Senior Administration


Whittier College's leadership team works collectively and creatively to support new and existing efforts to drive the institution forward.

Timothy Anderson


Timothy Anderson

Vice President of Innovation and New Ventures


Timothy Anderson leads new initiatives and business development efforts in support of new revenue generation for the College. He focuses on developing and implementing new programs and building support from industry, government, and other organizations through partnership development. 

Anderson has an extensive career in business development, marketing, and strategic planning in both higher education and industry. Previously, Timothy served as the Vice President of Advancement and Strategic Partnerships for Whittier College where he guided efforts to launch the first-ever $40 million 5-year comprehensive campaign, helped the College achieve its highest level of annual funding in history, and shepherded attracting the College’s largest gift of $12 million. In that role, Anderson also launched the College’s first-ever skills-based certificate new revenue generation programs and initiated the College’s first multi-channel marketing and advertising campaign to support brand awareness and enrollment efforts to attract prospective students. Prior to joining Whittier in 2018, Anderson served as the Chief Development Officer for the College of Business at San Francisco State University as well as the institution's Executive Director of Development and Operations. There, Anderson increased fundraising for the College of Business by more than 6000%, secured the College’s largest gift of $25 million, and supported the successful completion of a $150 million comprehensive campaign at SF State. He was also instrumental in finding new funding and collaborating with over 200 faculty to implement new programs in career leadership development, innovation and entrepreneurship, commercial real estate, and hospitality.

Anderson brings a wealth of leadership and start-up experience as an internet and marketing veteran at,, and j2 Global. Anderson started his career in finance, strategic planning, and business development at the Times Mirror Company, Knight-Ridder Information, and the Washington Post.

Originally from South Central Los Angeles, Anderson is a first-generation college attendee. He received his Bachelor of Arts in economics from UCLA and his MBA from the Harvard Business School. 

Ana Lilia Barraza


Ana Lilia Barraza

Vice President, Marketing and Communications


Ana Lilia Barraza serves as chief marketing and communications officer, leading and implementing the College's overall communications strategy. She oversees all marketing initiatives for admission, alumni programs, fundraising, new revenue generation programs, and athletics, among others.
Barraza has been at Whittier since 2008. Most recently, Barraza led the marketing team in the College’s most substantial marketing and advertising campaign aimed at increasing brand awareness, recruitment, and enrollment. Barraza has led internal and external communication efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. She also oversees all media and public relations efforts on behalf of the College. Additionally, she oversees the Office of Alumni Relations, working with the team to expand alumni engagement efforts.  

Prior to Whittier, Barraza worked for more than a decade as a radio journalist and producer for the Latino public radio network Radio Bilingüe, KPFK Pacifica, and KBAC radio. She also worked with an East Los Angeles-based non-profit, serving as a grant writer, program manager, and public relations coordinator. Barraza graduated with a bachelor's degree in Chicano Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and has an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Daniel Byrd


Daniel T. Byrd

Associate Vice President of Planning

Daniel supports Whittier's innovation and new venture initiatives including working with the team to launch new programs, developing business plans and financial projections, supporting accreditation of new initiatives, and organizing and coordinating other activities. He also leads Whittier's campus-wide strategic planning efforts.

Prior to joining Whittier, Daniel served eleven years in academic administration at the University of La Verne, including vice provost of strategic planning and effectiveness, where he led accreditation and assessment efforts. Daniel’s professional background includes a unique combination of faculty positions and business world experience. With expertise in strategy and organizations, he has held faculty appointments at Stanford, MIT, Emory, and the Claremont Colleges. Daniel received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a Ph.D. in Corporate Strategy and International Business from the University of Michigan. 

Rock Carter


Rock Carter '89

Executive Director of Athletics


Rock Carter ’89 currently serves as director of athletics. Carter most recently held the position of senior associate director of athletics and has worked at the College since 1990. 
Carter’s focus this year is to build upon the notable work that has been achieved in athletics over the past decade. He will be leading new initiatives focused on improving student success, enhancing academic performance of student-athletes, engaging with faculty, and increasing fundraising.
Carter led the Poet men’s basketball team as coach for 24 successful seasons. He retired in 2017 to devote more time and energy to projects aimed at strengthening Poet athletics more broadly. As senior associate director, his main responsibilities included assisting and overseeing the internal operations of all 22 intercollegiate teams and staffing within the Athletic Department. 
During the summer months Carter serves as director of the highly successful Whittier College Sports Camps and Swim Club, which serves over 500 families in Whittier and the surrounding communities. He is also director of Whittier’s youth basketball camp.

Previously, Carter served as the interim director of athletics from 2004-2005. He spent 13 years as an instructor with the Department of Kinesiology, teaching courses in sport management, physical education, and fitness and wellness. He has also served on a number of College, SCIAC, and NCAA committees.

At Whittier, Carter earned his BA in physical education and an M.A. in education administration. As an undergraduate, he played two seasons with the Poet men’s basketball team. He currently resides in Whittier with his wife Megan, daughter Caroline, and son Jacob ’14, a recent graduate of the College. 


Graham Athletics Center

Jessica Cobb


Jessica Cobb '05

Associate Vice President, Development

Jessica Cobb oversees major gifts, loyalty giving, planned giving, donor relations, advancement services, and foundation relations.  

