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2015 Alumni Awardees

Global Service Award

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Alumni Sean ‘95 and Paige (Baird ’00) Whiting did not meet at Westmont, but eventually found each other while living abroad and married in 2009. Soon after, they began working with children at Covenant Children’s Homes (CCH), pursuing a calling they felt in India. Sean and Paige, who both have backgrounds in education and religious studies, work with at-risk children in rural, developing areas of India's southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh. They direct the CCH orphan careministry, which brings local orphaned children under the care of a local village pastor. The orphans, who are raised by the pastors’ families and church community members, are sent to the best available schools in their area. The Whitings have lived in India for five years, but return to the U.S. each year to share this unique model of global orphan care.

 

Young Alumnus of the Year

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Ryan Wolfshorndl ’05, who grew up on an almond farm in Chowchilla, Calif., earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and business while leading Westmont Student Ministries and traveling to Asia. During those years, he formed lifelong friendships, a love of learning and a faith foundation encouraged by the faculty and campus pastor’s office. Since graduating, he has lived in Santa Barbara and worked with fellow alumni at Anodos Advisors, where he is a CFA, CFP and partner. Anodos is a fiduciary consultancy firm that analyzes investment managers for trustees and individuals. Wolfshorndl and his wife, Courtney, are active members of Santa Barbara Community Church. He attributes much of his love for God, values and life trajectory to Westmont and the community it fostered.

 

Alumnus of the Year

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Nivaldo Tro, Westmont Professor of Chemistry since 1990, whose family emigrated from Havana, Cuba in 1959, was the first in his family to be born in the United States and grew up in Culver City, Calif. The Westmont alumnus earned a doctorate in chemistry from Stanford for researching optical techniques to study the adsorption and desorption of molecules in an ultra-high vacuum. He conducted postdoctoral research on ultrafast reaction dynamics in solution at the University of California, Berkeley. Since coming to Westmont, Tro has authored more than 20 journal articles and been awarded grants from the American Chemical Society, the Petroleum Research Fund, Research Corporation and the National Science Foundation to study the dynamics of various processes occurring in thin adlayer films adsorbed on dielectric surfaces. He has been honored as Westmont’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year three times and Outstanding Researcher of the Year. Tro is best known for his chemistry textbooks that are used at more than 600 colleges and universities worldwide and translated into five different languages, including Korean, Chinese, Italian, Greek and French.  A third of all college students taking chemistry today use a textbook authored by Tro.  He lives in Santa Barbara with his wife, Ann, and their four children, Michael, Ali, Kyle and Kaden. In his leisure time, Tro enjoys mountain biking, surfing, reading to his children and being outdoors with his family.