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Whittier College
Former name
Whittier Academy (1887–1901)
MottoLux, Poesis, Veritas, Pax, Amor Eruditionis
Motto in English
Light, Creativity, Truth, Peace, and Love of Knowledge
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Established1887; 136 years ago (1887)
Religious affiliation
Secular (historically Quaker[1])
Academic affiliations
Annapolis Group, Oberlin Group, CLAC
Endowment$112.9 million (2019)[2]
PresidentLinda Oubré
Academic staff
Students1,490 (fall 2020)
Undergraduates1387 (fall 2021) [3]
Postgraduates74 (fall 2020)[3]

33°58′41″N 118°01′47″W / 33.9780°N 118.0296°W / 33.9780; -118.0296
CampusSuburban, 75 acres (30 ha)
Colors   Purple & gold
NicknameThe Poets
Sporting affiliations
MascotJohnny Poet
Hoover Hall and Library
Hoover Hall and Library

Whittier College is a private liberal arts college in Whittier, California. It is a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and, as of fall 2022, had approximately 1,300 (undergraduate and graduate) students.[4][3][5] It was founded in 1887. Whittier offers one graduate degree, a master’s degree in education.[6]


Whittier College, founded in 1887, was named for the Quaker abolitionist and poet John Greenleaf Whittier.[7] Since that time, the institution has grown into a distinctive, national liberal arts college. The college campus has about 1,300 students who live there and study with more than 100 faculty. It emphasizes small, interactive classes led by full-time faculty members.

Although the college has maintained no formal affiliation with the Religious Society of Friends since the 1940s, the social values of its Quaker heritage—respect for the individual, freedom of conscience, integrity, justice, and internationalism—strongly influence its ethos. From its beginning, these views dictated that the college open its doors to persons of both genders as well as all races and cultures.


Whittier College is a four-year liberal arts institution. Nearly half of the student body are Latino and students of color constitute about 70% of the college's campus population. A majority of students hail from California but the college also draws students from the Pacific Northwest, East Coast, Midwest and Hawaii, as well as international students. As of 2017, there are students from at least 27 states and 14 countries.[3]

Whittier offers over 30 majors and 30 minors in 23 disciplines and claims emphasis on interdisciplinary learning. Students may also apply for entry into the Whittier Scholars Program, in which each student, under the guidance of a faculty member, designs their own major and course of study based on individual interests and career goals. Professional internships and service projects are required or recommended as part of many academic programs. Study abroad is offered in semester- or year-long affiliated programs. There is also an optional January interim session, which is a four-week intensive "mini-semester" that typically involves fieldwork and faculty-led international travel. Its most popular undergraduate majors, based on 2021 graduates, were[8]

Whittier College hosts a Faculty House Program, which is modeled after similar programs at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. In this program, faculty are selected as faculty-in-residence for a multi-year term, live in houses located on-campus, and create and host in their homes educational and social programs around a specific theme, such as health and society, writers and writing, alumni connections, and Spanish culture.

Additionally, the college's graduate program in education offers both credential and Master of Arts in education degree programs. Broadoaks Children's School – a private, non-profit demonstration school on the Whittier campus – serves as a learning laboratory for Whittier faculty and students, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Whittier Law School

Whittier Law School was located on a satellite campus in Costa Mesa, California.[9] It started in the Hancock Park section of Los Angeles in 1966 as Beverly Law School. In 1975, Beverly College joined Whittier with the law school moving to Costa Mesa in 1997. Whittier Law School has 4,500 alumni, practicing in 48 states and 14 countries. The school was accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) beginning in 1978 and was a member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) beginning 1987.[10]

On April 19, 2017, the Law School announced that it would stop admitting students and begin the process of shutting down.[11] The school ceased operations in July 2020.[12]

Academic rankings
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[13]127
Washington Monthly[14]83
Forbes[15]344 (2016)


Whittier College has traditionally enrolled between 1200-1500 undergraduate students, allowing for most classes to be seminars. Since 1984, Whittier College has averaged an undergraduate population of 1329 students, but the average student body size increased to over 1600 students during the 2010s. For example, fall undergraduate enrollment was 1387 in 2021, compared to the enrollment of 969 in 1984.[16]

Student life

Student body composition as of May 2, 2022
Race and ethnicity[17] Total
Hispanic 53% 53
Asian 7% 7
Foreign national 4% 4
White 23% 23
Black 5% 5
Other[a] 7% 7
Economic diversity
Low-income[b] 36% 36
Affluent[c] 74% 74

Whittier College has approximately 80 registered, student-run organizations. The college also has Societies similar to fraternities and sororities. There are 11 societies: the Franklin Society (men), the Lancer Society (men), the Orthogonian Society (men), the William Penn Society (men), Palmer Society (women), the Ionian Society (women), the Metaphonian Society (women), the Thalian Society (women), the Athenian Society (women), the Sachsen Society (coed), and the Paragonian Society (gender neutral). Most of these societies began as literary societies.

