Pomona College President David Oxtoby sent an e-mail to Pomona students Sept. 19 announcing the resignation of Vice President for Advancement Chris Ponce, who is leaving Pomona College to take a similar position at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Ponce will be leaving in mid-October.
Since he came to Pomona in 2003, Ponce’s initiatives have included Campaign Pomona:
Daring Minds, a campaign to raise $250 million between 2010 and 2015. Ponce said that the campaign has raised funds for
programmatic support for students, additional financial aid, new
buildings (including Sontag and Pomona Halls) and expansions in the
“He has built a very strong staff and helped to lead the planning for Campaign Pomona: Daring Minds, as well as its successful public launch in 2010,” Oxtoby wrote in an e-mail to TSL. “At present, we have raised nearly $175M toward a total goal of $250M and are optimistic that we will reach and exceed our goal in the three years remaining for the campaign.”
Ponce announced his decision to leave to Oxtoby on Monday.
“In our line of work, we have to be prepared for surprises!” Oxtoby
wrote. “Chris Ponce has done an outstanding job in this role over the
last nine years. We will miss him, but he is moving to a great
opportunity in Santa Barbara.”
Oxtoby wrote that Dean and Interim President Cecilia Conrad will
be working on a plan for interim leadership.
“We are exploring the
possibility of bringing in an experienced person who might help in a
part-time interim role over the next several months,” he wrote. “In the mean time,
we plan to launch a search for the next Vice President for Advancement.”
Ponce said that he views his transition as “a going-to-something, as opposed to a leaving.”
“The leaving is hard. It really is emotionally hard,” he said. “This is a great place with great people.”
“Taking the same skills but doing work in a completely new environment was really attractive,” he said.
However, Ponce said that he would miss Pomona.
“It’s a hard thing to give up,” he said. “It’s a great community of people, and I believe in supporting the students and faculty. It’s bittersweet. If this job hadn’t been offered to me, I have every reason to expect that I would have stayed here and been perfectly happy. But when it did come my way, it was frankly impossible to turn down.”
Ponce is responsible for opening Pomona’s Office of Major Gifts, a permanent group of staff in charge of raising donations of $100,000 or more. He noticed that Pomona lacked such a department when he first came to the college.
“That was the one place where Pomona didn’t look like its top-performing peers,” he said.
Ponce said that he is looking forward to expanding the Office of Advancement at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital just as he did nine years ago at Pomona. During his time here, Ponce added 14 positions to the Office of Advancement.
“Part of what is appealing about the opportunity is that it’s a little bit like Pomona when I came nine years ago,” he said. “Their advancement operation needs to be grown and made more mature.”
Vice President and Treasurer Karen Sisson said that Ponce was “wonderful to work with.”
“I have all the confidence in the world that Advancement will move forward,” she added.
In an e-mail to TSL, Conrad wrote that Ponce “has done an amazing job shepherding the Daring Minds campaign.”
“I am excited for Chris, but he will be missed,” she wrote.