Westmont Magazine Graduating from Westmont into the World
The class of 2008 completes their college education amid celebration, pageantry and words of wisdom.
Gayle Beebe presided over his first Westmont Commencement as president of the college May 3, handing diplomas to 310 graduating students, 109 receiving honors.
David Gyertson, professor of leadership formation and renewal at Regent University in Virginia City, Va., gave the Commencement address, “The Challenge of Great Opportunities.” A senior fellow of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, Gyertson is past president at Taylor University (Indiana), Asbury College (Kentucky) and Regent University, where he now teaches.
“Class of 2008, as you leave Westmont, may you think transformationally, may you love courageously and may you serve sacrificially,” Gyertson said.
Beebe presented this year’s Westmont Medals to Christine and Robert Emmons, well known for their philanthropy and leadership in Santa Barbara. Together they have received the United Way Abercrombie Award for Community Excellence and the Santa Barbara News-Press Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Westmont Medal is given each year to recognize individuals in the community whose lives embody the principles associated with the Christian character of the college: integrity, service, compassion, responsibility, faithfulness, discipline and generosity.
Robert is a managing partner of Emmons Capital, an investment partnership, and has previously served as chairman and CEO of Smart & Final Inc. He is also an accomplished author and poet with seven books to his credit, including the critically acclaimed “Other Places Other Times” and “The Road to Paradise.”
“It is possible to have your value system guide you as you go through life,” Robert said.
Christine, a graduate of USC’s Marshall School of Business, was vice president of MacDonald Krieger & Boyer in Beverly Hills. She served as chairperson of the local chapter of Ninety-Nines Inc., an international women’s pilot organization, and she co-founded the Aviation Scholarship Fund for female pilots.
“Now that you’ve earned your wings you can soar to a bright future,” Christine said. “The sky is the limit. But remember the brightest stars are those who shine for the benefit of others.”
Past recipients of the Westmont Medal include Ardis Higgins, Lord Paul and Lady Leslie Ridley Tree, Larry Crandell, Penny Jenkins, Dr. Ramon Vidauri of Ensenada, Mexico, Anita Mackey, Stewart and Katherine Abercrombie, Betty Rosness, Peter MacDougall, Gerd Jordano, Robert Bryant and David Spainhour.
Anna Stumbo and Josh Ware won the Dean’s Awards, given to the outstanding male and female graduates who have demonstrated excellence in the classroom and contributed to an athletic team.
Josh Daneshforooz, co-founder of All Nations and editor-in-chief of the Horizon, Westmont’s student newspaper, won the Dave Dolan Award. The award honors the graduate who has responded to the needs of the community.
Geriece Jenkins and Matt Blickendorf won the Kenneth Monroe Awards for their leadership and impact on other students’ lives.
Nathan Welty won the Faculty Scholarship Award for graduating with a 4.0 GPA while double-majoring in chemistry and English.