Occidental College


The phrase “urban oasis” is often used to characterize Occidental, and in many ways it’s an apt description of the liberal arts college situated on 120 acres in Los Angeles, just eight miles northeast of downtown. Students stroll about in nearly perpetual summertime and do their reading sprawled on the grass by the quad; classes often migrate outdoors. And yet insofar as “oasis” conjures a disconnect from the world beyond, it’s misleading; Oxy students and faculty are deeply involved in wider cultural and civic life.

Oxy graduates are rightfully proud of their intellectually rigorous and broad liberal arts education, and will tell you that the work here is highly demanding. Current students love to gripe—and alumni, to brag—about the comprehensive exams or theses that all twenty-nine majors require prior to graduation. And yet learning at Oxy is far from a harsh and competitive exercise; with a student-to-faculty ratio of ten to one, and a faculty as stirred by teaching as by their own research, it’s impossible not to get to know your professors on an individual level. Professors regularly mentor students who choose to embark on independent patterns of study, sponsor student research and grant applications, and hang out with students at barbecues or even invite them to holiday dinners. It’s learning in the truest sense, the sort that mingles lectures with life, and an education here inspires in students real intellectual curiosity—a majority of students go on to attend grad school, and they are highly competitive for national honors and awards (Occidental is one of the country’s top producers of student Fulbright Award winners).

At Oxy, professors knew me on a first-name basis. I had their home phone numbers and could call in the middle of the night, tell them I’m applying for this or that scholarship, last-minute, that I need a letter of recommendation. I developed this great relationship with the Bio chair; she didn’t say, ‘You’re an English major, you can’t do a research project on biodiversity.’ I went to a sustainability conference in Vietnam. None of my requests to do undergraduate research were ever turned down. —Libby Evans, ’06, English major

Diversity, in all its forms, is a fundamental value at Occidental, and its 1,846 person student body is one of the most racially, geographically, and socioeconomically diverse in the nation. In our increasingly interconnected world, intellectual muscle is most useful when combined with cultural and social literacy, and in this sense Oxy students learn much from each other. Roughly three quarters of students receive financial aid, and elite prep school graduates blend with those from inner-city public high schools. Almost every world religion is represented— more than a dozen Protestant denominations, plus Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs—and all are welcome to worship at the nondenominational Herrick Chapel. First-year students share a residence hall with the people in their core classes, and classroom discussions spill into the dorms. There is a feeling of community and camaraderie among students and a common desire to unite the intellect with the heart, theory with practice, to make a difference in the world.

Some eighty percent of students live on campus, while some upperclassmen choose to find housing nearby. Most venture out regularly into LA, on organized excursions or on their own, partaking in the endless panorama of music, theater, art, dance, food, nightlife, and culture. It’s a quick drive to the coast— to some of the most famous beaches in the world—or to the Angeles National Forest where students often go to hike and perhaps take a dip in the natural pools around Switzer Falls. Campus, all the while, remains as busy as ever: a quarter of students participate in twenty intercollegiate sports and hundreds more compete in intramural and club sports such as rugby, lacrosse, and Ultimate Frisbee. Some one hundred clubs sponsor all manner of events. Theaters on campus hum with student plays, dance productions, and concerts.

Filming Location

First-time visitors to the picturesque Occidental College campus may encounter déjà vu—the place seems perennially familiar. This makes sense given that Oxy has been a popular film and TV location for more than eighty years, beginning with MGM’s Cup of Fury in 1919. Its proximity to Hollywood and its unique and beautiful campus make Oxy a favorite of directors and location scouts. Students often drop by the shoots to watch the process unfold in front of their eyes—before seeing it again on-screen. You might recognize Occidental from such movies as (from old to new): m Horse Feathers (1932) with the Marx Brothers

