Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Char Miller

Reader 2

Lance Neckar

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2012 Meryl Seward


Pomona College has professed a commitment to sustainable leadership and decreased water use, exemplified by shifts to garden areas with native landscaping. However, the central college green space, Marston Quadrangle, was renovated in the summer of 2012 and only a few native plants were added to the landscape. In this thesis, I explore Pomona’s Marston Quadrangle as a visual and symbolic space, attempting to better understand the intentions of the landscaped area. I first briefly examine recent campus dialogue surrounding sustainability, water issues, and native landscaping. Then, I look at the history and architectural iconography Marston Quadrangle is steeped in, as well as some of the ideas the architects and landscapers had. I found that Marston Quadrangle is deeply tied to Pomona College’s history and identity, representing the ways in which the college tried to establish itself as on par with the schools of the East coast and England. Attempts to renovate the Quadrangle have placed a priority on restoring the vision of Ralph Cornell, the landscape architect, when it is clear that late in his life he regretted the non-native landscaping decisions he had made. I conclude that Marston Quadrangle no longer serves its purpose of establishing Pomona College as unique and works against the college’s sustainability goals. In light of this, I make suggestions for planting changes that would allow the iconography of the architecture to interact with native plantings, creating a deeply symbolic gesture of sustainable leadership and uniquely Southern California identity.


Senior thesis submitted in December 2012.