Feb. 20, 2003 – Vol. 22 No. 10

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    Dean of Physical Sciences Oxtoby to serve as Pomona College’s ninth president

    By Steve Koppes
    News Office

    David Oxtoby
    Pomona College has named David Oxtoby, Dean of the Physical Sciences Division and the William Rainey Harper Distinguished Service Professor in Chemistry and the College, to be the ninth president in its 116-year history.

    The Pomona College board of trustees elected Oxtoby to the post during a special meeting Monday, Feb. 10. He will assume his new duties on Tuesday, July 1.

    “David has made enormous contributions to the University,” said Provost Richard Saller. “He is a distinguished scientist, and among many other things he served wisely for two terms as Dean of the Physical Sciences Division and played a key role in making possible our creation of the Interdivisional Research Building, the most important scientific facility we have ever undertaken. Pomona deserves our congratulations for making a first-rate choice for this new president, and David deserves both our sincere thanks and our best wishes in his important new work.”

    Stewart Smith, chairman of the Pomona College board of trustees, said Oxtoby brings to Pomona a remarkable combination of talents and experience.

    “In David Oxtoby we have found a person who is, first of all, brilliant of mind and whose scholarly credentials are staggering,” Smith said. “In the best tradition of a liberal arts education, he also is something of a Renaissance man–accomplished in French, German and Italian, knowledgeable about classic music and literature, active in theater and athletics. Most importantly, he is a leader of intelligence, integrity and vision. He deeply understands, and eloquently articulates, the essential role for liberal arts colleges in this new century.”

    As Dean of the Physical Sciences Division at Chicago, Oxtoby oversees a faculty of 150 and a budget of approximately $50 million. Among his administrative achievements are his encouragement of Japan’s Toyota Technological Institute to establish its computer science department on the Chicago campus and his help establishing the University’s Center for Cosmological Physics, which is supported by a $15 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

    A 1986 Quantrell teaching award recipient, he has remained committed to teaching both basic and advanced courses at Chicago, including an undergraduate class in general chemistry as recently as last fall.

    As a research chemist, he is author or co-author of more than 165 scientific articles on such subjects as light scattering, chemical reaction dynamics, phase transitions and liquids. He joined the Chicago faculty in 1975 and has served in his divisional deanship since 1995.