  • She Loves Me Not (1934) with Bing Crosby and Kitty Carlisle
  • That Hagen Girl (1947) with Shirley Temple and Ronald Reagan
  • Pat and Mike (1952) with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy
  • The Tall Story (1960) with Jane Fonda and Anthony Perkins
  • Midnight Madness (1980) with Michael J. Fox and Pee Wee Herman
  • Real Genius (1985) with Val Kilmer
  • For the Boys (1991) with Bette Midler and James Caan
  • Clueless (1995) with Alicia Silverstone
  • Jurassic Park 3 (2000)
  • Orange County (2002) with Colin Hanks and Jack Black
  • The Holiday (2006) with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, and Jack Black Or from such TV shows as The L Word, Dragnet, The West Wing, Charmed, and Beverly Hills 90210.

Occidental would echo that sentiment. Students at Oxy are encouraged to appreciate the innate value and joy in education, rather than seeing it as merely a precursor to future prestige. High school students might consider embracing a similar mindset. At least, know that if you choose to apply to Occidental, you will be evaluated as a unique participant in a wonderfully complex world. There is no universal yardstick by which to measure us all.

Oxy is a small, diverse, vibrant intellectual community, set in one of the most stimulating and creative cities in the world. The combination of its mission and location produce “an institution with intimate scale and infinite scope,” as former Oxy president Ted Mitchell describes it. Los Angeles serves at once as a playground and a laboratory for students and faculty, while campus remains alive with energy and activity. Students immerse themselves in a chosen discipline— and simultaneously receive wide liberal arts training that puts individual phenomena and ideas into context. They participate in a multitude of sports and clubs, conduct independent research, and study abroad all over the globe. It is a uniformly full and meaningful experience for most students. That said, no single college is right for everyone, and whoever is interested in Oxy is advised to come for a visit, if possible. Arrange with the Admissions Office for an overnight stay in the dorms, if you’d like, or just drop by and have a look around. Knock on doors, chat with students and professors, visit classes, lounge about on a bench with a book, and enjoy the sun.

Information Summary

Ranks 5th in California and 65th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 96.3
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $74,132
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 32 / 1450
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 10 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 90% / N/A
Enrollment Total (all students) 1,930


Academic work at Occidental is consistently challenging, but not in a dry and overly cerebral way. Students are encouraged to integrate life experience into intellectual conversation and to apply academic ideas toward understanding and navigating our complex and interconnected world. The broad diversity of the student body is of great service in this regard, and all are encouraged to engage the alternate worldviews of their peers—particularly in first-year cultural studies seminars and colloquia, which set the tone for the rest of the Occidental experience. First-year students choose from seminars in a variety of disciplines, each designed to examine large liberal arts questions; recent subjects include: “Visions of the Floating World: Painting and Prints of Edo Japan” (art history and the visual arts), “Urban Fictions: The Modern City in Literature and Other Arts” (English and comparative literary studies), “Whose Music Is It Anyway? Issues of Appropriation in Hip Hop” (music), and “The Taming of Infinity” (mathematics). Seminars are capped at 16 students, all of whom live together in the same dorm.

My freshman year I lived in a dorm at the top of campus, and in the morning a bunch of us would head down the hill together to our core seminar, an art history course called ‘Reading and Writing about Visual Experience.’ That stroll, and lunch afterwards in the quad, was as much a part of the seminar as was our time in the classroom. I don’t mean to imply that we spent our days and nights engaged in a formal debate about Griselda Pollock’s feminist critique of modernist art history— but rather that as our intellectual and personal lives intertwined, conversation bridging the two realms began to feel natural and fluid. Late on a Tuesday evening a few of us might’ve been tossing a Frisbee in the hallway at the dorm, laughing about an improv show we’d seen earlier that evening, and brainstorming ideas for a paper contrasting the scholarly worldviews of Michel de Certeau and Dick Hebdige. Occasionally, our professor would come to us instead of the reverse, trekking up the hill and holding class or office hours in the common room of our dorm—and we scarcely had to change out of our pajamas.

