January 2017

Happy New Year and welcome back to a new semester on campus! Read on for the latest news, achievements and pets in the Occidental community.


In Case You Missed It

Union College's Sternberg Named Dean of College

After a national search, Wendy Sternberg, dean of academic departments and programs at Union College in New York, has been named Occidental's new vice president for acadmic affairs and dean of the College.


New Boat for Marine Biology

The marine biology program is about to take delivery of a brand-new classic New England-style lobster-fishing boat. The new boat will make it possible to take student researchers offshore to conduct field research and collect samples.


Recent Oxy Graduate Receives Award for Discovering Novel Anticoagulant

William Reeves '16 was honored by the American Society of Hematology for his abstract about a novel blood anticoagulant that he, his student colleagues and a biochemistry profressor discovered and have proposed naming Occipodin,

A Holiday Season Filled With Glee

The holiday season brought two creative video messages to the Oxy community. Jeremy Bloom '18 and the Admission team showcased thankful students and deserving faculty and staff members in a heartwarming video, while the Glee Club helped with everyone a happy holiday before winter break.


Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Dr. Sammy Lee '43 Dies

Dr. Sammy Lee '43, the first Asian American male to win an Olympic gold medal for the United States and an inaugural member of the Occidental College Athletics Hall of Fame, died on December 2 at age 96. Watch a video of his visit to campus in 2012 on Oxy's Facebook page.




Hires & Departures


Jason Baquaro, Hameetman Career Center, Sr. Associate Dir., Employer & Alumni Engagement
Elizabeth Braxton, Residence Life, Assistant Director of Residential Education
Thomas Walters, Grounds Maintenance, Grounds Supervisor
Maria Arredondo, Campus Dining, Dishroom Assistant
Lea Boris, Biology, Stockroom assistant/animal care technician
Katja Livingston, Student Life, Department assistant


Victor Egitto, Registrar, Registrar


A Radical Look at History

This past fall, professor of American Studies Erica L. Ball co-edited a special issue of Radical History Review. The issue focuses on reassessing "conflicting narratives of victimization, subjection, retaliation and self-defense" and "reconsiders the inter-relationships among gender, violence and the state."

Elements for Summer Research Found

The American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund has awarded assistant chemistry professor Jeffrey Cannon a grant for organic synthesis research efforts over the next three summers. Funding will be used to hire eight summer research students, providing them with valuable research education and opportunities. Cannon and his student researchers will work toward finding better tools for the design and synthesis of molecules of biological importance such as pharmaceuticals.

Campus Safety Makes the Grade

Campus Safety Chief Victor Clay recently completed a 22-week Police Staff and Command Leadership course hosted by Northwestern University. Sergeants Joseph Novak, Claudia Conde, Ellaryo Bolden and Corporal Barry Hardin joined him at Northwestern to complete an eight-week Supervision of Police Personnel course. Meanwhile, Corporal Wendy Carrillo recently completed the RAD (Rape Agression Defense) instructor course and is now certified to teach courses to the Oxy community.

Professor Invited to APA Board

Psychology professor Nancy Dess has been elected to serve as a member of the Board of Scientific Affairs for the American Psychological Association. The APA seeks to advance the "creating, communication and application of psychological knowledge," and we’re proud to have Dess be part of their team.

Leading the Cause

Peter Dreier closed out the year by being recognized as a 2016 City of Justice Awards honoree for his work to advance social justice by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE). Dreier, the E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and chair of the Urban and Environmental Policy Department, was one of three individuals honored in front of more than 750 elected officials, labor and business leaders, and Occidental alumni, faculty and staff at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Video Essays Get Top Marks

Two of art history & the visual arts assistant professor Allison de Fren’s video essays—Fembot in a Red Dress and Ex Machina: Questioning the Human Machine—were listed on the cinephile site Fandor's Best Video Essays of 2016. The former was originally published in [In]Transition, the first peer-reviewed journal of videographic criticism, and screened at the Austrian Film Museum in April 2016 and at Berlin's Kunst Film Fest in November 2016. The latter was also featured on Indiewire and Sloan Science and Film, the online publication of the Museum of the Moving Image and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Oxy Artist Bumps Into the Skirball

Deena Selenow, director of Oxy Arts, will be in residence at the Skirball Cultural Center this January 30—February 4, directing The Bumps as part of the Skirball’s inaugural Performance Lab Series. The Bumps explores our cultural understanding of pregnancy and how it affects artistic endeavors. It features a cast of three pregnant actors.

