Jonathan Veitch was named the fifth president of Occidental College in Los Angeles, California in July of 2009. He succeeded interim President Robert Skotheim who was the fourth president of Occidental within a four-year period. Jonathan Veitch takes over Occidental’s estimated 1900 student population after years of instability and uncertainty. Jonathan Veitch is the first president of Occidental College who is a native Angeleno. Jonathan Veitch was born in Los Angeles, California in 1959.
Jonathan Veitch began his academic career at Loyola High School in Southern California before receiving his bachelor’s degree at Stanford University. He continued his academic endeavors and earned his doctoral degree in American Civilization from Harvard University. After he had finished his University studies, he went on to serve as a professor of literature and history in the English department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Jonathan Veitch left the University of Wisconsin Madison to become an associate professor at the New School’s Eugene Lang college. Jonathan Veitch also served as chair of the humanities department and associate provost prior to stepping into the role of dean at New School’s Eugene Lang College. During his time as Dean Jonathan Veitch worked to expand the student’s enrollment at Lang and promote its status as an urban Liberal Arts College.
Since taking over the position of president at Occidental College Jonathan Veitch has worked tirelessly to improve community relations in the areas surrounding the college campus. He has listened to the neighborhood concerns and has addressed them accordingly. In order to better serve the College Jonathan Veitch integrated a new strategic planning process which included a one megawatt solar array to provide for the campus’ energy supply. This will become one of the largest ground-mounted solar arrays in the city of Los Angeles and one of the largest in the United States that is housed on a small college campus. The project will be divided into two parts, and housing nearly 5,000 solar panels. One-Third of the panels will be installed near Fuji Hill and the rest will be placed on the southwest side of the campus. Jonathan Veitch took aesthetics into account when planning the development of the solar array as the system resembles an elongated comma. Both systems will produce an 11% of the campus’ electricity saving the campus an estimated $200,000 per year.
He also integrated civic engagement, arts and global literacy programs while partnering with cultural institutions in Southern California. Under his guidance the College unveiled the new Samuelson Alumni Center and is going forth with renovations on the historic Swan Hall. Plans are in place to renovate the Johnson Student Center and the McKinnon Family Center, thanks in part to grants from the Rose Hills Foundation.