Gayle D.  Beebe

We just passed the half-way point for spring semester, marked by mid-term exams and papers. Spring break coincides with Easter this year, and students will serve in Mexico with Potter’s Clay and in four cities with Urban Initiative’s Spring Break in the City during Holy Week.

Spring semester has gone wonderfully well with exemplary events and attractive opportunities filling recent weeks.


The Rembrandt Exhibition—Rembrandt and the Jews: the Berger Print Collection

This spellbinding collection of prints by the master reflects his interaction with the Jewish community in 17th century Amsterdam. It provides a fascinating link to one of the few free and open European cities where Jews were allowed to live and move without restriction. Many of the disaffected religious groups who were fleeing Europe for a new start in America passed through Amsterdam on their way to the new world. We’re grateful to Dr. Berger for his wonderful gift, and we celebrated by hosting three big events on campus.

  • We invited the Jewish Federation of Santa Barbara to campus for a private reception and viewing of the collection, and they enjoyed participating in the opening of this wonderful exhibition. Dr. Lisa DeBoer, a member of our Art Department and a renowned Rembrandt scholar, delivered a brilliant lecture as the centerpiece of this event.
  • The grand opening the next day welcomed a packed audience with enthusiastic interest in this magnificent collection.
  • The Rembrandt Symposium on February 28 featured nationally acclaimed Rembrandt scholars from the University of Michigan, UCSB and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Doris Kearns Goodwin

The President’s Breakfast and the Westmont Downtown Lecture Series

The focus of our series featuring prize-winning historians, Moral and Ethical Leadership in the American Presidency, served as the theme for the President’s Breakfast this year with Doris Kearns Goodwin and also for one of our Westmont Downtown Lectures.

A few weeks before the breakfast, superb presentations at the Westmont Downtown Lecture Series by Dr. Tom Knecht, a political science professor who challenged the idea and effectiveness of a bully pulpit, and Dr. Rachel Winslow, a historian who discussed the contribution of popular historians like Goodwin, stimulated a robust question-and-answer time with an actively engaged audience.

Dr. Goodwin gave a remarkable talk touching on significant milestones in our nation’s history between the presidencies of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Focusing especially on the characters she knows best (Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt), she highlighted the necessity of a galvanizing ideal driving the country forward. She continued themes we’ve heard during our year-long series: presidents always build on the past; their legacy is tied to the work they accomplished in office that endures long after they’re gone; and they have a responsibility to advance the country’s noblest intentions even if these efforts don’t come to fruition during their tenure. Her remarks at the breakfast wove together a beautiful tapestry of historical insight, personal reflection and the enduring values that sustain each one of us.

On Thursday night, at a reception for the event’s sponsors, she answered questions in an intimate and fascinating exchange. Her remarkable intellect roamed across a vast array of issues that confronted earlier presidents as well as our current leader. Her time with the student panelists on campus during convocation after the breakfast offered her a great opportunity to draw upon the past while giving us hope and direction for the future.

Mosher Center for Moral and Ethical Leadership

Last fall, we launched the Mosher Center for Moral and Ethical Leadership with a year-long lecture series addressing Moral and Ethical Leadership in the American Presidency. Jon Meacham kicked it off in October with a talk focused on Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson.

In January, Bob Woodward discussed presidents he has covered during his long career with the Washington Post, especially Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Barack Obama. The President’s Breakfast with Doris Kearns Goodwin was the third event in the series. Dr. Ron White, an award-winning Lincoln scholar, will present the fourth and final talk at a luncheon on May 29, “The Moral and Ethical Leadership of Abraham Lincoln.” He will focus on Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address both for its brilliance as an inaugural speech and its insight into Lincoln’s vision for reuniting the country following the Civil War.

These speakers have provided new perspectives on the various ways presidents have approached their work, cultivated their interests, responded to the challenges of their time and worked to move the country forward.

Westmont Downtown

Westmont Downtown at 26 W. Anapamu

It gives me great joy to announce the roll-out of our newest initiative: Westmont Downtown. For the first time in college history, we’ve secured space downtown in the Hutton Parker Foundation Building to expand Westmont’s reach and influence and provide greater educational and internship opportunities for our students. We seek to place students in internships in Santa Barbara to equip them with the skills and experiences they need to become social innovators, entrepreneurs and people who seek the global good. We want to provide opportunities and initiatives to the downtown area that address both the needs and interests of our students and the needs and interests of the greater Santa Barbara community. We’re grateful for the support of Tom Parker and the Hutton Parker Foundation.

Institute for Global Learning and Leadership

I’m excited to share the final drawings for the Institute for Global Learning and Leadership. They display an elevation rendering of the leadership center, an aerial view of the entire floor plan, and an artist’s sketch of various features of the buildings.

This capital project includes five programmatic initiatives already underway.

  • The Mosher Center for Moral and Ethical Leadership focuses on three key areas: hosting national conversations on moral and ethical leadership, providing regional executive education for mid-level and senior executives, and developing undergraduate educational experiences for early leadership development.
  • The Eaton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation embraces both capital and social entrepreneurship. Under the leadership of Professor Rick Ifland, students learn how to start, grow and sustain new businesses in a highly advanced global economy. Then they take their gifts and abilities and apply their learning to solve entrenched and vexing social problems by starting microfinance enterprises in Haiti, one of the poorest countries on the planet. Combining capital and social entrepreneurship has catapulted Westmont’s Eaton Center to the forefront of leadership in this emerging field of education and social enterprise. It has also created the Westmont Downtown initiative, which will help students connect with local businesses, government agencies and organizations.
  • The Center for Neuroscience and Leadership applies cutting-edge discoveries in science to leadership development. The center seeks to understand human motivation and why some gifted people succeed while other highly gifted people fail, focusing on the twin issues of self-awareness and self-regulation. We believe that educational experiences, brain mapping for empathy and executive function, and personal disciplines can reroute our neuro-processing for greater impact and effectiveness.
  • The Goble Center for Global Learning is creating the educational network so every Westmont student can undergo the distinct learning and development that only an international experience provides. Based on our pioneering work with the Cycle of Global Learning (our three-semester process where students engage in a pre-trip orientation seminar, in-trip mentoring as faculty travel and guide our students to understand and interpret the meaning of their experiences, and a post-trip re-entry seminar that helps them bring the learning home), we want every Westmont student to undergo the kind of growth and development that occurs during international education and travel experience. Recent research demonstrates that 15 weeks traveling and studying in a foreign country activates and develops the same part of the brain that we use during creative problem-solving, and we want every Westmont graduate to obtain this advantage as they go forward in life.
  • The Montecito Institute will open later this spring with its inaugural focus on moral and ethical leadership development. At a three-day conference in May with the theme, Lead Where You Stand: Experience-based Moral and Ethical Leadership Development, Dr. Doug McKenna, myself and various CEOs from a wide array of industries, will discuss the framework for moral and ethical leadership as well as the great challenges and dilemmas leaders face who pursue this approach. The conference will conclude with Dr. Ron White, an award-winning author and historian, who will discuss Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address as a framework for understanding our own approach to moral and ethical leadership.

Leadership Center Leadership Center Leadership Center Leadership Center

We anticipate a great second half of the semester and a strong finish to another good year. Thank you for your continued love, interest and commitment to the work of Westmont.


Gayle D. Beebe