Senior Administration


Whittier College's leadership team works collectively and creatively to support new and existing efforts to drive the institution forward.

Daniel Byrd


Daniel T. Byrd

Associate Vice President of Planning


Daniel supports Whittier's innovation and new venture initiatives including working with the team to launch new programs, developing business plans and financial projections, supporting accreditation of new initiatives, and organizing and coordinating other activities. He also leads Whittier's campus-wide strategic planning efforts.

Prior to joining Whittier, Daniel served eleven years in academic administration at the University of La Verne, including vice provost of strategic planning and effectiveness, where he led accreditation and assessment efforts. Daniel’s professional background includes a unique combination of faculty positions and business world experience. With expertise in strategy and organizations, he has held faculty appointments at Stanford, MIT, Emory, and the Claremont Colleges. Daniel received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a Ph.D. in Corporate Strategy and International Business from the University of Michigan. 

Rock Carter


Rock Carter '89

Executive Director of Athletics


Rock Carter ’89 currently serves as director of athletics. Carter most recently held the position of senior associate director of athletics and has worked at the College since 1990. 
Carter’s focus this year is to build upon the notable work that has been achieved in athletics over the past decade. He will be leading new initiatives focused on improving student success, enhancing academic performance of student-athletes, engaging with faculty, and increasing fundraising.
Carter led the Poet men’s basketball team as coach for 24 successful seasons. He retired in 2017 to devote more time and energy to projects aimed at strengthening Poet athletics more broadly. As senior associate director, his main responsibilities included assisting and overseeing the internal operations of all 22 intercollegiate teams and staffing within the Athletic Department. 
During the summer months Carter serves as director of the highly successful Whittier College Sports Camps and Swim Club, which serves over 500 families in Whittier and the surrounding communities. He is also director of Whittier’s youth basketball camp.

Previously, Carter served as the interim director of athletics from 2004-2005. He spent 13 years as an instructor with the Department of Kinesiology, teaching courses in sport management, physical education, and fitness and wellness. He has also served on a number of College, SCIAC, and NCAA committees.

At Whittier, Carter earned his BA in physical education and an M.A. in education administration. As an undergraduate, he played two seasons with the Poet men’s basketball team. He currently resides in Whittier with his wife Megan, daughter Caroline, and son Jacob ’14, a recent graduate of the College. 


Graham Athletics Center

Irene Gallardo


Irene Gallardo

Executive Assistant to the President


Irene Gallardo manages the Office of the President and provides support to the senior leadership of the College to advance its mission and strategic priorities. Irene staffs the President’s Cabinet, provides research and administrative support, and manages communications. Gallardo also coordinates the activities of the Board of Trustees including logistics and communications.

Gallardo joined Whittier College in November 2000 as an Assistant to the Dean of First Year Student Programs in Academic Affairs. She has served in several other additional roles and has been the Assistant to the President since 2005.

Henry Gee


Henry Gee

Interim Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students


Henry Gee has a distinguished record as a student affairs professional in California over the last 40 years. Most recently, he was acting Vice President of Student Services at Compton College. Prior to that, he held a variety of leadership positions, including Vice President of Student Services, at Rio Hondo College. He served as Dean of Student Affairs at Santa Ana College for 10 years, as well as Associate Dean of Students and a range of other roles at Azusa Pacific University.

He completed his Master of Arts in Social Science and Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration degrees at Azusa Pacific, and his Associate of Arts degree at Sacramento City College. He has also completed coursework toward a Doctor of Philosophy in Education with an emphasis on higher education through Claremont Graduate University.

Gil Gonzalez


Gil Gonzalez

Dean of Academic Success and Associate Dean of Faculty


Gil Gonzalez oversees the Center for Advising and Academic Success, Student Accessibility Services, the Office of International Programs, and the Center for Teaching and Learning. He coordinates the First-Year Experience Program and works with the Community, Affirmation, Resilience, Empowerment (CARE) Program. Gonzalez also shares faculty development support responsibilities with Professor Kay Sanders. In addition, he is currently coordinating the startup phase of the Quantitative Success Center and has oversight responsibility for about half of the academic departments. Gonzalez is also working with faculty to develop the Writing Program to support an updated liberal arts education program. 

