Pomona’s 2023 Commencement speakers know about persistence, as do the new graduates they addressed in a May 14 ceremony.
Sherrilyn Ifill is a distinguished civil rights lawyer, voting rights advocate and scholar. A senior fellow at the Ford Foundation, she previously spent a decade as president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the nation’s premier civil rights law organization. She was chosen one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2021.
Penny Lee Dean ’77 set 13 world records as a marathon swimmer, including a 1978 crossing of the English Channel that shattered the men’s world record by more than an hour. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1996. A six-time All-American swimmer at Pomona, she returned to the College and coached and taught for 26 years, winning 17 SCIAC women’s swimming titles and guiding the women’s water polo team to a national championship in 1993.
In addition to conferring honorary degrees on Ifill and Dean, Pomona posthumously honored Trustee Emeritus George E. “Buddy” Moss ’52 with the Trustees’ Medal of Merit. A member of the Board of Trustees from 1995 to 2004, Moss made possible many programs for faculty and students. Among his many contributions, he made gifts to establish the George E. Moss Community Partnerships Fund, the George E. and Nancy O. Moss Professorship in Economics, the Henry G. Lee ’37 Professorship in Poetry, the Peter W. Stanley Chair of Linguistics and Cognitive Science and the Roscoe Moss Professorship in Chemistry.