Jonathan Veitch: Leading the Way

Veitch was born in Los Angeles, California in 1959. He attended Loyola High School before graduating and going Stanford University where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He continued his education to Harvard University where earned a doctoral degree in the History of American Civilization.

He taught at the University of Wisconsin, in the English department, before joining The New School. There he was an associate professor of literature and history. He served stints as chair of humanities and associate provost before becoming dean for five years.

On June 30 of 2009, Veitch succeeded Robert Skotheim and became the first Angeleno president of Occidental College. The first priority he took action upon was improving the relationships between the college and the community that surrounded it. The surrounding community had concerns about the growing size of the college. Veitch limited the expansion of the campus, as to not encroach any further into the community’s space.

He also looked over current situations at the college and launched a new integrated strategic planning process. The process better charted Occidental’s future and has since then strengthened their civic engagement, arts, and global literacy program. They also begin creating new partnerships with groups like the premier cultural institutions in Southern California.

As part of his new planning, he was able to complete the construction of the new Samuelson Alumni Center, and he renovated and expanded Swan Hall, which is 98 years old and houses more than a third of Occidental’s faculty. The interior renovations to the Johnson Hall are currently taking place so that it can house the new McKinnon Family Center for Politics and Global Affairs. And thanks to the Rose Hills Foundation, the lower level of the Johnson Student Center is also being renovated.

Furthermore, in April of 2013 he revealed a 1 megawatt solar array that would be on the Occidental campus. It would produce a portion of the campus’s energy supply, no longer using as much of the community’s supply. The solar array is one of the largest of it kinds that resides in Los Angeles. Since being installed on campus, it has been generating around 11% of Occidental’s annual electrical usage.

He and his wife, Sarah, and their three children currently live on Occidental’s campus in the Wallis Annenberg President’s house.