Kim Kihlstrom, Westmont professor of computer science, died Dec. 12 at home following a long battle with cancer. She was 56. A memorial service will be held at Montecito Covenant Church Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 2:30 p.m.
She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University, where she met her husband, Ken, a physics professor at Westmont. They moved to Santa Barbara to join the Westmont faculty in 1984. She taught part time until 1999, when she earned a doctorate in computer engineering at UC Santa Barbara. She served as professor of computer science at Westmont for the past 14 years, winning the Teacher of the Year award for the Natural and Behavioral Sciences as well as the Faculty Research Award. She and Ken led Westmont’s Europe Semester twice.
The Westmont community celebrated Kim’s life and achievements at a retirement reception Nov. 8. “It was a great blessing to have Kim there,” says President Gayle D. Beebe. “We were able to express our appreciation and respect for the contribution she has made to Westmont, where she has touched hundreds of lives through her professional work and personal care and ministry. Kim vibrantly expressed her deep and abiding faith. From the moment Pam and I arrived at Westmont, she was a source of encouragement, wisdom and joy. Kim was one of the kindest and most considerate individuals we have ever known. We will always remember her as a person of remarkable intellect with a warm and gracious spirit and a caring and hospitable touch.”
Kim is survived by Ken, their three children, Kathy, Karen and Kevin, their son-in-law, Ryan Timpte, their daughter-in-law, Katie, as well as Kim’s mother, Virginia Potter, and her brother, Kris Potter, who both live in Medford, Ore.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kim Kihlstrom Computer Science Scholarship Endowment, which will be awarded to incoming students who have an interest in computer science.
Also, the college has established the Kim Kihlstrom Scholarship for Women in the Sciences, which will assist two incoming female students who have chosen to major in one of the natural and behavioral sciences. The Westmont Mathematics and Computer Science Department has named one of its top honors the Kim P. Kihlstrom Award. It will honor a graduating senior from the Computer Science program who has done outstanding coursework and research and contributed to the department’s community of learners.