Westmont Magazine Walking Through Westmont with St. Augustine

Each year, Westmont enrolls about 60 Augustinian Scholars, who receive significant annual awards (up to 85 percent of tuition) and take honors classes and seminars through the Augustinian Scholars Program. They begin by exploring Augustine and the Christian intellectual tradition and the idea of scholarship as a Christian calling, learning that pursuing truth involves a lifelong journey that shapes their faith and life. They investigate how to understand and serve society — churches, families, neighborhoods, politics and more — and become faithful citizens. The demanding yet stimulating curriculum features classical and contemporary readings, writing assignments, discussions, guest lectures, external activities and opportunities for spiritual formation.

Augustinian Students

In their second and third years, Augustinians enroll in one or more one-unit honors seminars on a range of topics, such as good stories, vocational calling, interpersonal relationships, the church, stewardship and encountering creation. They deepen their ongoing connection and intellectual fellowship within the program while gaining opportunities for spiritual formation, service and preparation to launch well from college. The program gives them flexibility to pursue diverse majors, off-campus programs, athletics, arts activities and other initiatives.

Dr. James Taylor, philosophy
James Taylor

To end their college career, the scholars share a capstone experience that provides sustained reflection on themes they’ve explored as Augustinians, deepens their walk with God, and encourages them to continue growing in all areas of their lives after they graduate from Westmont.

Jesse Covington, professor of political science, directs the program. “We aim to challenge, support and connect academically gifted students, helping them faithfully cultivate the gifts that God has given them and working to prepare them to invest these gifts faithfully in the world,” he says. “The program is explicitly oriented toward Christian formation — believing that the life of the mind in pursuit of truth is inescapably tied to the life of faith and the pursuit of the One who is truth. We focus our efforts on faithfulness: answering God’s call to steward our gifts well wherever that may take us.”

How well does the program achieve its goals? What impact does the Augustinian Scholars Program make on the students who participate? Read what current and alumni Augustinians say about their experiences. Do you know a high school student who may be interested in the program? Share this story with them.

Phoebe Lu

Meeting Inspiring Voices

As I’ve read through each historic book, engaged in each invigorating discussion, and explored each critical question, the Augustinian Scholars Program has played one of the most formative roles in my intellectual and spiritual development. Perhaps I am most grateful for the voices it has introduced me to, such as Teresa of Ávila, James K. A. Smith, Blaise Pascal, the persecuted church and of course St. Augustine, which continue to inform my life beyond classroom walls.

Phoebe Lu ’23

George Mathen

Scaling a Steep Learning Curve

This program is a testimony to God’s goodness in my life. I came to college desiring growth in my interpersonal connections and my professional aspirations — and God brought me here to integrate and deepen my intellectual and spiritual desires. I had never taken a philosophy or theology class, and the Augustinian Scholars Program was a steep learning curve. However, going through the rigorous program with other students allowed me to forge great friendships and also understand my interests at a deeper level. The program set a foundational tone for how I make sense of myself and pursue a meaningful life with God. I am now in medical school and still revisit some of the topics and stay in touch with people from the program. Those four years together were an eye-opening, fruitful and humbling experience of intellectual inquiry and spiritual formation. I feel lucky for how generously the program has invested in me and my future.

George Mathen ’20

Zion Shih

Encouraging One Another to Grow In Faith

As an Augustinian Scholar, I had the opportunity to practice the integration of faith and scholarly activities. Socratic seminars opened the floor for thoughtful reflection with classmates and professors alike, while heartfelt conversations continued at lunch tables and in dormitories. I understood more about what it means to live in a flourishing community and to live my best life not later, but now. What we studied allowed me to understand the world from multiple disciplines and perspectives. How wonderful that our musings and conversations surrounded our good and beautiful God so we could encourage one another to grow in understanding our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As a student of the Christian liberal arts in the medical profession, I am exceedingly grateful for our amazingly brilliant teachers, who encouraged me to examine the integration of the whole person. I am now equipped to share what it means to be a God-fearing physician-scientist who compassionately and faithfully serves her community for the glory of God.

