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Whittier College
Motto Lux, Poesis, Veritas, Pax, Amor Eruditionis
(Light, Poetry, Truth, Peace, and Love of Knowledge)
Established 1887
Type Private
Endowment USD $77 million [1]
President Sharon D. Herzberger
Faculty 96
Undergraduates 1,300
Postgraduates 240
Location Whittier, CA, USA
Campus Suburban, 74 acres
Colors Purple & Gold
Nickname The Poets
Mascot Johnny Poet
Affiliations NCAA DIII; SCIAC
Southwest Quadrant
Whittier College in 1912
Hoover Hall and Library

Whittier College is a private liberal arts college in Whittier, California. As of January 2009, the college has approximately 1,300 enrolled students.



The liberal arts university was founded in 1887 by members of the Religious Society of Friends, who named it after Friends (Quaker) poet John Greenleaf Whittier. Student athletes at Whittier College are known today as the Poets in his honor. The college is no longer affiliated with the Friends, though it does retain some of their ceremonial traditions.

Whittier College is one of the more diverse liberal arts colleges in the country, serving students not only of different ethnic and geographic backgrounds, but also of a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. Minority and international students make up nearly half (49%) of the student body. A majority of the student body hails from California, Hawaii, and the Pacific Northwest, but the College also draws a significant number of students from the East Coast and Midwest.

With more than 30 majors and 30 minors offered in 23 disciplines, Whittier's liberal arts curriculum sets high emphasis on interdisciplinary learning. Students may also apply for entry into the Whittier Scholars Program, in which each student, under the guidance of a faculty member, designs his or her own major and course of study based on individual interests and career goals. Also emphasized is learning beyond traditional classroom or lecture style of teaching; for example, professional internships and service projects are required or recommended as part of many academic programs. Study abroad is encouraged in semester- or year-long affiliated programs, and many students take advantage of Whittier's popular January Interim session, which is a four-week intensive "mini-semester" that typically involves fieldwork and faculty-led international travel.

Whittier College's Faculty Masters Program, modeled after similar programs at Oxford and Cambridge universities, delivers another optional learning experience for students. In this program, three faculty are selected as faculty-in-residence for a multi-year term, live in houses located on-campus, and create and host in their homes educational and social programs around a specific theme, such as health and society, writers and writing, alumni connections, and Spanish culture. Events feature noteworthy professionals—from artists to authors, musicians and entrepreneurs, politicians and scientists—and enable students to interact with, listen to, and often dine with an invited speaker. Recent guest participants in this program include world-class authors Maxine Hong Kingston and Ray Bradbury, and filmmaker Morgan Spurlock.

Regarding life on campus, Whittier College has about 90 registered, student-run organizations and clubs, encompassing every interest from politics to service to ultimate frisbee. The college also has four local fraternities (called "societies"): The Franklin Society, The Lancer Society, The Orthogonian Society, and the William Penn Society; as well as five local sororities: The Palmer Society, The Ionian Society, The Metaphonian Society, The Thalian Society, and The Athenian Society; and one co-ed society, the Sachsen Society. Established in the 1920s and 1930s, these societies are an indelible part of campus history, and today provide one of the strongest links between the College, current students, and alumni. Other long-standing campus groups include the Artorian Order of the Knights of Pendragon (A.O.K.P.) and student publications, the Quaker Campus and the Acropolis, as well as a student run radio station, KPOETradio.

Former President of the United States Richard Nixon remains the college's most well-known and controversial alumnus. That a U. S. President graduated from Whittier is mentioned in many of the college's advertising documents—but that President's name is usually carefully omitted, until recently.

An event reminiscent of their famous alumnus occurred at Whittier College in 2002 when an electronic bugging device was found in the office of the college newspaper, the Quaker Campus. The discovery quickly made headlines on the Drudge Report, the Student Press Law Center and other media outlets due to the similarity to the bugging of the Democratic National Convention in 1972 that brought down Nixon's presidency in the Watergate scandal.


The Whittier College Poets compete in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) of NCAA Division III. The school has fielded sports teams for over 100 years. Its current teams include football, men’s and women’s basketball, cross country, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, lacrosse and water polo; women’s softball and volleyball; and men’s baseball and golf.

The storied history of the Whittier College football program began in 1907, and since the inception of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 1915, the Poets have captured 26 conference titles. From 1957–1964, Whittier won eight straight SCIAC titles under the direction of legendary coaches, George Allen (1951-56, 32-22-5), Don Coryell (1957-59), and John Godfrey (1960-1979). Their most recent championships came back-to-back in 1997 and 1998. 23 Poets have earned All-American honors, the most recent coming in 2007. The football program plays out of Newman Memorial Field, which seats 7,000.

