Zoe Wong-VanHaren

On the home court: Peyton Mullarkey ’25 in the Voelkel Gymnasium

Redefining Athletics and Science Excellence

The Center for Athletics, Recreation, and Wellness and The Nucleus science building will transform the Pitzer experience for many students

By Bridgette Ramirez | Fall 2023 Issue

The Center for Athletics, Recreation, and Wellness opens to fanfare


basketball thumps on the court like a heartbeat. Wheels whir on a Peloton bike. Orange dumbbells rise and fall. Feet brush against vibrant green turf. Zumba dancers move in sync with upbeat music. California sunlight pours from tall windows, shining on rich blue walls, pale oak wood, and state-of-the-art equipment in almost every size and shape.

Such are the sights and sounds of the 100,000-square-foot Center for Athletics, Recreation, and Wellness (CARW)—the new nest of Sagehen Athletics’ 21 varsity teams and the Pomona-Pitzer community. According to Director of Athletics Miriam Merrill, this facility “ushers in a new definition of wellness and what it can look like.”

“It’s great that we have fitness and strength equipment, but it’s also a space for folks to sit down or reflect,” said Merrill. “We invite people to engage in wellness in whatever capacity that may be.”

From Pilates to yoga to pickleball, fitness activities abound at CARW—providing opportunities for fun activities and improved well-being. Merrill and the CARW team are expanding educational wellness programming about topics such as nutrition, sleep, emotional health, and how to get started with workouts.

Peyton Mullarkey

Charlize Andaya ’23 in the Voelkel Gymnasium


CARW’s multifaceted resources reflect how Sagehen Athletics takes a well-rounded approach to fitness for its varsity teams. The Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens program combines the best of academics and sports to create a collegiate experience that tests both the minds and bodies of its scholar-athletes.

Peyton Mullarkey ’25, a management engineering major at Pitzer, had always been a good student, but he didn’t have a love for learning until he met his basketball teammates.

“The basketball team is full of academic studs,” said Mullarkey. “The guys and professors inspired me, and now I love competing in the classroom.”

According to Mullarkey, the team is full of premed students, and usually at least one person arrives late to practice because of a lab. Coaches support students in prioritizing school, but that doesn’t mean the team takes the sport any less seriously. In February, the team clinched their fourth-straight SCIAC regular season title over CMS.

Charlize Andaya ’23, a mathematics major and data science minor, shared a similar experience in women’s basketball.

“The student-athletes are hardworking and determined in both academics and athletics, so seeing that pushes me to do my best in the classroom and on the court,” said Andaya.

Andaya and Mullarkey appreciate how student-athletes show up to games or meets in other sports to rally support. With its pristine and spacious attractions, CARW has drawn more fans to games and built camaraderie in the Pomona-Pitzer community.

“It feels like there’s an endless amount of resources at the CARW,” said Andaya, citing the team workouts at the Athletic Performance Center, the two basketball gyms, and the equipment for weightlifting, plyometrics, and conditioning.

“Besides the equipment, we have a really great athletic department that cares about us as people,” continued Andaya. “Our coaches push us to be the best version of ourselves not just in our sport, but in life. We also have our athletic trainers, and they help us with aiding and preventing injuries.”


The $57-million building and renovation project has equipped CARW with features such as:

  • 1
    N & N Practice Gymnasium, boasting a sweeping view of the San Gabriel Mountains
  • 2

    Draper Public Fitness Area, a 5,877-square-foot recreational area with cardio and weight equipment

  • 3

    Athletic Performance Center, a 4,876-square-foot strength and conditioning space

  • 4

    Studios for fitness classes

  • 5

    A thoroughly refreshed Voelkel Gym for basketball and volleyball

  • 6

    Classrooms fitted for academic seminars, club meetings, and more

  • 7

    A LEED Platinum certification


Merrill affirms that the CARW is “tailored for the community”—whether you are a faculty member signing up for a spinning class, a friend group putting together a volleyball match, or an athlete looking for an Olympic-level workout.

“There are certain spaces geared toward student-athletes, but that too is a space for everyone,” said Merrill.

For Mullarkey, CARW enhances not only his experience in wellness, but also the community’s.

“It is a place where students and athletes can unite on their fitness journey,” said Mullarkey. “I appreciate all the donors and experts that have made CARW happen!”

Rendering of The Nucleus

Nucleus Rising: Construction Update

The bridges that connect The Nucleus, a new state-of-the-art science building, with the existing Keck Science building are a subtle symbolic reminder about the nature of science. Science is a cumulative process: Like the bridges between the two buildings, current achievements are connected to past discoveries.

When it opens in fall 2024, The Nucleus will create unprecedented new opportunities for students in the sciences as a result of an important partnership between Pitzer and Scripps Colleges to take science education to a whole new level.

For Keck Science Dean Ulysses J. Sofia and his faculty, this project has been eagerly anticipated.

“We’ve been planning this for a long time,” Sofia said. “There’s a lot of excitement—and relief—that construction is underway.”

Ulysses J. Sofia

Keck Science Dean Ulysses J. Sofia was a featured speaker at The Nucleus groundbreaking ceremony last year.


Rising just west of the Keck Science building, the approximately 70,000-square-foot building will feature teaching laboratories, collaborative learning spaces, community courtyards and plazas, an art installation, and a rooftop greenhouse for scientific use. As of publication, the major structural and external features of the building have been completed, and construction crews are now busily at work on the building’s internal elements.

“Now that construction is quickly moving along, we’ve been able to start thinking of exciting ways to build more connections between Pitzer’s and Scripps’ core values,” he said. “We’re really going to be able to flex our interdisciplinarity more than we’ve ever done before.”

Visit www.pitzer.edu/the-nucleus for more about the Pitzer-Scripps partnership behind the creation of The Nucleus.

Take a virtual tour of The Nucleus

Make a gift in support of The Nucleus: A Pitzer and Scripps Colleges Partnership