Westmont Magazine Rath on the Rebound
Rath Shelton ’50, one of the most familiar names and endearing personalities in the Westmont community for over 30 years, suffered a stroke in early January. But like the Warrior basketball teams he has cheered on for decades, he is rebounding.
Rath came to Westmont as a World War II veteran, a married student, and a father. Majoring in sociology, he played in the infield for the baseball team, reported on sports for the “Horizon,” and served as a club president. Rath graduated in the spring of 1950 and that summer joined Westmont’s staff as director of alumni relations—the first of many important positions he held, including director of the alumni fund, director of the annual fund, and director of public relations. He also played a key role in student recruitment efforts for the Admissions Office, coached the Warrior baseball team, and represented Westmont in the community through his involvement in the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table and the Santa Barbara Advertising Council.
The Shelton family lives adjacent to Westmont’s campus, and students accustomed to dropping by (they were welcome anytime) remember Rath as a great storyteller and an understanding confidant. President David Winter remarks, “Rath and Peggy were close friends, and I have continued to enjoy Rath’s friendship since her death. Both held leadership positions here for many years, and Rath has been an important link to the college for hundreds of alumni. In fact, he probably knows more Westmont alums than any other person, many of whom still visit him when they come to Santa Barbara. Even now after his stroke, he is as engaging, cheerful, and positive as ever and tells no end of wonderful stories about Westmont’s history.”
Although retired, Rath has remained active at Westmont, serving as a founding committee member of the Warrior Hall of Fame and regularly attending basketball and baseball games. The Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table inducted him into its Hall of Fame last year for his continued involvement as a community member.