Despite the distance of 50 years, the classes of 1960 and 2010 marched together at Commencement in May. The Golden Warriors (above) returned to campus toward the end of their careers; the graduating seniors were just embarking on theirs. The college, the culture and the world have all changed since 1960, yet these two groups of alumni share much in common.
Both classes attended Westmont during a time of major construction. The college completed Ruth Hubbard Memorial Music Building in 1957 and John Page Hall and the dining commons in 1959, the first new facilities ever built on campus. Work began late in 2008 on Adams Center for the Visual Arts, Winter Hall for Science and Mathematics, renovated athletic facilities — and on reconstruction from the Tea Fire.
In their reunion book, several Golden Warriors recalled the day in 1958 when President Roger Voskuyl announced that Westmont had won full accreditation. The class of 2010 also lived through a momentous event in college history: the Tea Fire November 13, 2008, that destroyed eight buildings, burned one-third of the campus, leveled 14 faculty homes, and displaced 18 professors, nine staff members and 62 students.
Until Westmont built sufficient residence halls, students lived in two former estates in Montecito (Emerson Hall on Ashley Road and what is now Casa Dorinda on Hot Springs Road), and the class of 1960 rode the Westmont bus to and from campus. Students today take the Westmont shuttle to college-owned Ocean View Apartments and downtown — and they can see shuttles’ exact location on their iPhones.
Fifty years from now, the graduating seniors may recall many of the things the Golden Warriors listed as their favorite Westmont memories: relationships with friends that have lasted a lifetime, professors and staff members who encouraged and believed in them, meaningful conversations, volunteer service work, the beauty of the campus, and “deep spiritual and intellectual infusion.” Other recollections are unique to the 1960s.
Many in the class of 2010 have lived three to a room, but none ever stayed in primitive Quonset huts like the Golden Warriors who resided in the “dorm” Q-ville.
Men in the class of 1960 stood outside women’s dorms in the evening and sang to them. The fact that women had to be in by 10 p.m. and men had no curfew made these serenades possible.
Could the senior class leave campus without any juniors catching them? That was the premise of the annual Senior Sneak, and the Golden Warriors escaped for a retreat at Lake Arrowhead. One alumna recalls singing “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” there.
Some 1960 graduates joined in the college’s first summer missions project. Lei O’Limas took students to Maui, where they held vacation Bible school and worked with Youth for Christ and local churches. A few decided to become missionaries. It’s likely some 2010 graduates will also embrace a career in missions, inspired by their own short-term experiences.