Westmont Magazine A Change for Commencement
Record-setting rain washed out plans for graduation in May. For only the second time in 61 years, Westmont held Commencement off campus. Fields too wet to support either chairs or parked cars for the 5,000 guests forced the move to Santa Barbara City College’s La Playa Stadium.
A total of 314 seniors graduated, including Shauna Hybels, the daughter of the Commencement speaker. Bill Hybels, senior pastor and a founder of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., spoke on, “Just Trust.” The author of numerous books, Pastor Hybels is an internationally known speaker, writer, and consultant. National media have featured stories about him and Willow Creek, a congregation of more than 16,000.
Stewart and Katherine Abercrombie received the Westmont Medal for their extensive service to the Santa Barbara community. They embody the principles associated with the college’s Christian character. Stewart is a founding member of the Westmont Foundation, and both the Abercrombies joined the “Friends of Westmont” when it first began. They have volunteered their time and served on the boards of many local non-profit organizations.
Professors receiving “Faculty of the Year” awards at Commencement were Mary Docter (Spanish), Allan Nishimura (chemistry) and Edd Noell (economics and business).
Weather interfered with Commencement only once in the past. In 1967, rain the morning of graduation moved the traditional outdoor ceremony to Santa Barbara High School.