Westmont Magazine Letting Children Become Grown-ups
New parents council members see westmont as a place where their son and daughter can grow up and own their faith
J.C. MacRae helps new medical device companies get out of the garage and into the stock listings. His wife, Anne, consults with a variety of organizations and ministries to help them develop strategy and leadership. When their son and daughter started applying to college, they had a lot of expertise to offer.
But the parents stepped back and let Scott ’09 and Lizzy ’11 take the lead in choosing schools. On his first visit to Westmont, Scott made his decision. The students and professors he met, the opportunities to learn about the Lord and to study abroad — and the ability to keep surfing — convinced him Westmont was the right place. “He was happy every day he was there,” Anne says.
Lizzy applied a lot of places, but hearing from students about their experiences led her to Westmont. When she enrolled, Scott was spending a semester in Spain, so she created her own life and circle of friends on campus. Lizzy is majoring in sociology and thinking about adding a minor; Scott graduated in May with degrees in economics and business and English.
Choosing a Christian college seemed natural for Scott and Lizzy as the MacRaes have long promoted the benefits of Christian education. They’ve filled leadership roles at Capistrano Valley Christian Schools, which their children attended, and J.C. helped establish Premiere Christian Education Group. This organization seeks to establish a group of non-denominational Christian schools in south Orange County where the couple live.
“Christian education is the answer to so many concerns and crises,” Anne says. “Some parents wonder about the value of expensive Christian institutions. But we wanted our children to own their faith and not adopt a version of ours or someone else’s. That’s an important objective for us, so we see Westmont and other Christian schools as a worthwhile investment. Our children are developing a worldview oriented to a Christian perspective that they can articulate and own.”
“We gauge how our kids are doing by meeting their friends,” J.C. says. “So we were happy to see Scott get involved with an impressive group of young men at Westmont.”
As new members of the Westmont Parents Council, J.C. and Anne volunteer to answer questions from prospective parents about their experience with Scott’s and Lizzy’s education. “We reply candidly and let God work in their hearts,” J.C. says.
“Students who go to Westmont don’t sacrifice academic quality,” J.C. adds. “It’s easy for them to meet friends and to get involved in activities that keep them busy and challenged. They don’t get lost at Westmont.”
Anne reassures parents that it’s normal for students to struggle as they make the transition to college. “Let them grow up,” she says. “Be their support system, but don’t fix everything for them; keep your hands off the wheel and let them navigate. They will be fine; Westmont has lots of resources and people to help them.”
Anne graduated from Biola University where she studied nursing and earned a master’s degree in organizational leadership. She will soon begin a doctorate in human and organizational development at Fielding Graduate University. Working for years as an emergency room nurse taught her to make quick and effective assessments and to care for people individually. “I’m most proud of being a nighttime, bedside nurse,” she says. The owner of CLD Consultants Inc., she draws on her nursing experience constantly in her work as an organizational consultant.
After attending UC Irvine, J.C. completed an MBA at CSU Fullerton. Entrepreneurial at heart, he has focused his career on transforming medical technology startups into strong and profitable companies. He serves as the chief financial officer for CoreValve Inc., which makes catheter-based heart valve replacements.
“We can see that Westmont was the best choice for our kids,” J.C. says. “We’ve been blessed by their decisions.”