Westmont is naming its new museum in Adams Center for the Visual Arts the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art in honor of local philanthropist Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree. Ridley-Tree, a well-known Santa Barbara businesswoman and art connoisseur, has donated seven paintings by the famed 19th century French artist Camille Corot to the college, valued at $5 to $7 million.
“The naming of the museum recognizes Lady Ridley-Tree’s ongoing contribution to Westmont,” says President Gayle D. Beebe. “We are blessed to have her as a friend of the college and wanted to honor her selfless generosity to the community.”
In April 2010, Ridley-Tree donated $5 million to Bright Hope for Tomorrow, Westmont’s capital campaign for new facilities. In January 2011, she donated more than 750 art books to Westmont, worth more than $75,000.
Ridley-Tree has given significant gifts over the years to Music Academy of the West, Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara Zoo, Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Dream Foundation, Santa Barbara Symphony, Girls Inc. and the Community Kitchen, just to name a few. She has established more than 120 scholarships at different educational institutions, including Westmont, where she is also a member of the Westmont Music Council.
In 2003, Westmont honored Leslie and her late husband, Paul Ridley-Tree, with the Westmont Medal, which recognizes those in our community whose lives embody the very principles associated with the Christian character of the college: integrity, service, compassion, responsibility, faithfulness, discipline and generosity.