by David K. Winter, President
It is always a very exciting time when a new academic year begins and we welcome back to campus 1,200 energetic and committed young men and women. They are a very impressive group, and being with them is so rewarding to each of us on the faculty and staff.
I am amazed at the range of wonderful activities available to our students. In fact, the main challenge many of them face is time management. There are simply far too many things to do, and so students are forced to discipline themselves in order to maintain their academic priorities.
Actually, I believe Westmont students achieve a rather good balance. Most of them are able to plunge into their studies and find great reward from what they are learning. In addition they are able to participate in various Christian ministries, volunteer service, and the development of those rich friendships that last a lifetime.
This issue of our magazine features the Potter’s Clay program. As most of you know, students developed this ministry some 20 years ago, and it is now most certainly one of the distinctive programs of the College. I don’t believe there is another college in the country with anything like it.
It is impressive enough that 450–500 students give up their spring break to work in the villages outside of Ensenada, Mexico. But even more, many students prepare for this throughout the year, and some of them travel down on weekends to maintain relations with the congregations in these villages.
None of this shows up on students’ transcripts, yet it is an important element in their learning. And that is true for so much of our total college program. In fact, it is hard to distinguish between the curricular and extra-curricular or co-curricular aspects of our program, for we want our students to experience their opportunities here as a whole.
As Christians we seek to learn about the world and ourselves as part of the process of developing our faith. In this sense, education is an act of worship. We want our graduates to be deep and broad in their learning, with a healthy and authentic personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Our goal is that students develop patterns during their four years at Westmont they can maintain throughout their lifetimes. We want our students to continue learning and growing and ministering all their lives. And we believe that what they learn in terms of time management and discipline here on campus will be a very important resource for them as they make future decisions about their jobs, their families, and their Christian service.
The college years are so significant. What a joy and privilege it is for Helene and me to become acquainted with such an outstanding group of young men and women. I sincerely hope that you sense some of the same reward from your involvement with the College.