Gonzalez joined the Whittier faculty in 2005. In addition to directing student productions, he teaches courses in performance, play analysis, and Chicano/a/Latinx Theatre. He has served as the Associate Dean of First-Year Programs since 2014. He recently served as faculty-in-residence at Hartley House, where he worked closely with multiple departments and programs on projects such as New Student Orientation, the CARE Program, the curriculum for the First-Year Experience, and more.

David Houser headshot


David Houser

Vice President, Chief Financial Officer


David Houser began his term as a vice president for finance and chief financial officer for Whittier College on October 15, 2022. 

Houser has a 20-plus-year career working in higher education within the area of finance and administration. He most recently served as chief financial and administrative officer for Weingart Center Association. His portfolio included finance, accounting, human resources, facilities, and information technology. Previous to that, he worked at Antioch University in Los Angeles, holding various posts including chief financial officer and vice president for finance. He's also held posts at USC, Caltech, and Southern California University of Health Sciences.

Houser has a bachelor's degree in accounting from Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management. 


Mendenhall, First Floor

Sal Johnston


Sal Johnston

Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of Faculty


sal johnston joined the faculty of Whittier College in 1996 after receiving his doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Oregon. 

A recipient of the Whittier College Nerhood Teaching Award in 2003, he has served in several faculty leadership positions at Whittier including chair of EPC and chair of the faculty. sal also was highly involved in previous faculty-led curriculum reviews as a member of the faculty curriculum committees in 1997-1998 and again in 2001-2003.

In his role as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, sal was instrumental in working with faculty and Academic Affairs leadership in providing support for an assessment and realignment of new resources for student success support, and in ensuring that Whittier's financial resources are aligned to the College's academic mission. He has also continued to champion the faculty-led curriculum renewal.


Office of Academic Affairs
Mendenhall, First Floor


Elizabeth Ibarra
Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty

Cynthia Joseph


Cynthia Joseph

Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer


Cynthia Joseph provides oversight to the Department of Human Resources, Campus Safety, Payroll Office, mailroom, bookstore, facilities and grounds, and food services. In addition to leading efforts related to legal and compliance issues, Joseph implements strategic programs for employee development and training, succession planning, and programs that support diversity, equity, and inclusion. She also provides leadership and strategic thinking as the College works to strengthen its infrastructure and key support services. 

As Associate Vice President of Human Resources, Joseph created strategic partnerships with campus leaders to develop employee relations infrastructure and processes and to drive and implement key business performance initiatives in support of our mission.
Joseph joined Whittier College in 2014 as Director of Human Resources and was promoted to Senior Director in 2017. Cynthia has a long career as a human resources and student service professional in industry and higher education. Prior to joining Whittier, she worked as the executive director of human resources and employee relations at Next Level Enterprises, director of operations and human resources at Vocational Concepts, and spent several years as vice president of student services for Lawton College. 

Joseph received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Loma Linda University and is on track to receive her Juris Doctorate from William Taft Law School.

Deborah Norden


Deborah Norden

Faculty Chair


Deborah Norden has been a member of Whittier College’s Department of Political Science since 2000, after earning her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Norden’s prior teaching appointments include Colby College (Maine) and the University of California, Riverside.

At Whittier, Norden teaches courses on Latin American Politics, Comparative Politics, and Political Violence. Her research has focused on civil-military relations, democratization, and contentious politics in Latin America, particularly in Argentina and Venezuela. Her work has explored various themes, including the causes of civilian and military challenges to democratic regimes in Latin America and government responses to these challenges; military roles in internal security; and Venezuela’s shift to authoritarianism. Her current research interests include coup-proofing, in particular, in relationship to “self-coups.” An underlying theme in Norden’s teaching, research, and leadership interests involves how the rules and organization of institutions — of all kinds — shape both their potential and their risks.

