$1.2 Million Given to Westmont, Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

January 28, 2003

Westmont and the Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse have received the first installment of a nearly $1.2 million bequest from the estate of Virginia Perle, which will be split evenly between the recipients.

A public lecture by the artists will be 3 p.m. Jan. 30, followed by the opening reception from 4-6 p.m., both in the Art Center. The show runs through March 7.

The exhibit includes images of Native American life and the environment in which Native Americans live. The objects and artifacts range from traditional baskets and blankets to rarer beaded pouches and carved pipe bowls.

Three contemporary artists supply the photographs. Raymond Reid grew up on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and New Mexico. After earning a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University, he has done clinical work and clinical research with American Indian children. Most of his photographs feature people, and his camera lens reveals much about their state of health, happiness or sickness.

Henry Weaver started developing photographs at the age of 8. After earning a doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of Delaware, he worked at colleges in the United States, Europe and South America. When he retired in 1991, he began to do professional photography, holding shows, publishing his works and producing greeting cards.

Mary Weaver graduated from Goshen College. A trained medical technologist, she worked in laboratories in the United States and abroad. She works with her husband on the line of greeting cards and has also held several shows.

The money will go toward scholarships for Westmont students with financial need and toward youth scholarships for drug and alcohol treatment at the Daniel Bryant Youth and Family Center in Santa Barbara.

“We are so grateful for this wonderful gift,” Westmont President Stan Gaede said. “The cost of a quality liberal arts education is high, and this bequest will enable us to help students who otherwise would not have been able to afford tuition.”

“We so appreciate this generous gift, which will ensure that no child who needs treatment has to be put on a waiting list or turned away,” said Penny Jenkins, president of the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. “There are more than 2,000 youngsters in the Santa Barbara area who need treatment. This will help provide the quality treatment they deserve.”

Perle, who died of pancreatic cancer in November 2001, said she was positively influenced by several experiences she had with the college and its representatives. She and her husband were supporters of the college's efforts to build faculty housing in the early 1990s.

Bob Bryant, of Bryant and Sons Ltd. Jewelers, knew Perle and was influential in her decision to leave her estate to Westmont and the council. Bryant is a member of the Westmont Foundation and is on the council's Fighting Back Board.

Bryant's efforts to establish the Daniel Bryant Center have been in memory of his son, who died of a drug overdose. Through community efforts led by Bryant, more than $1 million has been raised toward the center and scholarships for the youth it serves.

Perle's husband, Bert, died in 1998, and both of their children pre-deceased her. The Perles had owned an import/export business that focused on women's fashions.

For more information, contact the Westmont public affairs office, (805) 565-6051, or the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, (805) 963-1433.