The first-year cultural studies seminars and colloquia, and the communities surrounding them, are an essential part of the college’s Core program, which is designed to support rich liberal arts values throughout the Occidental experience. Students at Oxy become conversant across a wide breadth of academic disciplines and learn to approach their chosen field from an interdisciplinary perspective that also takes into account the intermixture of cultures, languages, religions, and historical narratives that constitute the world today. One society or set of ideas is hardly understandable these days in isolation from its neighbors, as underscored by our increasingly effective and affordable technologies of communication and transportation, and postmodern interpretations of self and country. As such, the Core program emphasizes global literacy and requires that all students take at least three courses that touch on at least three disparate geographical areas, for instance, Africa and the Middle East; Asia and the Pacific; Europe; Latin America; and the United States. Further, all students fulfill requirements in the fine arts and in the sciences, mathematics, or other courses that address formal methods of reasoning; they also become proficient in one or more foreign languages. Finally, students must demonstrate proficiency in writing, a skill that develops organically given the large amount of writing that many classes require.

Of course, this liberal arts framework would be meaningless without stellar teaching, which is the fundamental ingredient of an Occidental education. Professors engage passionately in their own research, but their first and foremost responsibility is in the classroom. Consequently, Oxy attracts professors who genuinely love to teach and who bring with them an infectious enthusiasm for the subject at hand. Class size is small—average lecture size is 21; laboratory, 16; regular course, 17—and discussion is integral to many courses. No introductory courses are taught by graduate students. Professors are very much part of campus life outside of the classroom, and you will often find professors and students ambling about together, engaged in lively intellectual conversation. Few professors adhere strictly to posted office hours and will generally tolerate—if not welcome—unarranged knocks on their doors.

The professors are the best part about Oxy. I went to a high school where my graduating class was nineteen kids. I was close to my teachers there, but I was even closer to my professors at Oxy. In fact, I still keep in touch with my professors, all the time, and they’re still there for me two and a half years after I graduated. I have a couple of professors to thank for helping me get the job I have now, as an assistant producer at National Public Radio. They knew me well enough to make strong recommendations, and helped me get good journalism internships when I was in school. Of course, you have to show initiative—but if students show initiative, the support is there for them. —Ben Bergman, ’04, politics major

Students at Occidental commonly seek out internships and independent research opportunities, and faculty serve as willing mentors and advocates. Over the past eight years, more than 800 Occidental students have received funding to undertake joint summer research with faculty, which often results in coauthored publications in peer-reviewed journals. Occidental traditionally sends more student presenters to the Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research than any other participating school, and over the past four years has sent eightynine students to make presentations at the National Undergraduate Research Conference. Undergraduate students from all majors are invited to pursue research opportunities that at larger universities are typically open only to high-achieving graduate students, and the college is routinely recognized for excellence in this realm, such as by the National Science Foundation, which conferred on Occidental its Integration of Research and Education Award in 1998. As far as internships go, opportunities in Los Angeles are limited only by the imagination, and students fan out to a wide array of organizations, such as the Los Angeles Times, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, UCLA Medical Center, and DreamWorks Studio.

Research Opportunities

Students at Occidental have access to a wide breadth of research opportunities and funding sources as early as their freshman year. For instance, Oxy is one of only a dozen institutions selected to participate in the Richter Summer Research Program, which has awarded more than $1 million in research grants to students since 1969. Oxy students of all majors may apply to receive Richter grants to support independent research or creative work abroad; past projects include: m Geothermal Energy in Iceland— Applications in the United States

  • The Role of Indigenous Knowledge System in Fighting AIDS in Botswana
  • Act Like You Care: Photography and Leadership for Inner-city Girls, Los Angeles
  • The Fusion Music of the British Asian Dance Club and Concert: Contemporary Ethnic Identity of Anglicized Second Generation
  • Protestant Pentecostal Faith

