Volleyball Player

Some Rising Fortunes in Athletics

Although we had a few stumbles on the court and fields last week, this has overall been a strong fall for sports at Westmont. The cross country teams flourished at the Mustang Invitational, and the volleyball and women’s soccer team have been ranked in the top ten nationally.

The fall season appears to be sustaining the good momentum from last year. One encouraging sign of progress among athletes has been in the classroom. For the first time in many years the combined GPA of Westmont athletes topped 3.0 (the institutional average is over 3.2). This has not come at the expense of stronger athletic performances. At 56%, Westmont had its highest winning percentage overall in the last five years, climbing from an all-time low of 41% in 2009.

The college finished 19th in the Directors' Cup of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), over 50 places higher than last year and the best finish in nearly a decade. The Directors’ Cup calculates the overall performance of the college’s teams. Westmont had the third highest place in the Directors’ Cup among schools in the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC), a big step forward since we have been in the middle of the pack for the past several years. Congratulations to athletic director Dave Odell and the coaches for these advances.

This year will be the first for Westmont in the new GSAC, which is notably smaller due to the departure of three schools—Azusa Pacific, Fresno Pacific, and Point Loma Nazarene—to NCAA Division II. A fourth school, California Baptist, had left the previous year. Arizona Christian is the one institution that has joined the GSAC this fall.

Jesse Covington

Westmont Downtown

The annual Westmont Downtown series takes the election as a starting place, as Jesse Covington (photo) and Telford Work will discuss the topic "Religion in the 2012 Election: What Difference Is It Making" on Thursday, October 11, at 5:30 in the University Club in Santa Barbara. They will look at the interrelationship between religion and party affiliations as well as the way religious subcultures have shaped the character and leadership of the candidates. Tremper Longman and Jeff Schloss will offer the second in the series on November 8 when they explore the current intellectual and political controversies over human origins.

Westmont library

Ambassador Moriarty on Campus

James Moriarty, the United States ambassador to Bangladesh, will be on campus during the week of October 15-19. He will speak in several classes, and deliver a Faculty Forum presentation on October 18 (the Faculty Council Choice session, normally set for this date, will be moved to October 11). He has worked previously as the U.S. Ambassador to Nepal, as a member of the National Security Council, and Minister-Counsel for Political Affairs at the U.S. embassy in Beijing. Earlier, he received several honors for his role assisting a more peaceful break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

Reel Talk

Reel Talk: Epiphanies

The fall "Reel Talk" opens 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, October 2, with several faculty prepared to discuss scenes of films that have inspired and challenged them. Two of the faculty have chosen to take us to dinner tables: John Blondell ("My Dinner with André") and Lisa DeBoer ("Babette’s Feast"). Heather Keaney and Jim Wright, who direct our Istanbul program, will share part of a classic Egyptian film ("The Nightingale’s Prayer"), while Wayne Iba will bring us into a futuristic England in a retelling of the old Guy Fawkes’ Gunpowder Plot ("V for Vendetta"). I’ll throw in a couple glimpses at two of my favorite openings scenes.