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Parent Support Net - December 2014

Christmas Greetings, Westmont Parents!

Teri Bradford RouseAs I write, “The weather outside is frightful.” But instead of singing, “Let it snow,” we are singing, “Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain!” We’re thankful for this much-needed drink of water for our dry land here in Santa Barbara—and it adds to the feeling of Christmas!

We’ve had an active month since the last newsletter. We had the privilege of welcoming 200 first-year parents to campus November 14-15. We love the chance to meet you and provide time for you to spend with your student and experience the greater Westmont family. Just as we’re committed to our students, we want to ensure that you, our valued parents, are engaged in the Westmont community. Thank you to those of you who attended and also to those who completed our survey about the weekend.

The campus is beautiful right now—Christmas decorations abound. Your student recently enjoyed a formal and festive dinner in the dining commons hosted by the president and his executive team complete with salmon and prime rib! Many of your students also participated in the Christmas Festival concerts, which have become one of the most popular Christmas events in Santa Barbara. The annual Pickle Tree Lighting took place December 9, and students are soon off to finals.  Then, as you know, your student comes home!

I pray that this Christmas season finds you grateful for the gift of life in Him.

Grace and peace,

Teri

Teri Bradford Rouse ’77
Senior Director of Alumni and Parent Relations

Meet the Alumni & Parent Relations Staff

What’s it like to be a Senior –
One Student’s Perspective

We’re beginning a series to give you insight into the lives of students based on class year. Many student workers in our office help with answering phones and emails, and we thought you’d like to meet them. In this issue, we highlight a senior, Donny Brubaker. We think you’ll enjoy his perspective and the advice he shares for parents and family members.

Donny“Parents, grab the tissues: Graduation is just around the corner!Just as all good things must come to an end, our undergraduate studies at Westmont are concluding. Many of us have been here for four years; some have transferred in along the way and others have managed to complete their degrees early. Regardless, it’s time to say goodbye to all-music chapels, Spring Sing, and DC food (some things will certainly be missed more than others). The transition from a rather small, unassuming liberal arts college in the hills of Montecito to the proverbial real world is a tumultuous undertaking and a milestone causing even our bravest colleagues to shudder with anxiety.

“What are you doing after you graduate?” If I had a dollar for every time relatives asked me that question at Thanksgiving, I’d likely be able to pay for another year at Westmont and leave that question unanswered for two more semesters. Most of you have probably asked your student this same question recently, if not regularly over the past three years. Parents, let me offer some candid advice: Stop. ... Seriously, please. We’re already nervous if not outright scared at the prospect of leaving Westmont in just a few short months, inquiries about our undecided futures don’t help. Yes, over the past few years, we’ve received a top-notch education, made valuable connections, and taken advantage of countless opportunities, all of which will facilitate a smoother transition into postgraduate life. The task is no less daunting, however. Instead of asking us for a decisiveness we may be lacking, give us the encouragement and support we need to feel confident and cared for in the midst of this extreme change.     

Our time at Westmont has undoubtedly been unforgettable. We’ve been challenged in a multitude of ways: academically, physically and spiritually. We’ve been taught that no dream is too big and equipped with the tools needed to be effective and conscientious citizens of our society and our world. Parents, come alongside us in this endeavor as we look towards a future that may be unclear, but is no less promising.

Speaking of seniors like Donny, you’ll be happy to read the next article...

Westmont Grads Earn More in the Long Run

gradsThe salaries of Westmont graduates fared well in two 2014 rankings that used data collected from the website PayScale. The Washington Post listed Westmont as No. 15 in the nation for colleges and universities with the greatest salary growth between average starting and average mid-career salaries. A Forbes magazine story identified Westmont as No. 23 among the national liberal arts colleges whose graduates earn the highest salaries.

According to the Post article, “Where to go to college if you want the highest starting salary,” Westmont graduates earn an early career salary of $40,300 and a mid-career salary of $98,000 for a difference in salary growth of $57,700. (Read more)

Grace, Gratitude and Goodness: A Devotion from Campus Pastor Ben Patterson

BP It’s hard to believe, but finals week will soon arrive!

Throughout the past semester, we’ve emphasized the goodness of gratitude in chapel. Let me summarize briefly what we’ve been saying to our students—and also encourage you. First, here is the main text, followed by a word on why gratitude is so good.

