Westmont Magazine A Family Connection
As students at large, state universities, Joe and Karen Moderow didn’t realize what they were missing until after they graduated. They wanted something different for their son David ’02, and encouraged him to try Westmont. They’ve become enthusiastic advocates for Christian liberal arts colleges.
“We’re impressed by the commitment of Westmont faculty to students,” Karen says. “It far exceeds what you find at state schools.”
“Westmont is clearly a place where no dogma is thrust on students,” Joe adds. “They are allowed to absorb truth in a non-confrontational manner because faculty demonstrate their faith in their lives and in their interest in students.”
“We wanted our son to be challenged academically, and his professors have been strong intellectually as well as in their faith,” Karen continues. “It’s been great to see his excitement about his classes.”
David, an English major who minored in art, plans to be a graphic designer. He worked last summer for Leader Publishing in Atlanta, Ga. (where the Moderows live). He even created graphics for a story about his father in an Atlanta business magazine.
Close family connections help explain the Moderows’ appreciation for Westmont. “David chose Westmont because he knew it could be a home for him,” Karen says.
Her brother, Edwin Westbrook ’73, graduated from Westmont and heads the business department at Vanguard University, a Christian college in Costa Mesa, Calif. His daughter, Emily ’02, is in David’s class, and his son, Aaron, may transfer in next semester.
Karen’s sister and brother-in-law, Sharon and Ray Brookshire, former missionaries with Youth with a Mission, have sent their two daughters to Westmont: Laura ’99 (see page 31) and Anna ’03. Their son, Ben, who is in remission from leukemia after a bone-marrow transplant, will enroll at Westmont in the fall. One year, a total of four cousins attended Westmont.
Ben is not the only cousin facing special challenges: the Moderow’s older son, Michael, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a 1996 automobile accident. Told he would be a quadriplegic, he has fought back slowly and determinedly, relearning how to walk and talk. He lives in California near his uncle and his cousins and is gaining independence.
“Michael’s therapy and recovery have been a concerted family effort,” Joe explains.
The Moderows have been actively involved in traumatic brain injury organizations, and a grant from UPS, Joe’s employer, will fund a virtual resource center for traumatic brain injury patients and their families.
Joe began his career with UPS in 1968 and is senior vice president and general counsel for the company. He oversees legal functions, government affairs and public relations.
Karen, a freelance writer and speaker, has published, “The Parting: Celebrate a Life by Planning a Meaningful, Creative Funeral.” Her articles appear in magazines such as Leadership and Moody Monthly. A second book, about her relationship with her grandfather, a Texas cowboy, is with an agent.
The Moderows like the way Westmont involves parents and helps students make the transition from dependence to independence. “College-age kids need guidance, which is not always acknowledged,” Karen notes. “These years can be tough, and we appreciate the support David has received from faculty.”
Communal support is something the Moderows understand well. They’ve helped their nieces and nephews with tuition, and the whole family has helped them care for Michael. As the cousins graduate, Joe and Karen expect them to find that kind of family support from fellow Westmont alums.