Published: Winter 1999 in Parents

An Emphasis on Excellence

With their son’s credentials as an honor student and president of his high school, Lee and Coraly Hanson encouraged him to apply to colleges such as Stanford and Duke— until Coraly met a Westmont parent.

“The only Christian college Erik had really considered was Wheaton,” she recalls. “Our impression of Westmont was completely wrong—we thought it didn’t measure up academically. I was surprised when a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) teaching leader told me her son attended Westmont and was getting an excellent education.”

Intrigued, the Hansons traveled from their home in Santa Cruz, Calif., to visit the campus. Impressed with the calibre of the professors they met, they especially appreciated Dr. Ken Kihlstrom, a physicist who did his doctoral work at Stanford. He convinced them that Westmont not only provides a strong academic program, but a well-rounded experience that promotes spiritual and personal growth as well.

This approach appealed to Erik ’99, and he decided to come to Westmont. According to his parents, the College has more than met his expectations. Elected to be student body president during his junior year, he attended a student leadership conference in Washington, D.C., and roomed with participants from Ivy League schools. “He came home and said those students weren’t getting the mentoring and personal development he values so much,” Lee explains. “He had no desire to trade places with them.”

The Hanson’s younger son, Scott ’01, also decided to come to Westmont after that first visit. Both Hansons major in economics and business, and Scott is designing his program with an emphasis in computers.

After they graduate, Erik and Scott intend to work in the family-owned business, Hanson Concrete Products, which Lee’s father founded in 1958. Scott has already designed a CD catalog and a web site for the company and plans to put the catalog on line next summer.

BSF leaders for more than 20 years, Lee and Coraly take a special interest in young people and team-taught a BSF class for single adults ages 18–35. They teach Bible studies at their home church, and Coraly speaks at women’s retreats and conferences statewide.

Last year, Coraly led a one-day retreat at Westmont on the theme “Contentment” for about 100 women students. She returned this year to offer a second retreat on “Hope” that drew about 200 women.

“The first year, young women opened their hearts and shared how competitive they felt toward each other, both socially and academically,” Coraly says. “In high school, they were at the top of their class, but not so at Westmont, and they felt pressured to compete. The retreat helped to bring them together.”

A concern for students led the Hansons to accept a position on the Westmont Parents Council. “We get to know a lot of students and intend to represent their interests and concerns,“ Coraly explains.

“We love Westmont and President Winter’s vision,” Lee notes. “His commitment to academic quality, training Christian leaders, and excellence in everything fits right into our family. We’re also impressed that he gives his home phone number to parents.”

The Hansons encourage parents and students with questions or concerns to contact them at 408-423-5088,, or

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