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus…. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it." (1 Thessalonians 5:14-18, 23-24)

... Paul gave three short commands to be joyful always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances.  William Law spoke from the heart of these when he wrote,

“Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world? It is not he who prays most or fasts most, it is not he who gives most alms or is most eminent for temperance, chastity or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God wills, who receives everything as an instance of God’s goodness and has a heart always ready to praise God for it…. Could you therefore work miracles, you could not do more for yourself than by this thankful spirit, for it . . . turns all that it touches into happiness.”

These are extravagant—but true—claims.  Why is continual thanksgiving so important to spiritual health?  Because it comes from an attitude toward God that is so healthy:  God is perfect in love, wisdom and power.  He always wills what is best, always knows what is best and is powerful enough to always effect what is best.  Continual thanksgiving practices this life-giving perspective.  It says, “Father, even though I can’t see your love, wisdom and power in these circumstances, I believe you are bigger than what I can see.  I will praise you that you are God and you are good in every circumstance of my life.”

Thanksgiving is a spiritual discipline.  So thank God for all you see (which usually isn’t very much!).  Then, when you run out of things to thank him for, thank him for what you cannot see (which is infinitely greater than what you can see!).

Thanksgiving should be indiscriminate; if it is, it will lead to indefatigable joy.  As Law says, it “turns all it touches into happiness.”  Nothing can stop our God!  He will sanctify us through and through, no matter what.  He will present us blameless at his coming, no matter what.  He is faithful, and he will do it (5:23-24)—no matter what.  So thank him, no matter what.

Have a Merry Christmas as you thank God for his indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15).

Prayer:  Father, even though I can’t see your love, wisdom and power in these circumstances, I believe you are bigger than what I can see.  I will praise you that you are God and you are good in every circumstance of my life.

Moral and Ethical Leadership Series  

PresidentsIf you live in the vicinity of Santa Barbara, we invite you to join us for any of the events in our series Moral and Ethical Leadership in the American Presidency. Legendary journalist Bob Woodward speaks Friday, Jan. 16, at the Coral Casino, and we expect his talk to sell out. Long committed to encouraging conversations that matter, Westmont seeks to shape a national dialogue on the critical significance of moral and ethical leadership, inviting eminent historians to share their insights into the leadership of American presidents. To learn more and purchase tickets, click HERE.

Put Another Candle on the Birthday Cake

cakeDon’t forget, if you want to give your student a birthday surprise in the coming months, the student-led Potter’s Clay core team can help! Order a freshly made birthday cake, and the Potter’s Clay core team will deliver it on the date you specify. Choose from vanilla, chocolate fudge, strawberry, red velvet, funfetti or fudge marble. Cakes cost $20 each and include a personalized birthday message. Deliveries will end on April 24, 2015. If your student’s birthday occurs in May through August, you can really surprise them and send them a cake on their half birthday! Plan ahead and ORDER NOW!

All proceeds support the ministry and projects of Potter’s Clay in Mexico

Did You Know?

meditationsWestmont has a new Quick Link on our home page for Daily Meditationsthat you can enjoy. Our Dallas Willard Center developed these devotionals for the Westmont community.

In addition to video meditations on the Lord’s Prayer, the site currently includes 10 Meditations on Gratitude. Each video includes five components:

  • Opening Prayer (or Opening Reflection or Call to Worship)
  • Meditating on Scripture (including Breathing the Passage)
  • Giving Thanks
  • Concluding Prayer (or Concluding Reflection)
  • Taking It With You

During this season of giving thanks, we hope and pray that these meditations on gratitude help to “Nourish Our Life with God in All Sectors of the Community,” one of the cross-cutting priorities on our strategic map.

Important Dates

Final Exams: December 16-19

Residence Halls Close: December 20 at noon

Winter Recess: December 20 - January 11

Residence Halls Open: January 10 at noon

Spring Classes Begin: January 12

Martin Luther King Holiday: January 19

President's Holiday: February 16-17

Parents Weekend and Spring Sing: March 20-21

Important Links

Parents and Families – Find information specifically for YOU!

Student Life - Find information for all student life offices, such as the Counseling and Health Centers, Office of Life Planning, and more

Campus Life - Find information about student-run organizations, clubs and ministries

Westmont Athletics – See Warrior Sports calendars and subscribe to the Warrior Update

Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art - Discover information about the museum and exhibits

Westmont Bookstore - Shop for gifts online

iTunes U - Access the archive of Westmont chapels, lectures and events at itunesu.westmont.edu

Give to Westmont