Westmont Magazine Westmont Goes to Loma Linda
A group of alumni has established a Westmont community at Loma Linda University, where 23 graduates attend dental and medical school and other graduate and professional programs. With spouses and other local alumni, more than 30 Warriors reside in and around Loma Linda, a university town 153 miles southeast of Santa Barbara.
In October, Sean ’02 and Nicole Cook ’02 Hibbs hosted 22 alumni at the Second Annual Westmont Back-to-School BBQ. Such gatherings are common; the group turns out for any celebration: birthdays, holidays, housewarmings, showers, the end of exams. While the board games are fun, the ongoing support they provide each other draws them together. Many attend the same churches, Bible studies and community service projects.
“We have so much in common, it was natural for us to become a tight-knit group of friends,” says Amy Hamilton Mattox ’02, a second-year medical student. Not only do they share a common faith and alma mater, but many of these alumni are young married couples settling into new homes and rigorous graduate programs in the health sciences.
What leads so many Westmont graduates to Loma Linda? “I suspect that word has gotten back to Westmont that Loma Linda offers a good medical education in a Christian framework,” says Henry Lamberton, dean of student affairs at the medical school. “From visiting with Westmont students, I understand the atmosphere of our two campuses are similar in a number of ways.”
“I don’t believe there is any other medical school in the country besides LLU that integrates Christian faith into school life like Westmont does,” says Nicole Hibbs, a second-year medical student. “This morning I attended a weekly prayer meeting with some classmates to ask God’s blessing on our class and our upcoming national boards test.”
Westmont grads also say that they attend LLU because of its emphasis on missions and medical care for the whole person.
Loma Linda welcomes the Westmont influx. “Over the years, and as a group, Westmont graduates have seemed to me to be exceptionally positive, involved students and well-balanced Christians,” says Lamberton. “They have almost always performed well academically and clinically. They have made faith attractive by their own lives and presence on our campus.”
The graduates pictured above are: top row, from left to right: Michelle Chase Hoerth ’00, Ben Kronberg ’00, Jana Koop Wold ’01, Jeremy Wold ’01, Darin Johnson ’01, Kristy Hicks Johnson ’01, Laura Dray Pierce ’02, Jeff Pierce ’02; middle row: Sean Hibbs ’02, Matt Hoerth ’01, Indy Vallejos, Bekah Gregory Vallejos ’01, Brian Novy ’02, Brenda Navarrete Fleck ’02, Nicole Cook Hibbs ’02, Rob Hughes ’04; front row: Mary Easley Ritter ’02, Amy Hamilton Mattox ’02, Lane Mattox ’02, Terry Fleck ’02, Kristen Kleen Hughes ’04, Bethany Weiler Kronberg ’02.