2021 Commencement Information
A student’s success will require, in a developmental sequence, (1) the ability to function within a variety of communities (for which a college campus serves as an ideal laboratory); (2) the ability to communicate perceptions, feelings, ideas, beliefs, and values through a variety of symbolic modes; (3) an understanding of the differing cultural perspectives people bring to the challenge of being human; and (4) the ability to make connections: between people and ideas, between disciplines, between curricular and co-curricular life.
Whittier’s co-curricular programs—Residential Life, Faculty-in-Residence Program, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, athletics programs, clubs and organizations—are also designed around these Four C's: Community, Communication, Cultural Perspectives, and Connections.
All students graduating from Whittier College—regardless of major or career goal—should leave with a strong sense of Whittier’s Four C's and their meaning in every aspect of life, both at the College and beyond.
A body of people living in the same place who, despite their individual differences, share a common goal and set of values—as well as joint ownership of, and participation in, the activities of the whole.
A sense of place, of being at "home"; of being a part of a family, within which one has both rights and obligations.
Fall: College Writing Seminar (INTD 100) linked to another course (that is, all members of the seminar will be co-enrolled in another course as well).
To foster a yet deeper sense of community, students' writing seminar will also correspond to their mentor groups; in most cases, students' writing instructor will be their mentor and their peer mentor will be their OWL (Orientation Week Leader).
Whittier College's co-curricular programs—including Residential Life, Faculty-in-Residence Program, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, College athletics, and various clubs and organizations—are designed to foster community by offering a variety of opportunities for students to meet and interact with others—students, faculty, and staff—in significant ways.
Within the larger community that is Whittier College, students experience and practice community in a variety of settings:
The act of sharing with others what one has perceived, has felt, believes, and/or has come to know through the use of variety of symbol systems: numerical, verbal, visual, musical, etc.
The empathy essential to building and sustaining any community (from one's family of origin to a couple to a college to a nation) depends, not coincidentally, on Whittier's other three C’s: communication, cultural perspective, and the ability to make connections.
Whittier College's co-curricular programs—including Residential Life, Faculty-in-Residence Program, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, College athletics, and various clubs and organizations—are designed to foster communication within the community:
This communication is fostered through a wide variety of programs:
One of the marks of educated people is their thoughtful and informed awareness that not everyone thinks and feels as they do—that there is more than one way to think about the idea of the "self"; to build and sustain a family, a community, a society; to rear children; to teach values; to seek ultimate meaning—and that functioning effectively in an ever smaller world requires an ever deeper knowledge of the world others inhabit.
Understanding the present and future also requires an understanding of the past; thus understanding the history of various cultural perspectives is part of the job—as is the exploration of others' surviving artifacts and cultural products: their art, their literature, their music.
One course from four of the following seven areas:
Whittier College is proud to have one of the most ethnically diverse student populations among liberal arts colleges in America. Thus—both within the classroom and without Whittier is an ideal community within which to experience cultural diversity: to learn to appreciate and communicate with others from a variety of backgrounds.
Whittier College's co-curricular programs—including Residential Life, Faculty-in-Residence Program, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, College athletics, and various clubs and organizations—are designed to foster cultural awareness and cross-cultural interaction, as we attempt to forge a single community made up of many complex strands and unique individuals.
Virtually all activities on campus work toward this end, but some programs make diversity issues their central focus. Activities on campus that showcase diversity always do so in a way that is inclusive, welcoming all interested students, faculty, and staff.
Whittier College’s Office of Equity and Inclusion exists to sponsor and co-sponsor such ongoing programs and resources such as, but not limited to:
It also serves as a home for individuals and groups of all cultures and traditions to come together for meetings and informal discussions, and houses a small library devoted to diversity issues.
Other groups—open to all—also work to foster cultural awareness and the embrace of diversity on campus. These include:
Education has in general become more and more specialized; yet there has never been a more urgent need for people who have a sense of the "big picture": the way disciplines reflect and illuminate one another; the way seemingly disparate problems are actually related; the way science and math impact our daily lives.
The genius of liberal education is its special focus on this big picture—on preparing doctors who can see the cultural dimension of healing; economists who understand the social impact of their theories. People who can see and make meaningful connections can assess options with far greater clarity, and thus are freer to make wise (and, ideally, ethical) choices. For many great thinkers, there is no better definition of freedom—freedom fostered above all by a liberal education.
Whittier College's co-curricular programs—including Residential Life, Faculty-in-Residence Program, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, College athletics, and various clubs and organizations—are designed to foster connection-making in the broadest possible sense: by helping to build community, by fostering communication, and by sponsoring programs that promote cultural awareness.
They also build explicit connections to classroom learning by co-sponsoring with faculty such events as
Because these programs often serve a variety of courses, they also underscore the connection between disciplines—the interdisciplinary nature of knowledge—as well as the connections between academic life and life "in the real world."