Harry J. Elam Jr. became the sixteenth president of Occidental College in Los Angeles on July 1, 2020. Dr. Elam recently announced in a message to new students that he would be stepping down from his post at the end of the academic year due to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
“Please know that I am doing well, with excellent medical care and a strong support system,” Dr. Elam said “But in order to prioritize my health and time with family, I have made the difficult decision not to serve the final (2024-25) year of my five-year term as president.”
Before being named president of Occidental College, Dr. Elam was vice provost for undergraduate education, vice president for the arts, and senior vice provost for education at Stanford University. He joined the university’s faculty in 1990 as an associate professor in what is now the department of theater and performance studies.
A graduate of Harvard College, Dr. Elam earned his doctorate in the dramatic arts at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author and co-editor of seven books, including the award-winning The Past as Present in the Drama of August Wilson (University of Michigan Press, 2006).