Previous to Jonathan Veitch taking over as president for Occidental College, the school struggled mightily to maintain any sort of continuity or structure. In fact, between 2009 and 2005, the school saw four different presidents. However, since August 2009, Jonathan Veitch has served as president, helped strengthen the school itself, increase enrollment and also improve the bond between the school and the local community. This is not all a fluke though, as Jonathan has proven successful in previous stops and he is using an assortment of different methods to improve the community and school as a whole.
For starters, Jonathan has been able to jump on the fact that President Obama did study at Occidental College for two years, ranging from 1979 up until 1981. Due to this press, the school has seen a large number of diverse applicants and the student body is one of the most diverse in the state. The school has also weathered the recession rather nicely and it has not seen a major drop off of students. In fact, the school actually increased enrollment when most other universities throughout the country saw a drop.
Now, before Veitch took over as president, the local community looked at Occidental as more of a party college with large housing complexes right off of campus. However, the school has drastically changed in the last decade or so and now this is no longer how the local community sees the school. When he took office, Veitch realized the importance of strengthening the bond between the school and the community itself, which is why at his first meeting with the community in the fall of 2009, he informed the community leaders that he wanted to grow the school moderately and organically. He also wanted to limit the construction of the school beyond what the current grounds were, so it would not deteriorate the value and feel of the community itself.
Veitch also saw the need to improve transportation throughout the school. Previously, it has proven difficult for individuals off of campus to make their way onto campus, so he brought in the commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation in order to improve the green methods of transportation, including improved bike paths, better pedestrian plaza and sustainable methods for bringing students in and out of campus. This has helped drastically in increase the total number of students who can now attend.