Jonathan Veitch – 15th President of Occidental College

Jonathan Veitch is the current president at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. Born on January 31, 1959, Veitch would go on to be the first Los Angeles native president at Occidental College. He now lives on the Occidental campus in the Wallis Annenberg President’s House with his wife and three kids.

Veitch started his career by obtaining his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, and then finishing his doctoral degree at Harvard University. Before accepting his current role as president, Veitch held many prestigious positions at a number of acclaimed universities throughout the United States. He was originally an English professor at the University of Wisconsin before accepting a position at The New School in New York teaching various history and cultural courses. Veitch then became the Dean of Eugene Lang College, where he would spend four years before eventually being named as the President of Occidental College in 2009.

Occidental College has seen many changes and improvements since Veitch’s tenure began six year ago.  He transformed building construction plans and limited campus growth to pacify neighborhood concerns. Showing his concern for the environment, Veitch invited public officials to discuss environmental concerns and transportation alternatives. Construction of one of Los Angeles’ largest solar arrays has been completed on the Occidental College campus to promote more efficient energy. This solar power is calculated to generate close to 11% of the annual campus electricity.

Veitch also launched initiatives to improve the college’s programs, partnerships, and civic engagement. While serving as president, both the Samuelson Alumni Center and the renovation of the Swan Hall have been completed. Other renovations are currently underway, helping to ensure Occidental College continues to expand and grow to provide adequate facilities for its students and faculty.

Occidental College was experiencing difficult times before Veitch came in to accept the challenge. The college was cycling through presidents very quickly, similar to episodes it had endured soon after its founding. Economic recession also plagued the nation, directly affecting application rates and tuition costs. Rising above the trials, Jonathan Veitch has successfully transformed Occidental College into a respected institution of higher learning. Initially, he predicted his stay at the Los Angeles college to extend at least ten years, but faculty, students, and locals will be hoping he continues to stick around to continue to help the school prosper.