Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, who has been deeply involved in the Santa Barbara community for more than two decades, has pledged $5 million to Bright Hope for Tomorrow: The Campaign for Westmont. The college made the announcement at its campaign kick-off dinner April 10 at the Santa Barbara Biltmore, beginning a nationwide tour to raise $40 million to finish funding the essential facilities under construction.
Ridley-Tree has given significant gifts over the years to Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara City College, Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara Zoo, Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Dream Foundation, Santa Barbara Symphony, Girls Inc. and the Community Kitchen, just to name a few. Art and education are Ridley-Tree’s greatest passions, and she has established more than 120 scholarships at different educational institutions, including Westmont, where she is also a member of the Westmont Music Council.
“Westmont does an exceptional job of sending men and women into the world to make it better,” Ridley-Tree says.
President Gayle D. Beebe describes Ridley-Tree as someone who has chosen to make a difference by investing generously in the lives of others. “Lady Ridley-Tree’s philanthropic efforts reflect an exceptional selflessness and love for the people who live in this community,” he says.
In 2003, Westmont honored Leslie and her late husband, Paul Ridley-Tree, with the Westmont Medal, which recognizes those in our community whose lives embody the very principles associated with the Christian character of the college: integrity, service, compassion, responsibility, faithfulness, discipline and generosity.
Westmont will hold about a dozen campaign events throughout the U.S. over the next year, meeting with alumni, parents and friends who support the college’s distinctive mission.
Beebe says Westmont’s holistic approach to education requires the best possible facilities for the 21st century with all the labs, equipment, studios and technology appropriate for classes ranging from the arts to the sciences. “The Bright Hope for Tomorrow campaign will provide well-designed places where students and faculty can flourish,” he says. “Adams Center for the Visual Arts, Winter Hall for Science and Mathematics, athletic fields and a new observatory will become essential tools for carrying out our mission of transforming students to serve globally.”
For more information about the campaign, please visit www.westmont.edu/brighthope.