Accolades from AICCU

by Jonathan A. Brown, President, AICCU

Charles Dickens made one visit to America in 1843. During his travels he visited a couple of colleges and offered an assessment on higher education that seems timely still.

“Whatever the defects of American Universities may be, they disseminate no prejudices; rear no bigots; dig up the buried ashes of no superstitions; never interpose between the people and their improvement; exclude no man because of his religious opinions; above all in their whole course of study and instruction recognize a world and a broad one too, lying beyond the college walls.”

The Dickens quote epitomizes the contributions that David has made to higher education at the campus, state and national levels.

You can start at the college level where he helped to lead in the growth of Westmont in terms of both size and quality. Anyone who has been on the campus can see the reflections of David’s leadership style. Westmont is a values-committed college. Not a place where values are imposed but where they are learned. In Spanish, students are formed, not taught; the verb includes more than courses and exams. That seems a good design for the Westmont model.

But David has also shared his gifts and vision on the broader stage. He has provided leadership in the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, where he served as chair of the Executive Committee; the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, where his contributions to quality and fabric of higher education are deep and wide; and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, where he served on the board. In each of those organizations he contributed to the fabric of American higher education. One of David’s most important traits has been to be able to get his colleagues to think about issues in different ways.

David has been a strong voice for the special role of Christian colleges. Perhaps that was most important in his role in thinking about the broader reaches of accreditation. Accreditation grew up as a way for colleges and universities to communicate with each other about quality. But as things grew, the roles and uses of accreditation expanded. David helped to redesign the mechanism that allows accrediting associations to work with each other and for the accrediting commissions to work with the federal government.

Perhaps the most special gift that David brings to any enterprise he engages in is not reflected in his CV — but that gift is no less important. David has been a wise mentor to many: students, faculty, association leaders and even an occasional politician. He knows how to listen; how to give advice; and most importantly from someone who worked with him in association work, to express thanks.

by William J. Moore, President Emeritus, AICCU

I am very honored and pleased to be one of David Winter’s former colleagues given the opportunity to share with the Westmont family some of the reasons why, as David retires, he is leaving behind a large throng of admirers well beyond the Westmont community.

I write from the perspective of the president of AICCU (1985-91). David was a member of the association’s Executive Committee for my entire tenure and served as chairman for two years. These were difficult years for the independent colleges. We were engaged with state authorities and the public segments in a prolonged process of review and revision of California’s Master Plan for Higher Education. Competition for scarce state resources (in our case exclusively for funding the Cal Grant program) was quite intense. Meetings with the leaders of UC and CSU, hearings before the Master Plan Review Commission and various Senate and Assembly committees were often difficult and tense. Yet, there was always one calm, steady, and sensible voice that stood out above the din —  a voice that won the respect even of our most testy adversaries. It was David Winter, of course. He had that winsome quality that got people to pay attention to his words and admire his intelligence and convictions, even when he was saying things some of them did not want to hear. These qualities, complemented by a good sense of humor, a warm smile, and a genuine ability to listen, made David Winter a strong and respected colleague of his fellow presidents, an outstanding leader of the independent sector throughout the state, and a valued authority on higher education public policy. Indeed, the work that David did on the review of the Master Plan was so respected that he was invited to be part of the official California delegation to the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) headquarters in Paris to present a report on higher education in California. It was a tough assignment, having to go to Paris, meet all those dignitaries, visit all those museums, and eat in all of those French restaurants. But David accepted his assignment and performed it well.

So, as David’s friends and associates in the Westmont family honor him for his accomplishments they should understand that his career achievements extend far beyond the boundaries of the Westmont community and the Santa Barbara region. The always modest and unassuming David Winter has left an impressive mark on the private sector of higher education in California, the United States, and even a think tank in Paris. God bless him.

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