Welcome to the 2021-22 Occidental College Annual Report.
After 18 months of pandemic disruption, the 2021-22 year marked a joyous return to some form of normalcy that we all—students, faculty and staff—had been craving. While a winter surge in COVID cases prompted us to delay the start of the spring semester for one week, our nearly universal vaccination rate, common-sense safety measures and strong sense of community enabled us to weather the storm and continue to offer in-person instruction and activities throughout the year.
The pandemic had little impact on the continuing success of The Oxy Campaign For Good, which by June 2022 had easily exceeded its original goal of $225 million more than one year earlier than expected. As I was able to observe at my pandemic-delayed inauguration ceremony in April, there are few presidents who can say that they met a comprehensive campaign goal before they were inaugurated! Through outright gifts, pledges and bequests, it is estimated that the campaign will have contributed more than $100 million to the endowment, which despite international market turmoil topped $600 million for the first time in Occidental history.
The Campaign had a visible impact on the campus, enabling us to renovate and redesign Sycamore Glen, open the cutting-edge Fletcher Jones Foundation Computing Classroom in the Academic Commons, and open our new percussion studio in Booth Hall. Equally gratifying has been the support that has amplified our ongoing efforts to address critically important issues of justice and equity. These include major grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund our Humanities for Just Communities program, a collaborative teaching and community-engaged initiative to introduce incoming students to the problem-solving power of the humanities, and to help diversify our faculty by hiring nine postdoctoral fellows in the arts and humanities; and an anonymous $300,000 gift to fund a new justice, equity, inclusion and diversity training and professional development program.
We are greatly encouraged by and thankful for the support we have received. Your ongoing commitment to the College not only fuels our optimism, it plays a key role in our ability to deliver Oxy’s distinctive immersive liberal arts education. Although I know there will be challenges ahead, I remain extremely excited about Oxy’s future and I hope you are as well!
Harry J. Elam, Jr.