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David Alexander Collection

Identifier: PC-0003

  • Staff Only


  • 1889-2001


Language of Materials

Languages represented in collection: English.


Some items in this collection have been restricted due to their confidential nature. For more information, please contact the Pomona College Archivist.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Pomona College Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Pomona College Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

Biography / Administrative History

David Alexander served as president of Pomona College from 1969 until 1991. A Rhodes Scholar who received his doctorate from Oxford University, he became Pomona’s seventh president on October 18, 1969, which happened to be both his 37th birthday and the celebration of the 82nd anniversary of the College.

During his 22-year tenure as president, Pomona’s endowment increased from $24 million to $296 million; the faculty grew from 130 to 156; and new construction added 15 major buildings to the campus. The geographic and ethnic diversity of the student body increased dramatically as the College made the transition from a primarily regional institution to a national liberal arts college with a majority of its students from outside California. The year after his retirement, the College named its new administration building the David Alexander Hall for Administration in his honor.

Born in Springfield, Tennessee, in 1932, David Alexander attended Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes College), graduating in 1953, Phi Beta Kappa with honors in Greek. A classicist with a deep interest in theological history, he went on to study at the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. As a 1954 Rhodes Scholar, he earned a D.Phil. in Theology from Oxford University (Christ Church) in 1957. In 1965, after teaching for eight years at San Francisco Theological Seminary, Dr. Alexander, then 32 years old, was named president of his alma mater, Southwestern at Memphis. Four years later, he succeeded E. Wilson Lyon as Pomona College’s seventh president.

From 1981 to 1998, Alexander served as American Secretary of the Rhodes Scholarship Trust and from that position oversaw the selection every year of the 32 Americans chosen to study at Oxford. He was also the author of “The American Scholarships” in The History of the Rhodes Trust (OUP, 2001) and served as editor of the American Oxonian, the magazine of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars. In 1998, David Alexander was decorated Commander of the Order of the British Empire and in 2000 named a Distinguished Friend of Oxford University.

Alexander was a trustee of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA) from 1970 to 2002 and of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation from 1978 to 99, and he was on the Board of Overseers of the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens from 1991 to 2010. He was a director of KCET, the Seaver Institute, and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Early in his tenure at Pomona, he served as a trustee of the American Council on Education and later on of the Fellows of the Society of Phi Beta Kappa. From 2004, he served as the President of the American Friends of the National Portrait Gallery London. In 2006, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


27 Linear Feet (26 record cartons, 2 tall lided boxes)

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is organized into the following five series:

Series 1: President's Office Papers, 1888-1926 and undated Series 2: College Buildings and Property, 1898-1997 and undated Series 3: Campus Life and Events, 1907-1991 and undated Series 4: College Administration, 1898-1998 and undated Series 5: Trustees, 1889-2001 and undated

Physical Location

Please consult repository.

Provenance/Source of Acquisition

Gift of David Alexander, 2009; Gift of Catherine Alexander, 2017.


Additions to the collection are not anticipated.

Processing Information

Arranged and processed by Jamie Weber in 2011.
David Alexander Collection
In Progress
Jamie K. Weber
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the 06 - Pomona College Archives Repository

Special Collections, The Claremont Colleges Library
800 N. Dartmouth Avenue
Claremont CA 91711