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Volume 1, Edition 1, June 2013

Greetings from your alma mater! Commencement is behind us, and the campus is quiet. Our graduation ceremonies were inspiring as the sea of family and friends gathered to celebrate our seniors. The event reminds me of all our alumni who have walked across the stage, receiving their diplomas with pride and a great sense of accomplishment.  Here is a photo slideshow from Commencement 2013 by Brad Elliott.

Teri Bradford RouseThis is the first of regular e-newsletters to come your way. We want to stay in closer contact with you, find out what is important in your life, keep you better connected to life on campus and inform you of opportunities available just for you, our treasured alumni. To that end, I hope you will look forward to this newsletter and that it will benefit you in this season of your life.

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Teri's Signature

Teri Bradford Rouse
Senior Director of Alumni & Parent Relations

Alumni Accolades:

Do you ever wonder how fellow alumni are investing their time?  In each newsletter, Alumni Accolades will highlight several Warriors from various walks of life. If you know of someone whose brief story should be told, let the alumni office know.

Jenise Steverding ’97

SteverdingSince graduating from Westmont in 1997, I have worked in the private sector, at institutes of higher education, and for non-profit organizations.I graduated from SDA Bocconi University in 2006 with a master's degree in public management. For the last three years, ... I have been working for TOMS in their giving department, focused on TOMS shoe-giving efforts. I primarily work with multinational non-governmental organizationsto strategically integrate shoes into their programs.While I primarily work in the Los Angeles office, I often travel to field projects to understand the impact shoes are having. Most recently, I spent time in East Africa visiting refugee and IDP camps related to the ongoing conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Outside of work, I enjoy living in Los Angeles as well as exploring the world.My most recent personal travels took me to Machu Picchu. I also serve on the board of Siloe Ministries with fellow alumnus Brendan Mayer. This small, community-based health clinic in La Mision, Mexico, serves those in need of medical care.

Vic Ippolito ’88 

IppolitoA few weeks ago, a joyful roar exploded from the Westmont College bookstore as Tori, the youngest of our three daughters, declared that she will be attending Westmont in the fall! With my wife, Jill Haslett ’87, and middle daughter, Hannah ’14, nearby, an ... audible sense of joy echoed all the way down in VK. Jill and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and often recall our memorable times from college. Although our oldest daughter, Heidi, recently graduated from USC (we consider her the black sheep), it has been such a joy to be reconnected with Westmont. As members of the Parents Council, we can attest that Westmont has an elevated trajectory. With a vibrant community, incredible leadership, and graduates who continue to impress, the college is thriving. Since graduation, I have been with a retained executive search firm focused in the health insurance industry. Although the clients and search engagements are all over the country, we are privileged to call San Diego home. Four years ago, I approached the leadership of my firm to announce I would step back into a part-time role and accept another part-time position leading the development efforts for a private Christian school. This has been a true blessing. While I employ similar skill sets in both of these roles, working at Santa Fe Christian has focused my heart on something bigger than myself and my career.

In the late 1990s, we started attending and quickly became involved with a local church-plant.Jill was immediately hired as the children’s director, and each member of our family has experienced a significant growth in our faith as we have been prompted to serve and love others in a Christ-driven way. I remain very close to a band of 14 Westmont men (and spouses) who serve as brothers in life, sisters to Jill and uncles to my daughters. As I reflect on the foundations and relationships developed at Westmont that continue to bless my life, I am excited to see how Westmont will bless my children. 

Thelma (Bain) Kramar: Noted Westmont Woman Passes Away

KramarThelma Bain Kramar '41, the first woman to graduate from the college after it became Westmont in 1940, passed away April 18, 2013, at the age of 97.She completed her master’s degree at Wheaton College in Illinois and taught Christian Education ... at Biola from 1953 to 1963. She later worked at Leisure World in Seal Beach, Calif., and had a passion for helping people discover their hidden riches through writing. She edited a newsletter, One of a Kind: True Tales of Ordinary People in the 20th Century. I first met Thelma in 1984, when I was taking a great European trek with a friend. On the eve of my birthday, we sought shelter in Heidelberg at a Campus Crusade facility and an older woman bunked across the hall from us. During a casual conversation with her, I made a surprising discovery: Thelma was one of the first students to graduate from Westmont, and she had dedicated her life to serving others. She was a remarkable woman who influenced many people throughout her long life. For a number of years, she volunteered at Westmont to assist Professor Emeritus Paul Wilt in organizing and identifying materials in the college’s archives. I’m grateful for her life and involvement at Westmont.

Faculty Corner: Who is Reading What and Why?
Dr. Andrea Gurney, Associate Professor of Psychology

Gurney“Anatomy of the Soul” by Curt Thompson

I am in the middle of reading Curt Thompson’s “Anatomy of the Soul.” I conveniently began it before I knew he was coming to Westmont to speak this past spring, and I have so enjoyed his Christian perspective on ... neuroscience and psychology. As a clinical psychologist myself, I have always been intrigued by the ways in which our early relationships set the foundation for future interactions. Once I know the early history of my client's life, I inevitably have an "aha" moment that gives insight to the way in which they currently engage in (or disengage and avoid, in some cases) intimacy. What I appreciate about “Anatomy of the Soul”is that it gives us a glimpse of the neuroscientific research and connects it with our relational patterns and spiritual practices (and you don't have to be a neuroscientist to understand Thompson's book!). We are all relational beings, created in the image of God, and yet sometimes our relationships are incredibly toxic; yet, there is hope! We can work on rewiring our brains.

