"I keep coming back to Whittier."

July 7, 2023

Hoover HallInterim President Kristine Dillon shared her first official message to the Poet community.

Dear Poets,

I keep coming back to Whittier.

After freshman year as a commuter student at a large state school, I transferred here, moved into Ball Hall and started having the college experience I’d always hoped to have.

No sooner had I graduated than I took my first job at Whittier working on student orientation and retention so that other Poets could be transformed as I had been by the personalized education our professors offer.

Midway through my career in higher education, in 1994, I returned to join Whittier’s Board of Trustees and served 18 years, including a decade as chair of Whittier’s Enrollment and Student Life Committee.

This year, I answered Whittier’s call once more, rejoining the board this spring and, this month, moving into Garrett House and becoming your interim president. My husband, John Curry, and I are excited to be actively engaged on campus. I am spending my time listening during meetings with faculty, staff, alumni and a few students. (It is summer!)

We are working to return stability, enthusiasm and energy to our beloved college and its extended family. I will continue to make Poet connections at this weekend’s alumni/new student events — meeting new members of the Whittier College family and reconnecting with alumni. In just a few short weeks, we will welcome students to campus in late August, ready to deliver on the promise of Whittier’s life-changing liberal arts educational program.

My title carries the “interim” tag. But make no mistake: I will remain an active and forthright president for Whittier until we identify and hire the right successor. Along with Chair Ron Gastelum ’68 and the Board of Trustees, Whittier has a stable group of leaders with an unwavering commitment to your College. And while emotions may run high among our many stakeholders as we work to strengthen Whittier for the future, that’s because all of us love this College. Together, we will make sure Whittier remains — as it has ever been for me — a thriving place that opens doors for Poets now and in the future.

Kristine Dillon ’73, Ph.D.
Interim President
Whittier College