Westmont Magazine It's Now the Gaede Institute
The Institute for the Liberal Arts at Westmont Will Bear the Name of Its Founder
When he realized that some people at liberal arts colleges didn’t fully understand the meaning of liberal arts education, President Stan D. Gaede decided it was time to act. He worked with faculty and administrators to establish the Institute for the Liberal Arts at Westmont to explore and promote this approach to education.
In May, the board of trustees renamed it the Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts at Westmont to honor the outgoing president, who leaves office June 30. David Eaton, chair of the board of trustees, also announced that the college has completed funding its initial goal for the institute.
The liberal arts offer knowledge in a broad range of subjects as well as the flexible skills students need to succeed at work and in life, such as critical thinking, character development and communication.The annual Conversation on the Liberal Arts brings together administrators and faculty leaders from colleges and universities nationwide to explore challenges and opportunities facing liberal arts education.
“The institute will serve as a perpetual reminder to us and to future generations of this important legacy of the seventh president of Westmont College,” Eaton said. “We deeply appreciate his advocacy for the liberal arts and the national dialogue he has established.”
The institute is funded through a $2.18 million endowment. Last year, the Fletcher Jones Foundation gave $500,000 to endow the institute, the lead grant toward an initial $2 million goal. Subsequent grants came from another foundation in Southern California and from other friends and colleagues of the Gaedes and Westmont.
Grants and gifts from the Foundation for Independent Higher Education, the UPS National Venture Fund, Montecito Bank & Trust, and two friends of the college have established the Liberal Arts Ambassadors program. The ambassadors tell prospective students from underserved backgrounds that the benefits of a liberal arts education extend far beyond career preparation. Underserved students who attend liberal arts colleges are more likely to graduate than those who attend public schools.