Westmont College celebrated its Class of 2019 on a May gray Saturday morning with a commencement ceremony at Russell Carr Field on the Montecito campus.
Nearly 300 students participated in the ceremony, and 99 Westmont seniors graduated with honors, according to school officials.
The Class of 2019 includes four veterans who served in the military before attending Westmont, and the college’s first three Augustinian Scholars to graduate, school officials said.
Graduating students marched from Kerrwood Hall to the baseball field, led by professional bagpipers playing traditional music and faculty in academic regalia.
“We gather this morning to honor and celebrate the diligent labor and great accomplishments of today’s graduates,” Westmont President Gayle Beebe said in his opening remarks. “Families and friends have come from across the country and around the world to honor and celebrate you.
“Four years ago, you began the long and challenging journey of working to grow academically, spiritually, emotionally and socially,” he continued. “Today, we celebrate this wonderful accomplishment, and as you leave the field as Westmont graduates, you are ready to embark on a life as thoughtful scholars, faithful servants and faithful leaders.”
During the commencement ceremony, Beebe presented Westmont Medals to the Rev. Dr. Katherine Wiebe, as well as Laurie and Lindsay Parton.
Wiebe is a Christian pastoral psychotherapist. She founded and directs the Santa Barbara-based Institute for Collective Trauma and Growth, a network organization providing leaders with restorative strategies for personal and group growth after collective loss.
Westmont alumnus Lindsay Parton is principal of DJM, directing Southern California property acquisitions and overseeing all construction and development activities for the business. He was founder and chairman of Santa Barbara-based Parton & Edwards Construction, which developed a wide range of commercial, residential, institutional and public works projects.
He and his wife, Laurie, reside in Santa Barbara.
The Westmont Medal honors people who embody the principles associated with the character of the college. Past recipients include businessman and philanthropist Larry Crandell, Ginni and Chad Dreier, Christine and Robert Emmons, Anna and David Grotenhuis, philanthropist Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, and developer and Montecito Bank & Trust co-founder Michael Towbes.
The commencement speaker was Walter Hansen, a Westmont trustee since 2002 and professor emeritus of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena.
Beebe hosted a President’s Reception for the graduates and their guests following the ceremony. Baccalaureate was held on campus Friday night.
Those in attendance Saturday also were treated to performances by the Westmont Orchestra, directed by Michael Shasberger.
Westmont College, at 955 La Paz Road, is an interdenominational Christian liberal arts school that offers bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees in 26 liberal arts majors, 11 pre-professional programs, an elementary and secondary credential program, and up to 12 units for internships and practica.
— Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.