Message from President Linda Oubré

May 12, 2023

Dear Poet Community,

In early 2018, over dinner in Philadelphia, our most famous alumnus, Dr. Robert “Bob” Zemsky, described Whittier College as an institution well positioned for the future.  Whittier, as Bob described it, is a liberal arts institution that has embraced the need for innovation in order to address the challenges of changing demographics and issues of affordability. Whittier had embraced its designation as the first private liberal arts College to become a Hispanic Serving Institution, and needed a leader to help drive the change that was needed to be sustainable. We are the model for the future of higher education.  

I have come to appreciate what a special place this is. As we have journeyed together over the past five years, we have reaffirmed a commitment to our Quaker values of social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion in support of student success. We have worked to embrace the markets of students we serve today and into the future. And we have made the tough decision to realign our resources with our mission. We have faced hard challenges and headwinds due to the shifting context for higher education. And we have thrived and are well positioned for the future.

At the close of another academic year, I reflect on everything we have accomplished together. As we begin to plan for another year, I think that it is time to embark on a new journey. I believe that now is the right time for me to step down as President of Whittier College. I recently informed the Board of Trustees of my resignation effective June 30, 2023.   

I will always be a Poet and will always be a part of Whittier College’s history. My five years as President of Whittier College will be ones that I will look back on with pride. It is our students, many of who, like me, are the first in their families to go to college, that have motivated and sustained me in this work. As I always say, Whittier College transforms lives; not only the lives of our students, but the lives of their families and their communities. At Whittier, we make a difference and we change the world one student at a time.

I have always had a passion for providing educational opportunities to the generations of the future, and this work will continue. I look forward to new opportunities that will allow me to continue to transform higher education.

With gratitude and love, and a special shoutout to my forever mentor, Whittier alum, and former Trustee Bob Zemsky.