As an institution dedicated to educating citizens of a pluralistic world, Occidental encourages all students to participate in off-campus study. Each year, roughly a third of the junior class heads off to more than fifty programs in dozens of countries; a student might study tropical biology at a field research station in Costa Rica, perhaps, or research international development and democratization in Hanoi, Vietnam. Some students choose to take part in domestic exchange options, such as the semester-long Occidental-at-the-United Nations program, the only of its kind in the country, in which students live and take classes in New York City while interning in the United Nations Secretariat or with a related institution. Students who wish to pursue research abroad may also participate in off-campus summer research programs. Occidental is one of a dozen institutions selected to participate in the Richter Summer

Research Program, which funds independent research projects or creative work; recent Richter projects by Occidental students include “Media Freedom in Post-1997 Hong Kong,” “Illicit Asian Art Trade, London, England,” and “Ideology and Normalcy, Paris, France.” Even when abroad, students remain solidly connected to the Occidental community back in Los Angeles. Friends and professors clamor for updates—with pictures, if possible. It wasn’t long ago, after all, that these savvy world travelers were arriving to that first freshman seminar, then heading back to the dorms with their sixteen pals. It’s remarkable how enduring those friendships can be. And likewise, the Occidental ethos—defined differently by whomever you ask, but certainly including intellectual curiosity, cultural engagement, and service to the community—sticks with students and continues to influence them, whatever direction they may take.

Most Popular Fields of Study


College Bioscience Building :: Occidental College College Chemistry Building :: Occidental College
College Library :: Occidental College


This is the section that sets hearts racing and palms sweating. “If only I had started taking SAT prep courses in middle school,” you think. “If only I had joined fifteen clubs and sports teams instead of twelve. If only . . . ” As is the case with the rest of the schools listed in this book, the admissions statistics at Occidental are impressive and daunting. The acceptance rate currently hovers around thirty-nine percent and will likely continue to fall, as it has nearly every year for the past decade. More than ninety percent of accepted students in the class of 2012 were in the top fifth of their high school class. Keep in mind, however, that a student’s place on the statistical continuum is only one factor among many; Occidental evaluates applicants in a holistic manner that takes into account the whole person, the wide variety of passions and circumstances that GPA and SAT scores do not reflect. Students here often recall being pleasantly surprised by an admissions process that viewed them as human beings rather than reducing them to the sum of their statistically measurable parts.

Occidental seeks to enroll students who bring to the table a wide variety of talents and experiences, and who possess the intellectual curiosity and muscle necessary to take full advantage of its rigorous and stimulating liberal arts education. Competition for admission to Occidental and other top colleges is fierce and becoming fiercer, which can have the unfortunate effect of transforming high school into an anxiety-ridden experience. Too often in high school, frantic and shallow resume-building takes the place of other more valuable modes of exploration and maturation. Enrolling in every AP course and participating in a full load of extracurricular activities can be positive, certainly—but not if doing so impinges significantly on your ability to pursue your truer interests. Oxy is most interested in students who excel from a place of personal authenticity, rather than boilerplate candidates whose search for collegiate prestige undercuts their individuality. This does not imply that test and GPA scores don’t count—they do—but there are also candidates who stand out from the crowd by capitalizing on their own uniqueness.

It goes without saying, then, that applicants to Occidental should opt for honesty and openness. Don’t attempt to shoehorn yourself into the role you think Oxy wants you to play, which will inevitably cause you to come off as wooden and uninspired. Writing the essays will of course be challenging, but it shouldn’t prove unduly painful. You’ve already done the heavy lifting—years of coursework, sports games, club meetings, living life—and here’s your chance to tell your story to a friendly audience. The application for fall admission is due on January 10 and may be submitted by mail or electronically via the web site; the common application is also accepted and must be accompanied by a supplemental form. Early Decision applications should be filed by November 15. Either the SAT or ACT is required (average SAT verbal score was 640, math, 640; ACT, 29). High school course requirements include four years each of English and math, three each of foreign language and science, and two each of social studies and history. The writing sample and interview are voluntary, but they will help the admissions committee get to know you—and therefore are a very good idea.

