Spring Break is finally here, just before we succumb to the madness of an endless March. It's been a full month, yet one with plenty to celebrate.
First, let me salute the Final Four—or the four who are first. We have four seniors who have 4.0 grade-point averages, and they are therefore tied for the First Senior Award. We will recognize all of them—Nicole Blois, Sophia Meulenberg, Heidi Walberg and Benjamin West—as well as all the departmental honors recipients at the Academic Convocation on April 13.
At its March meeting the faculty approved a new pilot semester program in East Asia, scheduled for the fall of 2016. The program will be led by Edd Noell and Helen Rhee and will travel to Seoul, Shanghai and Singapore. A fuller description follows below.
For the Athletic Department this may very well be the finest March ever. I am sure that I was not the only one at Spring Sing watching my cell phone to follow the outcome of the men's big rally and the women's triple overtime triumph in the NAIA basketball quarterfinals. John Moore's club took their wild and splendid ride all the way to the title game, as different players stepped forward each night to carry the team. Both the coach and the team won sportsmanship awards from the NAIA during the tourney. Congratulations to Kirsten Moore on her GSAC Coach of the Year Award and for leading her team to the semi-finals for the second time in three years. And kudos to Russell Smelley and the women's track program for earning fifth place in the NAIA indoor nationals, our highest finish ever. The club was led by Elysia Mitchell's repeat performance as national champion in the 600 and Alexus Dalton's runner-up finish in the pentathlon.
Finally, let me congratulate Steve Julio on his election as vice chair of the faculty. Steve will also be the featured speaker at the Westmont Downtown lecture series (University Club, April 9, at 5:30) when he will discuss new vaccines for the whooping cough. I've heard some speculation that he may devote the Fall Faculty Retreat to the same theme. At least that's how rumors get started . . .