy) is 14 miles (22 km) north of the College and is visible from the campus. The Mount Baldy Ski Lifts is a popular spot for students to ski in the winter because of its convenient location. On clear days, the Chino Hills are visible to the south and San Bernardino Mountains to the east.
Any student attending Pomona can enroll in up to 50% of his or her classes at the other four colleges in the Claremont Colleges. This policy is similar across the Claremont Colleges; it is meant to give students the resources of a larger university while maintaining the positive qualities of a small liberal arts college. Through the Claremont Colleges, Pomona students have access to over 2200 courses each year, including 230 English courses and 140 mathematics courses. 81% of Pomona students take at least once class at another college.
The average class size at Pomona is 15. All classes are taught by professors, and there is an 8:1 ratio of students to professors. 85% of faculty live within 5 miles of campus, and 90% of all classes have under 30 students. Students take at least one course in each of five areas: Creative Expression; Social Institutions and Human Behavior; History, Values, Ethics and Cultural Studies; Physical and Biological Sciences; and Mathematical Reasoning.
Several academic centers are available at Pomona. The Writing Center offers free, confidential consultations for students with student Writing Fellows. Writing Fellows work to improve both individual papers and work with students to develop writing skills. The Quantitative Skills Center provides one-on-one tutoring and workshops for any students seeking to enhance to their quantitative skills. The Foreign Language Resource Center provides language equipment, tutoring, and books for students and faculty. The Pacific Basin Institute provides support for the Asian Studies program, and hosts workshops and conferences in those topics.
55% of Pomona students study abroad, mostly in the junior year. Pomona offers 49 programs in 32 countries. Students can study abroad in any major, and petition to study abroad in an outside program.
Pomona has 47 majors; students who would like to create their own major are eligible to do so following specific guidelines. The 10 most popular declared majors for Spring 2014, in order, are: Economics (97), Mathematics (91), Neuroscience (70), Psychology (62), Biology (60), Computer Science (59), Chemistry (46), Environmental Analysis (45), Public Policy (44), and English (41).
The majority of faculty work with one or more students on research projects in a variety of academic disciplines. The College sponsors a subsidized Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) for its students every year. Students may choose to either work side-by-side with professors, or pursue their own independent projects. For the summers of 2012 and 2013, more than 460 students were involved with summer research. Many students also work with professors or do independent research during the school year.
The Pomona College Internship Program (PCIP) links approximately 150 students every year to paid internships at 50 different organizations in Southern California, undertaken during the school year. Students receive a wage as well as transportation funding.
The Summer Internship Program (SIP) provides funding for students with unpaid or low paying summer internships. As of 2013, 80 students have benefited from this program, including for 14 international internships.
The Shadow a Sagehen program enables current students to connect with alumni from a variety of career fields during winter break.
Pomona participates in Winter Career Recruiting and provides travel funds for graduating seniors applying for careers in a variety of areas to Chicago, New York City, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Along with on-campus recruiting, these opportunities connect students with 500 employers and 50 graduate schools every year. Pomona students receive the most interview offers per capita of their respective college consortia: the Selective Liberal Arts Consortium and the Career and Internship Connections.
Demographics and admissions
|Two or more races, Non-Hispanic||7.13%|
|Race or ethnicity unknown||8.42%|
As of Fall 2013, the student body consists of 1596 full-time and 16 part-time undergraduate students. 52% of the students are female, while 48% are male. Approximately 17% of Pomona students receive Federal Pell Grants.
The freshman class contains 397 students, of which approximately 50% identify as students of color or international students. 71.5% hail from out of California; 10.8% hail from out of country. 35% speak a foreign language at home, 14% have non-college parents, and 62% represent public schools. Among initial academic interests, 41.8% are interested in the natural sciences and mathematics, 18.1% in the humanities and arts, 14.6% in the social sciences, 10.8% in pre-professional careers, and 9.3% in interdivisional studies.
For the most recent graduating cohort, 92.8% of students graduated within 4 years, and 95.7% graduated within 6 years. The retention rate for the Class of 2016 was 97%.