Other campus groups include student publications, the Quaker Campus newspaper and television; the student-run radio station, KPOET Radio; Video Productions Studios; and the Whittier College Sports Network.[citation needed]


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Southwest Quadrant
Southwest Quadrant

The Whittier Poets compete in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) of NCAA Division III. The school has fielded sports teams for over 100 years. Its current teams include men's and women's basketball, cross country, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, lacrosse and water polo, women's softball and volleyball, and men's baseball and golf. In November 2022, Whittier announced that it is discontinuing its football team, men’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s golf.[18][19]

The history of the Whittier football program began in 1907, and since the inception of the SCIAC in 1915, the Poets have won 26 conference titles. From 1957 to 1964, Whittier won eight straight SCIAC football titles under the direction of coaches George Allen (1951–1956), Don Coryell (1957–1959), and John Godfrey (1960–1979). Their most recent championships came back-to-back in 1997 and 1998. Twenty-three Poets have earned All-American honors, the most recent coming in 2007. The football program plays out of Newman Memorial Field, which seats 7,000. Whittier maintained a century-long football rivalry with Occidental Tigers. The two schools play for the shoes of 1939 All-American Myron Claxton. In November 2022, the school announced it will discontinue the football program.[18][19]

The Whittier men's lacrosse program was established in 1980. In 1980, the Poets became a member of the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League (WCLL). From 1980 to 1999, Whittier won ten championships. In 1990, they were recognized by the NCAA, but continued to compete in the WCLL. The Poets were the team to beat throughout the 1990s and it was not until 2000 when Whittier made the decision to make their mark on the national scene by leaving the WCLL and focus on being selected for the NCAA tournament. On November 15, 2022, it was announced that Whittier College would discontinue their men's lacrosse program after the conclusion of their season.[18][19]

Starting in 2004, another time in 2009, and two years in a row starting in 2013 and 2014. On the season the Poets finished 23–10 and ranked No. 1 in the country among Division III programs. Whittier shared the top spot with Redlands and was ranked No. 18 in the Men's National Collegiate Top 20 Poll—a poll that ranks all divisions of collegiate water polo.

For the first time in program history, the Whittier College Men's Cross-Country team earned a national ranking announced by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The Purple & Gold ranked #32 out of 400 teams.

The Whittier men's and women's swimming and diving teams earned Academic All-American status—the women for the fourth straight year and the men for the first time, after the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) announced the programs who achieved this honor for the 2015 Fall Semester. Five hundred forty-seven swimming and diving teams representing 354 colleges and universities have been named College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-American Teams. The awards are in recognition of teams that achieved a grade point average of 3.0 or higher during the 2015 fall semester.

The termination of football, lacrosse and golf in Fall 2022 was greeted with controversy and protests.[20]

Notable alumni

View from the Turner Residence Hall
View from the Turner Residence Hall

Notable alumni include former U.S. President Richard Nixon;[21] actress Andrea Barber, known from the television comedy Full House and Fuller House;[22] video blogger Cassey Ho;[23] actors and brothers Geoff Stults,[24] and George Stults; and author Jessamyn West.[25]








Notable people



  1. ^ Other consists of Multiracial Americans & those who prefer to not say.
  2. ^ The percentage of students who received an income-based federal Pell grant intended for low-income students.
  3. ^ The percentage of students who are a part of the American middle class at the bare minimum.


  1. ^ "Facts & Figures | Whittier College".
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian 2019 NTSE Participating Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2019 Endowment Market Value, and Percentage Change in Market Value from FY18 to FY19 (Revised)". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "About Whittier College". Whittier College. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  4. ^ "Whittier noted for diversity and inclusion". Whittier College. September 5, 2019. Retrieved February 5, 2022.
  5. ^ Report of the WSCUC Team For Reaffirmation of Accreditation (PDF). (Report). April 5–8, 2022.
  6. ^ "Plunging enrollment, financial woes, trustee exodus. Whittier College confronts crisis". Los Angeles Times. April 13, 2023.
  7. ^ "John Greenleaf Whittier Society". Whittier College. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Whittier College". U.S. Dept of Education. Retrieved February 21, 2023.
  9. ^ "Whittier Law School - A Southern California ABA Accredited Law School".
  10. ^ "History".
  11. ^ "Whittier Law School Won't Enroll New Students". Inside Higher Ed. April 20, 2017.
  12. ^ "Former Whittier Law School | Whittier College".
  13. ^ "Best Colleges 2021: National Liberal Arts Colleges". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  14. ^ "2021 Liberal Arts Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
  15. ^ "Forbes America's Top Colleges List 2022". Forbes. Retrieved September 13, 2022.
  16. ^ "The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System". Retrieved 2022-12-05.
  17. ^ "College Scorecard: Whittier College". United States Department of Education. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  18. ^ a b c Santana, Miguel (November 15, 2022). "Whittier College Makes Changes to Poet Athletics". Whittier College (Press release). Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  19. ^ a b c Jaschik, Scott (28 November 2022). "Whittier Will Discontinue Football". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  20. ^ Henderson, Emily (2022-11-28). "Community Protests Against Cancellation of Athletics Programs". The Quaker Campus. Retrieved 2022-12-05.
  21. ^ "Richard M. Nixon". The White House. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  22. ^ "Fuller House's Andrea Barber Says She Thought She'd Never Act Again After Full House". Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  23. ^ Narins, Elizabeth (2017-08-28). "Blogilates Cassey Ho Reveals Why She Hid Her Relationship From Fans for 9 Years". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  24. ^ "Poet Actor on New Hulu Series | Whittier College". Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  25. ^ "Jessamyn West Collection: Jessamyn West dies of stroke at age 81". Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  26. ^ "Baum, Willa K. - Social Networks and Archival Context". Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  27. ^ "Whittier Graduate makes List of Up-and-Coming LGBT Leaders | Whittier College". Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  28. ^ "Dorothy Baker". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  29. ^ "Herschel Daugherty, Retired Film, TV Director". Lafayette Journal and Courier. April 2, 1993. p. 14. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  30. ^ "Radio: Bill Handel celebrates 20 years on the airwaves". Whittier Daily News. 2013-08-07. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  31. ^ "How Did I Get Here? Cheryl Boone Isaacs". Retrieved 2022-08-07.