Yearly Archives: 2008

Burned Couple Upgraded to Serious Condition

Recovery continues to be taken a day at a time, “sometimes a minute at a time,” according to Blanca Flor Benedict, the mother of Carla Hoffman, who, along with her husband, Lance, experienced the gravest of injuries related to the Tea Fire three weeks ago. The two received second- and third-degree burns as they tried to leave their home. The husband and wife’s status has been upgraded from critical to serious and both are scheduled for skin graft surgery later this week. Westmont College — a community that has also suffered greatly as a result of the fire — has also responded. Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and neighbors gathered Monday for an emotional chapel service of “Hope and Renewal.” more

Four Reasons to Harness the Healing Power of Poetry

For those who love the written word, poems are great life companions. We choose poetry as a means of expressing the depth of feeling in profound moments and to communicate our joys. In times of loss and sorrow, poetry can remind us of our shared humanity, and even help to make pain more bearable.

For poet and Westmont College English professor Paul Willis, as for many other Santa Barbarans, the Tea Fire has been a devastating episode, as well as a reminder of what’s most important in life. Along with his family home, Willis lost his extensive collection of poetry by area and contemporary writers. This Saturday evening, December 6, friends and colleagues will gather for a poetry reading and benefit for Willis and other Westmont faculty who lost their houses and belongings to the fire. The reading will take place at SBCC’s Fé Bland Auditorium at 8 p.m. Here are a few reasons to attend and take part in the healing power of poetry and people. more

"Glory of Christmas" to benefit Santa Barbara wildfire reflief

In response to last month’s devastating wildfires in Santa Barbara County, the Crystal Cathedral announced that a portion of the proceeds from the Sunday, December 7th and December 14th performances will be directed towards the reconstruction efforts of Westmont College. Tickets will be discounted to $20 each, with 50% of the performance proceeds earmarked for Westmont College. Ticket buyers must mention “Westmont College Relief” either by phone or in-person at the Crystal Cathedral box office to receive the special price. more

Westmont’s Pickle Tree, Spared in Fire, the Focus of Holiday Lighting

Westmont College’s famous 150-foot redwood known as the Pickle Tree survived the Tea Fire and will be the focus of attention at the seventh annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Kerrwood Lawn at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The event is free and open to the public. Warm apple cider, cookies and pickles will be available. Santa will be inside Kerrwood Hall posing for pictures with children who bring a canned good to donate to The Unity Shoppe, a local volunteer program that helps the needy in Santa Barbara. more


Westmont College will hold its annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Kerry Lawn tonight at 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. The campus’ famous 150-foot redwood affectionately known as the Pickle Tree survived the Tea Fire and will be the focus of attention at the event. more

Benefit set for professor who lost literature in fire

To the list of things lost in the Tea fire, add the library of contemporary poetry books and other volumes belonging to Paul Willis, an English professor at Westmont College. Willis’ home was one of 14 faculty residences destroyed last month when fire swept through the Montecito campus and neighboring areas, ultimately claiming 210 homes and causing millions of dollars in damage. more

Westmont keeps improbable postseason run alive : Warriors make Sargent's early goal stand up as they advance to national quarterfinals

It apparently doesn’t matter what kind of adversity gets thrown their way because the Warriors keep on winning. Sophomore forward Dan Sargent scored the only goal of the game in the eighth minute and goalkeeper Justin Etherton notched his eighth shutout of the season to send Westmont College to a 1-0 victory over Baker in the second round of the NAIA men’s soccer championship tournament Tuesday afternoon at Fresno Pacific University. more

Westmont College holds Service of Hope and Renewal as students return to class

Nearly 3 weeks after the Tea Fire claimed campus buildings and faculty homes, students returned to class Monday, after a Service of Hope and Renewal. video

'HOPE AND RENEWAL' : Westmont service recognizes efforts of firefighters

Nearly three weeks after the Tea Fire claimed eight Westmont College buildings and 15 faculty homes, students and community members who were tightly packed into the school gymnasium on Monday offered firefighters a standing ovation at what organizers called a Service of Hope and Renewal. On Nov. 13, about 800 students were evacuated into Murchison Gym because of the fire, but Monday — the day classes resumed — the building was stuffed to standing-room-only capacity with more than 2,000 people. The service included performances by the Westmont College Choir and Worship Team band, along with words from campus officials. more

Advent of an arts tradition: Gloucester artist at heart of Gordon festival

The work of Gloucester painter Bruce Herman merges contemporary art with faith — two terms not always used together. His newest work will be unveiled this week during the Advent Festival of the Arts at Gordon College in Wenham, where his exhibit celebrates the birth of Christ and honors his mother, Mary. Herman, a Gordon art professor for 24 years, plays a leading role in this expanded Advent celebration, which includes a panel discussion as well as the opening of his exhibition of the Virgin Mary.

After the show at Gordon College, the exhibit will travel to Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., then on to Italy, where it is slated to be installed at a monastery in Orvieto. more