Pomona College’s Draper Center for Community Partnerships, previously the Office of Community and Multicultural Programs and the Hart Volunteer Center, rang in the new school year with a gift from alumnus Ranney Draper PO ’60 and his family.
The amount of the gift was not disclosed.
Draper, who has been on the college’s Board of Trustees since 1984, and his wife Priscilla are frequent donors to the college’s outreach programs, said Draper Center director Maria Tucker.
The center works to develop relationships between Pomona students and nearby communities through education-outreach and community-engagement programs.
The college is hosting a dedication ceremony for the center in the Smith Campus Center courtyard Oct. 8. John Payton PO ’73, president and director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, will give a lecture called “Community as the Key to Democracy,” which will be followed by a public reception. Earlier in the evening, students and faculty will attend an invitation-only dinner with the Drapers.
Draper could not be reached for comment.
Many of the center’s existing programs are outreach initiatives run in partnership with local public schools. The center will use the gift primarily to create and strengthen the community-engagement wing of the center. The center also plans to hire a faculty coordinator.
“What use are elaborate theories and equations if we can’t apply them for the service of our communities,” said Julie Juarez PO ’12, a coordinator at the center. “How can we talk about poverty, racism, sexism, change, or Pomona College’s favorite word, ‘diversity,’ without understanding the people that are most affected by such issues?”
A committee led by Dean of Students Miriam Feldblum considered the establishment of a Center for Community Partnerships in a report prepared in May 2008. Draper expressed support for an office that would include current Pomona students who had benefited from Pomona’s educational-outreach programs prior to enrolling at the college.
Draper, who lives in Orange County, has also previously donated to Pomona Partners, a long-running program at the center. The program sends a group of student-volunteers to Fremont Middle School in Pomona every Friday, where they work on a variety of service projects. Recently, the volunteers painted a mural and helped start a garden at the school. The middle school students have visited Pomona’s campus.
The center also runs an English as a Second Language program for Pomona staff, the Theater for Young Audiences program that matches performing-arts majors with middle school students, the Pomona Academy for Young Scholars program, which exposes local high school students to college-preparatory coursework, and Alternabreak, a set of volunteer programs during spring break.