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Cecil Skateboarding


From sculptors to screenwriters, creative Sagehens get the spotlight.

Cecil Skateboarding

Surf’s Up!

Camille Molas ’21Camille Molas ’21 begins her first year at Pomona College in uniquely Southern California fashion, with surfing lessons at Mondo’s Beach in Ventura. Again this year, as part of New Student Orientation, the Orientation Adventure program, usually known simply as “OA,” offered a list of 11 outdoor opportunities across California, ranging from hiking to surfing, rock climbing to volunteerism. “What I’m really excited about,” Molas says, “is continuing to build the relationships we made at OA. You know, it’s really different having your first moments together out here on the beach or out here camping. If we can be there for each other out in the outdoors, we can be there for each other when school comes around.”

A Gift of Wilderness

Claremont Hills Wilderness ParkPomona College is expanding the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park with a gift of 463 acres to the city of Claremont. The land, including Evey Canyon and three Padua Hills parcels, is to be preserved in its undeveloped state and remain available to the members of the public for hiking, biking, horseback riding and other passive recreational uses. With the new addition, the size of the park will increase to nearly 2,500 acres.

“The Claremont Wilderness area is a natural jewel and provides an important connection to nature,” says G. Gabrielle Starr, president of Pomona College. She adds that the commitment to sustainability of her predecessor, David Oxtoby, “is reflected in his important work to bring this agreement forward and enhance the College’s and community’s commitment to open spaces for all.”

Evey Canyon is home to the Herman Garner Biological Preserve, used by the College’s Biology Department for research. The lower portion of the canyon consists of a type of riparian woodland that is becoming rare in Southern California. Evey Canyon’s varied topography and vegetation, combined with a permanent stream, result in a rich bird and insect diversity.


Jobs for the Homeless

Pomona’s efforts on behalf of the homeless expanded this semester with the launch of the Pomona Employment Partners (PEP) initiative by the Draper Center for Community Partnerships. It’s the newest of three programs that make up the Center’s Hunger and Homelessness Initiative.

Unlike its sister programs—the Food Recovery Network and the Homelessness Action Team—which focus on such urgent needs as food and shelter, PEP will focus on long-term solutions by connecting the homeless with actual employment opportunities.

Co-directed by Sophie Roe ’19 and Marisol Diaz ’18, the program will combine the work of job researchers with that of on-site volunteers to locate possible job openings and help homeless clients create résumés and apply.

“Most employers don’t like being asked whether they do drug tests on applicants or whether they are felon-friendly,” job researcher Sarah Burch ’21 told Pomona’s student newspaper, The Student Life. “Coming out of jail definitely brings many barriers to getting a job. We try to find specific jobs that meet the needs of the homeless community, taking into account the obstacles that formerly incarcerated people have.”

Pomona Blue Calcites

Pomona Blue CalcitesDeep in the bowels of the Geology Department in Edmunds Hall is a room full of storage cabinets with wide, shallow drawers filled with mineral specimens collected by Pomona geologists over the years. Many of them, according to Associate Professor of Geology Jade Star Lackey, go all the way back to the department’s founder, Alfred O. “Woody” Woodford 1913, who joined the chemistry faculty in 1915, launched the geology program in 1922 and served as its head for many years before retiring some 40 years later. Many of Woodford’s carefully labeled specimens came from the Crestmore cement quarries near Riverside, Calif. “Woody even had a mineral named after him for a while,” Lackey says, but the mineral was later found to have already been discovered and named. “More than 100 different minerals were discovered at Crestmore, including some striking blue-colored calcites—echoes of Pomona.” Ultimately, Lackey adds, Crestmore was quarried to make the cement to construct the roads and buildings of Los Angeles, but in the meantime, “Woodford trained many a student there, and the mineral legacy of Crestmore is widely known.”

By the Numbers

25% of the Class of 2017 applied for a competitive award during their time at Pomona College. Of those…

42 members of the class won a total of…

47 fellowships and awards, including…

13 Fulbright awards to do research or teach in another country…

6 Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowships…

5 TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France) awards…

3 Goldwater Scholarships, awarded to juniors for continuing study…

2 Udall Scholarships, awarded to sophomores or juniors for continuing study…

2 NSF Graduate Research Fellowships to support postgraduate study…

2 Downing Scholarships to pursue postgraduate studies at Cambridge…

2 NYU Shanghai Writing and Speaking Fellowships…

1 Venture for America Fellowship…

1 New York City Teaching Fellowship and…

1 Princeton in Asia Fellowship. In addition, the 2017 class boasts…

3 Rhodes Scholarship finalists…

3 Marshall Scholarship finalists and…

1 Mitchell Scholarship finalist.

House on the Move

Renwick House took a quick trip to its new homeStarting at about 1 a.m. on June 5, Renwick House took a quick trip to its new home on the opposite side of College Avenue, making room for the construction of the new Pomona College Museum of Art. Renwick, which was built in 1900, is now the third stately home on College to have been moved from its original location, joining Sumner House and Seaver House, both of which were moved to Claremont from Pomona. The three-hour Renwick move, however, pales in comparison to the difficulty of the other two. The Sumner move took six weeks in 1901, using rollers drawn by horses. The 10-mile Seaver move, in 1979, took 20 hours.

