James L. Ash, Jr., former president of Whittier College (1989 - 1999) died last week following a battle with cancer.
Hired at a pivotal time in the institution's history, Ash was 43 when he assumed his post as the 12th president of Whittier College.
“An historian and ordained minister, he began his tenure at Whittier with energy and promise, and with specific goals to increase the College's enrollment and reputation, retain and attract more quality faculty, and build the College's endowment--which at that time was only about $16 million,” said President Sharon Herzberger in statement to the campus community.
“Due in large part to President Ash, as Whittier College entered the new millennium it was a decidedly stronger and more competitive institution in the national higher education landscape and within the Southern California region, specifically.”
Under his tenure enrollment grew by 35 percent, the college established the Faculty Master program, the campus saw the restoration of historic Deihl Hall and the opening of the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts, as well as other enhancements. Additionally, late in his term Whittier Law School moved from Hancock Park to its current 15-acre home in Costa Mesa, the first ABA-accredited law school serving Orange County.