Westmont Magazine Measuring the Miles Between a Father and His Daughter
Dan Lepse wasn’t prepared for his daughter, Sammy ’19, to attend Westmont. She turned down both his alma mater, the University of Washington, and his employer, Seattle Pacific University. Instead, she fell in love with Westmont when she visited with her mother, Tricia. Dan felt trepidation at his oldest child traveling so far from home for college. “All of my concerns evaporated during Orientation,” he wrote in a letter to President Gayle D. Beebe shortly before Sammy graduated. “The campus and location are beautiful, but it was your staff who won me over. Every speaker during Orientation was impressive, each of them sincere and eloquent in their own unique way.”
Dan and Tricia met staff members who welcomed them warmly and friendly fellow parents. “Some local parents even provided their phone numbers in case we needed them to help Sammy in any manner,” he said.
That weekend, Dan said he felt peace. “Westmont is where Sammy was supposed to be—where God wanted her to be,” he wrote. “Thanks so much to you and the staff for watching over her so capably during the last four years. Despite some daunting circumstances that occurred near the campus, you kept the students safe and informed parents frequently during those times.” Dan enclosed a check for $1,127. “The amount includes $1 for every mile between our home in northwest Seattle and the Westmont campus,” he said. He only visited twice: for Orientation and Parents Weekend. “In the absence of in-person contact, I committed to pray regularly for Sammy and the Westmont community,” he said. “I do this on my regular runs. Last May, I vowed to run the exact mileage between our home and Westmont beginning after your 2018 graduation ceremony and finishing before 2019 Commencement. I was a casual runner, so those 1,127 miles were by far the most I’ve run in a 365-day period. Thankfully, my body and determination held up despite using the driving distance when air miles would have been so much easier.” He completed the task with one week to spare.
“Sammy selected the college she was supposed to attend, and God blessed her for it,” Dan said. “Thank you again for not only safeguarding our daughter, but for challenging her academically and developing her into a more mature and godly woman.”