Weekly Blog

Gergen Provides a Balanced Look at Presidential Leadership

On November 20, we welcomed political commentator David Gergen to Westmont. He delivered his timely and compelling remarks as part of our Mosher Center series, Moral and Ethical Leadership in American Society. He has assessed American presidents at the crossroads of political thought and life for nearly 50 years. In preparation for his visit, we read his New York Times … [more]

A Fascinating Conversation on Presidential Leadership

Last Friday, we enjoyed a great talk by Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power. He delivered the inaugural presentation in our year-long series, Moral and Ethical Leadership in the American Presidency, which launches our Mosher Center for Moral and Ethical Leadership. The Westmont Mosher Center will focus on three primary objectives: host national conversations … [more]

Finding the Peace and Presence of God in the Midst of Suffering

This past week, I traveled to Chicago to represent Westmont at the Christian College Consortium Presidents Colloquium. The 13 colleges in the consortium discussed the challenges facing Christian higher education in the 21st century. An unexpected joy was seeing Dave Green, a trustee at George Fox University in Oregon, a corporate law attorney with Stoel Rives in Portland, Ore., and … [more]

A Test of Character: How Athletic Competition Helps Us Grow

I was born and raised in Eugene, Ore., a college town where the epicenter of life always revolved around the University of Oregon. Most of what we did growing up involved going to plays, listening to orchestra concerts and attending sporting events at the U of O. My father loved the athletics while my mother loved the music and drama. … [more]

Revisiting Cannery Row and the Insights of John Steinbeck

This past weekend we visited Monterey for a Westmont event. I love the Monterey Peninsula. Its raw beauty, relaxed pace of life and natural encouragement to outdoor activities always captivate me. I first became conscious of Monterey while reading Cannery Row my senior year of high school. Ironically, I visited Cannery Row and the Monterey Peninsula for the first time … [more]

Neuroscience, Leadership, Tom Fikes and Chad Dreier

This past week in the seminar in executive leadership I co-teach, Professor Tom Fikes delivered a guest lecture and Chad Dreier made a presentation. A professor of psychology and neuroscience at Westmont, Tom heads our Center for Social Neuroscience. Chad is the retired chairman and CEO of Ryland Homes and a great friend to the college. Tom interpreted the brain … [more]

Celebrating Spring Sing and the Golden Eagle Awards and Remembering Pre

On March 30, we celebrated the 53rd consecutive Spring Sing, our longest running tradition. Incredible energy, skits, dazzling side acts and two fantastic emcees, Shanon Balram, assistant director of student life, and senior Sara Reinis, contributed to a great evening. I’m always amazed to witness the lengths to which our students go to tell a story and (usually) make a … [more]

Exploring Educational Options in Asia

Last week, I traveled to Singapore to explore our educational options in Asia. This city-state in the South China Sea has captured my imagination ever since I first visited in 2007. I traveled there to participate as a guest in the Forbes Global CEO Conference and to visit parents and alumni who’ve come to Westmont from this beautiful paradise. Since … [more]

Muhammad Yunus Urges Students to Tackle the Impossible

“I want to get inside your head,” Muhammad Yunus told senior James Sievers. One of four student panelists questioning the pioneer of microfinance at Convocation last Friday, James had asked him about his goals during the next five to 10 years. Dr. Yunus smiled broadly in response, saying he wants young people to see their power and use it today … [more]

“The Future of Education in America: the Conversation Continues”

Over the past month, I’ve attended the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) conference in Washington, D.C., participated in a conference on campus about MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and the liberal arts, and engaged various colleagues and friends at the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) International Forum in Los Angeles. All three events focused on … [more]

On Being Thankful

What an amazing adventure. I just returned from visiting our Westmont in Europe students, who are studying in Paris on the final leg of their semester abroad. Staying on the Left Bank, near the Sorbonne, they are visiting one of the most enchanting areas of an enchanting city. Walking their neighborhood, I immediately noticed the many bookstores that adorn every … [more]

What do I love about Westmont?

What do I love about Westmont? Everything. I answered this question recently and loved being able to respond so quickly and so emphatically. Yes, we have our challenges, but I believe there is no other college or university doing so many interesting things on such an intimate scale with such consistent impact. Let me give you just one great example. … [more]

Enjoying the First-Years, Looking at Life, and Understanding Empathy

Last evening I had the rare opportunity to stop and enjoy the successful start to another academic year. Now that we’ve reached our seventh year at Westmont, each one feels more and more like home to Pam and me. But last night was special. This year, I’m inviting every first-year student to my office by hosting a one-hour reception with … [more]

Patrick Steele: Making a Difference in West Africa

Last Friday, I had the privilege of meeting Patrick Steele, his wife, Carrie, and his son, Jack. I had traveled to Orange and San Diego counties on college business, and as I left San Diego late Friday afternoon, I decided to see if I could connect with Patrick, who lives in San Clemente. We had never met, but Patrick is well known … [more]

The Global Imperative: Understanding the Dynamics of a Global Economy

Seven years ago, when I met with the board of trustees to interview for my job, I cited various studies, which noted that by 2050, more than 400 million people would live in the United States, Christians would number three billion worldwide, and India and China would dominate the global economy. As we considered together the future of the world … [more]

Week of July 15-19, 2013

This past week I kept busy and active. Several appointments gave rise to great reflection on emerging developments at the college as well as one celebrity sighting. A weekend barbecue with the Young Alumni Association provided an opportunity to visit with this great group of individuals. And early mornings gave me time for some interesting reading. For the past year, … [more]


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