October 2019 On Campus


The Oxy Campaign For Good & Homecoming Weekend:  October is a particularly exciting time of year for the Institutional Advancement (IA) team. We just finished a series of outstanding events and I wanted to share an update on these activities, as they reflect the efforts of our entire campus community. By now, I hope that you have heard about the College’s ambitious, multi-year fundraising effort. The goal of the Oxy Campaign For Good is to raise $225 million for financial aid, our outstanding faculty and academic programs, athletics and student experiences. It is an ambitious goal--by far the largest amount the College has ever attempted to raise. I am pleased to be able to report that we are 60 percent of the way toward our $225 million goal.

The Campaign For Good was an important part of this year’s Homecoming & Family Weekend on October 18-19, which was a rousing success. Oxy hosted a record number of alumni, parents and other family members over the weekend -- more than 1,100 people, an increase of about 25% over our prior best attendance! The Oxy spirit on campus was alive and well with with strong student participation, as well as a crowd-pleasing performance by John Averill ‘89’s MarchFourth band. We officially dedicated the McKinnon Family Tennis Center and offered a special tour of the nearly complete DeMandel Aquatic Center. Saturday’s highlight was an Oxy Campaign For Good update in Thorne Hall, where more than 300 guests listened to Joe Rohde ’77, creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, deliver a love letter to the liberal arts, explaining how his Oxy education propelled him into an exciting career with global impact. Following Homecoming, our team went from “coast to coast” with Campaign events in New York and Boston involving faculty, students and alumni of all ages. We look forward to growing awareness of the Campaign across campus and our alumni and family communities, and will keep you updated on our progress throughout the year.

Everything each of you does for our students inspires us and emboldens our efforts. We thank all of you for helping make these events so successful.
-- Charlie Cardillo, VP Institutional Advancement

(Editor’s Note:)  For more about the Oxy Campaign For Good, see the story in this week’s issue of The Occidental.


Occidental Receives National Recognition for Student Research
This year’s results are in: Occidental College is once again one of the top-ranked liberal arts colleges in the country.

NSF Grant to Fund High-Performance Computer Cluster for Faculty and Student Research
A three-year, $494,000 grant from the National Science Foundation will fund a high-performance computing cluster that will dramatically increase the research and teaching opportunities for students and faculty across the physical, life and social sciences.

Craggs Wins IES Abroad Lifetime Achievement Award
Robin Craggs, executive director of international programs, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award October 17 by IES Abroad, the non-profit academic consortium of 270 top-tier U.S. colleges and universities and leading provider of study abroad programs.

2019 Hall of Fame Class Announced
A dominating baseball team, an international volleyball star, an Olympic hurdler, a PGA tour champion and an All-American water polo goalie were inducted into the Occidental Athletics Hall of Fame during Family & Homecoming Weekend.


Philip Erwin, sales recon and customer service coordinator, Bookstore
Frankie Fleming, coordinator of community programs, Oxy Arts, CCBL, ISLA
Micol Garinkol, office supervisor and assistant for inclusive services, Dean of Students
Alannah Isherwood, faculty services assistant, Swan Hall
Haley Mitchell, head coach, swimming and diving
Alexandria Ross, cook B, campus dining



The Institute for the Study of Los Angeles'  Jeremiah Axelrod's article, "Mutiny on the Sofa: Historical Patterns of Patriarchy and Family Structure in American Science Fiction, 1945-2018," was awarded the Outstanding Article Award by the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association. The full article is available to read here.

Staff therapist for Emmons Wellness Center Irma Breakfield recently presented at the 12th annual mentoring conference at the New Mexico Mentoring Institute. Breakfield spoke on the subject "Is Mentoring a Conduit for Graduation Success."

Assistant Professor of Theater Sarah Kozinn appears in an episode ("The Wedding") of the Amazon series Undone. Shot in live action, and then animated over the footage, the show explores the "elastic nature of reality."

In an interview with "Engaged Philosophy," Associate Professor of Philosophy Clair Morrissey speaks about her work with Professor of Biology Beth Braker, John W. McMenamin Endowed Chair in Biology Gretchen North, and Associate Professor of Biology Shana Goffredi. In the interview—part of a partnership with the Public Philosophy Network—Morrissey describes the collaboration as well as her approach to studying and teaching philosophy.

Tom Polansky, associate vice president of facilities management, has earned his certified educational facilities professional credential, a certification designed for both aspiring and existing facilities professionals with eight years or more of combined education and professional facilities management experience. The credential demonstrates Polansky's master of professional expertise and is a mark of superior proficiency in the core competencies for education facilities professionals.

Associate Director of Facilities Chris Reyes was named to the Chancellor's List during his summer term at Purdue University Global.

In a new chapter for What is Scientific Knowledge?, Andrew Shtulman, associate professor of psychology and cognitive science, asks, "Why do logically incompatible explanations seem psychologically compatible? Science, pseudoscience, religion, and superstition." Shtulman and his co-author explore the ubiquity of coexisting explanations across cultures and domains, its effects on reasoning, and its implications for science education.

Shtulman also contributed a new chapter, "Doubly counterintuitive: Cognitive obstacles to the discovery and the learning of scientific ideas and why they often differ," to the book Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Science. Shtulman explores how different explanatory goals, empirical concerns, and background assumptions can render the same idea counterintuitive for different reasons.

Assistant Professor of Physics Sabrina Stierwalt was awarded a $223,073 grant from the National Science Foundation to research the physics of colliding galaxies. The grant supports undergraduate research fellowships, including trips to observatories across the globe. The grant also provides funding for a five-meter portable planetarium for Oxy students to use to engage with the community through astronomy outreach.

For more information on faculty scholarship and accomplishments, visit the Center for Research & Scholarship.




Devon Dobbs, Resident Director of Themed Living Communities, Residential Education & Housing Services

I hail from: Pittsburgh, PA
I graduated from: Washington & Jefferson College (B.A.), Bowling Green State University (M.A.)
I've been involved with Oxy for: About three months
A typical day on the job looks like: Supervising RAs, adjudicating student conduct, administrative tasks
The favorite part of my job is: Supporting students through challenges and celebrating their victories/successes
My favorite thing to do in Los Angeles is: Eat all the good food
A recent accomplishment I'm proud of is: Surviving grad school
Cooler or Marketplace?: Marketplace
If I could invite any famous person — living or dead — to a dinner party it would be: James Baldwin
My nickname is: Dev or D-Dobbs
Something people don't know about me is: I'm terrified of bridges that are above bodies of water
A good book I've read lately is: Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" by Zora Neale Hurston 


Monday, November 4: 3rd LA | Amnesiac City: Bolstering Civic Memory in Los Angeles
Tuesday, November 12: Firmly Rooted: Chili Peppers & POC Cuisines – A conversation and tasting led by food-based collective Across Our Kitchen Tables
Friday, November 22: ASC Presents Handmade Oxy
Friday, November 22: Last day for open enrollment
Thursday, November 28–Friday, November 29: Thanksgiving break (offices closed)