Few parents have been as involved at Westmont as James and Eleanor Allder. Not only do they have three daughters who are graduates, but they served as members of the Westmont Parents Council from 1984-1988. The couple continue to support the college as donors and have made a significant gift to the new building for the sciences included in the campaign.
Janet Allder Fredrickson ’83, the oldest daughter, led the way when she went to Westmont and majored in mathematics. Eleanor says she considered her first year here the “best of her life.”
“Her enthusiasm was contagious,” Eleanor laughs. “The other girls caught it!”
Anne Allder Kirkby ’85 spent two years at Harvey Mudd, but transferred to Westmont and majored in both physics and mathematics.
Margaret Allder Blue ’88 made it unanimous and chose chemistry as her major. A soccer player, she was a member of the team that won a national championship in 1985.
A retired engineer who worked for Aerospace Corp. in El Segundo, Calif., for many years, Jim earned a B.S. in physics at Caltech and a Ph.D. in engineering at UC Los Angeles.
He’s not sure if his daughters chose majors in mathematics and physics to follow in his footsteps — he suspects the excellent Westmont faculty members inspired their interest in the sciences.
“These professors — people like Russ Howell, David Neu, Ken Kihlstrom, Ray Rosentrater, and Allan Nishimura — are unusually caring, bright and wonderful people,” Eleanor adds.
After graduating from UC Los Angeles, Eleanor earned three different teaching credentials. Employed only before her daughters were born and later after they were grown, she worked with severely handicapped children. For her last few years, she supervised student teachers and interns at CSU Dominguez Hills.
All three daughters now have families. Janet and her husband, Brad Fredrickson ’80, live in Thousand Oaks where he has an insurance and financial planning business. She teaches mathematics at Oaks Christian High School in Westlake and cares for their three children, ages 4-13.
In addition to earning doctorates in physics at Caltech, Anne and her husband, David, are raising three children, ages 6, 4 and 2. David is finishing post-doctoral work in physics at Stanford University and will teach physics at UC Irvine.
Margaret and her husband, Paul Blue ’88, live in Phoenix, Ariz., with their newborn and 3-year-old sons. Paul works for the city of Phoenix in economic development and is finishing an M.B.A. at Arizona State University. Margaret is a part-time administrator at the Mayo Clinic.
The Allders believe in planting deep roots. They have lived in their Palos Verdes, Calif., home for 41 years and attend Rolling Hills Covenant Church. The entire family remains close and gathers for reunions — with all the grandchildren — several times a year.
They have roots at Westmont, too, and hope their gift will yield growth in the science program. “They need that new building,” Eleanor exclaims. “We’ve seen where they hold science classes, and they need it!”
“A good academic background is important, and I like the program at Westmont,” Jim says. “It offers a solid education in science and the professors have a Christian perspective. Better facilities will help students prepare for graduate school, which is important in the sciences.”
“If you want top-quality students, you need a top-quality campus — Quonset huts don’t do it,” Eleanor notes.
“We just have a soft spot in our heart for Westmont.”