Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Stellar Academic and Business Leader Tapped to Lead Whittier College

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Stellar Academic and Business Leader Tapped to Lead Whittier College

Article excerpt

Dr. Linda Oubré will become Whittier College's 15th president, taking office July 1, 2018. Oubré will take the reins from Dr. Sharon D. Herzberger, who will retire on June 30, after serving as president for 13 years. Oubré will be the first person of color to serve as president in Whittier's 131-year history.

"I am honored to have been selected the next president of Whittier College," Oubré said. "Whittier's rigorous liberal arts curriculum and its dedication to student outcomes are some of the factors that I'm looking forward to being a part of. As a Hispanicand minority-serving institution, the college's diverse student body, as well as the diversity of its faculty, is truly a model for the nation, and I cannot wait to meet everyone."

Oubré said that the values Whittier holds dear through its Quaker heritage - "social justice, friendship, respect for the individual and the importance of listening" - align with her own values. Moreover, being able to serve as the first president of color brings her honor as more than 65 percent of Whittier's students are students of color.

"As a first-generation college student and a woman of color, I have lived the experience of so many of Whittier's students who have to work hard for a college education," Oubré said.

Her grandparents, who never finished elementary school but who went on to become labor and civil rights activists, taught her and her younger siblings and cousins to strive for an education.

"I know that they are smiling down on me with much pride that their granddaughter has been named president of one of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation," she said.

The announcement of Oubré as president came only a day before the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) at the University of Pennsylvania issued a report on the wide gender disparity among MSI presidents. Remarkably, Dr. Marybeth Gasman, director of CMSI, was Oubré's mentor. Gasman said her appointment as president gives her hope that more women of color will become presidents going forward.

Jim Brown, chair of the Whittier Board of Trustees, said the board is "thrilled" to welcome Oubré to campus this summer.

"Linda is a dynamic academic leader and accomplished business executive with 30-plus years of experience in higher education and industry," Brown wrote in a message to the Poet community.

The incoming president currently serves as the dean of the College of Business (COB) at San Francisco State University. Since 2012, she has led faculty and staff in serving more than 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students in the college.

Under Oubré's leadership, the COB launched its Career Development Center; established a new MBA for executives and a Biotech MBA; and developed non-degree executive education programs, conferences and symposiums. …

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