Occidental College

From Academic Kids

Occidental College, located in Los Angeles, California, is a small, coeducational, liberal arts college. The school is often referred to as "Oxy" by those familiar with it.

Occidental was founded in 1887 by a group of Presbyterians and became independent of the church in 1910. Although initially located in Boyle Heights, the College moved to Highland Park in 1898. The current campus was occupied in 1914 after the previous campus burned down. The Eagle Rock campus covers over 120 acres (0.5 km²), much of it undeveloped land on a hill known on campus as "Mt. Fiji."

The college has received positive press [1] (http://www.oxy.edu/news/articles/030828-oxy.is.hot.html) in recent years, making admission difficult - only 44% of recent applicants were admitted [2] (http://www.oxy.edu/news/articles/030129-admission.html). The student body is highly diverse. In 1999 the College was ranked 36th in the U.S. News and World Report rankings. In the most recent rankings the College is 42nd.

The campus is generously lent to its community, Eagle Rock, for soccer camps in the summer and elementary school graduations, among other things.

Myron Hunt designed the original buildings in a Mediterranean style, with covered walkways and tile roofs. The three original buildings of the 1914 reconstruction still stand today, although seismic concerns have limited them to classrooms and academic offices. Most of the rest of the buildings match the original style with a few exceptions. The most notable of these is Stearns Hall, which has been described as "Barbie meets Escher" for its angular, post-modern style and its shrunken scale (it is supposedly built at 90% of scale, an idea supported by the feeling of claustrophobia often encountered there).

The College competes in SCIAC NCAA Division III sports as well as other non-conference sports such as Rugby. The school's teams are called the Tigers.

Alumni and alumnae of note include athlete and politician Jack Kemp, actor/director Terry Gilliam, actor Ben Affleck, poet Robinson Jeffers and Senator Barack Obama. {Ben Affleck did not graduate from Occidental, and Senator Obama transferred to Columbia University after his freshman year.)

The campus has been used for various television and movie shots. The entry fountain is seen as part of Vulcan in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. In Beverly Hills 90210, the campus was called "California University." It also appeared in the films Real Genius and Clueless.

A long-time favorite student activity is "tunneling," or exploring the utility tunnels that link many of the older buildings in campus.

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