Financial Aid

The price tag of an Occidental education can be intimidating, but keep in mind that over seventy percent of students receive some form of financial aid, which renders the cost comparable to those of public institutions. Oxy is dedicated to maintaining a socioeconomically diverse student body, and financial difficulties should not keep anybody from applying. Students hail from a smorgasbord of backgrounds, and those arriving via public high schools actually outnumber their prep school peers. Applicants are automatically considered for a variety of merit-based scholarships, from the Margaret Bundy Scott scholarship ($20,000 annually) to the Honors Scholarship ($5,000 annually). Merit scholarships are highly competitive and are awarded to students who have demonstrated outstanding academic and extracurricular achievement. Need-based assistance comes in the form of grants, work-study, and student loans. It’s important that applicants file the requisite forms on time; the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile are due on February 1, while the Cal Grant application, required of California residents, is due on March 2. In 2007–2008, the average freshman award was $30,648, and the average financial indebtedness of a 2008 graduate was $21,002.

My family was in an unusual financial situation when I applied to Occidental, and it looked on paper like we could afford to pay more than we actually could. If the financial aid office had relied strictly on numbers in putting together my award, I probably would not have been able to attend Occidental. Instead, a financial aid counselor suggested that we submit a letter fleshing out our financial picture, and then promptly responded with an award that was commensurate with the reality of our situation. As is the case with administrators and professors throughout the college, financial aid officers treated me as an individual and sought to understand the nuances of my circumstance. It felt as if we were working together to make this happen, with plenty of goodwill on both our parts.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 1994th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in California.


Living in Los Angeles is inextricably part of the Occidental experience, and even the most extroverted students find that by graduation they’ve exhausted only a fraction of the resources the city has to offer. A student interested in museums, say, might begin by exploring the Norton Simon Museum, home to one of the world’s finest collections of European, American, and Asian art, situated just a few miles from Oxy in bustling Old Town Pasadena. In the months and years following, he or she might spend time at the LA County Museum of Art, the Japanese American National Museum, the Getty Center and the newly redesigned Getty Villa, UCLA’s Hammer Museum, the Museum of Neon Art, and countless other museums and art galleries throughout the city. The theater and music scenes are equally robust, as you might expect in a city brimming over with world-class actors and musicians. Thousands of restaurants serve up every possible type of cuisine, and bars and nightclubs run the gambit from kitschy karaoke dives to swanky Hollywood hot spots. Some students have cars, while others catch Bengal Busses—free shuttles named for the Oxy mascot, a Bengal tiger, that ferry students to and from rotating destinations throughout the city. An Oxy club, Arts L.A., sponsors biweekly outings to museum exhibits, plays, film festivals, and other arts events.

Walking is also a very good option. Occidental is nestled in the northeastern Los Angeles neighborhood of Eagle Rock, which has become increasingly hip in recent years, with colorful boutiques and eateries joining such long-time student hangouts as the burrito joint Señor Fish and the Italian restaurant Casa Bianca, serving arguably the best pizza in Los Angeles. (New restaurants aside, some Oxy students claim that the tastiest food comes from homegrown “taco trucks” that set up shop each evening on nearby avenues.) The area immediately surrounding Oxy is mostly residential, a multicultural and mixed-socioeconomic neighborhood where many professors choose to live. Students are actively involved in the Eagle Rock community, particularly those affiliated with the Occidental Urban and Environmental Policy Institute, a college major which also serves as an umbrella organization for a variety of research and advocacy programs addressing work and industry, food and nutrition, housing, transportation, regional and community development, and urban environmental issues.

