Westmont Magazine Trustees Name New President
When he visited campus as a candidate for president, Gayle D. Beebe elicited a warm response from faculty, staff and students. So it was entirely appropriate that Chancellor David K. Winter announced his appointment as Westmont’s eighth president on Valentine’s Day. Winter became emotional as he spoke about his regard for Beebe, who has served as president of Spring Arbor University in Michigan for seven years.
“Dr. Beebe is remarkably well suited for the presidency of Westmont,” Winter says. “He is bright and articulate, warm and relational, energetic and principled. I expect him to become deeply involved in the Santa Barbara community as well as with students, faculty and staff members at Westmont. We are excited about the future.”
If the scene at Westmont was jubilant, the atmosphere at Spring Arbor was somber when Beebe announced his decision to leave. Under his leadership, Spring Arbor was named a top-tier university of its kind by U.S. News & World Report in its most recent America’s Best Colleges and Universities publication. The Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities awarded the university its 2003 Racial Harmony Award for progress in the areas of diversity, racial harmony and reconciliation.
“After seven of the best years of our life at Spring Arbor University,” Beebe says, “Pam and I are honored and privileged to be selected as the next presidential couple at Westmont. We believe the college’s distinction and national profile will provide some incredible opportunities to make a life-changing, culture-influencing contribution to our world.”
Trustee Merlin W. Call chaired the presidential search and says the committee reviewed more than 200 resumes. “The appointment of Dr. Beebe ushers in the next generation of leadership for Westmont,” says Board Chairman Steve Stong. “He has a strong Christian faith, is a proven academic leader and has been deeply involved in the community surrounding the university. The board of trustees is thrilled to have this uniquely gifted man leading Westmont into the future.”
Beebe attended Westmont for a semester in 1980 while earning his bachelor’s degree at George Fox University in Oregon. He received master’s degrees in divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, in philoso-phy of religion and theology from Claremont Graduate University, and in business adminis-tration in strategic management from the Drucker School at Claremont Graduate University. He completed his doctorate in philosophy of religion and theology from CGU in 1997. Prior to leading Spring Arbor, Beebe served as dean of the graduate school of theology at Azusa Pacific University and held a faculty position there.
During Beebe’s tenure as president, Spring Arbor University experienced impressive growth, attracting a record number of students each year. The univer-sity also added 13 new academic programs, and the annual operating budget jumped from $27 to $49 million. Campus facilities expanded as well, with 174,000-new square-feet and renovations to 69,000-square-feet, costing close to $40 million. Beebe helped raise the money for this construction and secured $33 million in deferred giving.
“Even in a difficult time, Beebe brought renewed vision and growth to Spring Arbor University,” said an editorial in the Jackson Citizen Patriot newspaper.“Clearly this has been no run-of-the-mill presidency. . . . For the most part, Beebe’s tenure has been marked by a productive and progressive relationship with the university and the community.”
Beebe and his wife, Pam, have three children: Anna, Elizabeth and Ricky.