Born in 1965 in Los Angeles, Jonathan Veitch has always had a connection to the community there. He left L.A. in 1993 to become a professor at the University of Wisconsin where he wrote his first book. Then he moved on to The New School in New York teaching cultural history. He was the Dean of Eugene Lang College in 1994 and then became the president of Occidental College in Los Angeles in 2009.

Mr. Veitch is the first president of the college to be an L.A. native. As a member of the community, he has a unique perspective on community relations between the college and it\'s neighbors. In times when the college has wanted to expand it\'s campus further into the surrounding neighborhood many people were concerned with the affect it would have on the peaceful environment they were so accustomed to. Veitch hosted public forums in order to bring peace between the college and the community. It was determined that other options were available to allow for the colleges growing enrollment without encroaching upon it\'s neighbors. Plans included re-purposing buildings for use, which also made the enviromental activists happy.

Jonathan Veitch is also concerned with transportation issues in Los Angeles neighborhoods. He has begun numerous initiatives for reducing traffic congestion and encouraging bicycle and pedestrian traffic. He has brought in some experts in making sustainable positive changes to communities. Ella Turenne, a recent transport from New York, is skilled in civic engagement. She runs the Farms to School Program which gets food from local farms into our schools. Jonathan has also connected with Mary Tokita, an Eagle Rock community gardener and eco-activist. Together, with many other community leaders, they are taking the lead on making L.A. a community of values, eco-friendly changes, and community independence.

  One of the programs that Jonathan has becomeinvolved in is the Occidental Master Plan. One of it\'s goals is to create a bike-friendly street scape and fewer lanes of traffic. It is important to make biking trails attractive and inviting for them to be utilized. No one wants to ride their bike through dangerous intersections or streets in bad repair. Veitch\'s community initiative will remedy that problem and bring a welcome face lift to the area surrounding Occidental College. According to Veitch, this will take time, diligence from the community, and money. The end result, however, will be a family-friendly community of values that is environmentally minded and safe for all.