Jonathan Veitch

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Jonathan Veitch
Veitch in 2009
15th President of Occidental College
Assumed office
Preceded by Robert Skotheim
Personal details
Born (1959-01-31) January 31, 1959 (age 57)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Sarah Veitch (m. 1992)
Children 3
Parents Carol Lee (mother)
John Veitch (father)
Relatives Alan Ladd (step-grandfather)
Alma mater Stanford University
Harvard University

Jonathan Veitch (born 1959) is an American college administrator, author and former professor. He is the president of Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. He became president in July 2009, succeeding interim president Robert Skotheim.[1] Veitch previously served as a professor at the University of Wisconsin and dean of The New School's Eugene Lang College.[2] He authored American Superrealism: Nathanael West and the Politics of Representation in the 1930s in 1997.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Jonathan Veitch was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. His father, John Veitch, was the president of Columbia Pictures' worldwide productions, and his step-grandfather was actor Alan Ladd.[2]

Veitch attended Loyola High School in southern California before he received his bachelor's degree from Stanford University in English and American Literature. He later received his doctoral degree in the History of American Civilization from Harvard University.[1]


In 1993, Veitch became an associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin Press published his first book, American Superrealism: Nathanael West and the Politics of Representation in the 1930s, in 1997. That same year, Veitch moved to New York and became an associate professor at The New School, teaching courses in cultural history, American history and American film pertaining to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.[4]

Veitch was named Dean of Eugene Lang College in 2004, where he remained for a tenure of four years before stepping down and becoming the president of Occidental College in 2009.[4]

Occidental College[edit]

Veitch is the first president of Occidental College to be a native Angeleno, having been born in Los Angeles. He succeeded Robert Skotheim as the fifteenth president of the college on June 30, 2009.[2][5] Veitch has worked to improve relations between the College and the surrounding community, limiting expansion of the campus into the community in response to neighborhood concerns.[6][7]

On his first anniversary at the college in August 2010, Veitch hosted a public forum for Los Angeles activists and local officials to discuss the city's environmental future. He also brought on Ella Turenne as the college's assistant dean of civic engagement.[6]

Veitch announced the new name of Occidental's football stadium in 2011, which was renamed after alumnus Jack Kemp, former professional football player and Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives. Veitch also unveiled a new statue for the former student who died in 2009.[8]

On the school's 125th anniversary in April 2012, President Veitch announced that Occidental would be the recipient of a $5 million donation to renovate Johnson Hall, one of three original buildings on the campus.[9]

In April 2013, Veitch unveiled a 1 megawatt solar array on the Occidental campus, to generate a portion of the campus's energy supply.[10]

Veitch drew controversy in 2013 over his handling of Occidental College sexual assault controversy, and again in 2015 for not having done enough to address issues of racial injustice on campus.

Personal life[edit]

Veitch married Sarah Ann Baxter Kersh, the former director of international licensing and distribution for Calvin Klein, in December 1992.[11]

He lives in the Wallis Annenberg President's House on the Occidental campus with his wife and their three children.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "President's Bio". Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Gordon, Larry (31 January 2009). "Jonathan Veitch named president of Occidental College". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Edmunds, Susan (Winter 1998). "American Superrealism: Nathanael West and the Politics of Representation in the 1930s (review)". Project MUSE. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Ovenshine, Sam (6 December 2011). "President's Day". The Occidental Weekly. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Jonathan Veitch". Pasadena Educational Foundation. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Tokita, Mary. "An Interview With Occidental College President Jonathan Veitch". Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  7. ^ Fleischer, Matthew (21 January 2014). "The Weekly Q & A: Occidental President Jonathan Veitch". Pasadena Magazine. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Occidental College Names Football Stadium After Jack Kemp". CBS Los Angeles. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  9. ^ Gordon, Larry (19 April 2012). "Occidental College to get $5-million donation". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  10. ^ Rees, Brenda (7 January 2013). "Occidental College prepares to plug in to solar power". The Eastsider. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "WEDDINGS; Sarah Kersh, Jonathan Veitch". New York Times. 20 December 1992. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  12. ^ Gallegos, Emma. "Jonathan Veitch, Los Angeles native, begins presidency at Occidental". Pasadena Star-News. Retrieved 28 March 2015.