Westmont in San Francisco Turns 40

San Francisco House


Built in 1897 for Thomas Jefferson Clunie—a lawyer, real estate speculator, and politician—the house was originally surrounded by sand dunes. At that time, Clunie splurged and paid for the installation of a phone. Now a registered San Francisco landmark, the "Clunie House" has been owned by Westmont since 2002. It looks over the so-called "panhandle" of Golden Gate Park and sits close to the famous Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. A reasonably short walk gets to you Japantown or Pacific Heights.

The Gala will be a rare opportunity to bring together WSF’s extensive network-faculty and staff on main campus, Bay Area alumni, internship agencies, and San Francisco community and religious leaders. We hope that former WSF faculty and staff will be able to attend and share the moment with the many generations of the program.

But the Gala is also an opportunity to look forward. In so many ways, globalization is about urbanization. When the Clunie House endured the famous earthquake of 1906, only 10% of the world's citizens lived in cities. As of 2008, 50% of the world's population is urban, and that figure will rise rapidly in coming decades. Living in San Fransisco—which is now less than half Caucasian and more than a third Asian—not only gives students a chance to encounter greater ethnic diversity but it also enables them to see something of the challenges of developing sustainable urban lives. For instance, just this month WSF installed its long-anticipated rooftop garden, funded by a generous donation by David and Judy Neunuebel. Now students will have both urban and agricultural experiences while in San Francisco. As it looks forward to its next decade, WSF also plans for an expansion of internship opportunities, particularly in business and technology. This is paired with deepened commitments to spiritual formation, environmental sustainability, and other community-based initiatives.

Throughout its forty years, students have undergone personal, professional, and spiritual transformation each semester. While the beginnings of the San Francisco program are indebted to sociology, the staff look forward to partnering with a wider assortment of majors and programs. WSF aims to equip students with the competencies to thrive in a complex world—and to assist Westmont programs to enrich their own curriculum with internships and offerings in an urban context.