A Letter from President Oubré

May 13, 2020

College seal

Dear Poets:

Our community has truly been tested over the past several weeks. We rose to the occasion, and Whittier College is stronger than ever!

We’ve vacated our campus and classrooms and socially distanced from our friends, professors, advisors, and colleagues. We’ve learned new ways of engaging with each other and we adopted new technology, new ways of thinking, and new ways of learning. We adeptly navigated this situation and came together as a strong Whittier community. Despite all of the obstacles thrown at us by the pandemic, we persevered and even thrived.

Amid this difficult time, we are planning for the future. Whittier College, like so many individuals, families, and organizations, is entering a period of economic uncertainty.  The “Safer at Home” directives have produced financial challenges for all of us. Thankfully, the College was already on the path of addressing the issue of student affordability and realigning resources to better serve our core mission. As we look to next year, we will continue to take steps to ensure the College’s financial health. We will implement measures to cut non-essential expenditures and create new revenue opportunities that will help ensure our long-term financial sustainability.

As we finish the end of the semester, we are focusing on the next academic year. Working within the social distancing guidelines set by the CDC and state and local health officials, we are planning to be back on campus with in-person instruction and student life in the fall. At the same time, and because health officials expect a reoccurrence of COVID-19, we are also planning to be able to move swiftly to 100%-remote, engaged learning at any time during the next academic year.

Operational planning for next year is a highly complicated and unprecedented undertaking that will involve every department on campus and will necessitate open communication and full collaboration among College leadership, administrators, professors, staff, and students. I don’t know what next year will ultimately look like, but I do know that together, we will build a strong future by focusing on ensuring the integrity of our academic mission and the health and safety of our students and employees. We will continue to communicate our plans over the summer as we learn more about the updated health guidelines. 

These are indeed challenging times for everyone, but I continue to be so proud of the way our Poet community has rallied to connect and lift each other up. Thank you for not losing sight of our mission, which aims to educate a unique and diverse group of young people to become the innovative leaders that will make positive differences in our world.

Stay safe, stay healthy,

Linda S. Oubré, Ed.D., M.B.A.
President and Professor of Business Administration