OUTGOING CHAIR OF the Pomona College Board of Trustees Jeanne Martin Buckley ’65 received the Pomona College’s Alumni Distinguished Service Award at an Alumni Weekend program in Little Bridges on May 2, in honor of her many years of service to the College. Buckley, who completed her three-year term as board chair in June, has been a member of the board since 1999 and is the first woman and the first person of color to lead the board since the College’s founding in 1887.
“I have really appreciated the opportunity to work closely with Jeanne Buckley during her term as board chair over the last three years,” President David Oxtoby said. “She has provided steady and thoughtful leadership during a period of considerable change for Pomona College. I have been able to turn to her for helpful advice on many occasions.”
As an undergrad at Pomona in the early 1960s, Buckley took a range of leadership roles, participating in student government, choir and glee club, and helping to put on a jazz festival. For much of the time, she was the only Black woman attending Pomona, but she had been in the same situation in high school in Pelham, N.Y. “It was not a shock in a cultural sense,” she said in an interview a few years ago. “I could navigate it.”
After Pomona, she found her way into social work and was involved in the early days of Head Start. She also trained as an actress, landing a seven-episode stint on the popular primetime soap opera Peyton Place. In the end, a decade after graduating from Pomona, she decided to continue her education in law school, earning her J.D. from Empire College School of Law in 1979.
During a distinguished legal career, Buckley has specialized mainly in juvenile and family law and then served as a Sonoma County Superior Court Commissioner for more than a decade. In 1995, she was honored as Juvenile Court Judge of the Year by the California Judges Association and Woman of the Year by the Sonoma County Bar Association’s Women in Law group. Since 2003, she has been a professional panel member for Resolution Remedies, a firm specializing in mediation, arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. In 2004, she was recognized with the Bar Association’s Career of Distinction Award.
Prior to assuming the role of board chair, Buckley chaired both the Student Affairs Committee and the Academic Affairs Committee for four years and served on a number of other committees including the Executive Committee, Facilities and Environment Committee, Strategic Planning and Trusteeship.