San Francisco State business school dean named Whittier College’s first nonwhite president

Businesswoman Linda Oubré has been appointed Whittier College’s new president.
(Courtesy of Whittier College)

Linda Oubré, a businesswoman and dean of the College of Business at San Francisco State University, will serve as Whittier College’s 15th president starting in July, the school announced Monday.

She will be the first person of color to lead the liberal arts college.

At San Francisco State, Oubré more than tripled fundraising, Whittier’s announcement stated. She led a curricular review and created a new executive MBA program.

Jim Brown, chairman of Whittier’s board of trustees, said in a statement that Oubré’s leadership at San Francisco State “resulted in transformative outcomes for underrepresented students of color.”


She also served as executive director of corporate relations and business development and chief diversity officer for the Graduate School of Management at UC Davis.

Oubré made a name for herself in business. She co-founded BriteSmile, a publicly traded tooth-whitening company.

Before BriteSmile, she worked two stints at the Los Angeles Times and its former parent company. From 1985 to 1988, she was Times Mirror Co.'s manager for corporate planning, a finance role in which she oversaw acquisitions of the Baltimore Sun and Los Angeles Times Magazine. In the 1990s, she worked as a general manager of new business development for The Times.

She won the Trailblazer Award for her accomplishments in business from the San Francisco chapter of the Council of 100 Black Women. She holds an MBA and a doctorate in higher education management.

Oubré will succeed Sharon Herzberger, who served as president since 2005.

Herzberger is best known for expanding diversity on campus and overseeing Whittier’s largest capital project. Under her leadership, the school increased its undergraduate enrollment by more than one fifth.

She also steered the school through turbulent times. In April 2017, Whittier officials announced that their affiliated law school — hit by both a nationwide dip in law school applicants and low student achievement — would be closing.



2:52 p.m.: This article has been updated with additional details about Oubré’s career, including her work for the Los Angeles Times.

This article was originally published at 8:50 a.m.