Montecito neighbors Harold and Annette Simmons, whose primary residence is in Dallas, Texas, have given $1 million to Bright Hope for Tomorrow, Westmont’s campaign that provides funding for Adams Center for the Visual Arts, Winter Hall for Science and Mathematics, athletic fields, a new observatory and improvements required under the Master Plan.
“Westmont is a wonderful asset to our community, and the college does an excellent job preparing students to make a positive difference in the world,” the Simmons said.
In 2007, the Simmons gave $1 million toward funding the R. Anthony Askew Chair in Art and for student scholarships.
“Pam and I are delighted to know Harold and Annette Simmons,” says President Gayle D. Beebe. “We forged a special bond during the Tea Fire and remain so grateful for their presence in our community. They are two of the most gracious people you could ever meet and have done so much to advance the mission of Westmont. We are deeply grateful for their generosity.”
Mr. Simmons, one of the few self-made American billionaires, is the middle son of rural schoolteachers. He graduated from the University of Texas Austin in 1952 with a master’s degree in economics and a Phi Beta Kappa key. He has prospered as a brilliant and creative financier and now controls numerous companies, including five corporations listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Mrs. Simmons, born in Tyler, Texas, graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in education. The Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education Building at SMU bears her name. Mrs. Simmons is on the boards of Dallas Women’s Foundation, Parkland Memorial Hospital, Baylor Hospital and the Crystal Charity Ball, which benefits children and other organizations in Dallas.
Bright Hope for Tomorrow continues to gain momentum. Since April, Westmont has raised $8.5 million and gained new donors to the campaign. To date, the college has completed $70.5 million of the $102 million goal, leaving $31.5 million to raise.
During the fall, the college held events in Menlo Park, Calif., Seattle, San Diego, Portland, Ore., Dallas and Phoenix. In each city, the dinner was the largest Westmont gathering ever in the area. Committees of volunteers helped college staff members make the evenings successful and memorable.
In Seattle, guests dined under a tent at the Woodmark Hotel on the shores of Lake Washington with a dazzling view of the sun setting over the water (photo above). The dinner in Dallas took place in the Museum of Biblical Art, with a reception in the atrium that allowed guests to enjoy the artwork (right).
To read more about the Bright Hope for Tomorrow events, see the college’s web-site, www.westmont.edu/brighthope/events.