For the class of 2017 (enrolled Fall 2013), Pomona received 7,153 applications and accepted 994 (13.9%). The number enrolling was 397; the yield rate was 40%. The enrolling Class of 2017 has 25-75% score ranges (25% score at or below, 25% score at or above) of 690-760 on the SAT critical reading section, 690-780 on the math section, and 690-780 on the writing section, and 31-34 on the ACT Composite. The means are 724, 727, 726, and 32, respectively. 92.4 percent of this incoming class (of those from schools that officially rank students) graduated in the top decile of their high school classes, while 22.8% of these students were valedictorians.
In a recent admitted class, mean scores for accepted students were 731 for the SAT critical reading, 735 for the SAT math, 736 for the SAT writing, and 33 for the ACT. 90.8% of these students were in the top decile of their class, and 24% were valedictorians.
Of transfer applicants for the 2013-2014 year, 8.2% were admitted, and 56.5% of admitted students enrolled at Pomona.
Pomona is a Posse Foundation and QuestBridge partner college, and has different admissions processes for both. Pomona is also part of the Say Yes Education Compact, which offers full tuition scholarships to inner city youth.
Costs and financial aid
Pomona practices need-blind admission for students who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or who graduate from a high school within the United States, and promises to meet 100 percent of demonstrated need for all admitted students, including admitted international students. No loans are packaged in the financial aid package, though students can choose to borrow if so desired. No merit awards or athletic scholarships are offered by Pomona.
For the 2013-2014 school year, Pomona charged a sticker price (tuition, room and board, and associated fees) of $57680. Close to 34 million dollars worth of scholarships were awarded in 2013, of which $30,761,000 came directly from Pomona. 54% of students received a financial aid package, with an average award of $45,296, of which on average $43,486 is grant aid and $1,810 is self-help and work-study. The scholarship awarded is scaled accordingly with the family income level of the student, ranging from $59,730 for the poorest students to $7030 for students from backgrounds making above $180,000.
|Liberal arts colleges|
|U.S. News & World Report||4|
- The 2014 annual ranking of U.S. News & World Report categorizes Pomona as 'most selective' and ranks it tied for the 4th best liberal arts college in the nation (and 4th for "Best Value").
- Forbes in 2013 rated it 2nd in its America's Top Colleges ranking, which includes military academies, national universities, and liberal arts colleges. It rated Pomona 9th in 2012.
- Kiplinger's Personal Finance placed Pomona 2nd in its 2012 ranking of best value liberal arts colleges in the United States.
- A National Science Foundation study on baccalaureate origins institutions of STEM PhDs from 2002-2011 ranked Pomona 12th in the nation for production per capita. Pomona ranked 10th in the nation for PhD production from 1975-2004.
- The Princeton Review ranked it the 5th best value in private colleges in 2013. In 2010 Pomona was ranked number one in classroom experience by The Princeton Review. It also ranked 6th for "Best Run College", "Great Financial Aid", and "Their Students Love Their College", 10th for "Happiest Students", 11th for "Most Accessible Professors", 14th for "Best College Dorms", and 16th for "Best Quality of Life", in the 2013 Edition of Princeton Review. Pomona was one of the 22 schools in the country to receive the highest score possible, a 99, in environmental practices and sustainability. It also ranked 4th for "Great Financial Aid", 5th in "Best College Dorms", 5th for "Best Run Colleges", 7th for "Best Science Facilities", and 13th for "Their Students Love Their College", according to the 2014 Princeton Review.
- The Princeton Review also rated Pomona 96 for academic quality, 99 for admissions selectivity, and 97 for quality of life.
- Unigo named Pomona as one of the "Top 10 New Ivies" in 2013 and first for "Top 10 Wired Schools". In 2011, it named Pomona as one of the 10 "Most Intellectual" colleges.
- In 2010, Newsweek ranked Pomona as the second most desirable small school, eleventh most desirable school, and fifteenth for production of students earning PhDs and/or winning prestigious fellowships. The school also ranked fifth for great weather and thirteenth for gay-friendliness. In 2011, Newsweek ranked Pomona third for "Accessible Professors", 8th for "Top School for Activists", and 8th for "Brainiacs", a measure of competitive fellowships won by alumni and student selectivity.
- For the 2011-2012 year, Pomona had the fourth largest endowment per student of any undergraduate university or liberal arts college in the country, at $1,099,906.00 per student.
