About 400 people gathered at Westmont’s Global Leadership Center (GLC) to officially dedicate the central building and two surrounding residence halls on Oct. 13. The college, which celebrated its 80th year at Homecoming festivities during the weekend, developed the idea for the building about seven years ago following a 25-city listening tour led by President Gayle D. Beebe.
“One of the overwhelming themes we kept hearing was students would go away for their semester abroad, (we have an incredibly robust study-abroad program), and they would come back and get settled into the neighborhood and never live back on campus, reconnect with the college, or reengage campus life,” Beebe said. “That coincided with important conversations with local Santa Barbara community people who said things like, ‘I go to the Hoover Institute and get everything right of center. I go to the Aspen Institute and get everything left of center. I wish we had one organization in the world that would do values-driven leadership right down the middle.’
“This facility grew out of that idea. We began to pursue not just residence halls, but living-learning centers, places where students could live in community and where executives would feel comfortable enough and have the privacy they desire to do summer education.”
The new buildings will comfortably house, the Montecito Institute, Westmont’s executive leadership training program on campus during the summer months. It features 70 rooms in two residence halls, each with a private bathroom, and a central leadership building with a large lounge, classroom, seminar room, office spaces and a coffee shop. Each floor features 800-square-foot kitchens with multiple cook stations, refrigerators and storage. Through the Strength for Today Campaign, the college raised $34.1 million to build the facility and another $8.7 million to fund leadership programs associated with the center. In all, Westmont raised $155 million, supporting the endowment and scholarships as well as the GLC.
The GLC supports five programmatic initiatives: Mosher Center for Moral and Ethical Leadership, offering an undergraduate program focusing on juniors and seniors and providing baseline knowledge of the essentials of leadership while setting the context for producing truly effective leaders for the future; Eaton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, teaching capital entrepreneurship, which includes new business start-ups, as well as social entrepreneurship, which harnesses innovative solutions to solve enduring social problems; Hughes Center for Neuroscience and Leadership, applying cutting-edge discoveries in neuroscience to the essential competency of responding wisely to complex and challenging situations that require emotional intelligence; Goble Center for Global Learning, enhancing study-abroad programs that promote global education; and the Montecito Institute for Executive Education, providing intensive executive education for mid-level and senior executives and executive teams.
Edee Schulze, Westmont vice president of student life and dean of students, says the new building continues a vision that founder Ruth Kerr had 80 years ago: “That students would be prepared to enter any sphere of influence around the globe and make a difference, that Bible knowledge was important, deep love for God is critical, but they needed to be prepared with a vocabulary and mind that would take them into every sphere of work. So, this building will help us further our goal of the original vision that Ruth Kerr had: ‘Translating meaningful global experience into lifelong global engagement.’”
The event also featured speeches by Reed Sheard, vice president for college advancement and chief information officer; Doug Jones, vice president for finance; Ben Patterson, campus pastor; Robert J. Emmons, trustee of the Mosher Foundation; Roy Goble, Westmont trustee and alumnus; and Peter Thorrington, chair of the Westmont board of trustees. The Westmont Choir, directed by Michael Shasberger, Adams Professor of Music and Worship, sang “Carpenters of God” by Vijay Singh.
Following the ceremony, the crowd toured the new, 45,000-square-foot facility.
The Mosher Center’s series on Moral and Ethical Leadership in American Society welcomes Guy Kawasaki, renowned entrepreneur, to the GLC on Friday, Nov. 3. He will speak about “The Art of Innovation” during a luncheon. Tickets cost $75 per person and may be purchased online at westmont.edu/kawasaki.