Occidental College Annual Report

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.

Director of prehealth Kat Wang and students

Pre-health Program Participants Rise to the Challenge of COVID

The ongoing success of Oxy’s pre-health program was celebrated on April 29, 2022, with a dinner on the Hameetman Career Center patio. The event included a traditional pinning ceremony for 12 graduating seniors and alumni who have been admitted to medical school and health profession programs. Many of the honorees received multiple offers from top-ranking medical schools such as University of California, San Francisco, UC San Diego, Duke University, Keck School of Medicine of USC and the University of Hawaii.

Re-imagined Obama Scholars Program Still Committed to the Public Good

Five years after its launch, the Barack Obama Scholars Program has been re-imagined to make it available to more students based on their undergraduate performance and interests. Unchanged is the program’s emphasis on empowering exceptional students committed to the public good, perpetuating the principles President Barack Obama ’83 has advanced throughout his life, and its focus on first-generation students, veterans, and community college transfers.


The Oxy Campaign For Good Surpasses Its Goal With One Year Remaining

Fueled by support from foundations and individuals—and a second fruitful Legacy Gift Challenge—The Oxy Campaign For Good propelled over the $225 million mark in April, just days before the Inauguration of President Harry J. Elam, Jr. As of June 30, 2022—the close of Oxy’s fiscal year—more than $231.2 million has been raised in gifts and commitments to the campaign, including $39.6 million in the last 12 months. Gifts to the Oxy Fund, which supports the College's current operations, raised more $5 million.

Warner Music Group executives speak to Occidental College students

Top Warner Music Executives Offer Insight, Advice

Three top executives from Warner Music Group (WMG)—CEO Steve Cooper ‘68, President of TV & Film & Live Theater Charlie Cohen '78, and Atlantic Records Chairman and CEO Craig R. Kallman P'25—provided insights and advice on careers in the rapidly evolving music and entertainment industry in a March 28 panel discussion in Choi Auditorium moderated by President Harry J. Elam, Jr.

New Gift to Fund Equity and Justice Training Program at Occidental College

Alumni Gift to Fund Equity and Justice Training Program

A $300,000 gift from a 1990s graduate of Occidental will fund the creation of a new justice, equity, inclusion and diversity (JEID) training and professional development program in support of Occidental’s Equity & Justice Agenda and broader JEID goals.

John Stauffer Charitable Trust Endows John Stauffer Chair of Chemistry at Occidental

$2.5 Million Gift Creates John Stauffer Chair of Chemistry

A $2.5 million grant from the John Stauffer Charitable Trust of Pasadena will endow the new John Stauffer Chair of Chemistry to recognize exceptional professors who are acknowledged leaders in teaching, research and scholarship. The first holder of the Stauffer Chair, to be awarded to a tenured faculty member of full professor rank who is "an expert in the field of chemistry and nationally recognized in the field for his or her teaching, research, scholarship and publications," will be announced in spring 2023.

Mellon Grant to Fund "Humanities for Just Communities" Initiative

First-year Humanities Initiative Tackles Social Justice Issues

A $1.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will fund a three-year teaching and community-engaged initiative that will introduce incoming and first-year students to the problem-solving power of the humanities to advance health equity, migrant justice and freedom struggles.

39% admit rate
6305 applicants
33% come from California
531 first-year students
3% international students

Like most colleges and universities, Occidental's endowment experienced a sharp drop in returns during the 2021-22 fiscal year, the result of turmoil in international markets caused by the war in Ukraine, rampant inflation and other factors. Unlike many college and university endowments, which recorded losses for the year, Occidental saw an 0.1 percent gain—a good result given the significant declines that occurred in both the equity and bond markets. Despite all the turmoil, this year marks the first time in College history that the endowment has moved above the $600 million mark.

The dramatic contrast between last year's remarkable growth—Oxy's endowment produced a 36 percent return in 2020-21—and this year's very modest results underlines the value of the College's policy of spending between 4.4 and 4.9 percent of average endowment balances over a rolling five-year period. This smooths out highs (such as last year’s gains) and lows (such as this year's results) to provide the College with a more predictable flow of income and long-term financial stability.

Ultimately, no matter how successful our investment strategy, the long-term growth of the endowment is dependent on the continued philanthropic support of the Oxy community. This is why one of the top priorities of The Oxy Campaign For Good is to grow the endowment and reduce the College's dependence on tuition, room and board, which currently provide about three-quarters of annual operating revenues. We are tremendously grateful to the scores of donors who have contributed an estimated $100 million to the current and future endowment thus far during the campaign, which has still another year to run.

Amos Himmelstein
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Ron Hahn ’66
Chair, Investment Committee
Occidental College Board of Trustees

Endowment Performance

Average annual compound returns as of June 30, 2022

  Occidental Endowment 70/30* Benchmark
1 year 0.1% -14%
3 year 10.4% 4.3%
5 year 9% 5.4%
10 year 8.3% 6.7%
15 year 6.1% 4.6%

*Invested 70% in global stocks (as measured by the MSCI All Country World index) and 30% invested in U.S. bonds (as measured by the BC Aggregate Bond Index).


Revenue Type Amount % of Total
Enrollment-based revenues $94,378,130 65.1%
Endowment support designated for operations $21,977,715 15.2%
Private gifts, grants and contracts $14,331,556 9.9%
Federal and state grants and contracts $11,079,287 7.6%
Auxiliary services
(bookstore, conferences, filming, catering)
$1,143,617 0.8%
Other $2,084,883 1.4%
TOTAL $144,995,188  


Expenditure Type Amount % of Total
Instruction $42,500,092 32.7%
Auxiliary services $23,684,001 18.2%
Student services $19,324,547 14.9%
Institutional support $14,844,030 11.4%
Academic support $10,994,600 8.5%
Advancement $6,809,699 5.2%
Public service $7,402,798 5.7%
Research $4,566,267 3.5%
TOTAL $130,126,034  

2021-22 Giving

New Gifts & Pledges by Source


Source Amount % of Total
Trustees $3,440,246 8.73%
Alumni $15,561,187 39.47%
Corporations & Foundations $11,985,928 30.40%
Donor-advised Funds & Family Foundations $1,193,209 3.03%
Parents $1,704,163 4.32%
Friends $200,097 0.51%
Trusts & Estates $5,296,088 13.43%
Staff & Administration $42,727 0.11%
Other $48,399 0.12%
TOTAL $39,423,646  

New Gifts & Pledges by Purpose


Purpose Amount % of Total
The Oxy Fund (unrestricted current operations)* $6,028,856 15.27%
Endowment $13,492,652 34.18%
Capital $5,671,950 14.37%
Holding $9,563,466 24.23%
Other (includes restricted current operations) $4,715,117 11.95%
TOTAL $39,472,041  

*In recent years we reported Oxy Fund cash receipts, which included new gifts and pledge payments. The cash receipts for FY22 were $6,028,856.59.


New Gifts & Pledges by Type

Type Amount % of Total
New Gifts $6,529,046 16.54%
Pledges $21,423,698 54.28%
Revocable Bequest Intentions $11,519,301 29.18%
TOTAL $39,472,044  
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