I begin this report with a word of gratitude. It is an honor for me this week to be installed officially as the provost at Westmont. I am thankful for this opportunity to serve here, and I pray that my efforts will be equal to your trust.

For the installation events we have scheduled a panel discussion entitled “Awakening the Moral Imagination” on Wednesday afternoon (3:30 to 5:15 p.m.) in the Page Multipurpose Room. All are welcome. I have envisioned this as an occasion for me to listen as faculty reflect on some of the distinctive aspects of our mission and possibilities. Paul Willis will read a couple of his poems, and nine other Westmont professors will serve as panelists. I’ve offered a few preliminary thoughts on the theme below.

With the national election looming, this is the season for political debates, with both Obama and Romney chiming in on such fierce issues as whether or not the Green Bay Packers should have been awarded an interception on Monday Night Football. Tom Knecht, former free safety and current political science prof, may help us understand why we will eventually vote as we do in his Phi Kappa Phi lecture—one of several events this coming month devoted to political themes.

Mark Sargent


San Francisco House

Westmont in San Francisco Turns 40

Throughout 2013, Westmont in San Francisco (WSF) will celebrate its 40th anniversary. The program will be holding a special Anniversary Gala in the spring. Formerly known as the Urban Program, WSF evolved from a January Term program founded by sociology professors Ron Enroth and Brendan Furnish. Now directed by Brad Berky, it is a full-fledged liberal arts program with a range of interdisciplinary classes and over 200 internship sites for all majors. For several years now, this learning-living community has been housed in an old Victorian home (photo). [continue reading...]

Tom Knecht

Will Your Vote be Strategic or Sincere?

Remember President Al Gore? For an hour or so, the Democratic nominee was declared the winner of the 2000 election by national news outlets, most of which reversed their call, declared Bush the victor, and then rescinded even that. You know the drama that followed: hanging chads, the U.S. Supreme Court, and hints of scandal in Florida precincts. But, as Tom Knecht reminds us, even with all of its innuendos and ambiguities the 2000 election was also an intriguing tale about voter "sincerity." [continue reading...]

Volleyball Player

Highlights—and High Country—in Mexico

Grey Brothers and his wife Carrie are currently leading the Westmont in Mexico program, located in the state of Querétaro, among the smallest but also the most geographically diverse in the country. Querétaro is known for the Sierra Gorda ecological region, full of steep slopes, limestone caves, and sharp canyons; it is also the site where the Franciscan friar Junípero Serra developed his zeal for missions. Gray offers a quick report:

"This semester's Westmont in Mexico has gotten off to a great start. I feel I can see our students growing intellectually and spiritually day by day. [continue reading...]

[Continue reading more updates on Athletics, Westmont Downtown, etc....]

Awakening the Moral Imagination

Stan Gaede

I am pleased that former Westmont president and provost—and a longtime friend—Stan Gaede (photo) will be on hand for the installation events on October 3. Stan has agreed to join me in hosting a conversation on “Awakening the Moral Imagination.” Three Natural and Behavioral Science faculty (Eileen McQuade, Warren Rogers and Niva Tro), three Social Science faculty (Chandra Mallimpalli, Edd Noell and Jane Wilson) and three Humanities faculty (Deborah Dunn, Tremper Longman and Jim Taylor) were chosen by President Beebe to participate in the discussion.

The concept of "moral imagination" has a long legacy in philosophy and the social sciences. It first captured my attention several years ago after reading an editorial in The New York Times . . . [continue reading...]