The Kathryne Beynon Foundation has been supporting student scholarships at Westmont since 1970, but one of its trustees has even earlier ties to the college.
During the 1960s, Robert D. Bannon, who helped set up the foundation in 1967, served as legal counsel for Ruth Kerr, Westmont’s principal founder, and her company, Kerr Glass Manufacturing.
Mrs. Kerr retained his Los Angeles law firm, Johnson, Bannon, Wohlwend & Johnston, in the 1940s to repre-sent both her and Westmont.
“She was quite a lady,” Bannon recalls. “Her husband founded the company but died early, and she took over the company when her children were still quite young.
“Not only was she a very successful businesswoman but she was active in church affairs and charities, especially Westmont,” he adds. “She was a strong lady and was well-respected and well-liked. She was a very unique person.”
While Mrs. Kerr died in 1967, Bannon continued to represent the company until it went public.
He also advised Roger Voskuyl, then president of Westmont, when he had legal questions. Bannon recalls working on a bond offering for new buildings, consulting with fund-raiser Gordon Caswell on charitable gift issues and advising Voskuyl on personnel policies.
Bannon is also well acquainted with trustee emeritus and longtime board chairman Roy Johnston as well as current trustee Merlin Call, who is also an attorney.
Kathryne Beynon, one of Bannon’s clients, decided to leave her estate to charity as she had no family. She set up The Kathryne Beynon Foundation during her lifetime and asked Bannon and her investment broker to serve with her as trustees. When she died in 1971 the foundation’s assets totaled about $2 million. Thanks to careful management, they now exceed $8 million.
The current trustees include Bannon and his wife, Alexandra Laboutin Bannon, who are both attorneys specializing in trusts and estates with Anglea & Bannon in Pasadena, Calif. Bannon’s son Mel, a certified financial planner, and his daughter, Mary Ellen Lubow, a social worker with Los Angeles County, also serve on the board.
Focusing on child welfare from birth through college, the trustees believe in taking a proactive approach. They fund programs for children that will prevent damage, help them overcome obstacles such as lack of medical insurance and stop the cycle of child abuse. In addition to assisting asthmatic children through the Pasadena Community Asthma program, they support Hillsides Home for Children in Pasadena, which provides services for abused children. Gifts to the Boys and Girls Clubs, St. Anne’s Maternity Home, and the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation reflect the breadth of their interest in children.
The foundation also supports educational programs, including one at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. According to Bannon, scholarships at Westmont fit their interests. They have also made grants to Moorpark College and USC.
At Westmont, the foundation has set up the Kathryne Beynon Endowed Scholarship Fund, and each year a student with financial need receives significant assistance. The foundation continues to add to the value of the scholarship fund, helping students meet the obstacle of tuition.