Mary Claire Lomax, C’84, Penn board member and beloved member of the community, died May 31. She was 59 years old.
Ms. Lomax graduated from The George School, then earned a BA in International Affairs from Penn’s College of Arts and Sciences in 1984. She later earned a Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center and was licensed to practice law. in Pennsylvania. and Maryland. She served more than 30 years as general counsel for the Lomax Companies, a conglomerate of several small businesses in the Philadelphia area, where she worked closely with her father and five siblings. In 2003, she became the founding CEO of the Lomax Family Foundation, where she led the family’s philanthropic ventures. She worked to provide grants that provided a financial lifeline to many African American arts and cultural institutions, health care, and educational programs.
In 2007, Ms. Lomax joined Penn’s Board of Directors, a position in which she had a significant impact on the Penn community. She has served on numerous Board committees, including as Chair of the Student Life Committee, Vice-Chair of the Ad Hoc Diversity Committee, and a member of the External Affairs and Nominating Committees. She co-chaired the James Brister Society for over 16 years. In this role, she advocated for the creation of Toward Inclusion: Diversity at Penn, a documentary about the history of diversity at Penn by award-winning filmmaker Louis Massiah and funded the James Brister Society Endowed Scholarship. Ms. Lomax has served on the board of Penn Women and the advisory board for Makuu: The Black Cultural Center. She was a long-time member of the Advisory Board of the School of Social Policy & Practice. She has also been active on the Penn Alumni Board of Directors and several of its committees. She was co-chair of Penn Alumni’s Momentum 2021: the power of Penn Women conference. She established the Claire Lomax and Lomax Family Foundation Scholarship in SP2 and participated in Pipeline for Promise in SP2, a program that offered SP2 courses to underserved community college students.
Outside of her roles at Penn, Ms. Lomax has spoken candidly about diversity and inclusion of women and African Americans. She served as CEO of Say Yes to Health, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provided health education to at-risk children in Philadelphia. She was also secretary and treasurer of Creativision; secretary of Foster America; secretary and treasurer of Vine & Fig Tree Press; and secretary of Fourth and One Productions. She has served on several boards, including the African American Museum of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Award, and the William Penn Foundation. She was committed to diversity in business and in the American legal field, serving as president of the Women Lawyers Division of the National Bar Association and founding the Access to Equity Foundation. In 2016, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf chose her as Pennsylvania’s Distinguished Daughter.
“Claire loved the University of Pennsylvania and throughout her life she worked with joy and dedication alongside faculty, administrators and students to make Penn a better place,” the board said in a statement. a written tribute. “Her board colleagues will long remember her for the bright and brilliant presence she brought to every meeting. Committed, curious and sociable, she freely offered her thoughtful point of view, a valuable asset for the advancement of the University’s mission. We are grateful for Claire’s leadership, and even more for knowing her as a friend.
Mrs. Lomax is survived by her daughter, Dylan; her stepson, Jared; his mother; five siblings; 16 nieces and nephews; a great-niece; and an extensive network of beloved family, friends and colleagues. A celebration of his life is planned for the fall.