Westmont Magazine Alumni Tribute
By Valerie Cronk Kushnerov ’92
Given March 17 at The President’s Associates Reception for the Winters
I am so honored to represent alumni in this tribute to Dr. Winter. He has moved and inspired us over the 25 years he’s been at Westmont and continues to challenge us in our post-Westmont experience.
His leadership has been central to creating a place where students can learn to make a difference in our world today. What kind of world do we want? What role can we, as alums, play in helping Westmont attract students who will make a difference? How can we personally support the college in achieving this mission?
I first had the opportunity to meet Dr. Winter when I was 14 as my family moved to California so my father could join the president’s staff. One of the activities in which I participated was a trip to the Dodger game for the president’s staff and their children. I remember being surprised that a college president was interested in baseball and knew where to get the best Chinese food.
I decided to attend Westmont because of its strong Christian liberal arts program and was not disappointed. During my sophomore year, I participated in an off-campus program in Washington, D.C. While I was there, the university president was asked to leave for inappropriate behavior. I was reminded of how blessed I was to be a Westmont student with a president like Dr. Winter and was so struck by this incident that I wrote to thank him for being a man of God, a man of character, and a man we all respected.
My junior year, while editor of the campus paper, I met with Dr. Winter for weekly fireside chats about campus and world issues. I was constantly impressed with the depth of his understanding and care for the college and the Westmont community as a whole. His door was always open to me and any other student who wanted to talk.
Since graduating, I have remained close to the college and continually admire the grace and humility of both David and Helene. Their lives reflect, so clearly, a strong faith in the Lord and peace about his plans for their future.