Westmont Magazine Beebe Inaugurated as Eighth Westmont President
Steve Forbes and Steve Sample join Beebe in speaking at inauguration events.
More than 530 people heard Steve Forbes, chief executive officer of Forbes, speak at a breakfast celebrating the inauguration of Westmont’s eighth president, Gayle Beebe. In “America’s Economy and the Global Imperative,” Forbes declared that the world is in the midst of a golden age. The breakfast kicked off a day of events.
“Never before in human history have so many advanced financially,” Forbes said. “Despite recent hits on the stock market, it’s still 60 percent higher than it was five years ago.” Noting that there will be ups and downs in the global economy, he cautioned against blaming other countries during an economic downfall.
“The standard of living is going up, but anxiety is out there,” he said. “Change will happen. Everyone is trying to improve their lot in life.”
Forbes stressed the importance of the type of education that Westmont provides. “What are important are the core values that Westmont has and that you all under-stand,” he said. “We need to maintain our core values. Commerce comes to a halt without a moral foundation.”
Half of Westmont’s students study abroad during their undergraduate years. Forbes suggested that even more students should travel and experience other cultures.
A panel discussion included Forbes as well as Robert Emmons, former CEO of Smart and Final, Dean Hirsch, president of World Vision International and a Westmont alumnus and trustee, and Andrew Chou, president of the Santa Barbara region of Northern Trust Bank.
Emmons warned against protectionism and said the U.S. is pulling away from free trade. “Globalization is here, fueled by the Internet, and it has meant a great deal for job creation around the world,” he said.
Hirsch said the U.S. needs to lead change for the global economy and suggested that the last two presidents have instead reacted to change.
Chou stressed the importance of education in a global economy. “We’re able to benefit from exporting our expertise in education,” he said. “Education is paramount. We’re not only exporting goods, but people.”
Following the breakfast, the festivities continued on campus with an installation ceremony that featured speeches from Beebe and Forbes. Beebe received a medal during the investiture from Steve Stong ’75, chairman of the board of trustees, and former presidents David Winter and Stan Gaede.
His inaugural address, “Westmont’s Response to the Global Imperative,” recalled his college experience that transformed him into a voracious reader. He came to Westmont for a semester as part of a consortium exchange to study with Robert Gundry, Westmont professor emeritus, who participated in the service. Beebe stressed the importance of having students become global citizens, reiterating a point that Forbes made. He hopes one day that 90 percent of students will study abroad.
Family and friends talked about their relationship with Beebe at a lunch on Russell Carr Field. Orange County Superior Court Judge Gregg Prickett, Matt Blickendorf and Beebe’s wife, Pam, provided humorous and sentimental stories revealing the depth of Beebe’s character.
Three afternoon panel discussions provided insight into the global imperative from the perspective of differing disciplines, including the natural and behavioral sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
The day concluded with a dinner for more than 250 people at Four Seasons The Biltmore Santa Barbara that featured a speech by Steve Sample, president of USC. The next evening, students, faculty and staff gathered for the inaugural ball (below).