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Gayle Beebe: Officially Westmont’s Eighth President

Steve Forbes, College Community Herald Commitment to Well-Rounded Christian Education

Steve Forbes (L) with Westmont's Eighth President Gayle D. Beebe
Paul Wellman

After presiding over Westmont goings-on for close to a year, Gayle Beebe is official in his status as the Montecito college’s eighth president-and all with the blessings of two-time U.S. presidential candidate Steve Forbes. The inauguration ceremonies for the Eighth President of Westmont College, Gayle Beebe started off this morning at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort. Forbes, the editor in chief of Forbes magazine, began with a moving discussion on “Education and the Global Imperative.” Forbes emphasized the importance of imagination and innovation, saying, “Institutions liberate the human mind. Westmont creates a foundation for people to move ahead.” Forbes explained the term “globalization” in simple words by describing it as interacting with more people, globally and at home, maintaining a strong moral foundation in the process all the while. Forbes applied this to Westmont students. For the field of economics, he said, the word “innovation” was profound. Even Forbes himself claimed during his discussion that there are mundane topics in Economics. However, the creativity inherent to innovation is liberating and can be applied to any field of study.

Paul Wellman

After the initial ceremony at the DoubleTree, attendees were shuttled to the Westmont campus for the official Installation Ceremony. There, Beebe discussed his commitment to both academic excellence and a love for God. He presented facts from Harvard University about the positive role a small liberal arts college can play in a student’s life. “Liberal arts teaches us how to think, learn, and see the connections in life,” he said. Beebe also spoke about his “intellectual awakening” when he was a college student himself. At one point, Beebe described how he put down his copies of Sports Illustrated and started reading everything he could find about history, poetry, and many other enlightening academic matters he had previously ignored. However academic, Beebe also stressed the importance of having fun in a college setting. In all, Beebe echoed Forbes by stating the importance of exploring everything in college and allowing oneself to be innovative in any field of study.

After receiving an inauguration medal, Gayle Beebe prays with his family.

Sharon Lash, a close family friend of Beebe’s vouched for his positive impact on the school since he arrived last July. “Dr. Beebe is going to be a wonderful asset to Westmont and to the community. His love for the Lord will provide valuable moral and ethical standards that benefit Westmont in marvelous ways,” Lash said.

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