- In a study on student debt produced by the Project on Student Debt for the Class of 2011, Pomona College was among the top 20 schools in the least amount of debt taken on by graduates.
- The Daily Beast rated Pomona College the 3rd happiest school in the country.
- College Prowler gave Pomona an A+, the highest grade possible, to its academics, campus dining, campus housing, campus strictness, computers, weather, parking, and facilities. Pomona also received an A in diversity.
- Pop culture website Flavorwire ranked Pomona 4th on its list of "The 25 Most Literary Colleges in America".
- A 2003 study by The Wall Street Journal listed Pomona 13th on the list of "Top 50 Feeder Schools", measured by the number of graduates per capita in 15 select elite graduate school programs.
The Claremont Colleges
Pomona is a member of the Claremont Colleges, and most social activities revolve around the five colleges, or "5-Cs". Pomona College, Claremont McKenna College, Scripps College, Pitzer College, and Harvey Mudd College share dining halls, libraries, and other facilities throughout the contiguous campuses. All five colleges, along with Claremont Graduate University and the Keck Institute, are part of the Claremont University Consortium. Notable benefits of being in the consortium include equal access to seven dining halls, the largest liberal arts college library collection, interaction with over 7000 students, special programs like Harvey Mudd's Clinic Program and Claremont McKenna's Semester in Washington DC which are available to all eligible 5C students, and the opportunity to do a housing exchange with another 5C College. Most events sponsored by each school are open to all of the five colleges.
Pomona students have access to 280 clubs and organizations through the Claremont Colleges, including 227 based in Pomona.
There are several newspapers at the Claremont Colleges, including The Collage and The Student Life, which is the oldest college newspaper in Southern California. Other campus publications include political magazines The Undecided, the Claremont Port Side, the Claremont Independent, and the Claremont Progressive; and the literary magazine, Passwords.
The Associated Students of Pomona (ASPC) serves as Pomona's central student government. Composed of a dozen or so students who represent a variety of positions, ASPC provides funding for clubs and organizations, runs Pomona Events Committee (PEC), and covers the cost of security and alcohol for social events, as well as publication costs for The Student Life.
Pomona Events Committee (PEC) is a committee of ASPC, and creates on-campus and off-campus events for Pomona students. Some noticeable events include De-Stress, which is meant to provide students a relaxation period before Final Exams, subsidized excursions to attractions and venues in the Los Angeles Basin, and dances like the Yule Ball and the Spring Formal.
The Pomona Student Union (PSU) facilitates the discussion of political and social issues on campus. The PSU is a non-partisan, student-run organization that invites prominent speakers from across the political spectrum to talk and debate. The PSU aims to raise the level of honest and open dialogue on campus. The PSU was founded on the belief that one cannot possess a firm belief in anything unless it is challenged. To this end, the PSU seeks to foster an environment in which students are exposed to a multiplicity of perspectives. Notable speakers the PSU has brought in include Jon Meacham, Mari Matsuda, Sam Harris, Nadine Strossen, and Michael Isikoff.
On the Loose (OTL) is the outdoors club of the Five Colleges. OTL's mission is to get Claremont students into nature. Students can reach mountains, desert and the ocean all within an hour, and famous national parks such as Yosemite and Joshua Tree National Park are close to campus. OTL utilizes the Claremont Colleges Outdoor Education Center (OEC) for support in offering trips and adventures. The OEC loans equipment to students for free and teaches students vital outdoor skills. The OEC also provides a vehicle for OTL trip leaders. The OEC also trains trip leaders in leadership and wilderness first aid, including Wilderness First Responder certifications. Students interested in outdoor leadership can also take many workshops on outdoor leadership including Leave No Trace ethics and many outdoor skills classes offered for credit through the Pomona Physical Education Department. Examples are Beginning Rock Climbing, Beginning Backpacking, and Wilderness Survival.
The Claremont Colleges Queer Resource Center is a student center addressing the needs and concerns of LGBT students at all five colleges.
The major resource center and student group at Pomona College addressing gender issues is the Women's Union.
The campus also has an active environmental group, the Pomona Campus Climate Challenge group, that is focused on tackling climate change and creating a culture of sustainability on campus.
Pomona has a long tradition of student-run a cappella singing groups: Men's Blue and White, Women's Blue and White, the After School Specials, the Claremont Shades, Midnight Echo, and Mood Swing.
The Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dance Company (CCBDC) is one of the largest organizations on campus, with over 130 dancers. It offers dance classes on a variety of expertise levels and showcases several events and performances each year.
There are three remaining local fraternities (originally there were seven), and no officially recognized national fraternities or sororities. Two of the three fraternities are for male Pomona students only (Kappa Delta and Sigma Tau), while membership in the third (Nu Alpha Phi) is open to students of any gender. 5% of men join fraternities.
Pomona is home to several student support offices, which provide mentoring programs to ease the transition for students who identify within a particular identity or race. These include Office of Black Student Affairs (OBSA), Asian American Resource Center (AARC), Students of Color Alliance (SOCA), Chicano Latino Student Affairs (CLSA), Queer Resource Center (QRC), and the International Place of the Claremont Colleges (I-Place).
The school's athletic program participates, in conjunction with Pitzer College (another consortium member), in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and the NCAA's Division III. There are 10 men's and women's teams. Once known as the Huns, the school's sports teams are now called the Sagehens. On October 6, 1923, Pomona College and USC played in the inaugural game at the Los Angeles Coliseum, with the Trojans prevailing 23-7.
Over the years, a rivalry has formed between the opposing sports teams: Pomona-Pitzer (P-P) and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS).
Club and intramural sports are also offered in a variety of areas, such as dodgeball, flag football, and surfing.
The Physical Education department offers a variety of activity classes each semester, such as karate, playground games, geocaching, and social dance.
Athletic facilities at Pomona include five basketball courts, four racquetball courts, two squash courts, a weight room, an exercise room, 2 pools, 2 tennis court complexes, a football field, a track, a softball field, a baseball field, and four fields for soccer, lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, and field hockey.
In the 2012-2013 year, out of the 9 SCIAC members, the men's team placed 3rd overall, and the women's placed 4th. The men's team placed 2nd in cross country, 1st in soccer, 1st in water polo, 3rd in swimming and diving, and 2nd in baseball. The women's team placed 2nd in cross country, 2nd in swimming and diving, 2nd in tennis, and 1st in water polo.
Pomona is a residential campus, and students must apply to live off campus. Virtually all students live on campus for all four years in one of Pomona's 16 residence halls:
- South Campus
All first-year students live on South Campus. As a result, the four residence halls that line Bonita Avenue are sometimes referred to as Freshman Row.
- Mudd-Blaisdell is Pomona's largest residence hall. It is home to 280 students living in doubles and singles. It is the only air-conditioned hall that houses first years.
- Harwood Court houses 170 students. It was built in 1921, is the oldest residence hall on South Campus, and the second-oldest west of the Mississippi (after Smiley).
- Wig Hall was built in the 1960s and houses 113 students, primarily first-years, mostly in doubles.
- Lyon Court is the only nearly all-freshman residence hall. It houses 78 students, mostly in doubles.
- Oldenborg Center is home to 140 students, mostly sophomores. Oldenborg residents live in language or special interest halls, and are expected to participate in the Center's extracurricular activities, which include foreign language film series, speakers, and other activities. Oldenborg also contains a foreign language dining hall, which serves lunch Monday through Friday. The Center is air-conditioned.
- Gibson Hall houses 36 students in mostly doubles. It is located in the Mudd-Blaisdell Courtyard.
- The Cottages are three bungalows that house three to five students each. Mainly sophomores live in them.
- North Campus
Most residents of North Campus are juniors and seniors.
- Smiley Hall is Pomona's oldest residence hall, and the oldest west of the Mississippi River. It was built in 1908 and houses 60 students, all in singles. Smiley used to be home to a program called Unity Dorm, which "emphasize[d] community building across classes, interests, and experiences in order to offer a strong support system for UD residents." The program was cancelled after the spring 2010 term due to lack of interest.
- Walker Hall houses 112 students in singles and two-room doubles. First-year transfer students live in Walker.
- Clark I contains two five-person suites, as well as two-room doubles. 116 students live in Clark I.
- Clark V has space for 95 students in singles and two-room doubles.
- Norton-Clark III is home to 120 students in singles and one- and two-room doubles.
