Whittier College Leading Innovation in Higher Ed

May 5, 2022

Announcing the Launch of Whittierinnovates

Higher education is ripe for disruption—and President Linda Oubré, a proven business and startup leader, knows that Whittier College is at the forefront of monumental change in how, where, and to whom learning is delivered. 

Whittier College is launching a forward-thinking enterprise under the umbrella of Whittierinnovates creating unique programs that will deliver a quality learning experience to diverse markets, while expanding accessibility, and making education more affordable. 

“The forces of change were here before the pandemic. Shifting demographics and the expansion of technology have created the opportunity to do things differently,” said Oubré. “This is an exciting time for Whittier College.  As one of the most diverse and innovative private colleges in the country, Whittierinnovates perfectly positions us to take a leading role in creating new ways of doing things.”

To support the vision of Whittierinnovates, members of Whittier College’s Board of Trustees have established the donor-supported New Venture Fund focused on innovation and future initiatives. The fund has already raised almost $365,000 from members of the Board of Trustees. The initial goal is to raise $1mil in 2022. 

Donors include Board Chair Miguel Santana ‘91, Trustees Christopher T. Cross '62,  Barbara (Ondrasik) Groce ’57, Richard Lichtenstein P'16,  Alan Lund ’71, and Matt Knight, and President Oubré. The lead donor to the fund is Trustee and business leader Fred Anderson ’66,  currently managing director and co-founder of NextEquity Partners, a technology venture capital fund. From 2005 to 2015, Anderson was managing director and co-founder of Elevation Partners, a large private equity fund. Prior to entering the investment world, Anderson was the executive vice president and chief financial officer of Apple Computer where he made major contributions to Apple’s turnaround and re-emergence as an industry leader.

“I believe that Whittier College can be a pioneer in delivering an affordable, high-quality, innovative liberal arts education that prepares our students to be workforce-ready leaders,” said Anderson. “My wife, Marilyn, and I believe in President Oubre’s vision and leadership and are investing in the strategic imperatives that the market demands of colleges today.”

Via the Whittierinnovates enterprise, the College is building upon its 130-year history of providing individuals of all backgrounds, including people of color and first-generation college students, access to a top liberal arts education. The New Ventures Fund will permit the College to move quickly to establish creative, innovative, and flexible programs that embrace technology–smart classrooms, handheld technology, and advanced online platforms, to name a few–to meet students where they are and to deliver the Whittier College experience to a broader population of students.

“The New Venture Fund will support investment in infrastructure needed to jumpstart new programs that will make Whittier College sustainable for the next 130-plus years,” said Timothy Anderson, Vice President of Innovation and New Ventures, who is leading the charge on many of these new efforts. 

At the core of Whittierinnovates is the College’s vision to deliver an engaging and individualized educational experience combined with high-impact experiential learning set within a framework of social justice, equity, and inclusion. 

“Whittier College wants to leverage a legacy of educating and graduating exceptional leaders by harnessing current and new innovations in educational technologies for future generations of leaders,” said Anderson. 

The new programs will also focus on skill and career development to prepare individuals for today’s ever-changing and dynamic world.  

The College has already launched LUX Whittier College: a new slate of diverse enrichment experiences taught by faculty and working professionals that are open to the general public. These offerings are designed for individuals who want to advance in their current careers, change paths, or just want to learn something new.

LUX Whittier College offers non-degree certificate courses and workshops in a collaborative and welcoming environment that focus on the learner. Most current courses are offered online and encompass a wide breadth of topics including audio engineering, video editing, graphic design, data science, entrepreneurship, genealogy, and poetry. New courses are launched monthly.

A leader in graduate programs in education, Whittier is also in the process of launching an online Bilingual Authorization (BILA). This would be the College’s first fully online accredited program. 

“This is just the beginning of what’s possible. With the collective creativity of our wonderful faculty, staff, alumni, and partners at Whittier College, there is no limit to what we will accomplish,” added Oubré.