Published: Fall 2011 in College News

Museum Named for Lady Ridley-Tree

The Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art Honors the Philanthropist’s Generous Contributions to the College’s Visual Arts Program

Westmont has named its stunning new museum in Adams Center for the Visual Arts the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art in honor of local philanthropist Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree. A well-known Santa Barbara businesswoman and art connoisseur, she has donated seven paintings by the famed 19th-century French artist Camille Corot to the college, which are valued at $5 to $7 million.

“The naming of the museum recognizes Lady Ridley-Tree’s ongoing contribution to Westmont,” says President Gayle D. Beebe. “We are blessed to have her as a friend of the college and wanted to honor her selfless generosity to the community.”

In April 2010, Ridley-Tree contributed $5 million to Bright Hope for Tomorrow, Westmont’s successful capital campaign for new facilities. In January 2011, she gave about 750 art books to Westmont worth more than $75,000.

Ridley-Tree has made significant gifts over the years to the Music Academy of the West, Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara Zoo, Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Dream Foundation, Santa Barbara Symphony, Girls Inc. and the Community Kitchen, just to name a few. She has established more than 120 scholarships at different educational institutions, including Westmont, where she is also a member of the Westmont Music Council.

In 2003, Westmont honored Leslie and her late husband, Paul Ridley-Tree, with the Westmont Medal, which recognizes individuals whose lives embody the principles associated with the Christian character of the college: integrity, service, compassion, responsibility, faithfulness, discipline and generosity. Lady Ridley-Tree has blessed many on campus and in the Santa Barbara community with her gracious generosity.

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