From the West Coast to the East Coast and Back, Jonathan Veitch becomes an Occidental College President!

Education in Spain needs to make a bit of a leap in my opinion.  And I read about some people like Jonathan Veitch, his books and what he’s done in the American education system to make things better.  A good liberal arts college has always interested me, and they are harder to find in Spain, so this guy really has my interest piqued.

Occidental College in Los Angeles, California got a new president in the summer of 2009. Jonathan Veitch succeeded the then interim president Robert Allen Skotheim who had stepped in after the previous president resigned in December 2007. Occidental College is a liberal arts institution where President Barack Obama once studied. Let’s explore the life of Jonathan Veitch until he became the 15th president of the college.

In 1959 Jonathan Veitch was born in Los Angeles, California. He attended southern California’s Loyola High School before graduating from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He then studied at Harvard University where he received an M.A. in English and a Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization. In December 1992 as reported by The New York Times, Jonathan married Sarah Kersh at St. Paul’s Chapel at Columbia University.

After serving as a professor for four years at the University of Wisconsin, Vietch moved on to become an associate professor at The New School’s Eugene Lang College in New York City. Here he taught literature and history and served in several capacities that included chair of humanities. He then became dean of the Eugene Lang College which is the liberal arts division of The New School. While chairman of humanities, Veitch penned his first book, American Superrealism: Nathanael West and the Politics of Representation in the 1930s. This award-winning work was published in 1997. In the book, Veitch examines the letters of Nathanael West as well as the short stories, novels, and screenplays.

Veitch also has a unique connection with the Hollywood film industry. The film star Alan Ladd made many movies in the 1940s and the 1950s. Ladd was Veitch’s step-grandfather. Veitch’s father was John Veitch who became president in 1979 of the worldwide productions division of Columbia Pictures in Los Angeles.

When Jonathan Veitch accepted the post at Occidental College, he became the first Occidental president who was a native Angeleno since he was born and raised in Los Angeles. He has worked at improving relations with the neighboring community and has created partnerships with other cultural institutions in Southern California. In 2013 he revealed a 1 megawatt solar array which will produce part of the energy supply needed on campus. It is estimated to save the college over $200,000 a year! Jonathan and Sarah Veitch live in the Wallis Annenberg President’s House on campus with their three children.

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