Gayle D.  Beebe

Meet Our New Vice President

I’m thrilled to welcome Dr. Edee Schulze as Westmont’s new vice president of student life. For the past six years, she has held the same position at Bethel University in Minnesota. She will continue the effective collaboration between our academic and co-curricular programs, cultivating character and equipping great minds to be the next generation of global leaders.

“Westmont is singularly focused on being the best Christian, residential, undergraduate, global, liberal arts college in the country,” Dr. Schulze says. “This is a place where my gifts will be best applied and used.”

Previously, she served at Wheaton College in Illinois for 21 years in a variety of positions including dean of student life (1997-2008). She graduated from California State Polytechnic University before earning a master’s degree at Wheaton and a doctorate from Loyola University Chicago.

Dr. Schulze replaces Jane Higa Mannoia, who retired in August 2013 after being diagnosed with ALS. Tim Wilson has served wonderfully as interim vice president and dean of students since September 2013.

Once Again, Westmont Ranks Among the Top 100

I’m pleased to report that Westmont appears in a Forbes Magazine’s ranking, The Grateful Graduates Index 2014: The Top 100 ROI Colleges, for the second year in a row. Westmont (No. 81) is one of just three members of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities included and one of only eight schools in California (Claremont McKenna, Stanford, Cal Tech, Pomona, Mills, USC and Occidental).

People often ask me how much stock to put in these rankings. I’ve never felt they come close to telling the whole story, but they offer indicators of quality that reflect well on the college and are worthy of our interest and respect.

The index ranks colleges by the median amount of private donations per student over a 10- year period, looking only at private, not-for-profit institutions that offer four-year degrees and enroll more than 1,000 full-time students. It also gives a 20 percent weighting for the percentage of graduates who donate each year to the college, using the best participation rate in three of the last four years. Any school with more than 30 percent of alumni donors automatically received full credit.

Westmont receives tremendous financial support from alumni, parents and friends who invest in our mission of rigorous academics combined with deep love of God. This support helped us achieve a high ranking, and I’m grateful for the many people who believe in our distinctive education. We produce remarkable graduates who pursue successful careers in a wide variety of fields, excelling as leaders and making significant contributions. They give back to their communities in many ways, and we’re proud of them.

Student Research

Celebrating Student Research

At the 18th annual Student Research Symposium April 16, 50 students presented 35 posters documenting their findings. Representing 16 different majors, they have worked closely with their professors on their projects. While many chemistry, biology, physics and computer science majors shared their results, so did students in religious studies, English, liberal studies and psychology. This broad representation highlights our commitment to promote undergraduate research and provide opportunities for our students unavailable at many other institutions.

Topics included the effects of charismatic worship on generosity, the transmission of blood parasites from female garter snakes to their offspring, variations in light in two star systems, the role of ethnic identity in prejudice toward immigrants, improving social behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder, Semitic influence in the language of the Apocalypse, and numerous studies focusing on chemical reactions too technical to summarize effectively.

One of the great distinctive features of a Westmont education is the opportunity for faculty-student research. These research symposiums reflect outstanding work by our students in areas of their choosing under the able guidance of our distinguished faculty.

Polo Team

Polo Team Repeats as National Champions

The success of our men’s polo team continues! They beat the University of Virginia, 16-13, on April 12 at ERG Arena at Brookshire, Texas, to retain their championship. They defeated Colorado State University last year in the U.S. Polo Association National Intercollegiate Championship for the college’s first polo title. The team made it to the championship game this year after beating Cornell April 10.

The team, coached by John Westley of Santa Barbara Polo School, includes Jake Bergman, David Samaniego, and brothers Patrick and Tony Uretz. Patrick Uretz, the team captain, won the tournament All-Star Team Award, and Samaniego earned the tournament Sportsmanship Award. Jake has only been playing polo for about a year and a half.

Last month, Westmont won their Western Region against Stanford 22-3 in the regional finals and qualified as the No. 1 seed for the national tournament, where they have competed in nine of the last 12 years.

The students ride borrowed horses and care for them without the assistance of grooms or assistants. Keeping the horses, stables and equipment in good condition requires a lot of work, which they must balance with their studies. I’m delighted to hear that our students are respected for their character and the way they treat other teams as well as for their skill.

Speaking to the Santa Barbara Community on Good Friday

The Channel Islands YMCA invited me to speak at their annual Good Friday breakfast more than a year in advance, so I couldn’t decline! It was a joy to share the great hope we have in Christ with an audience of more than 400 people. They represented many different faith traditions, but I believe they are all trying to follow God and embody his love in the world. The message of Christ is a universal one, and even those who don’t consider themselves Christians gain incredible inspiration from the life and spirit of Jesus. I appreciated the opportunity to share about the people in my early life who influenced my education and my faith—especially my father, who shaped my life in such profound ways.

senior show

A Strong Senior Art Show

Sixteen graduating art majors present their capstone projects while paying homage to the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art. The current exhibition, “34°26’59.33”N, 119°39’43.29”W,” reflects the longitude and latitude coordinates of the museum that officially opened when they were first-year students.

