For the first time, Westmont College will offer a free, live broadcast of commencement from the newly renovated Russell Carr Field at 10 a.m. Saturday. Viewers will be able to log in from the college Web site at www.westmont.edu.
The college, which introduced an iPhone application in April, has been streaming video of athletic events to computers this year.
Commencement will feature 330 graduates this year, 119 with honors. Among the students graduating with honors will be Colleen Atkinson, Westmont administrative assistant to the campus pastor and chapel coordinator for more than eight years. Atkinson has had a lifelong desire to complete the college education she began more than 40 years ago.
A father and daughter are graduating together as well this year. Salinas firefighter Shannon Patrick Bryant has completed a degree in economics and business at Westmont. His daughter, Amy, has earned a bachelor’s degree in history. Shannon, who is married to Lori (Holbrook) Bryant of the class of 1984, is the son of Robert Bryant, owner of Bryant & Sons Ltd. Jewelers, who received the Westmont Medal in 2007.
Michael Towbes, one of Santa Barbara’s leading philanthropists, will receive the Westmont Medal at commencement this year. Towbes, chairman of both The Towbes Group and Montecito Bank & Trust and chief financial officer of The Towbes Foundation, is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Princeton University who attended graduate school at MIT.
The Westmont Medal honors those whose lives embody the principles associated with the Judeo-Christian character of the college.
As a community leader, Towbes has served and chaired innumerable local nonprofit boards. He was president of the Santa Barbara Foundation and served on the board of Cottage Health System for 27 years, including five years as its chairman. He has made multimillion-dollar gifts to create The Granada and to ensure the continued presence of the classical music radio station KDB.
Richard Foster, author and founder of Renovaré, will present the commencement address, “The Humiliation of the Word in Our Day,” a title taken from Jacques Ellul’s The Humiliation of the Word. Foster, best known for his book Celebration of Discipline, co-authored Longing for God: Seven Paths of Spiritual Devotion with Westmont President Gayle Beebe.
Three Monroe Scholars will graduate: Elri ten Brink, a biology major from San Diego; Daniel Wendler, a double major in Spanish and economics and business from Carlsbad; and Andrea Owen, a Spanish major from Dallas, Texas. The Monroe Scholarship is a four-year, full-tuition scholarship offered to a few exceptionally high-achieving first-year students each year. It is the highest academic honor an incoming student may receive.
Commencement is free and open to the public. However, there is no parking available on campus. Guests will need to park their cars at SBCC and use Westmont’s free shuttle service to campus for the ceremony.
— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.