After their daughter, Lindsey’s, first year at Westmont, Bruce and Cheryl Bickel say she is better off on campus than at home. “As part of their development, teen-agers need to get out of the house and start making decisions on their own,” explains Bruce. “There’s no better place for this than Westmont where people deeply care about students and encourage them to make the right choices in life.”
Despite the challenges of managing a rigorous academic program and living with relative strangers in the residence halls, Lindsey ’00 relished her first year of college. Her mom and dad appreciate Westmont so much they have agreed to serve on the Parents Council.
“Westmont approaches education as a ministry, which delights us,” Bruce states. “We love the commitment to help 18- to 22-year-olds become mature, competent people eager to serve Christ. We’ll do anything we can to support this mission.”
“The quality of the people and deep level of faith we see in the members of the Parents Council impress us,” Cheryl reports. “We expected all the parents to be Christians, but the unified focus on encouraging students to grow spiritually really excited us.”
Although Lindsey initially wanted to attend a big-name university, she changed her mind in favor of a Christian college with an excellent academic reputation. This stipulation led her straight to Westmont.
“Our daughter also wanted to make her own decisions in college and not be bound by a lot of rules and regulations,” Bruce notes. “For example, she has chosen to attend a church in Santa Barbara even though Westmont doesn’t require her to do so. The application and practice of her Christian faith away from home clearly comes from her own decisions, not from forced compliance. That’s what spiritual growth is all about.”
Bruce and Cheryl know that Westmont will challenge Lindsey academically while presenting a Christian world view. “We’re so glad professors allow students to question their faith, tackle the tough issues, and work out their own answers. By treating such searching with dignity, faculty free students to struggle with their doubts during the years they are surrounded by mature, knowledgeable Christians willing to talk seriously with them.”
“College students ask lots of questions, and we’re confident that Westmont will give the right answers,” Cheryl adds. “And when students seek ways to serve the Lord, the faculty encourage them to consider a wide range of professions. I like this recognition that we are all missionaries and that Jesus Christ is always the center of our lives whether we enter the ministry or pursue a profession.”
An attorney in Fresno, California, with a solo practice in estate planning, Bruce is the co-author of four books, including “Bruce and Stan’s Guide to God” (Harvest House, 1997). Describing this book as “a user-friendly approach to doctrine,” Bruce says that he and his friend, Stan Jantz, saw a need to present Christ clearly and understandably in the style of the “Computers for Dummies” books. They are now completing “Bruce and Stan’s Guide to the Bible.”
Lindsey plans to major in communication studies and minor in history. She applied for an internship at a local television station this summer and ended up as a camera operator on the evening news for the NBC-affiliate in Fresno. While she likes this job, she’ll be happy to resume her studies at Westmont in the fall.