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"I am excited about what lays ahead. I've said often during the past 15 months, with every challenge comes opportunity, and at Whittier College, we are ready to take the lessons from the past and create our own future," said Oubre in a written announcement to the College community. "Our future is dependent on continuing to build an innovative culture and spirit that will drive our long-term sustainability. To innovate our future, I am focused on building a leadership team that will position Whittier College for success. A team that will work collectively and creatively to support new and existing revenue-generating efforts to drive the institution forward."
In his new role, Anderson will lead new initiatives and business development efforts in support of new revenue generation for the College. His focus will be on developing and implementing new programs and building support from industry, government, and other organizations through partnership development. As part of his efforts to build industry partnerships, he will oversee the Center for Career and Professional Development, with the goal of creating career pipelines for our students.
In addition, Anderson will take responsibility for other revenue-generating departments on campus including conference services, summer camps, and the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts.
Since January 2019, Anderson has superbly led fundraising and marketing efforts for the College as Vice President for Advancement. He has worked closely with the Board of Trustees as co-chair of the Futures Taskforce. Anderson has also partnered with faculty from multiple departments to create non-degree certificate revenue-generating programs. His work in these areas will continue.
Anderson joined Whittier in December 2018 from his role as chief development officer at San Francisco State University where he was responsible for securing the largest gift in SF State’s history. Prior to a career in higher education, Anderson served for many decades in business development, strategy, and marketing roles with several companies and startups including Times Mirror, Amazon.com, SBCSMARTpages.com, and j2 Global, among others. He has a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
In her new role, Barraza will serve as chief marketing and communications officer, leading and implementing the College's overall communications strategy. She will oversee all marketing initiatives for admission, alumni programs, fundraising, new revenue generation programs, and athletics, among others.
Barraza has been at Whittier since 2008 and currently serves as Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications. Over the last two years, Barraza has 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 will continue to oversee the Office of Alumni Relations, working with the team to expand alumni engagement efforts.
As a member of the leadership team, Barraza will continue to work closely with all members of the College community to build Whittier’s reputation for academic excellence and strengthen its brand, values, and mission.
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.
In her new role, Joseph will provide oversight to the Department of Campus Safety, Payroll Office, mailroom, bookstore, facilities and grounds, and food services. She will also lead efforts related to legal and compliance issues. Cynthia will provide leadership and strategic thinking as we work to strengthen our 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 will continue to oversee Human Resources, implementing strategic programs for employee development and training, succession planning, and programs that support diversity, equity, and inclusion.
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.
Sevcikova has been part of the Advancement team for eight years and is primed to take on the leadership role of Vice President of Development leading major gifts, annual giving, planned giving, donor relations, advancement services, and foundation relations.
Since 2018 Sevcikova has served as Associate Vice President of Development leading a metrics-driven, high-performing team. During the pandemic, Sevcikova and her team found innovative and creative ways to connect with current and prospective donors and effectively carried out fundraising efforts to promote student success.
A first-generation college graduate born and raised in former Czechoslovakia, Sevcikova first arrived in the U.S. with an early cohort of Eastern European high school students who after the fall of communism earned fellowships from the Open Society Foundation. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Whittier with a self-designed double major in the Whittier Scholars Program. She also holds a public relations accreditation and a certificate in education entrepreneurship from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Prior to her role at Whittier, Sevcikova spent nearly 10 years working for a NASDAQ-traded company as part of a corporate communications and investor relations team. Her personal and educational experience and background make her an ideal ambassador for Whittier College. Sevcikova’s passion to serve our students and support their success is the driving force behind her accomplishments.
Merino-Contino has been named interim Vice President and Dean of Students, replacing Bruce Smith, who has decided to leave Whittier College to pursue other interests and to stay with his family in Portland. She will oversee 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 currently serves as the Associate Dean for Student Life. In this role, she has provided expert leadership, support, and vision. Most recently she led the re-branding of the Poet Early Alert Program (PEAP), in order to create a care model based on equity-focused support.
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.