Westmont launched construction of its new $30 million Global Leadership Center at a groundbreaking ceremony May 5. Earlier in the day, the college announced completion of its campaign, Strength for Today, to fund initiatives and facilities advancing leadership, affordability and innovation. Originally set at $75 million, the campaign raised more than $153 million.
The Global Leadership Center, a 45,000 square-foot facility east of Van Kampen Hall, features two residence halls around the central leadership building with a large lounge, classroom, seminar room, office spaces, coffee shop and more.
“This facility will focus specifically on students coming home from their semester abroad, so they can consolidate their learning and take advantage of different leadership experiences and teachings,” said President Gayle D. Beebe. “These residential experiences and programs will prepare them to make a great contribution, not only serving in every sphere of society, but leading in every sphere of society.”
Trustee Ed Birch recalled the challenge before the board in 1999 when Westmont purchased the 3.4-acre Stackpoole property for a much needed residence hall.
“There is no better investment than this,” Birch said. “ There is no better place to work on the issues of leadership that we worry about, the development of people who can guide and lead our government, institutions of higher education and all that we’re about, and who can lead it with fundamental moral values, ethics and do the right things in the right ways.”
The new buildings will also be a comfortable home for the executive leadership training program on campus during the summer months.
Board Chair Peter Thorrington, who attended and participated in last year’s conference, Lead Where You Stand, said 117 of the 120 guests stayed in off-campus housing. “This new residence hall certainly would attract the clientele we are looking for,” he said.
During the school year, the two-story residence buildings will house 140 students in 70 rooms, each with a private bathroom. To maximize flexibility for students, each floor will have 800 square-foot kitchens with multiple cook stations, refrigerators and storage areas, allowing students to opt out of meal plans at the Dining Commons to cook their own food on site. The central location of all the kitchens and the adjacent lounges are intended to encourage community building.
“When finished, this facility will make good use of the beauty of this site and all that we see around us with the dozens of oak trees that will surround the buildings,” said Doug Jones, vice president for finance. “Walkways, patios, a tiered plaza and seating under the oaks will provide ample opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, whether those are moments of quiet solitude or as part of a lively dinner conversation.”
The Global Leadership Center is expected to open summer 2017.