- Lawry Court consists of three towers, each of which has three floors. Each floor contains eight single rooms around a common room and bathroom. 71 students live in Lawry Court (the first floor of the B tower has an electrical room).
- Sontag Hall is a three-story building that has approximately 150 single rooms in suites containing three to six students per suite. Most occupants are seniors, though some sophomores and juniors also reside in Sontag Hall. Pomona and Sontag Halls were completed in 2011, making them the newest residence halls. The building is LEED Platinum certified, and at the time of its awarding, only four other dormitory buildings had been LEED Platinum certified. As part of measures to promote sustainability, the building has a solar hot water system, solar panels, energy saving infrastructure, and water-saving fixtures. A special feature it has that distinguishes it from Pomona Hall is a rooftop garden.
- Pomona Hall, also known as B Hall, matches Sontag Hall in space, LEED Certification, and how sustainability is implemented. Pomona Hall also houses the Outdoor Education Center and has a rooftop classroom.
All first-years are placed into a sponsor group, with 10-20 other first years and 2 or 3 upperclassmen "sponsors". This is meant to ease the transition for incoming students.
Pomona's Board of Trustees adopted the College's first Environmental Policy in 2002. The school subsequently hired its first Sustainability Coordinator in 2008 and its Sustainability Integration Office was created in 2009. The College buys local and organic food for its dining halls, has undertaken a variety of outreach initiatives; requires that all new construction meet LEED Silver standards; offsets a percentage of its emissions with Renewable Energy Credits; and reduces water consumption, especially in landscaping. The College was awarded an "A" for its sustainability initiatives by the Sustainable Endowments Institute in the College Sustainability Report Card 2011.
The Draper Center for Community Partnerships, established in 2009, serves as Pomona's community engagement center. The center provides students funding for summer and winter engagement, transportation costs for volunteering during the school year, leadership opportunities, and advising for community engagement applications. It also provides students, faculty, and local residents a multitude of community engagement programs, including:
- Pomona Academy for Youth Success (PAYS), a three year, pre-college summer program for local low income, first generation students of color
- Alternabreak, a week-long community engagement trip for students during Spring Break, at Los Angeles, San Francisco, or San Diego.
- ESL Tutoring for local students
- Food Rescue, which collects leftover food from the dining halls and delivers it to local shelters
- Learning in Collaboration, in which volunteers tutor students from local, under-resourced elementary schools
- Pomona Partners, which link high school students to a college future
- Rooftop Gardening Mentor Program, which seeks to increase awareness of environmental justice and sustainability
- Sagehens Engage, which provide Pomona students weekly opportunities to be involved with community work
The number "47" has held mystical importance for Pomona students for almost forty-seven years. Two different stories about its roots exist. Campus lore suggested that in 1964, Pomona math professor Donald Bentley produced a convincing mathematical proof that 47 was equal to all other integers, and that other faculty members and senior students could not disprove his equation at first sight. (By the 1970s oral history had grown this tale into a 1950s McCarthy-era exercise by an unnamed professor, and that it was a symbolic attack on the "big lie" political style of the Red-hunters of the era.) Another version — later verified by Bentley — holds that two Pomona students on a summer grant project in 1964 hypothesized that 47 occurred far more often in nature than random number distribution would explain. Pomona College is also located off exit 47 on Interstate 10.
This tradition is endorsed by the college, as seen in Pomona College's official website's explanation of the "mystery of 47".
Near the San Gabriel Mountains and within driving distance of the Pacific Ocean, Pomona College takes advantage of its location to host an annual "Ski-Beach Day" each spring. It has been around for at least twenty years. Students board a bus in the morning and are driven to a local ski resort where they ski or snowboard in the morning. After lunch, they are bused down to an Orange County or Los Angeles County beach for the rest of the day.
Rooted somewhere in the mists of the 1940s, originally the outgrowth of an unhappy group of women students protesting on-campus policies, Mufti is a secret society of punsters-as-social-commentators. Periodically their name and insignia as well as 3.5"x8.5" sheets of paper are glued to walls all over campus, with double-entendre comments on local goings-on: when beloved century-old Holmes Hall was dynamited to make way for a new building in 1987, the tiny signs all over campus announced "BLAST OF A CENTURY LEAVES THOUSANDS HOLMESLESS."
