Westmont Magazine A Class Gift
The class of 1949 has decided to do together what they might not be able to do separately: create a Class of 1949 Endowed Scholarship Fund to assist qualified needy students who can’t afford to attend Westmont.
“As the first class to spend all four years on the Santa Barbara campus, we think it’s appropriate to be the first to set up this kind of scholarship,” says Connie Rudd Jones ’49. She and Noel Hancock ’49 are leading the effort to raise at least $50,000 for the fund.
“The idea started as a lark,” Connie notes. “As we gathered for our 50th class reunion, some of us thought it would be fun to do something like a last man’s club. After talking to Iva Schatz, director of planned giving at Westmont, we decided to set up a scholarship fund instead. Not only will it help worthy students, but it creates a legacy for our class.”
Connie and Noel are encouraging their classmates to support the scholarship by making a provision in their will or estate plan. Once the college has received $50,000 in gifts, students will begin to benefit from the scholarship. Already, alums have pledged planned gifts totaling $85,000, so the class is well on its way to creating a significant fund. Outright gifts exceeding $1,000 have also come in.
Westmont’s early classes were small; the class of 1949 includes 78 members. “This scholarship is a big deal for us,” Connie notes. “A number of our classmates were missionaries, pastors, teachers, and social workers; they’re generally people of modest means. I was a teacher and Noel was a social worker. We can’t do this by ourselves, but together we can create a sizable scholarship.”
Connie understands the importance of providing aid to students. “My father sacrificed to send me to college, and I was the first college graduate in the family,” she explains. “Many of us received some kind of financial assistance, and we are grateful for that help.”
With her degree in English, Connie found a job right away as a teacher for the children of migrant farm workers in the San Joaquin Valley. In post-war California, there was a shortage of qualified teachers. After two years there, she went back to school and earned a credential from the University of California, Berkeley. Moving to Pasadena, Calif., where her husband, King, attended seminary, she taught full time until her two children arrived. She lived in Oregon as a pastor’s wife and eventually earned a master’s in education and taught children with learning disabilities.
In recent years, she has returned to Westmont for reunions. “I, along with many of my classmates, am very enthusiastic about the college today,” she says. “Some of us were out of touch for many years, but we still value the old friendships and the influence of the school in our lives.”
Noel notes, “Even after 50 years, Westmont is dear to our hearts, perhaps even more dear than in early years.” Classmate Ann Cooper Alexander speaks of “the social and spiritual broadening that came from mingling with friends from many faith traditions.” She is inspired by classmates who are finding new ministries in their retirement years. The Westmont influence continues unabated.
“We’ve been very impressed by Westmont’s quality,” she adds. “Being on campus, we have sensed that the wonderful Christian nurturing we received more than 50 years ago is still happening. It’s been very reassuring.”
To receive more information about the class of 1949 scholarship fund or planned gifts to Westmont that provide tax savings and/or lifetime income, please contact Iva Hillegas Schatz, director of planned giving, by e-mail (email@example.com) or by phone at 805/565-6034 or 800/998-5652 ext. 1.