Facts & Figures

Located in the heart of Southern California between bustling Los Angeles and beautiful Orange County, Whittier College is a four-year, independent, liberal arts college distinguished by its small size, a nationally-recognized liberal arts curriculum, and innovative interdisciplinary programs.

  • Founded by members of the Religious Society of Friends in 1887 and chartered by the State of California in 1901.
  • Named it in honor of Quaker poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier, who wrote of his pleasure at the honor but died in 1892 without ever having seen the College.
  • First known as the Quakers, Whittier students have been Poets since 1911. The school mascot, Johnny Poet, is a nod to the College's namesake.
  • Though it continues to honor its Quaker heritage, the College has been a secular institution since the 1940s.
  • Whittier College is one of only two California colleges to graduate a U.S. President, Richard M. Nixon '34.
  • Situated on 74 hillside acres, the campus houses 29 academic and administrative facilities, seven residence halls, a chapel, two 100+ seat auditoriums, a performing arts center, an outdoor amphitheater, an art gallery, a Cultural Center, and three Faculty Masters Houses.
  • All courses at Whittier are taught by faculty, not teaching assistants. The student-faculty ratio is 13 to 1.
  • Of the College's 113 full-time professors, 109 hold terminal degrees in their fields. Of the full faculty membership, 49% are men and 51% are women, while 27 percent are minorities.
  • The quality of Whittier College faculty members has been recognized by the National Association of Academic Advisors and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and honors earned by individual professors include Grammy Awards, Pushcart Prize in Poetry, Fulbright Awards, and grants from the National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • Whittier offers students a choice of 31 majors in 23 disciplines, or the option of a self-designed major through the Whittier Scholars Program—all of which lead to a bachelor of arts degree.
  • The College also offers a master's degree in education, with or without a teaching credential; additionally, the affiliated Whittier Law School, located in Costa Mesa, offers programs leading to either a Juris Doctorate or a Master's in Law (LL.M.) degree.
  • As of fall 2013, Whittier College enrolls 1,765 students from 35 states, District of Columbia, Guam, and 27 countries. There are 1655 undergraduates, one non-degree student, and 109 graduate and post-baccalaureate students; 47% are men; 53% are women.
  • Students of color constitute about 60% of the College's student body, making it one of the most diverse liberal arts colleges in the country.
  • Whittier is recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education, with a Hispanic student enrollment of 38%.
  • Whittier fields 22 Poet teams in NCAA Division III intercollegiate athletics.
  • Athletics facilities include four playing fields, a track, aquatics center, fitness center, and tennis and racquetball courts. Primary competitive spaces are Newman Memorial Stadium, with its seating capacity of 7,000, and the Donald Graham Athletics Center, which includes the 2,000-seat Dave Jacobs Court.
  • Several graduates of the Whittier athletic program have gone on to professional careers as coaches or athletes for the National Football League, Major League Baseball, and Major League Lacrosse, among others.