This show amazes me with its thoughtful execution of a wide range of themes. At the end of the 20th century, the British social critic Malcolm Muggeridge observed that we were moving from a literate to a post-literate society. By suggesting this new term, Muggeridge specified that we weren’t becoming illiterate but image-driven rather than text-driven—and we would need to develop literacy to understand and contextualize our images. Deep into the second decade of the 21st century, this show is a wonderful example of the emerging dominance of an image—driven culture. It’s truly captivating—thanks, seniors.

The student work includes large oil paintings, interactive sculpture, mixed-media installations employing light and assemblage, photography, ceramic work, fashion inspired by films, video work and drawings. The pieces reflect both thoughtful concepts and skilled execution. The museum—and the entire Adams Center—have enhanced the education of these students, and we’re grateful for these outstanding facilities.

In a lengthy and positive review, the Santa Barbara News-Press noted, “These talented and thoughtful young artists going out into the world are all over the map, in the best way.”


Honoring Scholar-Athletes

Each year at the Golden Eagle awards, Westmont recognizes the athlete in each sport with the highest GPA. I love attending this event and hearing about remarkable students who give as much in the classroom as they do on the playing field. The students share about their experiences at Westmont, and they testify to all the things that make Westmont distinctive.

All these students are amazing, but I want to share a little about three. Marie Trudell, one of the captains of the volleyball team, was an “unsung hero” her teammates could always rely on. A “lifelong learner with an inquisitive and enthusiastic nature,” she always asks, “What can I do to get better?” When Coach Patty Cook began encouraging athletes not to compartmentalize their faith, Marie wondered how volleyball could help her grow closer to Christ. She started asking lots of questions. “I learned two lessons as a Westmont athlete,” she said. “First, my ministry serving Christ starts now, wherever I am and whatever I am doing. Second, as I invested more time into the Westmont volleyball program, anxieties about volleyball slowly slipped away. Volleyball taught self-sacrifice by committing to love and serve each teammate as Christ would. It also trained me to accept losing. I still don’t like it, but Jesus Christ is victorious over all, and that is something a game score can never rival.”

Eric Bateman is the first Monroe Scholar to play Warrior baseball. “He has spent four years showing his teammates and coaches how to face challenges in your life in a God-honoring way,” Coach Rob Ruiz said. “He has matured into a team leader on and off the field, he has maintained a stellar academic career here at Westmont, and he has been an influential leader living out his faith for his teammates.” Noting that his career as a pitcher didn’t develop as he hoped, Eric said, “I’m grateful for the challenge Westmont puts forward to all its student athletes: to compete at a high level in one of the nation’s toughest conferences while maintaining the same standard of academic excellence as the rest of its students. I’m convinced these standards have helped forge our team into what it is now: a group of young men pursuing athletic skills, high academic learning and an abiding faith in Christ.

As a basketball player, Erin Beadle helped the Warriors win two GSAC championships and a national title. Coach Kirsten Moore praised her for demonstrating the characteristics of a champion, adding “And I’m proud of how you’ve learned to be a champion for Christ.” Erin said her time as a Warrior led her to rethink where she placed her identity. “During my first two years, I placed it in basketball: I was a student-athlete and proud of it. But being a student-athlete at Westmont is extremely difficult mentally, physical and emotionally, so placing my identity in basketball was problematic. When things went wrong in basketball, I was crushed. God plainly revealed that he gives me my identity through his work on the cross. I knew Westmont would be a place where big things happened—and it was. But I didn’t know I would gain something far more important than a championship ring: an understanding of my unshakeable identity in Christ.”

Speaking of Athletes

Joshua Barnard

Joshua Barnard was named the NAIA Men’s Tennis Player of the Week, the first Warrior tennis athlete to receive this award. He helped fifth-ranked men’s tennis achieve a 3-0 streak during the week with a 6-0 record in doubles and singles play combined.

Freshman Becky Collier was named the NAIA National Women’s Outdoor Field Athlete of the Week for winning the group B heptathlon at the Sam Adams Combined Event Invitational at Westmont. Her score of 4,824 points established a new school record. While competing in the decathlon, she also established a new school mark in the high jump, clearing 1.78 meters (5-10).

Observatory Opens for the Lunar Eclipse

The observatory attracted a crowd in the early hours of April 15 for a viewing of the first total lunar eclipse in more than two years. It was spectacular and reminded us what an incredible gift it is to have such a powerful telescope available for these public events. Visitors gazed at the coppery moon at totality through our 8-inch refractor telescope. Members of the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit also brought telescopes for people to use, providing different views of the moon.