Norden has served as Chair of the Faculty since May 2022. Prior leadership roles include Chair of the Department of Political Science, Chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee, and Chair of the Transfer Student Assessment Project. She has also been a member of a number of significant Whittier College committees, including the Faculty Personnel Committee, Enrollment and Student Affairs Committee, the Committee for the Future of the Liberal Arts, and the Educational Policy Committee, as well as Search Committees for the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the President, and, of course, for multiple faculty positions. 

As Faculty Chair, she seeks to develop strong consensus-based teamwork within the Faculty Executive Council (FEC) and to encourage open communications between FEC and the faculty so that FEC can hear and, as much as possible, respond to the full diversity of faculty perspectives and concerns. Her primary objectives in this position are to facilitate the excellent work of Whittier’s faculty, to improve collaboration between the faculty and the administration, and to build stronger and more effective systems of shared governance.

Kay Sanders


Kay Sanders

Associate Vice President and Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

As Associate Vice President and Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Kay Sanders provides intellectual and strategic leadership and advocates for the structural and cultural changes necessary to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion at Whittier College. 

Additionally, Sanders is a Professor of Child Development. Her research focuses on the racial and ethnic socialization processes of child care for low-income racial, ethnic, and language minority children.

She received her Ph.D. at UCLA Graduate School of Education. Sanders teaches the undergraduate series of courses in the Department of Education and Child Development. Her research focuses on the racial and ethnic socialization processes of child care for low-income racial, ethnic, and language minority children.

Delite Travis 

Delite H. Travis

Vice President of Development


Delite H. Travis assumed the role of Vice President of Development at Whittier College in June 2024, bringing with her over 22 years of seasoned leadership experience. Throughout her career, she has a proven record for driving organizational success.

At Whittier College, Travis leads the charge in all aspects of development and advancement. Her responsibilities encompass strategic alumni engagement, fundraising, program development, donor relations, and oversight of the Whittier Now! campaign. Known for her talent in assembling high-performing teams and fostering key relationships, Travis is committed to propelling Whittier to new heights of excellence.

Prior to her tenure at Whittier, Travis held notable roles across various philanthropic sectors, including healthcare, non-profits, and higher education. She consistently surpassed fundraising targets and played pivotal roles in securing substantial funding. Notably, her contributions as Vice President of Strategic Engagement, Development, and Campaign at Chapman University significantly advanced fundraising efforts, culminating in a $250 million milestone toward a $500 million goal.

She holds a Master of Arts in Leadership Development from Chapman University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies from Pepperdine University. Additionally, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Oxford Preparatory Academy Charter School and maintains affiliations with esteemed organizations such as the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). 

Ken Woods


Ken Woods

Vice President of Enrollment


Ken began his career at Whittier from 1986 to 1990 in the offices of admissions, residential life, and summer activities. He returns to the college after a long career, including more than 25 years at the College Board, where he worked to foster strategic relationships within the higher education enrollment sector, most recently as Executive Director of Higher Education Services and Strategic Accounts.

During his influential career, Woods revamped the College Board’s higher education membership model to expand relationships, engaged with national conferences addressing higher education enrollment issues and innovated new admissions strategies regionally and nationally.

Among his previous roles at the College Board were Associate Director of Guidance and Admission Services (1995-2001), Chief, Higher Education Services (2001-2007), and National Manager, Higher Education Institution Relations (2007-2008). Earlier stops in Ken’s career include Director of Regional Admissions Offices at the University of Denver and Director of College Counseling at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, California.

Woods earned his bachelor’s degree in Social Science and Business Administration from Whittier in 1984. Ken also received the Key to the College in 1988 and served on the Alumni Board of Directors from 2002 to 2005.