Johnathan Vietch is the current president of Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. He has been in office since July 1st, 2009, when he took over from interim president Robert Skothiem. Before that point, he served as the dean of Eugene Lang College, a liberal arts college that is a part of the New School in Greenwich Village. Vietch is also the author of American Superrealism: Nathanael West and the Politics of Representation in the 1930s, which was published in 1997 and hailed as “a landmark in literary and cultural studies.” He attended Stanford University for his undergraduate studies, and Harvard for his doctoral degree in History of American Civilization.
During his tenure at Occidental College thus far, Vietch has notably improved relations with the community around the campus, responding to the concerns about expansion into residential areas by sharply curtailing the spread of University-owned property into the neighborhood, instead relying on existing buildings to meet the needs of the college. He has taken steps toward making the college more energy efficient by installing a 1 megawatt ground-mounted solar array, which generates around 11% of the energy used on campus annually.
He has also overseen the construction of a new alumni center, as well as the extensive renovations of Swann Hall, Johnson Hall, and the Johnson Student Center. A strategic plan has been outlined for the continued growth of the college community into the future, utilizing the skills and shared commitment of faculty, students, trustees, and staff. Vietch has additionally shown a commitment to expanding the college’s network by partnering with other institutions, notably UCLA and East Los Angeles College. During a recent controversy involving a series of sexual assaults on campus, he remained committed to balancing campus safety against the privacy and autonomy of the victims, proving to be an effective leader during times of crisis as well as during times of relative calm.
Veight currently lives on campus in Wallis Annenberg President’s House, along with his wife Sarah and their three children.