By Teri Bradford Rouse ’77, Senior Director of Alumni and Parent Relations
Twelve years ago, when my parents decided to retire and return to our hometown after 25 years in Washington, D.C., they found the perfect house just around the corner from the home we lived in during my high school years. It was a bit of déjà vu for me. Each time I drove by that house, it was as though nothing had changed, and yet I knew everything had changed. To this day, driving by my old house to get to my parent’s new home is a vivid reminder of where I’ve come from and where my journey has taken me.
It’s much the same as I sit in my office in Kerrwood Hall after having been away 10 years. I drive the same road to campus, park in the same lot, walk along the same beautiful pathway to Kerrwood Hall and climb the same stairs to my office. It’s as though nothing has changed, and yet I know that so much has changed.
I return to Westmont with a deep sense of purpose and enthusiasm. It’s here that the soil of my life grew more fertile for intimacy with Christ and thinking deeply about the world and my unique call in it. It’s here that the seeds of learning took root, helping me be a person of conviction while acting with compassion. It’s here I began to hold my beliefs in sweet tension with the complexities of the world, to ask the hard questions and to take the message of Christ into the world. It’s precisely because of these things that I find myself back in this familiar place with hopes and dreams to enhance that sense of purpose among our students, alumni and parents. Our world needs it, and I can think of no better group of individuals to carry on this mission than those who’ve been touched by Westmont.
As the new senior director of alumni and parent relations, I’m convinced I’m in the right place at the right time. I inherit a fine staff and a department set to serve. It’s exciting to continue in the great tradition of this office, to help advance Westmont in the coming years and to find meaningful ways to engage parents and alums in the inspired work of Westmont.
In these initial days, we’ve begun to think together about how our office might better reach parents and alumni. As I examine our opportunities, three avenues of exploration emerge: Westmont Without Walls, which will focus on the broader use of technology to connect parents and alums to each other and the mission of the college; Westmont Within, which seeks to create fun, meaningful opportunities and connections within the Westmont family; and Westmont Worldwide, which will allow our students, alums and parents to participate in Westmont’s global priorities and advance the college and the kingdom internationally.
I welcome your ideas, input and involvement as we develop these plans and seek ways to serve you. Please feel free to contact me anytime at email@example.com. This is such an exciting time to be at Westmont, and I want each and everyone of you to be a part of it!
Teri worked on the Westmont student life staff and served as the associate dean of students from 1981-1998. In the past 10 years she has held several positions in the Santa Barbara non-profit community, most recently as the executive director of the Youth and Family Services Branch of the Channel Islands YMCA