Regardless of the many adventures to be had in this vast metropolis, however, the Oxy campus remains filled with life; drop by for a visit, and you’ll understand why students choose to stick around. The campus itself is airy and beautiful, a pocket of tranquility amid urban sprawl, and given the small student body it’s rare to go anywhere on campus without bumping into friends. Come mealtimes, students choose between two dining options: the Tiger Cooler, popular for lunchtime and late-night snacking, is a grill serving all manner of hot and cold sandwiches, wood-fired pizza, sushi, smoothies, and frozen yogurt. The Marketplace, where most students take dinner and breakfast, is organized by station; for instance, there are stations for deli, home-style, grill and wok, and pasta, as well as a bakery and a fully stocked salad bar. Much of the food at the Marketplace is cooked-to-order—try the salmon and asparagus over rice, a perennial favorite. Suffice it to say that students remain well and happily fed.

The college maintains a full schedule of programs and entertainment, such as student plays and other theater productions held in two large theaters or outside in a Greek-style amphitheater, movies, concerts given by students and professional musicians, wildly popular dance productions, a variety of lecture series, and on-campus parties such as the elaborate casino-style themed shindig, “Da Getaway.” There are always plenty of unofficial parties and get-togethers on and off campus, including those thrown by Oxy’s modest Greek community (six percent of men belong to fraternities; thirteen percent of women, to sororities). Clubs and groups meet all over campus; find your interest among the many choices— chess, choir, orchestra, improv comedy, musical theater, either side of the political spectrum, student government, photography, forensics, Occidental College Radio (KOXY), religious communities. Student publications include the Occidental Weekly newspaper, yearbook, and various literary magazines. Students interested in investing can apply to serve on the board of the Blyth Fund, a six-figure portion of Occidental’s endowment managed solely by students. Opportunities for quietude and relaxation mingle with the hustle and bustle; enroll in Tai Chi, actually a course in the theater department, or head down to the gym for a yoga class, kick back poolside, or stroll up a dirt pathway to the highest point on campus, a rustic eminence dubbed Fiji Hill. Here you can listen to owls hoot and gaze out across the elegant downtown skyline, the San Gabriel Mountains, or the coast.

Student athletes abound at Occidental, and there are resources for athletes of every level. The college is a member of NCAA Division III, and some twenty-five percent of students participate in women’s and men’s varsity sports such as basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, softball, baseball, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and water polo. Many others play in intramural leagues, and the fields around campus teem with all sorts of balls, sticks, and discs (rugby, lacrosse, Ultimate Frisbee). Surfers lug their boards seaward, and broomball players clear out residence hall common rooms for their gregarious and popular matches.

Athletics are an integral part of the well-rounded Occidental education—“the sweatiest of the liberal arts,” one coach calls them—but even top varsity players are expected to keep scholarship on the front burner. Through all that studying, however, teams manage to excel— take the men’s basketball team, for instance, which in 2003 became the first in the history of the NCAA Division III tournament to advance from Oxy’s conference to the Elite 8. Oxy’s football team has won the conference championship for three of the past four years. The Oxy athletic program has produced All-Americans numbering in the hundreds, dozens of Olympians, world record holders and national champions, and professional athletes and coaches. Alumni remain enthusiastic boosters of the athletic program and through the Tiger Club raise hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in support of Occidental athletics.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


Students at Occidental learn quickly that when your birthday rolls around, it’s best to wear something that will survive a drenching. You never quite know when it’s coming, but at some point on your birthday, friends may nab you, carry you down to the Gilman Fountain at the front of campus, and gingerly (it’s shallow!) toss you in. Campus safety officers apparently dislike this tradition, but they don’t do much to stop it. The good news is that this is sunny Los Angeles, so you can air dry on grassy slopes nearby while you plot your revenge.