Rose is the campus ghost, widely believed to haunt the basement and staircases of Sumner Hall. It is believed that she committed suicide in the women's bathroom during construction of the building. Although the exact reasons for her suicide are unknown, it is believed that she witnessed her husband being unfaithful. Though the building was originally planned as a hotel, after her suicide the building was sold to Pomona College and was adapted into an administrative building. Students, housekeepers, and deans believe that she can be seen at late hours, often wearing a long white dress.
Star Trek connection
Pomona College also has many connections to the Star Trek universe. In addition to the incorporation of the college's mystical number 47, a writer for the series who attended Pomona College (Joe Menosky) may have used the Oldenborg Center as inspiration for the Borg, a drone-like race of assimilated half-machine creatures. The foreign language dormitory was popularly referred to as "the Borg" long before Star Trek: The Next Generation, and for many years the students who chose to live there had the reputation of never leaving the building except to attend classes (the air-conditioned building has its own dining hall, theatre, library, and computer rooms). Even the cube-shaped spacecraft of the television series is reminiscent of the design of the dorm (which from the air resembles the letter E). Menosky has neither confirmed nor denied the well-reported account.
Pomona alma mater
The alma mater recently caused controversy when it was discovered that the song was originally written to be sung as the ensemble finale to a student-produced blackface minstrel show performed on campus in 1909 or 1910. Due to this controversy, the Alma Mater was not sung during the 2008 commencement ceremony to give the college time to consider the song's future at Pomona. On December 15, 2008, the college announced a decision to retain the song as the Alma Mater, but not to sing the song at either commencement or convocation.
On March 1, 2010, Pomona's dining service workers publicly announced their intention to attempt to form an independent labor union. That morning over 40 workers and 150 students marched from Pomona's two dining halls into President David Oxtoby's office and handed him petitions one at a time. The petitions called for a "Fair Process," asking the College to remain neutral during the unionization process and to acknowledge the results of a card check. As of March 29, 90% of dining hall staff and 50% of Pomona students had signed the petition.
On March 6, 2010, following Oxtoby's statement, workers and students rallied outside of Bridges Auditorium, marching over to Smith Campus Center in the midst of trustee meetings. Several workers spoke about specific grievances, followed by Pomona students, Pitzer Professor Jose Calderon, and Anthony Chavez, the grandson of Cesar Chavez. A vigil on March 24 called for labor peace, with a demonstration of over 300 students, professors, and community members.
In 2011, the college, responding to a legal imperative, requested proof of work authorization from all of its employees, including faculty, staff, students on work-study, and senior administration. Seventeen workers (sixteen of them dining hall employees) could not produce documents showing that they were legally able to work in the United States, and they were fired on December 2, 2011. The episode increased tension over the issues of dining hall workers' rights and their place within the community. Some undocumented workers believed that they were targeted because of their connection to pro-unionization movements.
Following an agreement between Pomona College and the union UNITE HERE in April 2013, the College's dining hall employees took part in a secret-ballot election administered by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on April 30, 2013, to determine whether they wished to be represented by the union. The vote was 56 to 27 in favor of being represented by UNITE HERE in collective bargaining. Representatives of the College administration and the union plan to meet for formal negotiations toward an initial contract in the near future.
Alumni and faculty
Pomona has 24,651 living alumni. Of those who are working, 23.5% are in education, 23.8% are in business and finance, 10.4% are in law and government, 9.9% are in health and medicine, 4.3% are in science and technology, 5.1% are in arts and media, and 23% are in other fields.
Of the 232 faculty members, 190 are full-time faculty and 42 are part-time faculty. Of full-time faculty, 58 (30.5%) are members of minority groups, 84 (44.7%) are women, and 190 (98.9%) have a doctorate or other terminal degree in their respective field.
Famous alumni of Pomona College include Walt Disney Company executive Roy E. Disney (1951); writer, actor, and musician Kris Kristofferson (1958); actor Richard Chamberlain (1956); Civil Rights activist and NAACP chairman Myrlie Evers (1968); U.S. Senator for Hawaii Brian Schatz (1994); former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller (1970); Gumby creator Art Clokey (1943); six-time Grammy Winning conductor Robert Shaw (1938); Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist Mary Schmich (1975); and several Academy Award-winning screenwriters, including Robert Towne (1956).
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