Published: Winter 2004 in Parents

A World of Interests

Their backgrounds and their interests give Peter and Monique Thorrington an international perspective. Although they grew up in South Africa, Peter was born in the United Kingdom and Monique was born in Greece.

The couple moved their business (international cargo) and their family to the United States shortly after the birth of their fourth child. When Peter retires this year, he plans to work with Opportunity International (OI), a ministry that provides small loans for people in underdeveloped countries throughout the world.

Monique supports Peter’s involvement with OI and traveled to Costa Rica to visit people getting loans. A core leader for Community Bible Study, she has long been involved with this international organization.

The Thorringtons’ daughters both graduated from USC, but Tanya has lived and worked in South Africa as a graphic designer and Paula is getting a doctorate in Spanish literature at UC Los Angeles. Their son John is a professional soccer player in England.

So it’s no surprise that Mark Thorrington ’04 participated in a Westmont Mayterm trip to Northern Ireland. Traveling with Professor Deborah Dunn, the students met with both Protestants and Catholics, including political prisoners, to learn more about the historic and tragic conflict in that country. “It was quite an education,” Peter says.

Like his brother, Mark plays soccer and spent four years on the Westmont team. Peter and Monique have watched a lot of games and come to campus as often as they can. “We take advantage of any excuse to go to Westmont,” Monique says.

Mark and his friends also visit the Thorringtons’ Palos Verdes, Calif., home. Once a year about 10-15 Westmont students spend a three-day weekend there.

“I can’t describe the joy and blessing those weekends have been,” Monique says. “The kids are so nice, so helpful and so fun.”

Now that college soccer has ended for Mark, he has taken up tennis and is playing on the varsity team. “Mark is a sports nut,” his father says. Peter himself runs about seven miles a day and plays golf weekly.

Mark will graduate in May with a degree in communication studies. After doing an internship with Allan Hopkins ’95, a Westmont alumnus who works for Fox Sports News, Mark is interested in sports broadcasting.

“The Christian environment at Westmont has been a great experience for Mark,” Monique says. “There is a wonderful Christian spirit in the school,” Peter adds. “Seeing the team pray before and after games is very special. For Christmas, Mark gave us copies of President Gaede’s books, and we enjoyed getting to know him through his books, which we really appreciated.”

The Thorringtons were happy when Mark chose Westmont on the recommendation of Johnny Marmelstein, his high school soccer coach. “I really value the fact that it is OK to be a Christian in the college environment,” Monique says. “Being a Christian is considered normal, not weird. It’s acceptable to ask God to guide you and to pray. Kids in college really care what their peers say, so it’s great for them to be in a Christian environment until they grow strong enough to be independent.”

According to Peter, Mark has found the academics at Westmont demanding. “He has worked hard and has gotten a lot out of his classes,” Peter says. “It’s been a wonderful blessing.”

“We’re glad that Westmont is interested in the whole person and in helping students be who God created them to be,” Monique says. “Mark has been so happy there and has made such firm friends. He has grown into a fine young man, and we are so grateful.”

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