Westmont will honor Howard Kootstra ’76, CEO and founder of Golden Empire Mortgage, and Shauna Niequist ’98, New York Times best-selling author, as Alumnus and Alumna of the Year during Homecoming 2018, Oct. 12-14. Dave Dettoni ’88, director of operations for Sudan Relief Fund, will receive the Global Service Award, and Alana Woodin ’10, educator at Orange Cove High School, has earned the Young Alumni Award. The college will present the awards at the All-Alumni Brunch on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 10 a.m. on Magnolia Lawn next to Westmont’s Voskuyl Library. Tickets, which cost $30 each, must be purchased online by Friday, Oct. 5. General admission to Homecoming costs $10 per adult and can be purchased online at westmont.edu/homecoming.
Kootstra, who worked in the lending industry for more than 35 years, serves on the Westmont Board of Advisers and is a member of Westmont’s Wallace Emerson Society. “Deeply rooted in his faith, Howard has built and grown an incredibly successful, values-driven company,” says Teri Bradford Rouse, senior director of alumni and parent relations.
Niequist, author of “Cold Tangerines,” “Bittersweet,” “Bread & Wine, Savor,” and “Present Over Perfect,” was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in a special program about “Faith and Perfectionism.” She graduated from Westmont 20 years ago, studying English and French literature. She and her husband, Aaron, live in Chicago with their sons, Henry and Mac.
Dettoni served in Germany with Transatlantische Stiftung für Afrika (TSA), promoting trans-Atlantic relations between the U.S., Germany and Africa. He was director of operations and outreach at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federal commission created by Congress to advise the president and Congress on policies to promote international religious freedom.
Woodin taught in Torreon, Mexico, where she earned the Teacher of the Year award, specializing in world and U.S. history, advising the Model United Nations group, and coordinating the student council. She now teaches in a rural Central California community and has won the Orange Cove Educator of the Year award. “Alana’s life exudes integrity and joy, allowing others to experience Christian principles,” Bradford Rouse says.
Niequist leads worship in chapel on Friday, Oct. 12, at 10:30 a.m. in the gym. Talks for the Heart and Mind features Niequist and Jeff Schloss, Westmont professor of biology, on Saturday, Oct. 13, at Porter Theatre. Niequist will be interviewed at 2:40 p.m., followed by Schloss, whose lecture, “All You Need is Love? New Scientific Findings on Love and Flourishing,” begins at 3:25 p.m.
The Riverside, featuring lead singer and guitarist Jake Jeanson ’13 and his wife, Lorien (Patmore) Jeanson ’14, on mandolin, will be the featured performer at the free, All-Alumni and Student Concert on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 7:15-10 p.m. in Murchison Gym.