On two joyous days in May, Westmont celebrated two new buildings, officially dedicating Winter Hall for Science and Mathematics and Adams Center for the Visual Arts. President Gayle D. Beebe presided at both events, and grateful guests included trustees, donors, alumni, friends of the college, faculty, staff and students.
The festivities began with a moving ceremony for Winter Hall May 5, when the college honored President Emeritus David K. Winter and his wife, Helene. Former President Stan D. Gaede spoke briefly, noting the difficulties Westmont encountered in gaining approval for the building and the important role Winter played in the process.
“I’ve had some pretty good moments on this campus,” Gaede said, mentioning his engagement to his wife, Judy, at Voskuyl Chapel. “But this is one of the best. Something has happened here that is pretty close to a miracle, I’d say. Not too many years ago we were told that this would never happen, couldn’t happen, shouldn’t happen. And some pretty strong forces were assembled to make sure that this day would not come to pass. But it has nevertheless.”
“And today we gaze not only upon an extraordinary new science facility, but an entire campus renewed, refreshed, restored and redesigned for the purpose that it was given to us in the first place. And honestly, at this moment when I look around and see what has happened, about the only thing I can say is, thanks be to God. Because of this day I am deeply, deeply grateful.”
With Helene by his side, David Winter thanked everyone who had been involved with the project’s arduous approval. “Westmont has an extraordinary heritage and it’s not just this wonderful campus, it’s people, wonderful people who have made the college what it is today,” he said. “And this is the only way we can accept this honor — by you understanding that we are simply part of those people, some named and some unnamed, who had such a significant role in bringing this all about. Thanks be to God for those who have gone before us, for those who are here on campus today, and for those who will join the Westmont family in our future to carry on a sacred Westmont mission and heritage.”
Winter expressed special appreciation for his wife, Helene, who has helped and supported him in so many ways since he lost his vision. The couple unveiled a life-sized bronze statue of themselves that stands outside the entrance to the building. Artists T.J. Dixon and James Nelson, who created the piece, were introduced at the ceremony. The Winters also cut a ribbon to officially open the Helene Winter Garden, where the statute stands amid the plants.
The next day, May 6, the Westmont community gathered again, this time on the Mosher Foundation Terrace to dedicate Adams Center. Many times the size of the old Westmont Art Center, the building provides spectacular studio space for drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, design and crafts as well as faculty offices, two general-use classrooms, a lecture hall with tiered seating, a computer graphics lab, a darkroom and the beautiful new Westmont Museum of Art.
Trustee Walter Hansen spoke passionately about the importance of the visual arts in a liberal arts curriculum, describing Adams Center as a place to play, to be human and to worship. “Now, right here at the center of campus we have a place of deep inner refreshment,” he said.
Trustee Chair Vince Nelson, Art Professor John Carlander and art major Julia Johnson led the crowd in a dedicatory prayer. Johnson, art faculty, and Trustee Roy Goble cut the ribbon leading to the studios, classrooms and offices. Trustee Patty Martin, Professor Emeritus Tony Askew, Westmont Museum of Art Director Judy Larson and Art Council President Mary Beth Vogelzang cut the ribbon leading to the museum.
“What a difference these two new facilities have made for our community and especially for our academic enterprise,” said President Gayle D. Beebe. “We celebrate the opening of these exceptional spaces. We wouldn’t be here today without the persistence of David Winter, Stan Gaede, staff members, trustees and the many friends who supported us with gifts and testimony. Thank you.”