Welcome to the Office of the President
Reflections on the Vision of Westmont College
The Westmont mission statement identifies five core principles that guide every aspect of our work: liberal arts, Christian, residential, undergraduate, and global.
Recently, a leading national magazine reported that 45 percent of all Fortune 500 CEOs had attended small liberal arts colleges or universities. The article described how much these individuals benefited from the sort of education that occurs in the context of small classes with great minds wrestling with profound thoughts. There really is no other educational experience like it. This approach to learning has been and will continue to be the core focus of the education we provide.
But equipping great minds is not enough; we must also cultivate character. At the heart of our mission as an educational institution lies an unwavering commitment to our Christian faith. What our world needs is not a shrill recitation of narrow ideas, but a robust expression of our deepest convictions engaged in the sort of conversations that really matter. We recognize that living in community allows us to experience more deeply our liberal arts curriculum and our Christian commitment. Integrating the way we live and the beliefs we hold with our intellectual endeavors represents an important part of the Westmont experience.
Our commitment to undergraduate education means that every ounce of who we are focuses on this wonderful period of life when we make so many of the decisions that shape our ongoing journey. While more and more schools are adding graduate programs or continuing education classes, we retain our specialized emphasis on undergraduates and believe that we can offer a more effective and engaging program as a result.
Finally, the rising tide of our global economy is making it imperative that we develop a worldview that can move easily within and between the various cultures and societies that make up our world community. In the years that lie ahead, we anticipate the various expressions of Westmont around the world to take on an even greater importance.
Gayle D. Beebe became Westmont’s eighth president in 2007 after serving as president of Spring Arbor University in Michigan for seven years. His inauguration in 2008 featured speeches by Steve Forbes, chief executive officer of Forbes, and Steve Sample, former president of the University of Southern California.At Westmont, Beebe quickly launched a strategic planning process that has produced results in many areas, including progress toward completing the campus master plan and building a strong financial base. Working closely with the Office of College Advancement, he has helped raise more than $100 million for Westmont through efforts such as the Bright Hope for Tomorrow capital campaign that helped fund Adams Center for the Visual Arts, Winter Hall for Science and Mathematics, an observatory and renovated athletic facilities, adding 81,300 square feet to campus. The Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art received its first substantial donation to the permanent collection in 2012: 11 paintings by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. In addition, the college has renovated 44,565 square feet in nine buildings.
Envisioning an institute for each of Westmont’s five planks (liberal arts, Christian, global, residential and undergraduate), Beebe helped established the Martin Institute for Christianity and Culture and the Dallas Willard Center for Spiritual Formation. He has developed a proposal for the Westmont Institute for Global Learning and Leadership and is seeking funding for this innovative program and facility. He also presided over the successful recovery from the 2008 Tea Fire, which destroyed eight college buildings and landscaping on a third of the campus.An active scholar, Beebe has published numerous articles and edited several publications. His latest book is The Shaping of an Effective Leader: Eight Formative Principles of Leadership (InterVarsity Press, 2011). He co-authored Longing for God: Seven Paths of Christian Devotion with Richard Foster (InterVarsity Press, 2009), and spent five years working with Foster, Dallas Willard, Lynda Graybeal and Thomas Oden to produce the acclaimed Life with God Bible.
Beebe attended Westmont for a semester in 1980 while earning his bachelor’s degree at George Fox University in Oregon. He received master’s degrees in divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, in philosophy of religion and theology from Claremont Graduate University, and in business administration in strategic management from the Peter F. Drucker School at Claremont Graduate University. He completed his doctorate in philosophy of religion and theology at Claremont Graduate University in 1997. Prior to leading Spring Arbor University, he served as dean of the school of theology at Azusa Pacific University. Under his leadership, Spring Arbor was named a top-tier university by U.S. News & World Report.
Beebe serves on the boards of Santa Barbara’s United Way, the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, and the Christian College Consortium. As a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), he chairs the Tax Policy Committee. Beebe and his wife, Pam, have three children.
Career in Brief
- 1981: B.A., Liberal Arts, George Fox University
- 1985: M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary
- 1985 - 1990: Senior Pastor, Sherwood Community Friends Church, Sherwood, Ore.
- 1990 - 1992: Pastor of Adult Ministries, Rose Drive Friends Church, Yorba Linda, Calif.
- 1992 - 2000: Professor, Pastoral Theology, Haggard School of Theology, Azusa Pacific University
- 1994 - 1996: Interim Pastor, Glendora Friends Church, Glendora, Calif.
- 1994: M.B.A., Strategic Management, Drucker School, Claremont Graduate University
- 1995: M.A., Philosophy of Religion and Theology, Claremont Graduate University
- 1996 - 1998: Chair, Department of Ministry, Haggard School of Theology, Azusa Pacific University
- 1997: Ph.D., Philosophy of Religion and Theology, Claremont Graduate University
- 1998 - 2000: Dean, Haggard School of Theology, Azusa Pacific University
- 2000 - 2007: President, Spring Arbor University
- 2007 - present: President, Westmont College