Westmont Magazine One day in May
Three generations gathered at Commencement May 4 to celebrate their latest Westmont graduation. Kirsten White received her degree in English, with her parents, Steve ’76 and Sharon Gerlach ’78 White in the audience. Her grandparents, Harlan and Ruth Gerlach, graduated from Westmont in 1952 and marched in the procession with their granddaughter. A total of 17 Golden Warriors celebrated their 50th class reunion by participating in the ceremony, and 225 seniors graduated.
Chancellor David Winter, who served as president for 25 years, gave the Commencement address,“All You Really Need to Know.”
He passed on advice he heard in college: “Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.”
Reflecting on the sudden darkness he experienced when he lost his eyesight, Winter asked if the graduates were prepared for the difficult and challenging exams in life that come with no warning.
Three lessons from II Corinthians 12:7-10 have helped him deal with blindness, and he shared them with the graduates: learn to be content, find strength by acknowledging our weakness apart from God, and recognize His presence as the most important thing in our lives.
Winter concluded, “No matter what darkness I will face, and no matter what darkness you will face, we can have absolute confidence that in fact Jesus Christ will be with us, and indeed that is all we really need.”
Peter MacDougall, president of Santa Barbara City College, received the Westmont Medal for embodying the Christian principles associated with the college. Retiring after 21 years at City College, he has been a powerful and effective leader in higher education and in Santa Barbara.
“Peter cares deeply about education in the community and wants to connect students from all backgrounds and gifts with the education they need to go to the next step in life,” notes Westmont President Stan D. Gaede. “He has been an extraordinary member of the community and is one of the best-loved people in Santa Barbara.”
MacDougall has served on numerous community and state boards and organizations. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he earned a master’s degree in education from Rhode Island College and a doctorate in counselor education and college counseling from Penn State.
Three professors received the Bruce and Adaline Bare Outstanding Teacher Award: Frank Percival (biology), Russell Smelley (kinesiology) and Robert Wennberg (philosophy). Paige Johnson and Joe Stevick won the Dean’s Award as scholar-athletes. For her commitment to meeting social and spiritual needs, Abby Diepenbrock earned the Dave Dolan Award. The Faculty Scholarship Award, for the highest cumulative GPA, went to Daniel Koh. Chelsea Guillermo and Doni Waisanen received the Kenneth Monroe Award for their academic and leadership achievements.