Westmont Magazine Helping Students Get the Most Out of College
Bert '58 and Mona Brown
Bert Brown ’58 played the trumpet in the Westmont pep band, but he didn’t have time to sing in the choir. The need to work and pay for his education interfered with such activities. He has always loved music — he plays in two Long Beach community bands and at his church — and he wishes he could have been more involved at Westmont. In fact, he couldn’t afford more than three years and wasn’t able to graduate. He took a full-time job with a bus company in Santa Barbara when he and his wife, Mona, had the first of their three children.
So when the Browns received a bequest a few years ago, they used part of it to set up an endowed scholarship at Westmont. “We wanted to contribute to a student in the same situation as Bert: someone unable to take part in the full scope of college life because of finances,” Mona says. “We could give them the opportunity to do what Bert couldn’t.”
Establishing this scholarship qualified the Browns for membership in the Wallace Emerson Society. “We believe Christian education is important,” Bert says. “The public schools can’t replicate the foundation for life that Christian institutions provide. I wasn’t a believer when I arrived on campus, but through chapel, the instruction of teachers and Youth for Christ, I came to know the Lord.”
Shortly after the Watts riots in Los Angeles, Bert felt called to take a job as an examiner with the Department of Motor Vehicles in Compton, Calif., and he spent 14 years there. “I never had any problems,” he says. “I got along well with people on both sides of the counter and saw it as a kind of ministry. I couldn’t be evangelistic in a state office, but I kept a Bible on my desk, and it opened up a lot of discussions.” Bert spent the rest of his career with the DMV in Montebello and retired as an office manager.
To support his family, Bert moonlighted for 25 years with the Los Angeles school district as a driver’s training instructor and taught big-rig truck driving. Now he keeps busy at Grace Church in Paramount, where he oversees the music program, the board of deacons and the physical plant. “And I make sure he’s fed and rested so he can keep going,” Mona says.