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Westmont College Names New Art Museum after Leslie Ridley-Tree

Santa Barbara philanthropist donated paintings worth as much as $7 million from renowned French artist

Leslie Ridley-Tree
Leslie Ridley-Tree

Westmont College is naming its new museum in Adams Center for the Visual Arts the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art in honor of local philanthropist Leslie Ridley-Tree.

Ridley-Tree, a well-known Santa Barbara businesswoman and art connoisseur, has donated seven paintings by the famed 19th century French artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot to Westmont. The paintings are valued at $5 million to $7 million.

“The naming of the museum recognizes Lady Ridley-Tree’s ongoing contribution to Westmont,” said President Gayle 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 donated $5 million to Bright Hope for Tomorrow, Westmont’s capital campaign for new facilities. In January, she donated more than 750 art books, worth more than $75,000.

Ridley-Tree has given significant gifts over the years to Music Academy of the West, Cottage Health System, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, SBCC, Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, Dream Foundation, Santa Barbara Symphony, Girls Incorporated of Greater Santa Barbara 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 Ridley-Tree and her late husband, Paul Ridley-Tree, with the Westmont Medal, which recognizes those in our community whose lives embody the very principles associated with the Christian character of the college: integrity, service, compassion, responsibility, faithfulness, discipline and generosity.

Click here for more information on Westmont College. Connect with Westmont College on Facebook. Follow Westmont on Twitter: @WestmontNews.

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.

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