A Closer Look at College Culture

Time.com has published an excerpt from American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus, the latest book from Lisa Wade, associate professor of sociology. The book focuses on the new culture of sex that has come to dominate the American college experience and is the No. 1 new release on Amazon's College and University Student Life list.

Professor Emeritus Continues to Make an Impact

Robert Winter, 92, was recently honored by the Arroyo Seco Foundation with its Lifetime Achievement Award. The Arthur G. Coons Professor of the History of Ideas, Emeritus, is the author of 14 books and countless articles and an expert on Arts & Crafts tiles. The Arroyo Seco Foundation was founded by Charles Lummis more than 100 years ago to preserve and promote the Arroyo Seco, one of Southern California’s greatest natural treasures.

Science Hits Home

Assistant professor of biology Amanda Zellmer has made science hit home with a recent article in Science magazine on being a scientist-mom. The article was widely shared on social media and focuses on Zellmer's experience of raising kids while teaching and conducting scienctific research. This piece was followed up with another inclusion in the magazine about making a New Year's resolution that includes using science "to advocate for better policy."


Getting to Know You: Katja Livingston, Student Life, department assistant

I hail from: I was born in Germany. I moved to Denmark for work in my early twenties and then decided to migrate to Australia in my mid-twenties. I lived there for eight years before coming to L.A. about three years ago to live with my now-husband.

I graduated from: I received part of my education in Germany, Denmark and Australia. I truly value the diverse education I received. I will probably never stop to learn and educate myself.

I've been involved with Oxy for: I just started at Oxy in mid-December and have enjoyed the social gatherings and outings that came with the holiday season. It was a perfect way to settle in and meet people on campus.

A typical day on the job looks like: Who knows? :-) It's only been a short while and I look forward to students returning and the semester kicking off. I believe that my days will always be a bit different, which is something I really love.

The favorite part of my job is: I think it will be that no day is the same and that I get to interact with students and staff from other departments on a daily basis.

My favorite thing to do in Los Angeles is: Definitely live music! Los Angeles has such an abundance of talented musicians. My favorite venue would be the Blue Whale, a jazz venue in Little Tokyo. I also love going to different art exhibitions or getting out for a hike.

A recent accomplishment I'm proud of is: Getting a job at Oxy! Also, the Smithsonian recently licensed one of my photographs of two jazz greats (Stanley Clarke and the late George Duke) for their new National Museum of African-American History and Culture. That is just an amazing honor.

Cooler or Marketplace?: So far the Marketplace wins...I do love the slices in the Cooler though for days when I crave a bit of comfort food.

If I could invite any famous person—living or dead—to a dinner party it would be: Nelson Mandela or Gordon Parks, ideally both at the same time. And perhaps Ray Charles could drop by too. He is just one of the musical legends I wish I could have seen live.

My nickname is:  Kat was most common in Australia as they shorten everything ... and apart from that any variation people come up with when they try to pronounce my name. :-)

Something people don't know about me is: I have a passion for photography and scuba diving and used to ride motorbikes for many years. Here's a glimpse into my photography: www.katjaliebing.com.

A good book I've read lately is: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Pencil It In

Monday, January 30: ASC Chili Cook-Off

Wednesday, February 1: Rev. Dr. William Barber II Speaks

Thursday, February 2: The Hon. Jacqueline Nguyen ’87, "From Oxy Gown to Judge’s Robe"

Monday, February 6: Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Irvine Law School—Freedom of Speech Panel

Thursday, February 9: Oxy Book Club meeting

Friday, February 10: Master Class: Jeffrey Lavner, piano

For a listing of more events visit oxy.edu/calendar.


Animal Companion of the Month

Cooper and Polly, companions to Tamara R. Himmelstein, assistant dean of students and director of Student Life, and Amos Himmelstein, vice president of Finance & Planning

Cooper Tanqueray was acquired in February 2016 from the Whiskers and Tails Foundation in Torrance. He is a Jack Russell mix and joined his big sister, Polly, a 9-year-old Boston terrier. Mentoring by siblings is an important component in all families, so Polly has taught Cooper the following:
1.) How to incessantly bark at garbage trucks, birds, and squirrels.
2.) How to lick dirty dishes that are being loaded into the dishwasher.
3.) How to dismantle neatly folded laundry.
4.) Which shoes make the best chew toys.*

Polly and Cooper can be seen regularly on campus being escorted by various student dogwalkers. We are fortunate to have over 2,000 potential walkers to choose from every year.

*For the record, Polly did not teach Cooper #4 below. He learned that on his own. —Amos