Jessica has been a part of the major gifts team since 2016 and previously served as Director of Development, with responsibility for a portfolio of high-value major gifts prospects, the College’s donor relations program, and the planned giving program. In 2019, Jessica led the launch of the Presidential Innovation Fund and associated innovation challenge, Whittier Innovates, with the goal of advancing the culture of innovation on the Poet campus. To date, the fund has raised nearly $100,000 and provided grant funding to three unique initiatives which modernize the ways that the College supports student success. She also currently serves on the College’s Strategy Task Force and the President’s Executive Advisors Council (PEAC).

A first-generation college graduate and Whittier native, Jessica attended Cerritos College before transferring to Whittier College to complete her bachelor’s degree with a major in psychology. She earned an MBA from California State University, Long Beach, with a focus on marketing and management. 

Prior to her role at Whittier, Jessica led a luxury Napa Valley wine brand as national sales manager, overseeing every aspect of sales, marketing, compliance, and operations. During her tenure, she cultivated relationships with key wholesale and retail partners to increase sales, market share, and ROI, ultimately expanding distribution from 8 to 23 states (and 3 countries) and improving margins on every product line. She also led technological advances in order and data processing, and accounting.

Her professional experience and passion for expanding access, affordability, and professional opportunities to today’s students make Jessica a wonderful ambassador for Whittier College.

Irene Gallardo


Irene Gallardo

Executive Assistant to the President


Irene Gallardo manages the Office of the President and provides support to the senior leadership of the College to advance its mission and strategic priorities. Irene staffs the President’s Cabinet, provides research and administrative support, and manages communications. Gallardo also coordinates the activities of the Board of Trustees including logistics and communications.

Gallardo joined Whittier College in November 2000 as an Assistant to the Dean of First Year Student Programs in Academic Affairs. She has served in several other additional roles and has been the Assistant to the President since 2005.

David Houser headshot


David Houser

Interim Vice President, Chief Financial Officer


David Houser began his term as a vice president for finance and chief financial officer for Whittier College on October 15, 2022. 

Houser has a 20-plus-year career working in higher education within the area of finance and administration. He most recently served as chief financial and administrative officer for Weingart Center Association. His portfolio included finance, accounting, human resources, facilities, and information technology. Previous to that, he worked at Antioch University in Los Angeles, holding various posts including chief financial officer and vice president for finance. He's also held posts at USC, Caltech, and Southern California University of Health Sciences.

Houser has a bachelor's degree in accounting from Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management. 


Mendenhall, First Floor

Sal Johnston


Sal Johnston

Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of Faculty


sal johnston joined the faculty of Whittier College in 1996 after receiving his doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Oregon. 

A recipient of the Whittier College Nerhood Teaching Award in 2003, he has served in several faculty leadership positions at Whittier including chair of EPC and chair of the faculty. sal also was highly involved in previous faculty-led curriculum reviews as a member of the faculty curriculum committees in 1997-1998 and again in 2001-2003.

In his role as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, sal was instrumental in working with faculty and Academic Affairs leadership in providing support for an assessment and realignment of new resources for student success support, and in ensuring that Whittier's financial resources are aligned to the College's academic mission. He has also continued to champion the faculty-led curriculum renewal.


Office of Academic Affairs
Mendenhall, First Floor


Elizabeth Ibarra
Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty

Cynthia Joseph


Cynthia Joseph

Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer


Cynthia Joseph provides oversight to the Department of Human Resources, Campus Safety, Payroll Office, mailroom, bookstore, facilities and grounds, and food services. In addition to leading efforts related to legal and compliance issues, Joseph implements strategic programs for employee development and training, succession planning, and programs that support diversity, equity, and inclusion. She also provides leadership and strategic thinking as the College works to strengthen its infrastructure and key support services. 

As Associate Vice President of Human Resources, Joseph created strategic partnerships with campus leaders to develop employee relations infrastructure and processes and to drive and implement key business performance initiatives in support of our mission.
Joseph joined Whittier College in 2014 as Director of Human Resources and was promoted to Senior Director in 2017. Cynthia has a long career as a human resources and student service professional in industry and higher education. Prior to joining Whittier, she worked as the executive director of human resources and employee relations at Next Level Enterprises, director of operations and human resources at Vocational Concepts, and spent several years as vice president of student services for Lawton College. 

Joseph received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Loma Linda University and is on track to receive her Juris Doctorate from William Taft Law School.

​​Deanna Merino-Contino


Deanna Merino-Contino

Vice President and Dean of Students


Deanna Merino-Contino oversees the Health and Wellness Center, Counseling Center, Office of Equity and Inclusion, Office of Student Engagement, Housing and Residential Life, and the Dean of Students office including Title IX, bias response, and Veteran Services.
Merino-Contino previously served as the College's Associate Dean for Student Life. Prior to her time at Whittier, Merino Contino worked at California State University, Fullerton for 13 years, leading multiple areas of Greek life, admissions, outreach, orientation, academic advising, and supporting grant funding and scholarship retention programs.
Merino-Contino earned a bachelor's degree in communication studies from San Diego State University. She then went on to earn a master’s degree in College Student Personnel from Miami University in Ohio and most recently completed her Ed.D. in Higher Educational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University. 

Kay Sanders


Kay Sanders

Associate Vice President and Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

As Associate Vice President and Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Kay Sanders provides intellectual and strategic leadership and advocates for the structural and cultural changes necessary to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion at Whittier College. 

Additionally, Sanders is a Professor of Child Development. Her research focuses on the racial and ethnic socialization processes of child care for low-income racial, ethnic, and language minority children.

She received her Ph.D. at UCLA Graduate School of Education. Sanders teaches the undergraduate series of courses in the Department of Education and Child Development. Her research focuses on the racial and ethnic socialization processes of child care for low-income racial, ethnic, and language minority children.