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Embattled By Conflict Over Enrollment And Revenue Issues, Whittier College President Resigns

A Black woman with shoulder length hair, wearing a Dodger blue blazer.
Linda Oubré was hired as Whittier College's 15th president in 2018.
(Image via Whittier College)
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The president of financially troubled Whittier College, Linda Oubré, announced in a Friday email to the college community that she’s resigning effective June 30, three years before her contract expires. Just last month, she told the Whittier Daily News she would not resign despite pressure from alumni.

Why it matters: Oubré took over as president in 2018, becoming the first Black president in Whittier College’s 130-year history. The college is one of California’s most renowned private, liberal arts colleges with many notable alumni, including President Richard Nixon. For most of its history, Whittier College’s students have been predominantly white. Its undergraduate student enrollment was 42% Latino in 2021.

What happened: Oubré appeared to have the right combination of experience as a higher education administrator and corporate leader, including top jobs at a venture capital firm, the Walt Disney Company, and the Times Mirror Company. Even so, and despite the school’s own storied history and connections, enrollment and revenue have dropped drastically over the last five years. In 2018, Whittier's enrollment was more than 1,800 undergraduates; by this fall, it was around 1,300.

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Next steps: Oubré didn’t say in the email why she’s resigning, only that "now is the right time." She said she plans to continue working in higher education. “Me just being me is change, and with change comes resistance,” Oubré said at a higher education event months after her hiring.

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