Presidential Search Updates and Timeline

Update - March 26, 2018

Message from Jim Brown About Whittier's 15th President

Dear Poet Community:

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Dr. Linda Oubré has been appointed the 15th President of Whittier College by the Board of Trustees. In this highly competitive national search, she was a standout candidate whose qualifications and background reflect Whittier’s mission and values, making her the perfect choice to lead the College forward.

A native of Los Angeles, Linda comes to Whittier from San Francisco State University where she has served as the dean of the College of Business for the past six years. Linda is a dynamic academic leader and accomplished business executive with 30-plus years of experience in higher education and industry. Her background as an innovative educator and successful entrepreneur uniquely positions her to expand the College’s resources while enhancing the undergraduate experience for Whittier’s diverse student body. She will begin her new role on July 1, 2018. 

As a first-generation college graduate and a woman of color, Linda is accustomed to breaking new ground. As dean of one of the largest and most diverse business schools in the nation, Linda successfully expanded the institution’s core academic mission by launching new revenue generating and fundraising initiatives. Working closely with faculty, Linda led a strategic planning effort and curriculum review process that resulted in transformative outcomes for under-represented students of color. At San Francisco State, Linda serves on the President’s Strategic Enrollment Task Force, Strategic Planning Task Force, and the Title IX Executive Leadership Council. Prior to her role as dean, Linda held leadership positions at the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis as executive director of business development and chief diversity officer. Linda has also been a business instructor and lecturer at San Diego State University, UC Davis, Northwestern, and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Linda’s accomplishments in industry are extraordinary. She has developed more than 30 business ventures from the ground up, and was co-founder of BriteSmile, which grew to more than $50 million in revenues in four years. She has also held senior leadership roles in various companies including Tri Com Ventures, Times Mirror Company, and the Walt Disney Company. Her vast professional network will be a vital asset to expanding the College’s reach in Los Angeles, throughout California, and beyond.

Linda holds a B.A. in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an Ed.D. in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania. She will be joined in Whittier by husband Nathaniel Oubré, a senior executive at Kaiser Permanente. Linda and Nathaniel have two adult sons, Nathaniel and Alexander.

The College’s Board of Trustees is thrilled to select Linda and support her vision of expanding Whittier’s position as a model for the nation in liberal arts education. We look forward to formally welcoming her and Nate to campus this summer and anticipate coordinating in-person introductions this spring.

I want to thank all the members of the Presidential Search Committee, as well as our search firm Witt/Kieffer, for their commitment during this rigorous process. I’m also grateful for the insightful feedback received from the College community via open forums, surveys, emails, and constituency group meetings with finalists. The dedication of the Search Committee, along with the vital input of the entire Poet community, has been instrumental in enabling the College’s Board of Trustees to select such an extraordinary new president. 

Jim Brown ’71
Chair, Board of Trustees


Update - February 14, 2018

As you may recall from our last update, the Presidential Search Committee completed a Leadership Profile for the position that our search firm Witt/Kieffer has utilized over the last three months to contact, assess, and recommend candidates for the position. 

The leadership profile was prepared after a series of meetings between Witt/Kieffer, members of the Search Committee, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and trustees that took place in October.

We are pleased to report that the pool of applicants is very robust. It includes more than 100 applicants with a rich and diverse range of backgrounds and experience. Many highly qualified candidates came into the pool through nominations, so we are grateful for the outreach members of the College community made to encourage applications. Deputy Managing Partner Zach Smith, who is the Committee's lead contact at Witt/Kieffer, shared that this exceptional response is due primarily to the great momentum associated with the College on a national level, and to the extraordinary reputation of faculty, staff, and students at Whittier.

The Search Committee met recently to determine which of the top candidates would be invited to interview as semi-finalists for the position. This round of interviews will lead to a selection of a short list of final candidates, followed by additional background and reference checking and further interviews with various stakeholder representatives. With significant and thoughtful input from the Search Committee, as well as feedback from other stakeholders, the final selection of our next president will be made by the College's Board of Trustees. With an exceptional group of qualified candidates, we are eagerly anticipating being able to announce the hire of the College’s next president later this spring.

The College community's collective involvement has been critical to our success thus far, and we look forward to continuing to integrate your perspective and feedback as the search narrows. As a reminder, every member of the Search Committee continues to be open to your input, and we thank you for reaching out to an appropriate member of the Committee if you have thoughts to share. As this process unfolds, know that we will continue to update the campus community with important news.


