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New Pitzer College president is first African American to lead a Claremont undergrad campus

New Pitzer College president is first African American to lead a Claremont undergrad campus

He grew up in a hardscrabble home with only one book — the Bible — and parents who worked blue-collar jobs and never advanced beyond ninth grade.

But Melvin L. Oliver rose to become an award-winning University of California professor, researcher, author and administrator noted for championing campus racial diversity. Now he will become the sixth president of Pitzer College — and the first African American to lead one of the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges, officials announced Wednesday.

Oliver, 65, will assume office July 1 at a time of national campus unrest over racial, ethnic and gender equity, including protests that forced out the dean of...

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