Stafford SignA couple weeks ago, near the "First Crossing" of the Santa Ynez River, I joined Paul Willis at the dedication of a new placard on the site of the Los Prietos Civilian Public Service Camp, where the poet William Stafford spent time as a conscientious objector. The valley narrows here, and the road emerges from the thick oaks and descends toward the riverbed. Asked to read a few poems at the dedication, I thought of Stafford's lines about an "Un-National Monument," another serene, out-of-the-way site where "no one killed—or was killed." There, "birds fly without sound" and the scene is "hallowed by neglect and an air so tame/that people celebrate it by forgetting its name."

That late January afternoon was a good prelude to February, when the Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot exhibit offers its own "plein air" glimpses on nature's tranquility and the Gaede Institute's 12th annual conversation will explore war and peace as liberal arts. February has always seemed to be the month when the pace of college life acclerates. At present, we have many faculty searches—in art, business, English, global education, kinesiology, music and sociology—underway. During the month we will also honor Dallas Willard with a Martin Institute conference for church leaders. And the pace will certainly pick up for the basketball season, with our two teams well poised for strong finishes.

Let me take a quick moment to thank Brittany Myles in the Office of Public Affairs for all of her help with the imagery and design of these reports. Thanks also to Caitlin Postal, a new student intern in our office, who is assisting with research and writing.

Mark Sargent



Sabbatical Trails

Congratulations to those awarded either one- or two-semester sabbaticals for 2013-2014: Steve Contakes ("Chemistry-Religion Dialogue"), Leonor Elias ("Materials for Advanced Spanish"), Thomas Jayawardene ("Social-Psychology of Pathological Mental Stress"), Steve Julio ("Role of Contact-Dependent Inhibition on Select Bacterial Pathogens"), Thomas Knecht ("Politics of Sports"), Jonathon Leech ("Noncommutative Lattice Theory"), Edd Noell ("Christian Thought on Economic Justice"), Caryn Reeder ("Women, Children, and War in Antiquity and Today"), and David Vander Laan ("Unity and Persons").

Sandi White

Women's Leadership Initiative

On March 1, on the day when General Colin Powell speaks on leadership in our global society, we are also launching an initiative encouraging women students to explore leadership roles. The Westmont Women’s Leadership Initiative will offer alumnae, friends, and stakeholders the chance to connect with women students, helping them envision leadership in many spheres of society. Organized by Sandi White (photo) and Kati Buehler, the initiative will feature a reception for women students with several of the notable women leaders who will be present that day for the Powell Convocation. At this time Sandi would appreciate recommendations of a few women students, preferably juniors and seniors, who would benefit from attending the reception.   You can send those recommendations directly to


Jeff Schloss

Jeff Schloss Named Senior Scholar at BioLogos

Jeff Schloss, who holds the T.B. Walker Chair of Biology at Westmont, has just been appointed Senior Scholar of the BioLogos Foundation. Founded by Francis Collins (currently the director of the National Institutes of Health), BioLogos is "committed to exploring and celebrating the compatability of evolutionary creation and biblical faith, guided by the truth that 'all things hold together in Christ.''" Jeff will continue to hold his appointment at Westmont and to teach and to serve here, even as he fills the Senior Scholar role with BioLogos. For more on the appointment, you can read the recent BioLogos announcement.

Rick Ifland

Rick Ifland, Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Last November Rick Ifland joined the faculty as the Director of the Eaton Family Program for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He's quickly off and running: this spring there are 25 internships for Economics and Business students, as Rick has been expanding our local network of nonprofits and businesses. The scope of these internships and the momentum behind some new ventures are apparent on the new website for the program.

"In the future," Rick observes, "even more of our students should be able to compete for a place in the highest-rated business schools, for acceptance to the most elite law schools, and for the best opportunities at some of the best global businesses. In particular, I am most excited that, in the twenty-first century, business is a key driver to many opportunities around the world. When our students understand themselves, identify the needs of the world, and translate what they have learned in the classroom into a business environment, they are poised to make a difference in many lives. What could be more exciting?"


Hanging Out With Chris Rupp

As the collections manager for the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, Chris Rupp is the man responsible for hanging the Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot show. The exhibit features Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree's personal collection of Corot paintings, etchings, autolithographs, and clichés verre, as well as loans from Michael Armand Hammer and several other private collectors.

We spoke with Chris about some of the choices made in the exhibiting of the works.

"It's like a giant puzzle," Chris notes. "We really have no specific ideas in mind until everything gets here. We try to make everything work together, but really it comes down to a gut feeling and personal aesthetic choices. You may find it hard to believe, but when works are not arranged right you just know it." [continue reading...]