Jim Brown ’71
Chair, Whittier College Board of Trustees
Co-Chair, Presidential Search Committee

Alan Lund ’71
Co-Chair, Presidential Search Committee

Update - October 18, 2017

I want to further update you on the process to select the 15th president of Whittier College, and to thank everyone involved in this important endeavor.

As you know from my last update, our search firm Witt/Kieffer visited the campus September 14 and 15 to meet with students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and hear their thoughts on the important skills, attributes, and qualifications that our next president should possess. They also met recently with the Board of Trustees. These sessions were critically important in continuing to make this process as inclusive as possible, and in providing the entire community the opportunity to share valuable input. On behalf of the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all who participated in those sessions, and for the feedback provided to members of the search committee separately.
I am pleased to report much of your input has been incorporated into a Leadership Profile for the 15th President of Whittier College, which will serve as the College’s primary announcement of the position and invitation for applications from qualified candidates. (Note: the first section of the Profile is designed as a stand-alone advertisement that will be used in the Chronicle of Higher Education and elsewhere.)
Please share the Leadership Profile with your networks and encourage well-qualified candidates to express their interest to Witt/Kieffer.
Over the next two-and-a-half to three months, Witt/Kieffer will be carefully reviewing applications from a national pool of candidates, in preparation for presenting a subset of exceptional candidates to the search committee for further consideration.
During the initial candidate review process, there may not be much to report. However, I continue to encourage you to provide any feedback to members of the search committee on those important attributes you believe our next President should possess. The search committee will continue to integrate your important input into the search process as we review applications.
I will share that as the Search Committee worked with Witt/Kieffer to draft the Leadership Profile, we were again reminded of what a special College this is, and of what an outstanding leadership opportunity the presidency will be for the right person. We are grateful for all of the time and good thinking that has gone into this important process so far, and we will continue to rely upon the engagement and good will of everyone at Whittier as we move forward. Thank you for your involvement.
Jim Brown ’71
Chair, Whittier College Board of Trustees
Co-Chair, Presidential Search Committee

Update - September 6, 2017

As the school year begins, we want to share an update on the process of selecting the 15th President of Whittier College. 

As you know from my July update, we have formed a Presidential Search Committee whose charge is to present to the Board of Trustees one or more exceptional candidates to become our next president.  I am pleased to report that the Search Committee has identified and retained the firm Witt/Kieffer to help manage the search process.  Witt/Kieffer is a preeminent firm with significant experience working with colleges and universities on successful presidential searches.  We look forward to collaborating with Witt/Kieffer and benefitting from their expertise, resources, and outstanding networks of candidates. 

Witt/Kieffer, under the leadership of Deputy Managing Partner Zach Smith, will be on Whittier’s campus September 14-15 to speak with faculty, staff, students and other constituents about the search process and to collect your valuable input on the qualities that we should seek in our next president.  Two open sessions are scheduled for the student community, and two are scheduled for faculty and staff.  Additionally, the search committee is working with senior staff and faculty leadership to facilitate small focus groups with faculty, staff, and students during Witt/Kieffer’s visit. 

All students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to attend one of the following open sessions:

Student Sessions

September 14, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Ettinger Student Lounge, Campus Center
September 15, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., Ettinger Student Lounge, Campus Center

Faculty & Staff Sessions     

September 14, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Villalobos Hall (wine & cheese will be provided)
September 15, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., Villalobos Hall (cookies & soft drinks will be provided)

The Search Committee looks forward to the community’s participation during Witt/Kieffer’s visit. We are committed to ensuring that every member of the Whittier community has an opportunity to give input with respect to qualities that we should be seeking.


Jim Brown ’71
Chair, Whittier College Board of Trustees
Co-Chair, Presidential Search Committee

Update - July 24, 2017

As co-chairs of Whittier College’s presidential search committee, trustee Alan Lund ’71 and I want to provide a brief update as we begin the exciting and critically important process of selecting the 15th president of Whittier College.

I am pleased to share that we have formed an exceptional search committee to lead this process culminating in the identification and presentation of final candidates to the Board of Trustees for consideration.   Each member of the search committee has agreed to devote a significant amount of time toward this important endeavor, and we can’t thank them enough for their commitment. The committee met on July 14 for the first time and is already working to select a national search consultant to assist us as well as beginning the process of drafting a position description. 

Please know that Alan and I will keep the campus community updated on the search when the committee has significant news to share. And, as this process unfolds, we look forward to including the broader Whittier College community in the process as appropriate. To that end, updates and public information about the search process will be archived on this page.

Thank you for your support during this process and we look forward to being in touch with further updates soon.

Go Poets!

Jim Brown ’71
Chair, Whittier College Board of Trustees