In July 2009 Jonathan Veitch became the fifth president of Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. Jonathan Veitch was born in Los Angeles, graduated from Stanford University. He went on to earn his doctoral degree in the History of American Civilization from Harvard. Jonathan Veitch then went on to become a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison before moving on to become an associate professor of literature and history at Lang College. He also served as the chair of humanities and associate director before serving as dean for five years of the New School’s Eugene Lang College. At Lang College he expanded the student and faculty bodies, and combined the liberal arts college with arts and social services departments. Under Jonathan Veitch, Lang College doubled its student body to an estimated 1400 students.
Since taking over at Occidental Jonathan Veitch has begun an integrated approach to securing Occidentals future. He has created new partnerships with other cultural associations in Southern California as well as strengthened the arts programs. Under Veitch’s direction, Occidental has made several changes to some of its historic buildings such as Swan Hall and Johnson Hall. Swan Hall houses nearly one-third of the faculty at Occidental and Johnson Hall will house the new McKinnon Family Center for Politics and Global Affairs. Also, under Veitch’s leadership the Samuelson Alumni Center has reached completion and renovations to the Johnson Student Center has begun thanks in part to a grant from the Rose Hills Foundation.
In recent months the endowment value of Occidental has dropped to an estimated $300 million. Though Veitch maintains it is a healthy amount for a school of its size he has made improvements to help alleviate some of the cost of running the campus. He has added an A 1-megawatt ground-mounted solar power system that will generate an estimated 11% of the school’s electricity. Jonathan Veitch has also been working diligently to improve the relations between the community and the College, agreeing to limit the expansion of the campus further into the community after neighboring residents brought up some concerns they had for their community if the school continued to expand into their neighborhoods.