Looking back, Jan Thornton-Cheveres ’57 believes her time at Westmont set in motion important events in her life. “The high-quality academics, the deep friendships, the Christian values I formed, and the connections I made have created ripple effects throughout the years,” she says. “Since studying education at Westmont, learning and teaching have become my passion. I love Westmont because it was a turnaround time in my life. It gave me first steps I didn’t even know I was taking.”
Jan transferred after three years and graduated from Seattle Pacific University. She married and raised two children, but she struggled to find a calling in life and an outlet for her love of teaching.
Eventually she earned a master’s degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1980, hoping to lead small groups and teach Bible studies. She went to work for World Vision International and spent 17 years training staff members and developing their leadership skills. She traveled throughout the world giving seminars and workshops.
“I became especially fascinated by experiential learning,” she says. “I enjoyed thinking about how people grow individually and in groups. Leadership development has been a particular interest, especially in this age of deteriorating role models.”
Jan retired in 1997 and lives with her husband, Bob, a retired Air Force pilot, in Camarillo, Calif. She continues to be active in local churches, teaching neighborhood outreach programs to connect people to their neighbors, the church and God.
Jan has made a provision for Westmont in her estate and belongs to the Wallace Emerson Society. “It seems such a natural for Westmont to emphasize a leadership program to develop competent and courageous Christian leaders,” she says. “I can’t think of a better place to invest my resources than in developing young men and women for future leadership.
“My years at Westmont provided a lifelong foundation of ministry in education. I want to turn that blessing into opportunities for others to build their careers and lifestyles around the Lord Jesus Christ.”