Describing Occidental alums is no easy task; just as the school seeks to enroll a rich diversity of students, so too do graduates head off to follow their bliss in every conceivable direction. While generalizations in this realm tend to be inexact, it is safe to say that most students leave Oxy with a keen sense of the world’s multilayered complexity and a framework through which to navigate that complexity, an enduring intellectual curiosity, and a sense of empathy and social responsibility. The focus at Occidental on merging education with action, theory with practice, produces graduates who are raring to apply their expertise in the real world, and they are highly competitive in the workforce, landing top jobs throughout the public and private sectors. When given the choice, Oxy grads will often pass up a high-paying job for one offering a clear benefit to community and society, and each year a good many choose to exercise those muscles in the Peace Corps and in nonprofit organizations the world over.

While some graduates go directly into the workforce and stay there, a majority head to grad school, eventually winding up in academia, education, law, medicine—an array of professions too numerous to mention. Oxy students and grads also contend successfully for national fellowships such as the Fulbright, Marshal, Rhodes, Truman, Luce, Watson, and National Science Foundation Fellowships. Whatever students choose to do with themselves, involvement with Oxy rarely ends on graduation day. Freshman year dorm mates have evolved into lifelong friends, professors are now enduring mentors. These relationships will continue to mature and evolve. Alums form the backbone of Oxy GOLD (Graduates Of the Last Decade), whose chapters, spread across the nation, sponsor all manner of mixers, meals, and events. The Oxy Career Center and other on-campus organizations remain invaluable resources for graduates.

Prominent Grads

Occidental alumni achieve highly in a range of fields and are generally united in their ambition to use scholarly expertise to address real-world problems and concerns.

Writers and Journalists:

  • Steve Coll, ’80, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Staff Writer at The New Yorker
  • Bill Davis, ’80, President, Southern California Public Radio
  • Erik Eckholm, ’71, Bureau Chief, New York Times
  • Patt Morrison, ’74, Columnist, Los Angeles Times and Emmy-winning

Public Radio Host

  • Rosalind Wiseman, ’91, Author of Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence, which inspired the movie Mean Girls.

Business Leaders:

  • Stephen Cooper, ’68, “Turnaround Specialist,” Former CEO of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
  • W. Don Cornwell, ’69, CEO of Granite


  • Bruce Fabrizio, ’74, President and CEO, Sunshine Makers, Inc.; Founder of EGBAR Foundation (Everything’s Going to Be All Right), a National Environmental Education Curriculum for Children
  • J. Eugene Grigsby, ’66, President and CEO of the National Health Foundation
  • June Simmons, ’64, President and CEO, Partners in Care Foundation, a Nonprofit Dedicated to “Creating Meaningful Change in Health Care Policy and in the Delivery of Health Services”

Science and Medicine:

  • G. Brent Dalrymple, ’59, Awarded the 2003 National Medal of Science, Professor Emeritus and Former Dean of Oregon State University’s College of Oceanic Atmospheric Sciences
  • Richard Casey, ’80, Cofounder, Los Angeles Eye Institute
  • Eleanor Helin, ’54, Principal Investigator for the Near Earth Asteroid Tracking program (NEAT) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Doug McAdam, ’73, Director of the Stanford University Center for Advanced

Study in the Behavioral Sciences

  • John McCosker, ’67, Chair of the Department of Aquatic Biology, California Academy of the Sciences
  • Kimberly A. Shriner, ’80, Founder of The Phil Simon Clinic; Infectious Disease and HIV Specialist

L. A. Luminaries:

  • Alice Walker, ’69, Commissioner of the First Five California Children and Families Commission
  • Ian Montone, ’89, Worldwide Manager of the White Stripes and Other Artists and Owner of Monotone, Inc.
  • Steve Roundtree, ’71, President of the Los Angeles Music Center


  • Jack Kemp, ’57, Played Professional Football Before Going on to a Career in Politics as a Congressman, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Vice Presidential Candidate and Codirector of Empower America
  • Barack Obama, ’09, U.S. President, Began His Political Career at Occidental before Transferring to Columbia University

This website and its associated pages are not affiliated with, endorsed by, or sponsored by this school.
StateUniversity.com has no official or unofficial affiliation with Occidental College.