From supporting the “four pillars” to enabling the success of every facet of the student experience, the time, talent and treasure of the Campaign Steering Committee—and of its four co-chairs in particular—were instrumental to the $252 million success of The Oxy Campaign For Good.
There’s no area of the Occidental experience our volunteer leaders didn’t have an impact on: scholarships, endowment, named professorships, academic programming, athletics, arts, mental health and even the overall alumni experience.
In spring 2019, the Payton Jordan Athletic Center was refurbished and reopened through the vision and generosity of Linda and Tod White ’59, whose matching gift challenge helped pay for the project. The Whites’ support also helped secure a new home for Oxy Arts, the College’s multidisciplinary arts programming initiative—one that deepens the College’s reach into Northeast Los Angeles. Over the last four years, Oxy Arts has presented 12 exhibitions and hosted over 125 events including dance performances, concerts, film screenings, workshops and the Oxy studio major senior comps, all open to the community.
Concurrent with the completion of the De Mandel Aquatic Center in 2020, the newly expanded McKinnon Family Tennis Center and Robinson Family Terrace were realized through the support of campaign co-chair Ian McKinnon ’89 and steering committee member Steve Robinson ’77. Not only has their generosity allowed the Tigers to play their matches at home in front of supportive crowds, the new facilities have boosted Oxy’s recruiting efforts. And the results show: Oxy senior Matthew O’Connor ’23, an economics major from Oakton, Va., finished his senior campaign with a No. 13 ranking among all Division III players in the country.
Steering committee member Lucia Choi-Dalton ’89 P’27 has always had a passion for music. Funded by the Choi Family, and completed in November 2020, the Choi Family Music Production Center is a recording studio, control room and 16-student music computer lab and serves as the venue for Oxy’s music production, film scoring, audio engineering and songwriting courses.
An additional campaign gift from the Choi Family, combined with gifts from other donors, will fund a new campus-wide health promotion program to address the growing need for mental health and wellness education for Occidental students. In addition to the Choi Family, members of the Oxy community who also contributed to the program are Board of Trustees Chair Lisa H. Link and David A. Link P’18, Lisa Coscino ’85, John Hinchliffe ’88, Terry L. Hinchliffe and Stephen F. Hinchliffe III P’23, as well as anonymous parent donors.
Adjacent to Sycamore Glen—which was also renovated in 2020—the Anderson Center for Environmental Sciences encourages interdisciplinary research among faculty and students who are studying Earth’s environment. The new space is named for trustee and lead donor David H. Anderson ’63.
In 2021, trustee and campaign co-chair Anne Wilson Cannon ’74 made a transformational estate gift to Occidental, the bulk of which will ultimately create a named unrestricted endowment to fund the greatest needs of the College, including student scholarships and endowed professorships. Cannon also underwrote the transformation of Taylor Pool into Cannon Plaza, a multipurpose outdoor space for the Oxy community.
Challenge gifts from co-chairs Cannon and Gil Kemp P’04 as well as steering committee members David W. Berkus ’62 P’95 GP’16, Eileen A. Brown ’73 and Harold A. Brown ’73, Gary L. Kaplan ’71, and Catherine Young Selleck ’55 H’18 contributed to the success of Day For Oxy, which over four years raised more than $6.5 million since launching on Founders Day 2020. In addition, the Browns’ gift toward the Edgerton-Occidental Endowed Merit Scholarship Program and Kaplan’s gift for faculty research and support will enrich Oxy academically.
A pair of Legacy Gift Challenges secured 55 newly documented planned gifts totaling more than $15 million. All totaled, another $550,000 was contributed to the Oxy Fund through a matching incentive program backed by Gil Kemp P’04 and Mike Gibby ’68 in 2020-21, and Gil Kemp P’04, Gary L. Kaplan ’71, and Karen Casner ’74 and Steve Casner ’73 in 2021-22.
In the coming months, Occidental will close “campaign season” with a series of alumni gatherings from Honolulu to Washington, D.C. It’s a fitting conclusion to a campaign that took to the road, following the on-campus launch in May 2019, with alumni events across the country. Our New York event celebrated the William and Elizabeth Kahane United Nations Program, featuring campaign co-chair Bill Kahane ’70 and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Coll ’80 H’00, professor and dean emeritus of the Columbia Journalism School.
Kahane speaks for many when he sums up the overriding themes of the campaign: “It’s important for those who can to give back, to create that opportunity for the next generation of students,” he says. “I want to be involved, I want others to be involved, and it’s important to be involved.”