Jonathan Veitch became the 15th president of Occidental College on July 1, 2009. The former dean of The New School's Eugene Lang College in New York City, Veitch is a leading advocate for liberal arts education.
At Occidental, Veitch launched a new integrated strategic planning process to better chart the College's future, strengthened Occidental's civic engagement, arts, and global literacy programs, strengthened partnerships with premier cultural institutions in Southern California, and secured a permanent endowment for the William and Elizabeth Kahane United Nations Program. Under his leadership, Occidental has strategically re-invested in its historic campus, evidenced by the renovation and expansion of Swan Hall (which is more than 100 years old and houses more than one-third of Oxy's faculty); construction of the new Samuelson Alumni Center; opening of the Rose Hills Student Activities Center in the Johnson Student Center, and creation of the McKinnon Family Center for Global Affairs, Choi Auditorium, and the Global Crossroads within historic Johnson Hall. A 1-megawatt ground-mounted solar array - one of the largest of its kind in Los Angeles - was installed on campus in 2013, and generates over 11% of the College's annual electrical usage.
A Los Angeles native and graduate of Stanford University, he received his doctoral degree in the History of American Civilization from Harvard. Veitch taught in the English department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison before joining The New School. As an associate professor of literature and history, Veitch's service included stints as chair of humanities and associate provost before his five-year term as dean in which he focused on expanding Lang's size and scope to take advantage of its status as an urban liberal arts college.
The author of the award-winning American Superrealism: Nathanael West and the Politics of Representation in the 1930s (University of Wisconsin Press, 1997), Veitch's fields of academic specialization include 19th- and 20th-century American literature and cultural history, and American film. His latest research has focused on the history of higher education in the United States. Jonathan, his wife Sarah and their children live in the Wallis Annenberg President's House on the Occidental campus.