There’s no modest way to say it. According to Forbes magazine, Pomona College is now #1 among all colleges and universities in the country.
When Forbes released its “America’s Top Colleges 2015” issue earlier this year, to the surprise of many across the country and the delight of Sagehens everywhere, Pomona topped a distinguished list that went on to include #2 Williams, #3 Stanford, #4 Princeton, #5 Yale and a lot of other amazing institutions. (Harvard is in there somewhere.)
Forbes explains that their rankings differ from other college rankings, in part, due to their emphasis on outcomes, including amounts of student debt, graduation rates and measures of student satisfaction and career success.
“While the cost of U.S. higher education escalates, there’s a genuine silver lining in play,” explains Forbes. “A growing number of colleges and universities are now focusing on student-consumer value over marketing prestige, making this a new age of return-on-investment education.”
Of course, we all know ratings are overrated. Then again, what’s wrong with a few hard-earned bragging points?
The newly rebuilt Millikan Laboratory and Andrew Science Hall have been certified LEED Platinum, the highest rating for building sustainability standards, joining nine other Pomona College buildings that have achieved LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) status. As Pomona’s first LEED Platinum science/laboratory building, the complex joins just four other science buildings with that rating in all of Southern California.
“Obtaining a LEED Platinum rating is much more difficult in a science building because of the specialized systems required by laboratory facilities,” says Robert Robinson, assistant vice president of facilities and campus services. Millikan’s numerous green features encompass landscaping, lighting, materials and alternative energy.
Here’s the full list of LEED certified buildings on the Pomona College campus today:
Millikan Laboratory and Andrew Science Hall, 2015
Pomona Residence Hall, 2011
Sontag Residence Hall, 2011
Studio Art Hall, 2015
Grounds I, 2013
Grounds II, 2013
Grounds III, 2013
Edmunds Hall, 2007
Lincoln Hall, 2007
Richard C. Seaver Biology, 2006
(In addition, the South Campus Parking Structure (2011) was built to LEED Gold+ standards even though parking structures do not qualify for certification.)
If you’re comparing yourself to others, you’re often going to find yourself short on something, especially if they have a background that’s different from your own. … Don’t measure yourself against others. Measure yourself against you. How much have you done to get where you are? And take pride in that, because that adds to the richness of your university and the place that you’re in.
—Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor during a visit to campus in October
For nearly 20 years, the Pomona College Museum of Art has been home to a series of exhibitions designed to turn a spotlight on emerging and underrepresented artists from Southern California. After 49 exhibits in what became known as the Project Series, senior curator Rebecca McGrew ’85 decided to take it up a notch for Project #50 by showcasing seven artists in concurrent solo exhibitions in “R.S.V.P Los Angeles,” which will be open through Dec. 19. “I envisioned collaborating directly with the artists who themselves were engaging with the contemporary cultural moment through a rich, boundary-blurring dialogue of art, culture, history, social issues, politics, music, science and more,” says McGrew on how the Project Series was conceived in 1999. Many of the artists who have been featured in the series have gone on to major national recognition.
Members of the Class of 2015 show support for a classmate who just received a diploma during Pomona’s 122nd Commencement in May. During the ceremony, Michael Dickerson ’01, Andrew Hoyem ’57, Judge Stephen Reinhardt ’51, and France Córdova spoke and received honorary degrees from the College. Videos of the speakers are available at www.pomona.edu/events/commencement/archive/2015.aspx.
It’s early May, and Pomona students are stressing out in droves over final papers and upcoming exams. But never fear—help is near, with a wagging tail and a droopy ear. During the annual “De-Stress” event on the Smith Campus Center lawn, students take a little time off from studying to do something that is medically proven to reduce stress—that is, pet a puppy. For those allergic to doggie fur, the event also includes games, frozen snacks and plenty of pizza and camaraderie.
“From now on, your ability to make a plan will matter a lot less than your ability to respond and adapt to unexpected new inputs, whether those new inputs come in the form of crisis or opportunity. If you should find your mind wandering a little bit in the two hours we have to go here, maybe spend a minute thinking about what kind of story you might like to tell when you’re back on the stagegetting your honorary Ph.D. in 10 or 20 years. Then get ready for it to all play out nothing like you expected.”
—Mikey Dickerson ’01 to the Class of 2015, after receiving his honorary doctorate
Drought is changing the face of Southern California, as more and more green lawns give way to desert plantings requiring a fraction of the water. At Pomona, turf removal hit a new high this summer, with the replacement of an additional 140,000 square feet (3.4 acres) of grass, according to Head of Grounds Kevin Quanstrom. Among the swaths of grass to be removed were areas around Alexander, Oldenborg, Hahn and Wig halls. Grass-lovers can take heart, however, that the broad, grassy lawn of Marston Quadrangle will remain green—at least for now.
The spring tour of the Pomona College Glee Club took them to a range of performance spaces, from a high school gymnasium in New York’s Washington Heights to a retirement community in Stamford, Conn., to the Church of the Holy Trinity in Philadelphia. However, the undisputed highlight of the tour was a half-hour concert in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
“To sing music in a space that is like what the composer thought about really brings the music to life in a way that we can’t recreate here on campus,” says conductor and Professor of Music Donna Di Grazia. “From an educational perspective as well as an artistic one—those things go hand in hand—there’s nothing like that experience for our students. … And then you also get to give this gift of music to those who come.”