President Bio

President Sharon HerzbergerSharon D. Herzberger, Ph.D.

Sharon D. Herzberger became Whittier College's 14th president in July 2005. Since then, she has led successful initiatives to affirm the founding values of Whittier College, enhance academic offerings, beautify the campus, invigorate Poet athletics and other student life programs, and deepen and broaden connections to the City of Whittier and the greater Los Angeles area.

Under President Herzberger's leadership and with strong commitment from Whittier's faculty, four Centers of Distinctions have been created since 2009: the Center for Science, Health, and Policy; the Center for Collaborations with the Arts; the Center for Engagement with Communities, and the Center for Environmental Sustainability. All of the Centers expand Whittier's interdisciplinary curriculum and provide opportunities for students to pursue research or creative projects.

Capital projects President Herzberger has overseen include a dramatic expansion of the Campus Center, the refurbishment of historic Hoover Hall, upgraded science labs and media-ready classrooms, and enhanced athletic facilities – including the renovation of the Graham Athletics Center and the Lillian Slade Aquatics Center.

President Herzberger is committed to reducing the impact the College has on the environment. The campus has significantly reduced food waste and water usage, implemented a recycling program, and developed plans to convert to more sustainable landscape.

In the last several years, the College has launched several programs designed to enhance students' career exploration. The Backpack to Briefcase series bring leaders in business, government, and not-for-profit organizations -- many of whom are Whittier College alumni and parents -- to campus to network and share their “secrets to success.” The Richard M. Nixon Fellowship prepares exceptional students for informed citizenship and public service. Other Fellowships, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Keck Foundation, the Weingart Foundation, and individual donors, enable talented students to assume internships or to do research on campus and around the world. In 2008, Whittier was invited to join the prestigious Mellon-Mays Fellowship Program, which prepares students for careers as professors.

President Herzberger began her academic career teaching psychology at Northwestern University before moving to Trinity College in 1980. By the time she left there to join Whittier, she had served as department chair, special assistant to the president for affirmative action, associate vice president for the college's campaign, vice president for student services, and vice president for institutional planning and administration. She founded the Consortium on High Achievement and Success (CHAS) and served as chair. President Herzberger has authored numerous articles and co-authored two books in the field of social psychology. She holds a bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University and her master's and doctoral degrees are from the University of Illinois.

President Herzberger resides in Whittier College's Wardman House, in the hills overlooking the campus, with her husband David, a professor of Spanish literature and head of the Hispanic Studies Department at the University of California, Riverside. The Herzbergers have two sons, Ben and Jeff, and a daughter-in-law, Amanda, and are proud first-time grandparents of Norah, Whittier Class of 2031.