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.
This semester has featured a whirlwind of activities as our fall events resume both outdoors and indoors. I love the students’ boundless energy as they participate in a wide range of pursuits while tackling their academic work. We’ve enjoyed incredible musical concerts, chapels, athletic contests, theatrical productions, lectures and art exhibitions. I’m so proud of the students, faculty and staff who’ve focused on the important work God has called us to do.
Welcome Home, Warriors
What a thrill to welcome the class of 2020 back to campus for their belated Commencement October 16 on Carr Field. The ceremony, 17 months after they officially graduated, was wonderfully special and emotional. These graduates, who overcame local and global catastrophes, recognize their opportunity to make the most of what we’ve learned during our time together. I’m grateful we celebrated their accomplishments in a truly personal and meaningful way.
After canceling Homecoming in 2020, we reconnected with alumni who graduated in years ending in 0,1, 5 and 6 in October. Hundreds of alums and their families filled the campus, engaging with each other and with professors Lesa Stern and Andrea Gurney and others who spoke at events. The All-Alumni Awards Celebration honored the contributions of four outstanding individuals: Reggie Williams ’95, Alumnus of the Year; Rev. Sharon T. Koh ’00, Alumna of the Year; Michael Trueblood ’84, Global Service Award; and Daniel Guzman ’12, Young Alumni Award, for their many contributions to their communities and to the world as they carry on the legacy of Westmont graduates who lead and serve in all spheres of society.
President's Weekend Fundraising
Westmont invited 21 couples to Monterey in October to learn about the college’s momentum in key areas and projects that expand its reach and influence. Videos, presentations and Q&As described opportunities to increase affordability, strengthen a world-class mechanical engineering program grounded in the liberal arts, offer an accelerated nursing degree, support athletic programs that produce outstanding scholar-athletes, create new overseas programs and prepare future Christian leaders. The successful weekend supercharged the college’s fundraising efforts, which have yielded $34 million through November 15 this fiscal year.
Westmont Welcomes Rick Ostrander
I’m delighted that Rick Ostrander has begun his work as the new executive director of Westmont Downtown and assistant to the president for global education, innovation and new program development. Rick’s 20-year career of serving and leading in various executive positions in higher education and his global experience make him a valuable asset to the college. In addition to directing Westmont Downtown, he’lll promote and coordinate innovative efforts across various departments and entities on campus. His deep experience in global higher education will help the college develop new academic programs and partnerships to strengthen enrollment on campus and expand off-campus programs.
Fantastic Fall Athletic Season
Our Warrior athletics teams achieved tremendous success this semester. Women’s soccer will compete in the 10-team, single-elimination National Championship Tournament beginning November 30 in Orange Beach, Alabama. They won inspirational victories over Marymount and Embry-Riddle in the opening round of nationals and defeated the Master’s and Hope International to capture the conference championship.
Congratulations to cross country All Americans Anneline Breytenbach and Zola Sokhela, who finished well at nationals in Vancouver, Washington. Though their season ended in the opening round of the NAIA tournament, I want to congratulate women’s volleyball on a successful season with 20 wins. Our women’s swimming team is making great strides. At the La Verne Invitational November 19–21, the Warriors set 11 school records and qualified seven swimmers to compete in more than a dozen events at nationals. Both men’s and women’s basketball teams are off to tremendous starts and catching momentum for good seasons.
Nursing Gets Accredited and Ready to Answer the Call
Westmont’s newest academic program, Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing, earned full approval from the California Board of Registered Nursing and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The first cohort of 24 nursing students arrives January 10, 2022. Director Carol Velas and an administrative leadership team have worked tirelessly to create the curriculum, equip the Westmont Ridley-Tree Downtown Center and hire faculty for the new program.
Mosher Luncheon Offers Insights into Digital Transformation
The sold-out Mosher Center for Moral and Ethical Leadership luncheon with Geoffrey Moore on November 5 was a huge success. The bestselling author, speaker and adviser explored how we’ve moved into a new economic era through the rise of the internet in a talk, “Digital Transformation: The Liberal Arts in an Age of Disruption.” He argued that liberal arts graduates are important for the global economy, which needs creative imaginations and incredible thinkers to confront new problems.
Giving Tuesday: November 30
This year, we’re excited to announce that several generous donors have banded together to provide a matching gift up to $50,000! Please consider donating before December 1 to double the impact of your gift.
We invite you to celebrate the Advent season with us through a podcast from the campus pastor’s office. Spend five to 10 minutes listening to the Chunky Theological Salsa Special Edition: Advent Podcast. Each day a different member of our community leads us through a brief liturgy to help us pause and focus on Christ.
Christmas at the Granada Theatre
Make plans today to see this year’s Christmas Festival, to be held at Santa Barbara’s famed Granada Theatre on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 5, at 3 p.m. Tickets, which cost $20 each, are selling quickly at westmont.edu/festival. You'll want to attend this final festival with Michael Shasberger, who retires in May 2022 following a stunning career. He has recruited outstanding student musicians from around the world, added significant scholarships, expanded the orchestra, strengthened the vocal programs and taken the Christmas Festival to new heights. The Granada provides a splendid setting for his last production of this fabulous festival. We hope to see you there.
New Art Exhibition Reveals Treasures
The Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art’s 19th century holdings continue to grow. See this incredibly strong collection on display through December 18. “Academic, Barbizon, and Impressionist Artists: Highlights from the Permanent Collection” reveals the museum’s impressive development since it moved from Reynold’s Gallery more than a decade ago.
Theater Stages Final NEXUS Play
The Westmont Festival Theatre offered an array of thought-provoking and uplifting programming. “You Will Be Found: Hope Songs” featured joyful music from many different genres November 19-20, including a surprise performance from Campus Pastor Scott Lisea. The department’s Initiative for Justice and Global Engagement presents “The White Card,” the final installment of NEXUS, on December 4. Johnny Jones, director of the staged reading and scholar in residence, has introduced contemporary plays that engage justice, reconciliation and diversity.
Look for Our Fall Magazine in Your Mailbox
Just in time for Christmas, look for your fall Westmont Magazine. This issue captures stories of our commitment to love and serve and completes a three-part series that began in spring 2020. These magazines highlight how Westmont still leads and is still strong and still committed to its founding mission of serving God’s kingdom by cultivating thoughtful scholars, grateful servants and faithful leaders for global engagement with the academy, church and world.
In this season of Advent during Westmont’s 84th year, we reflect on God’s amazing provision as the college continues to thrive and grow. We’ve seen so much accomplished this fall semester, and gratitude fills our hearts. May you enjoy the advent season as we all reflect on God’s many blessings in our lives.
May God bless you all,
Gayle D. Beebe