When a job needs to be done, Dick Archer steps forward. He says he has led successful businesses, boards, and fund-raising drives simply because no one else volunteered. A founding member of the Westmont Board of Advisors, he is taking a leading role in fund raising for the college. He believes in giving up to 25 percent of his time in service to others, and volunteering for Westmont fits with his commitment to Christian education.
After serving in the Navy at the end of World War II, Dick attended the University of Southern California on the G.I. Bill, and also sold insurance for his father. After graduating with a degree in business administration, he joined the family firm in Los Angeles and worked with the elder Archer until his death in 1959. Dick continued as president and CEO for 13 years, then sold the business to Frank B. Hall & Company, Inc., a firm listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Although he expected to remain in Southern California, he ended up as chairman and chief executive officer of Frank B. Hall & Company, Inc. Moving to New York City, he ran the company for over three years and spent half his time on the road. The pressure and demands of the position took their toll on his health, which led to his resignation as CEO.
“My failure to stay with the Hall job was the making of my life,” Dick relates. “I thought I was indestructible, but the pressure brought me to my knees. I returned to Los Angeles, looking for meaning in my life. Fortunately, I was surrounded by Christians, including my brother and sister-in-law, and I came to the Lord. From that time on, my life has been more fulfilled and more productive.”
He continued to work with Frank B. Hall as a consultant and general manager of the western division, and then became vice chairman of the board and later president of Emett & Chandler Companies, Inc., which was successfully merged and restructured into Jardine Insurance Brokers, Inc. Today he works as an independent consultant.
Over the years, he has served on many corporate and non-profit boards and has been actively involved in numerous professional and community organizations.
His commitment to service led Dick to join the board at Loyola Marymount Uni-versity, which he chaired for four and a half years. He also took on the task of raising money for a $5 million school at Calvary Church in Pacific Palisades and later helped the congregation with a $2.2 million expansion.
He considers all this “the Lord’s work,” adding, “the Lord puts you in these places and you just do what has to be done.” His wife, Jean, shares this commitment.
Dick became interested in Westmont when he moved to Santa Barbara. “There’s such a broad spectrum of needs in the world,” he notes. “You can’t meet them all; you need to pick your spot. I believe a successful society is an educated one, and we need leaders who are well prepared to face the future. Westmont has an added dimension; we also need people to evangelize the world, and Westmont graduates do that in all kinds of ways.”
Dick sees two challenges at Westmont: raising money and raising awareness of the school’s excellence. “I love the challenge of fund-raising; it yields great benefits for both the giver and the recipient. All the people I have persuaded to give have come back and thanked me for the rewards and satisfaction they have received.”