Spring 2023 President's Briefing
Gayle D. Beebe, Ph.D.
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. Read more about the President.
As we complete our academic and fiscal year and finish celebrating our 85th anniversary, I’m encouraged by the work and momentum of Westmont’s active and innovative community. With God’s grace, we finished in the black for the 39th year in a row. Our fundraising efforts and the Forward in Faithfulness Campaign have exceeded $25.6 million for the year. We continue to make significant headway on important strategic fronts: developing new programs, transitioning our outstanding athletic teams to NCAA Division II, forming curricular and co-curricular partnerships, and continuing to carry out our mission of rigorous academics and deep love of God.
HIGHLIGHTS THIS SEMESTER
Announcing a New Center
We say goodbye to two long-serving trustees who have retired from the board after 25 years of faithful and productive service to the college: Carol Houston and Steve Stong. I’m excited to announce that we’ve raised $1 million to launch the Carol Houston Center for Biblical Justice and Reconciliation. Carol embodies the rare and remarkable gifts of a bridge builder. Through the center, Westmont will continue her legacy as an agent of God’s reconciling work in the world and her faithfulness to Westmont’s mission. Steve, who graduated from Westmont in 1975 and earned an MBA at Harvard Business School, served in a variety of capacities on the Board and we’re grateful for his and Robyn’s legacy of service to the college. We deeply appreciate these committed and faithful servants.
Commencement, Inaugural ABSN and Engineering Cohorts
On May 6, Commencement honored more than 300 graduates who listened to an inspiring message about sinking their roots elsewhere during the next phase of their lives. The ceremony on Thorrington Field celebrated the accomplishments of students, faculty and community members with speeches, prayers and songs before graduates received their diplomas. We especially noted the graduation of Westmont’s inaugural cohorts of nursing and engineering students. The new nurses celebrated at a separate pinning ceremony following Commencement in the Global Leadership Center.
Spring 2023 Provost Report: Faculty News and Accomplishments
Each year at Commencement, we recognize professors for their scholarly contributions, research, and teaching ability. The Bruce and Adaline Bare Outstanding Teacher Award, funded by the late Trustee Emeritus Bruce Bare and his wife, Adaline, honors three outstanding professors: one from the humanities (Daniel Gee, music), one from the natural and behavioral sciences (Steven A. Rogers, psychology), and one from the social sciences (Meredith Whitnah, sociology). This year, physics professor Ben Carlson received the Faculty Research award, given to a professor who, in the eyes of colleagues, models what it means to be a scholar at Westmont.
We’re grateful for the work of our new Provost Kim Denu, who is completing her first year leading our faculty. You can read about faculty accomplishments on the provost’s website. Professors fulfill a variety of activities, contribute to scholarship, and explore ideas in many fields of study. They’re eager to help build connections between a life of faith and spiritual devotion and rigorous inquiry and analysis. We celebrate their collective work and achievements.
Women's Leadership Luncheon
The sold-out, sixth annual Westmont Women’s Leadership Luncheon in March offered inspiring moments with speaker Lupita Knittle from 7Mindsets.
Westmont recognized David and Anna Grotenhuis with the inaugural Westmont Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree Spirit of Santa Barbara Award, which honors people who exemplify the life and spirit of Lady Ridley-Tree, whose leadership in the community and generosity to the College made a profound impact on Westmont and touched the lives of many people and organizations.
The luncheon celebrates the lives and contributions of women who are leading businesses and industries and who provide mentoring and scholarships to Westmont’s female students.
A Decade of Dominance: Warriors win 10th Straight All GSAC Award
Westmont won its 10th straight Golden State Athletics Conference (GSAC) All Sports Award for achieving the highest average finish in the conference standings of all its athletic teams. The Warriors clinched the top spot with regular season championships in women’s volleyball, women’s soccer, women’s basketball and men’s baseball.
About 20 of our top track and field athletes have qualified to compete at the NAIA Outdoor National Championships in Marian, Indiana, this week. Led by head coach Russell Smelley, the Warriors will make their final trip to the NAIA championships and hope to break school records.
Meanwhile, Westmont’s baseball and men’s and women’s track and field teams continue to compete nationally. Westmont baseball (43-8), the fifth-ranked team in the NAIA, returns this week to the Avista NAIA World Series in Idaho. The Warriors earned a spot in the 10-team, double-elimination tournament by winning the Santa Barbara Opening Round Tournament on May 18.
Student Travels in May
Some of our students have been traveling abroad this May, including the College Choir and Chamber Singers who’ve returned from a memorable nine-day tour to Tokyo. Mayterm students are following in the footsteps of St. Paul to Turkey, Greece and Rome, while others are visiting South Africa, Northern Ireland and India.
Spring 2023 Westmont Magazine
The spring 2023 issue of the Westmont magazine is aptly titled Momentum. With God’s help, we aspire to accomplish purposes that will outlive us and advance the college. This issue shares stories of momentum and the successful outcomes of a thriving community in forward motion, reflecting the faithfulness of God and the relentless pursuit of excellence that lies at the heart of Westmont.
Pastors and LEAD Where You Stand
On May 30, Westmont hosts pastors, clergy, and members of ministry teams to provide care and encouragement as they continue to lead their ministries. These participants will then attend Westmont’s annual LEAD Where You Stand conference from May 31 to June 2. Details for both events are available here.
Mark your calendar for this year's Homecoming festivities. Bring the whole family and plan a long weekend with friends old and new. Classes ending in 3 and 8 will organize reunions, with the exception of the Golden Warriors (50-year reunions) who gather in May. Look for advance registration soon. Contact the alumni office for assistance at (805) 565-6056.
I pray summer will provide opportunities for rest and renewal. We’ll be busy this summer hosting camps and conferences, and if you have an opportunity, be sure to stop by campus for a visit.
God be with you as we continue on the journey.
Gayle D. Beebe, Ph.D.