Following a processional of faculty, staff, alumni, and invited guests, the Inauguration of Whittier College’s 15th President began with an acknowledgement of the land that the College occupies and that once was inhabited by the Tongva people. This acknowledgment of history, while looking toward the future, was an apropos way to begin the installation ceremony of President Linda Oubré, the first woman of color to lead the College.
Joined on stage by her mother, Marilyn F. Solomon; her husband, Nate Oubré; and her two sons, Nathan and Alex, Oubré listened as colleagues and mentors gave words of congratulations and counsel as she embarked on this new journey. Speakers included Alex J. Norman, professor emeritus of social Welfare, UCLA; Lowell Haines, president of Taylor University; and Sue Rosser, special advisor for research development and external partnerships, California State University System. In honor of her daughter, Solomon read a poem written by the college’s namesake, John Greenleaf Whittier.
Following a musical performance by student cast members of the theatre department’s spring production of Pippin, Oubré was welcomed by President of the Associated Students of Whittier College Detrick Manning ’19, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs and C. Wright Mills Endowed Chair in Sociology sal johnston, College Trustee and president and CEO of Fairplex Miguel Santana, and United States Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez.
"Dr. Linda S. Oubré, the Board of Trustees has selected you as President of Whittier College. Yours will be the high privilege and responsibility of leading Whittier to the fulfillment of its great promise for years to come,” said Chair of the Board of Trustees Jim M. Brown ’71. “Much of what this College stands for, the values we hold dear, and the principles you will strive to uphold—are boldly declared upon Whittier’s seal: Amor Eruditionis, Lux, Poesis, Veritas, and Pax.”
After the installation ceremony, Oubré took to the podium to address the cheering crowd.
“ I would be lying if I told you exactly what our future will look like,” said Oubré. “That being said, I am confident that Whittier College is uniquely positioned to create a sustainable future for our campus and our students.
We will create a culture of innovation and we will become a thriving institution where all students will leave equipped to serve an always-changing region, state, country, and world. At this place, and at this time, just by walking into the room and being who I am, I represent the change that is already here. Through our collective creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, and our ability to execute on our vision, we will continue to be a model for the nation as we innovate for the world.”
Following a performance of the school song, Friends Forever, Oubré and the stage party walked off stage to a song from her personally curated processional playlist—My Girl.
Immediately following the installation ceremony, guests headed to the Science & Learning Center (SLC) for a reception and Innovation Showcase. The event included a special performance by Professor of Music Danilo Lozano and his band, Cuba L.A.
Inside the SLC, people immersed themselves in works by Whittier students and faculty. From viewing mini documentaries highlighting unique learning opportunities, to exploring the dynamics of physical movement in the kinesiology lab, to tasting and learning about sustainable specialty coffee, the Innovation Showcase brought the liberal arts and sciences to life.
Excerpt from A Song for the Time,
By John Greenleaf Whittier
But ye, who still boast of hearts beating and warm,
Rise, from lake shore and oceans, like waves in a storm,
Come, throng round our banner in Liberty’s name,
Like winds from your mountains, like prairies aflame!
Come forth all together! Come old and come young,
Freedom’s vote in each hand, and her song on each tongue;
Truth naked is stronger than Falsehood in mail;
The Wrong cannot prosper, the Right cannot fail!