Nestled between Glendale and Pasadena California is Occidental College, a small private 4-year college just north of Los Angeles. The Eagle Rock campus is situated on 120 acres of beautifully appointed campus; Oxy was founded in 1887 by clergy and members of the Presbyterian Church. They have moved away from their religious roots (to the point of removing all crosses from their Herrick Memorial Chapel and Interfaith Center in 1990 in an effort to be more inclusive) and are specifically non-sectarian. The campus has been used as a frequent backdrop to multiple television shows and films dating back to 1920. Occidental College graduates include Terry Gilliam (of Monty Python), former athlete and legislator Jack Kemp and NFL coach Jim Mora. President Barack Obama attended Oxy for 2 years before transferring to another school (Columbia).
Academic ProgramsOccidental College is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission and offers Bachelor’s degrees and Master’s degrees in 31 majors. The largest program among the 40 departments is Social Sciences (specifically Economics and Political Science). All underclassmen are required to reside on campus; there is no online degree program available. Oxy’s Academic Mission Statement is “to provide a gifted and diverse group of students with a total educational experience of the highest quality — one that prepares them for leadership in an increasingly complex, interdependent and pluralistic world. The distinctive interdisciplinary and multicultural focus of the College’s academic program seeks to foster both the fulfillment of individual aspirations and a deeply rooted commitment to the public good.” According to the school, this mission is anchored by four cornerstones: excellence, equity, community and service. These foundations serve as the basis for the college’s commitment to providing responsible leaders and citizens for our society.
Student LifeThe majority of the 2,000 member student body lives on campus among 13 residence halls. Oxy boasts over 100 clubs based on interest, affinity and/or field of study (among other criteria). Oxy identifies 5 specific learning goals for their students: Synthesis of ideas across broad areas of knowledge within the liberal arts; Linkage of theory and practice within group and self-directed research leading to intellectual or creative contributions; Mastery of essential content, methods, concepts and technical aspects of an academic discipline; Development of key intellectual skills (Analytic inquiry/problem solving, Communication, Critical reading, writing, and thinking, Critical Self-Awareness, Ethical Reasoning, Analysis of media and images, Quantitative reasoning, Scientific methodology); Capacity for active intellectual community engagement (Community learning, participation, and service, Ethical reasoning and action, Global, intercultural and socio-political awareness, Leadership and collaboration, Personal well-being, Respectful engagement with diverse perspectives).
The Occidental Tigers participate in 13 sport within the NCAA Division III arena (the mascot is named Oswald). Intramural sports are also available for non-varsity athletes. Two traditions that Oxy is known for are the annual water balloon fight between Seniors and the Administration and the “Birthday in the Fountain” whereby students are captured and tossed into Gillman Fountain on their birthday.