Architectural Resources Group
Occidental's new Cannon Plaza, foreground.

A reimagined gathering space for the Oxy community, high marks for Oxy in a handful of major college guides, and a lifetime achievement award for Professor Emerita Betchen Barber

Replacing Taylor Pool and hearkening back to architect Myron Hunt’s original plan, Cannon Plaza (named for trustee and lead donor Anne Wilson Cannon ’74) creates a reimagined gathering space for the Occidental community. In keeping with the College’s practice of renovating and repurposing its historic buildings, the plaza preserves the colonnaded E.S. Field Building, while filling and converting Taylor Pool into a courtyard and garden for outdoor gatherings.

Oxy once again ranks highly among the nation’s top liberal arts colleges, according to the 2022-23 editions of major college guides.

  • Occidental places No. 37 in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings, and appears on its “best value,” “most diverse,” “most innovative,” “best undergraduate teaching,” and “top performers on social mobility” lists.
  • Oxy receives four-star ratings for academics and quality of life from the Fiske Guide to Colleges, and ratings of 89 for academics and 97 for financial aid in Princeton Review’s The Best 388 Colleges. The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education rankings listed Oxy No. 34 among U.S. liberal arts colleges; Forbes ranked Oxy at No. 29.
  • Occidental also appears in the top college lists compiled by Money (No. 37 among liberal arts colleges), Washington Monthly (No. 43), and Niche (No. 40). Payscale’s 2021-22 College Salary Report places Oxy at No. 25 among liberal arts colleges with the highest-paid alumni.
  • Oxy’s Music Department was named to Billboard’s list of the world’s 38 top music business programs—one of only three liberal arts colleges to be so recognized.

Professor of Linguistics and Archeology Emerita Elizabeth “Betchen” Barber was honored with the 2022 George Hewitt Myers Award for lifetime achievements in textile arts by the George Washington Museum and the Textile Museum on November 3. In a virtual ceremony, Barber reflected on her research on the origins and history of textiles across Eurasia and Europe, including the role and innovations of women. Barber is an archaeologist, linguist, weaver, folk dancer and choreographer. She is author or co-author of eight books, including Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times and The Mummies of Ürümchi. She taught at Oxy for 37 years before retiring in 2007. Barber continues to teach and choreograph for Occidental's Folk and Historical Dance Troupe, which she founded in 1971.