Dr. Russell Howell, Professor of Mathematics

Howell"Whistling Vivaldi and Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us" by Claude Steele

Claude Steele's “Whistling Vivaldi and Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us”is a fascinating analysis of an important issue: stereotype threat. The title comes from the experience of Brent Staples, ... an African-American living in Chicago. He noticed Caucasians avoiding him when he walked the streets at night. They were obviously viewing him through the lens of a negative stereotype. When he started whistling classical music, their posture radically changed. The whistling evidently communicated that the negative stereotype did not apply to him.

According to Steele, a stereotype threat occurs when members of some sociologically identifiable group are trying to perform at the threshold of their ability in an area they care about, but this area has a cultural stereotype biased against that group’s ability to perform. The result is diminished performance. He backs up his claim with an abundance of carefully-run social experiments. Take one group of African-Americans and another of Caucasians, but ensure that their physical attributes are similar. Then have them go through a miniature golf course. When told that the course is a test of their athletic coordination, the African-Americans do better. Repeat the experiment (with different people, but other conditions being the same) and tell them the course is a test of their strategic problem-solving ability. The Caucasians do better.

I'm interested in this book because many of Steel's experiments deal with the issue of women who under-perform in mathematics. He offers some simple, positive steps that can be taken to counter the effects that a stereotype threat might have on their performance. For example, when counseling women students who come for an office visit after a disappointing performance on an exam, do not ask if they’ve always had trouble with mathematics. Instead, explain that the reason for their low grade is because Westmont has high standards. Then reassure them that you fully expect they will be able to meet those standards.

The book is short, but in many ways I wish it were longer. It seems to me that Steele has identified an important issue that is worthy of discussion by many people in a variety of settings.

Devotional Thought for the Day:
Words from Campus Pastor Ben Patterson

Ben Patterson“My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” Galatians 4:19

One of the most important things I do as campus pastor is to pray for our campus community: students, faculty and staff. But to be honest, I have to admit that I have sometimes found it hard to do.

... St. Paul has helped me in this holy task. He used a remarkable metaphor to describe the nature of his prayers for the Galatians: He said he was like a mother “once again” in labor for the birth for her child. In other words, even though the child was birthed, it seemed as if it was still in the birth canal, and the outcome was still in question! Prayer for those we love can feel that way.

Two things kept the apostle praying: love and hope.

There was the love that moved him to intercede in the first place. No one is more hopeful and passionate for the future than a pregnant woman. No one is more submitted to her task, her body no longer her own, pressed into the service of another. What love! What a way to pray.

There is the hope of intercession, its purpose, its telos: nothing less than a fully functioning, healthy child. This goes way beyond the moment of birth—it extends to the end of life. As delightful as a baby is, no good mother is content with merely a baby. She wants her child to grow up into maturity. The idea of childbirth echoes in Paul’s statement of his goal in ministry, which is “to present everyone perfect in Christ.” He said, “To this end I labor” (Col. 1:29).

Intercession is like childbirth! It requires great love and hope, which God’s Spirit gives to all who ask. So let’s pray about our praying.

Prayer: Lord teach me to pray the way a mother gives birth to her child: passionately, determinedly, unselfishly—with the same laboring love, and the same hope.

New Resources for Alumni
Career Corner:

We know that help with finding a job is important whether it is your first job out of college or a transition into a new job or career. Dana Alexander, director of life planning, offers tips on The Information Interview: A Life-Long Resource. Also, for access to jobs available to alumni, visit WestmontLink, a free, online career tool that exclusively benefits the Westmont community.  For WestmontLink instructions: ...

Alumni who have previously registered in WestmontLink using a non-Westmont email address: Log in below using your non-Westmont email address and the password provided by WestmontLink. If you have forgotten your password, click on the "Forgot Password" button.

Alumni who have not yet registered in WestmontLink: Use the email address you have provided to Westmont’s alumni office as the user name. For the password, use that same email address, prefixed with your graduation/reunion year. (see example below)

Once you have logged in, you will be asked to register (a three-minute process) before viewing available jobs.   Example login for an alum not yet registered in WestmontLink:

Username: alum@gmail.com
Password: 1996alum@gmail.com

If you need assistance, please call the Office of Life Planning at (805) 565-6031.

Name this Newsletter

Calling all the clever wordsmiths out there! We would love suggestions on what to name this newsletter. If we pick your suggestion, we will send you a prize! Email suggestions to tbradfordrouse@westmont.edu.

Save the Date! Homecoming and Reunions: Oct. 4-5, 2013

Reunite with classmates and friends, reconnect with faculty and rejoice in worship during chapel with pastor, author and radio personality Alistair Begg. (Reunion years ending in 3 and 8, i.e., 1988, 1993).

Alumni Award Nominations:
At Homecoming we will recognize alumni who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and service. Please submit nominations for fellow alumni by July 31.

 

If you are not receiving the e-newsletter and would like to, please contact the Alumni Office at alumni@westmont.edu or (805)565-6056.