CURT WHITEMAN: AN APPRECIATION

Curt Whiteman

Stan continues: “But the thing that has always stuck in my mind, about Curt—other than his friendship—is just the way he has handled the tough times, over the years. Curt is that wonderful combination of ‘realist’ and ‘overcomer.’ He faces the heartaches, head on. But he doesn’t retreat from the task before him, appreciating each day as a gift from God. In some ways, his ready smile says it all. And we all wind up smiling, as a result.”

Some of the toughest times came after August 1998, when Curt suffered a right hemisphere stroke. After taking a year off to recover, he gradually increased his course load back into full time teaching until 2005. He has nothing but praise for his colleagues during this era of rehabilitation: “I owe them deep gratitude for their support and encouragement in my recovery and return to the world of academia."

Shortly after he began his teaching career at Westmont, Curt finished his Ph.D. in historical theology from Saint Louis University. As a teacher of biblical studies, Curt has influenced some noteworthy evangelical scholars, some of whom originally cut their theological teeth in his classes. His colleagues have also appreciated his encouraging spirit. Telford Work notes, “When I first began teaching as an adjunct at Westmont, Curt Whiteman was unfailingly supportive of me—a precious gift for a new and uncertain teacher.”

"Curt brings stability, light-heartedness, and historical knowledge of Westmont to our department," observes Charlie Farhadian, the Religious Studies chair. "I appreciate his wisdom about Westmont and our students, his ability to maintain a level head when discussing challenging topics, and his humor that reminds us all not to take ourselves too seriously. His positive attitude is contagious."

Curt was appointed as faculty advisor to student-athletes in 2008 by Rick Pointer, the interim provost, and Dave Odell, the athletic director. Dave remembers taking Curt's Christian Doctrine class in the old Clark Hall classroom. "I had grown up in the church, but it wasn’t until a particular day in Curt’s class that I was able to grasp the concept of God’s sovereignty. I can actually visualize where he was standing in the room, when I had that 'aha' moment. I know I am just one of many students over the years that had an 'aha' moment in Curt’s class rooms. His ability to make a difficult concept understandable makes him an amazing teacher."

Curt has cherished his role as advisor to student-athletes as one of the highlights of his time at Westmont. The athletes have given him the nickname “Doc,” which has stuck throughout the years; it was even painted on his golf cart by a few of them. Although he tries to encourage graduates to call him Curt, many will not for fondness of his nickname.

Curt and Erlyne have enjoyed watching their son graduate from Westmont with an art degree in 1997, and their daughter graduate from Gordon in 2002. When asked how he plans to spend his retirement, Curt responds amiably: “Only the good Lord knows.”