He really brings science and the arts together. He feels that art is not just a tack-on, but it’s an essential part of going out in the world, something that strengthens innovation and empathy, which are the qualities that are really needed.
I got to know President Oxtoby pretty well when I was ASPC president. I was pretty frustrated at the time because I really wanted the faculty to require a Dynamics of Difference and Power course as a graduation requirement, and I spent my presidency organizing around that issue. One of the problems was that critics kept saying that not enough students wanted the change. I invited President Oxtoby to come speak at a Senate meeting, and I remember him telling us that our job was to do what was right, not what was popular. That was a pivotal moment for me that affirmed that I was being a good leader for following my heart. That message has stuck with me to this day.
—Lori Kido Lopez ’06
The times I’ve seen him most happy—when I’ve seen looks of what I would describe as pure happiness on his face—have been after his talks with students.
Special Assistant to the President
I think David has been an important spokesman for the liberal arts. As I look back over the past few years, his message has really resonated in countries like China, where traditionally people would opt for a large research university. To me, it’s inspiring to see that more people actually know what Pomona College is and what the liberal arts entail and that more Chinese students are pursuing this experience. I really applaud David for his continuous effort to be at the forefront in conveying the importance of a liberal arts education, in both domestic and international regions.
—Xiaoye “MD” Ma ’11
When I think about David and Claire, I can’t help but think of the times they’ve been around music, and in particular, when they’ve been around the Glee Club. There’s always so much joy on their faces. It’s very clear that David enjoys not only the music itself, but the fact that he’s hearing students sing. It’s meaningful to him. We’ve had several times on tour when he and Claire were in our midst, and we’ve sung for them in particular. That’s the picture that comes into my head—the joy on their faces when we’ve stood in a circle around them and sung to them.
—Donna Di Grazia
Professor of Music