Ed ’53 and Marilyn Bjorklund ’55 Hayes began their life together at Westmont, and they circled back to Santa Barbara in 1997 when he retired. They’d visited campus often; Ed joined the board of trustees in 1974 and served 30 years. Living in Santa Barbara allows them to participate in college activities such as athletics, music and art.
At Westmont, Ed majored in social science, developed a love for botany and prepared for ministry. After graduating, he completed a Master of Theology degree at Dallas Theological Seminary. He taught Christian education at Biola for four years before joining the faculty at Denver Seminary in 1961, where he became academic dean in 1973. Meanwhile, he earned a doctorate in higher education administration at the University of Denver. Succeeding fellow Westmont trustee Bill Gwinn as executive director of Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center in 1979, he led the organization for 13 years, raising significant resources and elevating the level of teaching. He returned to Denver Seminary as president from 1992-1997, helping it become one of the few evangelical seminaries that’s growing. He’s fully retired now, recognized as president emeritus and trustee emeritus.
Her love for music led Marilyn to enroll at Westmont. She put Ed through seminary and raised their three children (they also have six grandchildren). The family accountant and travel agent, she has planned their trips to 66 countries, a constant companion in Ed’s many activities.
The couple’s lives and experiences demonstrate the breadth of their learning and the influence of the liberal arts. Rows of leather-bound sketch books line their living-room shelves, full of Ed’s drawings of places they’ve visited. He has served as a docent at Lotusland for 13 years, interpreting its lush gardens for guests. An active scholar of renewal in the church, he wrote one of his books, “The Church,” after he retired.
Looking back, the Hayes appreciate the teaching of great professors, and they made a provision for Westmont in their estate plan, joining the Wallace Emerson Society as charter members. They describe the college as one of the major influences in their lives. “We received a quality education and want to make the same experience available to others.”