Linda Oubré Named President of Whittier College

March 26, 2018

Linda OubréLinda Oubré, Ed.D. has been appointed Whittier College’s 15th president and will take office on July 1, 2018. Oubré will succeed Sharon D. Herzberger, who will retire on June 30 after 13 years as president. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Linda to Whittier,” said Jim Brown ’71, chair of the Board of Trustees in an announcement to the College community. “Linda is a dynamic academic leader and accomplished business executive with 30-plus years of experience in higher education and industry. Her background as an innovative educator and successful entrepreneur uniquely positions her to expand the College’s resources while enhancing the undergraduate experience for Whittier’s diverse student body. She will be an exceptional president who will build on the legacy of President Herzberger and take the College to the next chapter.”

A native of Los Angeles, Oubré has served as the Dean of the College of Business at San Francisco State University (SFSU) for the past six years, leading approximately 6,100 undergraduate and graduate students and 120 faculty in 10 academic departments. During her time at SFSU, she has increased fundraising by more than 300 percent – including support for student career and leadership development – and launched innovative programs including a graduate curriculum review and a new executive MBA program. 

“As dean of one of the largest and most diverse business schools in the nation, Linda successfully expanded the institution’s core academic mission by launching new revenue generating and fundraising initiatives. Working closely with faculty, she led a strategic planning effort and curriculum review process that resulted in transformative outcomes for underrepresented students of color,” said Brown.  

Oubré will be the first person of color to lead Whittier College.  

“I am honored to have been selected the next president of Whittier College,” said Oubré. “I look forward to truly getting to know the campus community and begin experiencing the different facets that make Whittier a nationally recognized institution of higher learning. Throughout this process, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting faculty, students, staff, and dedicated alumni; and their passion for the College is so exciting. It’s become apparent how unique this college is with its strong mission rooted in the liberal arts and sciences and commitment to student success.” 

Prior to SFSU, Oubré was executive director of corporate relations and business development, and chief diversity officer for the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis. At UC Davis, she oversaw the school’s corporate relations and business development start-up effort and led the development and implementation of an enrollment growth, marketing, and visibility strategy for the Bay Area MBA program. 

With decades of corporate experience, she previously served as president and CEO of LSO Ventures, a new venture investment and consulting firm, and was one of the founders and president of BriteSmile, a company that she took public on NASDAQ. She has held leadership roles in various companies including Tri Com Ventures, Times Mirror Company, and the Walt Disney Company. During her career, Oubré has received accolades such as a “Forever influential woman in business” by the San Francisco Business Times and the Trailblazer Award from the San Francisco chapter of the Council of 100 Black Women, among others. 

“Linda’s track record of launching new initiatives to improve outcomes for under-represented students is rooted in her unique, entrepreneurial skill set and her passion to provide educational opportunity and access,” said James Irvine Foundation Chair in Biological Sciences and Associate Professor of Biology Sylvia Lopez-Vetrone ’99, who also served on the search committee. “I am excited to welcome Linda as our next president, and I am looking forward to the new innovative measures that Linda and our faculty will embark upon that will build on our mission of academic excellence.”

The search for the College’s 15th president commenced in July 2017, with the establishment of a search committee comprised of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and trustees. With the help of the executive search firm Witt/Kieffer and input from the campus community, the committee launched a nationwide search that attracted more than 100 candidates.

“I couldn’t be more happy to welcome Dr. Oubré to Whittier,” said Cristian Alcantara ’19, student representative on the search committee. “I was inspired by her ability to connect with our student population and I’m confident she will contribute greatly to the culture of Whittier College.” 

Oubré holds a B.A. in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an Ed.D. in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania. She will be joined in Whittier by her husband Nathaniel Oubré, a senior executive at Kaiser Permanente. They have two adult sons, Nathaniel and Alexander.

“The selection of Linda Oubré as the next president of Whittier was a remarkable choice,” said Herzberger. “I am so pleased that she will be leading this College and I look forward to her great accomplishments. The Poet community and I will warmly welcome her to campus and I am confident she has all the qualities the College needs to continue to grow. I’ve always said that being president of Whittier is the best job in the world and I’m sure Linda will soon discover that.” 

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