Ben and Lauretta Patterson’s ties to Westmont go deeper than his 10 years as campus pastor. Two of their children and a daughter-in-law went to Westmont, and another son works on staff. As they’ve watched students graduate, embark on careers, marry and raise children, they’ve discovered the college shapes lives long after alumni leave campus.
“I love Westmont as a pastor and a parent,” Ben says. “After 10 years, I’m not jaded or underwhelmed, which speaks well for the college. I’m in the trenches, so I don’t have an idealized view.”
“Being close to students over the years means our ministry has expanded to young couples and families,” Lauretta says. She stayed home to raise their four children, and she’s been deeply involved at Westmont, discipling students, welcoming them into her home, meeting with women to pray for the college and leading a Bible study for friends of Westmont.
Ben served as a pastor for many years before becoming chaplain at Hope College in Michigan prior to joining the staff at Westmont in 2001. He has written numerous devotional books on prayer and scripture.
Their two oldest sons, Dan and Joel, attended Hope College, but Joel is director of music and worship at Westmont, leading the chapel band and discipling students. His wife, Erin Crumly Patterson ’05, is studying at Fuller Theological Seminary. They expect their first child in December. Dan and his wife, Leanne, have a 2-year-old son and will welcome their second child later this year. Andy ’05 studied English and is married to Mary. He has joined the business Dan founded, Santa Barbara Forge and Iron. “They make beautiful things and express their ideas in metal,” Ben says. “In the true liberal arts sense, their education and business are completely congruent.”
Daughter Mary ’06 majored in music, teaches at El Montecito School in Santa Barbara, sings in an ensemble, accompanies at Providence Hall High School and owns a piano studio. “Westmont helped her become a wonderful lay theologian,” Ben says.
Gratitude for Westmont has inspired Ben and Lauretta to set up a deferred gift annuity with the college. “Our kids flourished there,” she says. “Our lives are richer because of Westmont, and we want to give back.”