Who Needs a Horse?

game of bike poloSome creative Pomona students made good use of the open spaces of Bixby Plaza in April for a game of bike polo, similar to the traditional game of polo, but with bicycles in place of horses.

According to Jeremy Snyder ’19 (who took the photo below), “the object is to hit the ball into a goal, which we usually just mark as a section of wall, using a mallet. You’re not allowed to set your feet down, or else you have to go over and tap the fountain. We usually play three-on-three every Friday afternoon at the plaza outside Frary, and we bring bikes up from the Green Bikes shop so that anyone who passes by and wants to join can. We made the mallets for it out of sawed-off ski poles from Craigslist and plastic pipe sections that we bolted onto the ends.”

Cecil 3.0

Cecil 2.0 and Cecil 3.0There’s a new Cecil in town. Since he’s at least the third in a direct line of Sagehen costume evolution, let’s call him Cecil 3.0.

The old mascot costume—Cecil 2.0—familiar to generations of Sagehens for its round head and dangling ribbon of tongue, has been chirping around campus since 1997 and, after a couple of decades of hard use and washings, was seriously starting to crack, tear and molt. (Not to mention the accumulated—ahem—aroma of years of sweaty occupants that wearers had to cope with when they put on the head.)

Senior Associate Dean of Campus Life Frank Bedoya, in whose closet Cecil 2.0 resided for many years, still has the head of what may have been the original Cecil—call him Cecil 1.0. We were unable to determine when or by whom that Cecil was designed and built, but Bedoya says by the 1990s it was falling apart. “Bill Almquist ’98 was instrumental in coming up with the new design, which we had made,” he says.

Over the years, Bedoya not only housed Cecil 2.0—quite often he was Cecil. He also worked with generations of Pomona students who also donned the costume to bring Cecil to life for some campus event.

Which brings us to 2017. Since the company that created Cecil 2.0 was no longer in business, there was no question of refurbishing the old costume, so the Pomona-Pitzer Athletic Program and Pomona’s Stewardship Office took the lead to create a new Cecil—or should I say Cecils? Due to growing demand, the order was placed not for one costume, but for two.

Cecil 3.0 and his twin (whom we might call Cecil 3.1)—designed and built by ProMo Costumes of Marion, Ohio, based on design concepts provided by the College—are taller, more athletic and a bit more modern-looking than their predecessor. They’re also a bit better dressed—able to choose between a basketball jersey, a football jersey and a snazzy button-up with blue and orange flowers.

They also come with a ventilating fan inside the head and an ice-vest to keep the wearer cool under all that heavy velour and padding, even while dancing inside a hot gymnasium. And for now, at least, inside the head, there’s that luxurious new-mascot smell.

Spaceships and Laundry

What do a 3D space game, an English-Morse code translation app and an app that monitors the machines in a dormitory laundry have in common? They were all among the award-winning entries created in a single night of furious work during the 10th Semi-annual 5C Hackathon, held at Pomona in November.

Billed as a collaborative night filled with “awesome swag, food and mentorship,” the fall 2016 Hackathon covered a span of 12 hours, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. the following day, during which student competitors worked in groups to come up with novel ideas and put them into action.

Ziqi Xiong ’17, a member of the seven-person team that created Laundry Master, which took second place in the advanced group, said the original idea for an app to let users know when laundry machines were available came from the group’s only first-year student, Sophia Richards ’20. “We found it very cool because it would involve both hardware and software,” says Xiong. Kent Shikama ’18, another member of the team, said he enjoyed the process of “thinking of ways to overcome constraints and executing them.” He cited three memorable hours in the laundry room of Walker Hall, experimenting with an empty dryer and a seismic sensor.

Unlike Xiong and Shikama, two good friends and fellow computer science majors who had partnered in several previous Hackathons, Sonia Grunwald ’18 and Peter Cowal ’19, who took top honors for best design, had never worked together before. “Two days or so before the event I was standing around in the CS lab complaining that I really wanted to do Hackathon and make some simple game with the 3D models I design for fun,” Grunwald said. “Peter happened to be working in the room and heard me. He said that sounded like a fun idea.” The two-person team was formed, and the result was their winning 3D space game, titled “Tiny Forever.”

The Full Fulbright

Pomona College is the No. 2 producer of Fulbright recipients in the nation among all four-year undergraduate institutions, tying for the position with neighboring Pitzer College. For 2016–17, there were 15 Pomona students who garnered Fulbrights. In the previous award year, 14 Pomona students received the coveted awards, and the College was ranked sixth. This year, Smith College was No. 1 on the list. Among this year’s Sagehen projects were a Silk Road journey to study the syncretism of Sino-Islamic identity in China; epidemiological research at the Pasteur Institute’s Enteric Bacterial Pathogens Unit in Paris, France; and teaching positions in Indonesia, Vietnam and Colombia.