Stepping into the position of President of an college that has just named a US President as one of its alumni may seem like a difficult thing to do, the pressure of being in charge of a small college quickly thrust into the public eye means tough decisions have to be made. Jonathan Veitch stepped into this role at California’s Occidental College in 2009 with the oldest liberal arts college in the US facing a number of issues that needed his strong leadership to navigate. Stepping into the President’s role meant Veitch would have to lead the academic institution and make sure the local community was served by a strong academic institution that reflected the local area of Eagle Rock.
Veitch found himself in charge of a college that was changing rapidly after the news broke that President Barrack Obama had attended the college for two years in his youth. Occidental College had quickly taken this news on board and seemed set for an economic boom as enrollment levels rose with applications arriving at the college from around the World. The new President was forced to look at how to expand the college in the best way for the institution itself and the community of Eagle Rock.
A series of plans had been put into place by Veitch’s predecessor at Occidental College, which saw the President forced to face an angry reaction to plans for an expansion of the campus into an area overlooking the small town. Veitch immediately understood the problems and concerns of the local community, stepping in to veto the plans and look for other areas to expand into. The decision has meant a slower and steadier rate of growth, but has drawn many of the local residents back onto the side of Veitch and the college as a whole. occidental is now playing a much stronger role in the community and has developed a number of community programs under the leadership and direction of Veitch.