The college was started in 1887 and moved to where it is now in 1914. Many of its early buildings were designed by Myron Hunt. After World War II, Oxy became known both for being a very good school and for student protests. Its current president is Jonathan Veitch.
The school has 1,825 students. The school is 60% female and 40% male.
All Occidental students must take a “Core Program” that includes classes in writing, the arts, humanities, foreign languages, math and science. Occidental is known for student research projects. Many of Occidental's students study at the United Nations, in Washington, DC, and in other countries.
Occidental has Division III sports teams in 19 sports, including football, basketball, baseball and soccer.