Zion Shih ’21

Andrew Bradshaw

Addressing The Largest Questions in Life

In just one year of the Augustinian Scholars Program, my thought life has grown exponentially related to God’s agency, arguments for our faith in God and the significance of faith as a starting point to our journey in understanding our Creator. I better see how God speaks to us through stories and experiences. I have a deeper understanding of how God calls us to be loving members of a broader culture. The Augustinian program continues to address the largest questions I face and does so in an enlightening and constructive manner. My intellectual, spiritual and social life at Westmont and beyond have been deeply changed, and I’m sincerely grateful for this formation.

Andrew Bradshaw ’25

Rebecca Li

Seminars Offer a Breath Of Fresh Air

Entering the Augustinian program has been an unmistakable and utter gift. It has afforded me quality food for thought and led to some of the richest relationships I have ever cultivated. I am genuinely grateful for the proximity to my professors, who are approachable and deeply kind in addition to being seasoned and knowledgeable. The intimacy of Augustinian seminars (particularly the topical seminars in years two and three) feels like a breath of fresh air.

Rebecca Li ’24

Rachel Gorelik

Walking with Augustine During Difficult And Joyful Times

I wouldn’t be the same without Westmont and the Augustinian program, which made attending here possible. I wrestled through my biggest questions and fears and met God’s faithfulness through my wonderful professors, mentors and friends. Augustine walked alongside some of my most difficult times of doubt and most joyful moments of Jesus’ presence, offering challenge and comfort through “Confessions of St. Augustine.” The program, and Westmont as a whole, gave me the space and tools to seek after the hard answers I yearned for. As I embark on my journey in international medical missions, my Augustinian experience has equipped me to love the world humbly, share the gospel boldly and serve eagerly.

Rachel Gorelik ’22

Miles Ozorio

Living A Good Life Matters

Coming from a large public high school, I was apprehensive about being in a small community of Christians with high intellectual gifts and standards. In the Augustinian Scholars Program, I found a group of tight-knit, loving classmates who would push my intellectual capacities. I saw how Christians throughout history wrestled with the same questions I have. Deep friendships were born through thoughtful, intimate conversation and genuine involvement in each other’s lives. I’ve realized that intellect matters and so does living a good life. The program stresses intellectual flourishing as well as the embodiment of our faith. The program has been a testament to God's faithfulness in my life — his guiding hand leading me to a deeper relationship with him through professors, readings and friends.

Miles Ozorio ’25

Emma Hammond

Its Impact On Me Has Just Begun

In a world that often values new and upcoming ideas, I have engaged with ideas and truth that have stood the test of time thanks to the Augustinian Scholars Program. St. Augustine, Kierkegaard, Aquinas and C. S. Lewis have moved me and formed me into who I am today: a woman who strives for rightly ordered loves, believes faith and reason can be held together, and has truly come to know from St. Augustine that “our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” In our seminars we wrestled with deep questions of epistemology, being chosen by God and how the world’s brokenness and God’s sovereignty can coincide. These questions and conversations became prominent in D.C. meals, late-night couch conversations, and beach walks. Seeking truth has been fulfilling and meaningful, and the mentorship and wisdom of professors has been invaluable. I dare to say that the program’s impact on me has just begun.

Emma Hammond ’23

Alexander Rurik

Exploring Truth with an Incredible Community

Entering Westmont, I was beyond excited for the Augustinian program, and I was blown away by the caliber of students in my cohort and the character of those around me. I loved getting to know my classmates and professors while we engaged stimulating questions. As discussions in class turned into conversations with friends over dinner or in the dorms, I quickly learned how much I don’t know. I loved pursuing truth alongside an incredible community — it’s a truly humbling experience. I’ve forged meaningful relationships, wrestled with more unanswered questions than I’d like and discovered the richness of various Christian traditions. I’ve learned that success is not about the outcomes but how well you are faithful with what God grants you. I’ve found joy and freedom in reorienting my desires to better understand my gifts and calling so I can become a better friend and citizen of the Kingdom of God.

Alexander Rurik ’23