Barb Kennedy

. . . to serve in the Provost’s Office as the administrative assistant. While managing numerous tasks for our office, she has often brought together the various administrative assistants for collaborative projects—and for Christmas or year-end celebrations. “As the leader of our group of academic assistants,” Marilyn Nelson comments, “Barb has always been there for us, helping us with whatever we have needed, and beautifully modeling for us what it means to have a giving, generous, loving heart. When I think of Barb, the first word that comes to mind is phenomenal, and all the synonyms apply as well: remarkable, extraordinary, impressive, outstanding, unparalleled. Barb embodies the grace of Christ each and every day. We will miss her so much!"

Alister Chapman, who has worked with Barb in his role as vice chair of the faculty, asks: "How are we ever going to replace Barb? She has a remarkable combination of three virtues. One, she is friendly. How Barb manages to greet everyone with a smile and conversation when she has so much to do, I have no idea. Two, she is humble. No airs and graces. No delight in inside knowledge that demeans others. Three, she is omnicompetent. Barb is efficient, effective, and hardly ever makes a mistake." Jim Taylor, currently vice chair of the Senate, adds: "Barb has proven herself to be the friendly and gracious face of the Provost's Office while simultaneously holding it together in the midst of what can sometimes be a whirlwind of activity. Barb is consistently cheerful and uncomplaining—even though she has a demanding job that often involves tedious tasks. I'm grateful for all the things Barb has done for me—and for the entire faculty—over the years.”

I can't say enough about how grateful I have been for the ways that Barb has guided me through my first years at the college. It wasn’t just that she was eager to get me accustomed to the usual cycle of events and duties; whenever I suggested doing something a little differently she was eager to help me envision something creative or renewing. She clearly loves thinking of how to add new features to programs and activities that honor faculty and students. Provosts get pressed from all corners, and it is hard to keep juggling and not let something drop. But Barb has consistently stepped in to help me recover, without judgment, merely grace and good will. That’s a rare attribute, a wonderful gift in a colleague.

Later this term we will find time to celebrate her service to Westmont. Retirement will allow Barb more time for various endeavors, including her work as chair of the elders at El Montecito Presbyterian Church. She also hopes to spend more time with her family. Her husband Bruce, a three-time qualifier for the Olympic javelin competition, has often helped with the Westmont track program, and keeps up a remarkable schedule of hiking and climbing. He and their daughter Heather, in fact, reached the summit of Kilimanjaro in 2013 and are currently climbing Aconcagua in Argentina, the world’s highest peak outside of Asia. Heather and her brother Colin both currently live in London, where the Kennedys lived for several years before their arrival in Santa Barbara.

Former Interim Provost Rick Pointer asserts that it “was a real joy to work alongside Barb in the Provost’s Office for two and a half years. She not only brings great professional competence but a daily grace and hospitable spirit to everything she does. She has made Westmont a better place for all of us." That sums up the sentiments of many.