Westmont Magazine Letter from the President
Every year, we welcome more than 400 new students to Westmont. During their education, we prepare them for a lifetime of leadership and service in every sphere of modern society. In between their arrival and their graduation, they encounter a host of academic and co-curricular experiences animated by our core commitments to the twin rails of rigorous academics and deep love for God and the five planks of our mission statement: our liberal arts curriculum, our Christian identity, our residential campus, our undergraduate focus and our global outlook. These enduring commitments have guided every new generation of board members, administrators, faculty, staff and students as we’ve pursued the next horizon for the college.
From our founding, Ruth Kerr and President Wallace Emerson were determined that Westmont cut a distinct path in the field of higher education. Crafting a vision for the college that would simultaneously offer a rigorous academic program while cultivating a deep love for God, Dr. Emerson set us on a track of educational excellence that has endured to this day. Centuries earlier, St. Augustine articulated a philosophy of education that anticipated Westmont’s own commitments. Writing near the end of the 4th century, St. Augustine observed, “Usually even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions … this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now it is a disgraceful thing for an infidel to hear a Christian speaking nonsense … mistaken in fields which they themselves know well and therefore they become unwilling to read or hear about matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven because of our own apparent foolishness.”
How, then, do we craft an educational experience that prepares our graduates to lead and serve in every sphere of modern society while inspiring the admiration and confidence of all who inhabit the public square? We begin with our core and enduring commitments. In upcoming issues of the magazine, I will discuss each one of our five planks and how they guide all our programs and activities.