Jean B. Walton
(1914-2006) Jean B. Walton of Claremont, who served Pomona College as Dean of Women,Dean of Students and finally Vice President for Student Affairs over a period of three decades, died at her home Wednesday at the age of 92. Coming to Pomona College in 1949, Walton was noted for her quiet courage, good humor, patience and integrity during one of the most turbulent periods in the history of American colleges -- the 1960s and 1970s -- and for being an instrumental force in the lives of thousands of students. During years of profound change, she helped to develop a new model of residential life and challenged students, faculty and administrators alike to recognize changing gender roles. Co-founder of the Intercollegiate Women's Studies Program, she served as its first coordinator from 1978 to 1983 and remained active in women's studies long after her formal retirement in 1979. "She was one of the most remarkable persons I have ever known," said former Pomona College President David Alexander. "Fiercely independent, sturdy and courageous, she was the embodiment of her beloved Quaker faith. It is still not easy to imagine her on the barricades with rampaging students, facing draft-card and flag burnings, foul language and physical intimidation. Withal she was a gentle soul, a pleasant and interesting companion, and a stalwart colleague. "When one considers the glory that is now Pomona College, Jean Walton will have to be rec koned among the most important contributors to the College's glittering achievements." "Born March 6, 1914, at George School, a Quaker school in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, she was the daughter of George A. and Emily Ingram Walton and grew up on the campus of the school, where her father was headmaster. She received her bachelor of arts degree from Swarthmore College in 1935, graduating with highest honors and Phi Beta Kappa, and received her master's degree from Brown University in 1940. After working as an instructor of mathematics at Swarthmore College for five years, she earned her Ph.D. in mathematics in 1948 from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also served as an instructor. As a Pomona College administrator, she made time in her busy schedule to teach classes in mathematics and women's studies and was honored in 1975 by the students, who selected her as a recipient of the Wig Distinguished Professorship Award for Excellence in Teaching. Her leadership in higher education also earned her th e Scott Goodnight Award in 1974, the top award of the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators. At her retirement, some of her former students established the Jean B. Walton Scholarship Fund in her honor, and in 1981, a new residential lounge on the Pomona College campus was named Walton Commons in recognition of her many years of distinguished service. She spent two brief leaves from Pomona College as a Fulbright Lecturer in Counseling and Guidance at Japan Women's University in Tokyo in 1955-56, and as a consultant to the Danforth Foundation in 1962-63. A long-time member of the California Association of Woman Administrators and Counselors, she served two years as its president, also serving as chairman of the college section of the National Association of Women Deans, Administrators and Counselors. Her abiding passions included baseball, the mountains, travel and the annual deans' reunion held at Peaceful Valley, Colorado. She was preceded in death by her sisters, Margaret, Alice, Ru th and Dora. She is survived by seven loving nieces -- Anne Taylor, Meredith Walton, Jaiyh Amatuli, Christine Storch, Eleanor Merritt, Barbara Darling and Susan Schnick -- as well as many adoring grand-nieces and grand-nephews. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Claremont Friends Meeting or the Homeship Fund of Mt. San Antonio Gardens in Claremont.
Published by Daily Bulletin on Jul. 8, 2006.
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