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Whittier College

Whittier College
Motto Lux, Poesis, Veritas, Pax, Amor Eruditionis (Latin)
Motto in English
Light, Poetry, Truth, Peace, and Love of Knowledge
Established 1887
Type Private
Affiliation Secular, Historically Quaker[1]
Endowment US$80 million [2]
President Dr. Sharon D. Herzberger
Academic staff
Undergraduates 1,589
Postgraduates 136
Location Whittier, CA, USA
Campus Suburban, 74 acres (30 ha)
Colors Purple & Gold
Nickname The Poets
Mascot Johnny Poet
Affiliations NCAA Division III; SCIAC
Southwest Quadrant
Whittier College in 1912
Hoover Hall and Library

Whittier College is a private liberal arts college in Whittier, California, United States. As of fall 2012, the college has approximately 1,725 enrolled (undergraduate and graduate) students.[3]


  • Overview 1
  • History 2
  • Athletics 3
  • Whittier Law School 4
  • Notable alumni 5
    • Government 5.1
    • Arts 5.2
    • Business 5.3
    • Medicine 5.4
    • Religion 5.5
    • Academia 5.6
    • Sports 5.7
    • Coaches 5.8
    • Faculty 5.9
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Whittier College is one of the more diverse liberal arts colleges in the country, serving students not only of different ethnic and geographic backgrounds, but also of a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds. About one-third of Whittier's student body is Latino, and approximately twenty-five percent of the professors are minorities or are from foreign countries.[3] A majority of the student body hails from California, Hawaii, and the Pacific Northwest, but the college also draws a significant number of students from the East Coast and the Midwest as well as a small percentage of overseas students. As of 2012, there are students from 28 states and 14 countries.[3]

With more than 30 majors and 30 minors offered in 23 disciplines, Whittier's liberal arts curriculum sets high 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 his or her own major and course of study based on individual interests and career goals. Also emphasized is learning beyond traditional classroom or lecture style of teaching; for example, professional internships and service projects are required or recommended as part of many academic programs. Study abroad is encouraged in semester- or year-long affiliated programs, and many students take advantage of Whittier's popular January Interim session, which is a four-week intensive "mini-semester" that typically involves fieldwork and faculty-led international travel.

Whittier College's Faculty Masters Program, modeled after similar programs at Oxford and Cambridge universities, delivers another optional learning experience for students. In this program, three 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. Events feature noteworthy professionals—from artists to authors, musicians and entrepreneurs, politicians and scientists—and enable students to interact with, listen to, and often dine with an invited speaker. Recent guest participants in this program include world-class authors Morgan Spurlock.

Regarding life on campus, Whittier College has approximately 90 registered, student-run organizations. The College also has Societies. Societies are similar to fraternities and sororities, just that these societies are exclusive to Whittier College. Conventional fraternities and sororities mainly are United States wide, and have chapters at many different schools. Whittier's societies are exclusive to Whittier College and a source of great pride for its Alumni. There are ten societies: the Franklin Society(Male), the Lancer Society((Male)currently off campus), the Orthogonian Society(Male), and the William Penn Society(Male), Palmer Society(Female), The Ionian Society(Female), the Metaphonian Society(Female), the Thalian Society(Female), and the Athenian Society(Female), Sachsen Society(Coed) and the Paragonian Society(Genderneutral). Each of these societies began as literary societies. The Orthogonian Society was co-founded by Richard Nixon in 1930.[4]

Other campus groups include student publications, the Quaker Campus newspaper and television; the Acropolis yearbook; and the student run radio station, KPOET Radio, Video Productions Studios, and the Poets Sports Network.

Former U.S. president Richard Nixon remains the amongst the college's most well-known alumnus. Actress Andrea Barber, known from the television comedy Full House and author Jessamyn West, are notable alumnae. Another alumna of note is Susan Herrman, who, while an exchange student at Fisk University, was one of two white female "student Freedom riders" who sought to desegregate interstate bus travel in the South in 1961.


The liberal arts university was founded in 1887 by members of the Religious Society of Friends, thanks to the generosity and efforts of local business leaders Washington Hadley and Aubrey Wardman. It was named after Friends (Quaker) poet John Greenleaf Whittier. Student athletes at Whittier College are still known as the Poets in his honor.

An event reminiscent of the famous alumnus Richard Nixon occurred at Whittier in 2002 when an electronic bugging device was found in the office of the college newspaper, the Quaker Campus. The discovery quickly made headlines on the Drudge Report, the Student Press Law Center and other media outlets due to the similarity to the bugging of the Democratic National Headquarters in 1972 that brought down Nixon's presidency in the Watergate scandal.


The Whittier College 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 football, 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.

The storied history of the Whittier College football program began in 1907, and since the inception of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 1915, the Poets have captured 26 conference titles. From 1957–1964, Whittier won eight straight SCIAC titles under the direction of legendary coaches, Don Coryell (1957–59), and John Godfrey (1960–1979). Their most recent championships came back-to-back in 1997 and 1998. 23 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.

The Whittier 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. As a result of their success, Whittier decided to become the first and only NCAA lacrosse program on the west coast. 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. The lacrosse team has not been playing strong since the mid-2000s, though they have been a national contender every year since 2000 in the NCAA, as a quarter-finalist in 2003, and a semi-finalist in 2004.

Whittier Law School

Whittier Law School, located on a satellite campus in Costa Mesa, California,[4] 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 has been accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) since 1978 and has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) since 1987.[5]

Notable alumni











  1. ^ [5]
  2. ^ [6]
  3. ^ a b c "About Facts & Figures". Whittier College. Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  4. ^ Whittier website
  5. ^ Whittier Law School website
  6. ^ "Kansas Governor Lorenzo Dow Lewelling". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 29, 2012. 
  7. ^ "100 Notable Books of 2008".  
  8. ^ "Betty Miller Unterberger: Curriculum Vitae" (PDF).  

External links

  • Official website
  • Official Athletics Website
  • KPOETradio student radio station

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