The Whittier Lacrosse Program was established in 1980. In 1980, the Poets became a member of the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League (WCLL). From 1980 to 1999, Whittier won ten championships. As a result of their success, Whittier decided to become the first and only NCAA lacrosse program on the west coast. In 1990, they were recognized by the NCAA, but continued to compete in the WCLL. The Poets were the team to beat throughout the 1990s and it was not until 2000 when Whittier made the decision to make their mark on the national scene by leaving the WCLL and focus on being selected for the NCAA tournament. The LAX team has been a national contender every year since 2000 in the NCAA, as a quarter-finalist in 2003, and a semi-finalist in 2004.

Whittier Law School

Whittier College maintains a satellite campus for law studies in Costa Mesa, CA. Whittier Law School was founded in the Hancock Park Section of Los Angeles in 1966 as Beverly Law School. It became Whittier Law School in 1975 and moved to Costa Mesa in 1997. Whittier Law School now boasts a network of 4,000 alumni practicing in 48 states and 14 countries. Whittier Law School has been accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) since 1978 and has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) since 1987. However, at its meeting on August 4-5, 2005, the ABA placed Whittier Law School's accreditation under a two-year probation, effective August 9, 2005.[2]. The probation ended on June 7, 2008 and Whittier Law School remains fully accredited.[3]

Whittier College Budget

The annual endowment for Whittier College is approximately $80,000,000 USD. The job of deciding the way that the money is spent falls upon VP of Finance and Administration Jan Legoza and other top administrators of the college, such as Dean of Students Jeanne Ortiz, Chair of the Faculty Mike McBride, Director of Athletics Rob Coleman, senior staff and the chairs of the Faculty Affairs Committee and the Faculty Executive Committee. The Budget Committee meets in the fall to set the colleges budget for the next fiscal year. The budget encompasses all monies appropriated for departments, facilities, faculty salaries and the salaries of staff. The Budget Committee also aids in recommending and setting goals for revenue-generating departments, such as Enrollment and Advancement. “The Committee considers many things in setting the budget including enrollment targets, the cost of a Whittier education, the compensation offered to faculty and staff, inflation, special initiatives, etc.,” said VP of Finance and Administration and Chair of the Budget Committee Jan Legoza. The college sets the budget according to a plan that looks at Whittier College and what the college wants to accomplish by a certain date, that date as of now is 2010. “First, the College's Strategic Plan serves as the basis for thinking about the College's budget. The Plan presents a vision of Whittier College in 2010 and indicates strategies to get there,” said Legoza. “The plan calls for us to develop a more distinctive and attractive academic program, improve our reputation and thus attract a larger body of well-qualified applicants who will matriculate as strong and committed Whittier College students.” According to Legoza the strategic plan of the college has three major goals which are excellence and distinctiveness in the academic program, a strong campus culture, and financial strength. “Obviously, these goals are very broad and encompass so much of what we do. So the College's Budget Group identifies annual budget priorities consistent with these over-arching goals in an effort to make progress toward achieving them,” said Legoza. After the a budget is suggested by the Budget Committee then it goes to the President of the College Sharon Herzberger who then presents the budget to the Board of Trustees for final approval for the next fiscal year which begins in July. Along with being responsible for the Colleges $80 million budget, President Herzberger is in charge of the $15 million Law School budget. The Law School uses a similar process with the Faculty Governance Committee taking a leadership role in its development. “As you would expect, it can be challenging not to look at the budget and focus attention just on one or more allocation line and to really understand the whole context or the dynamics of distributing limited resource,” said Legoza.. The Budget Committee tries to establish a responsible budget that will serve the Whittier College communities needs as best as possible, but still trying to maintain financial responsibility with limited resources.

Notable alumni

Other alumni

  • George Allen- head football coach for the Poets from 1951-'56. Former NFL head coach and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
  • Don Coryell- head football coach for the Poets from 1957-'59. First and only coach to win at least 100 games at both the collegiate level and in the NFL.
  • Lorence Demian Marienthal- Instructor of English
  • Tom Tellez- Former track and field coach at University of Houston, Coached Carl Lewis (winner of 9 Olympic Gold Medals) Tellez Class of 1955.
  • Omarr Smith- defensive backs coach for the Poets in 2004. Defensive back for the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League.
  • Duval Love- offensive line coach for the Poets in 2008. Former NFL offensive lineman.


External links



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