Highlights From the 2014 – 2015 Year
BY TIFFANY CRAWFORD, STEFANIE EGGLESTON, COURTNEY GALLAGHER, EVAN LEMASTER, AUSTIN MORRIS, SYDNEY SEXTON AND VERONICA TUTHILL
The 2014-2015 academic year brought new new changes and events, as well as many accomplishments to Westminster’s campus. Here is a look at some of this year’s highlights:
The Efficiency Fund
The Efficiency Fund, proposed by EcoHouse and ECoS, was officially passed at the February Board of Trustees meeting. As a result, a $15 charge per semester will be added to each student’s fee bill to create a pool of money totaling $10,000 to $15,000. This money will be used on environmentally friendly projects around campus, and Plant Operations and the Westminster College Green Council will choose which projects to pursue. The first proposed green project has been identified as retrofitting the overhead lights in Hunter Activity Center’s Maybee Gym with LED lights. With this project alone, Westminster College will save $31,661.85 over five years.
HLC Re-accreditation Process
Peer reviewers from the Higher Learning Commission, Westminster’s accreditor, visited Westminster in January to review the college’s adherence to their criteria for re-accreditation and to Federal Compliance standards. The reviewers considered Westminster’s written assurance argument, and in addition, interviewed faculty, staff, administrators, students, trustees and friends of the college during their visit. They have submitted a report and a series of recommendations about the college’s re-accreditation to the HLC governing bodies, which will provide a final determination about the accreditation status of the college over the next several months. While the reviewers noted that there were some areas of concern, the college will be re-accredited.
Business Program Receives ACBSP accreditation
After it was reviewed and approved by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs officially in January, Westminster became the only private school in mid-Missouri with an accredited business program. The ACBSP accreditation recognizes the quality of the program and places Westminster’s business program among the top in the country. Business professor, Dr. Bill Carner, said the accreditation signifies the value of the program, adding, “Students and parents will see it as a high quality program.” According to Dr. Carner, the accreditation signals to business institutions that Westminster business majors will be high quality graduates.
A Year of WOW
This academic year was deemed the “Year of WOW,” as the Westminster community celebrated the many contributions and achievements of WOWS, or Women of Westminster, in honor of the first female students admitted 35 years ago. The anniversary celebration began with the WOW Kick-Off in October. Throughout the 2014-2015 academic year, campus members were given the opportunity to send thank you notes to WOWs and attend the WOW-themed annual Leadership Conference. The culminating WOW event is the Weekend with the WOW Luncheon on April 25.
Dining Hall Revamp
April Showers bring the first changes to the Backer Dining Hall in three years. Interim Director of dining and catering, Kevin Owen, oversaw the repair of the ice cream machine and the redecorating of the food area of the dining hall. He also brought in new components to the Westminster dining experience. Some of these new additions include an herb garden, ice cream toppings, a bean station and a Healthy Shot station that serves teas and juices. Student responses to these improvements have been positive. Students can expect to see more changes next year, especially to JCI.
The Blue Jays are excelling in their respective sports. The women’s basketball team combined to have the highest GPA in SLIAC conference. On the track, there have been eight records broken this year by Brett Robertson, Michael Lutz, Logan Shoemaker, Daniel Lindaman and Anna Houston. Last but not least, baseball’s own Tyler Branneky was named to be on the national team of the week by d3baseball.com for April 6-12.
Freshman Class Profile
The Class of 2018, new to Westminster this year, consists of 220 students. Of these 220 students, 55 percent are male and 45 percent are female. There are 15 states and 27 countries represented in this group. Five percent of the new students are commuters. This year, Westminster also welcomed 65 new transfer students. One hundred percent of the new students received some type of Financial Aid. These new Blue Jays are ready to earn their wings!
Westminster College’s Literature Club held its first meeting on April 2. The Club was founded by seniors Jefferson Spears and Christian Jones, who are president and vice president, respectively. Dr. Nate Leonard is the Club’s faculty adviser. The club invites those who love media of any kind—including, but not limited to, novels, short stories, poetry, plays, movies, and even television shows—to express their love for this medium and have a discussion with the group. There has also been a writing group formed under the club for writers to bounce ideas off of each other, or to just be around friends who enjoy similar pastimes. The Literature Club will also provide its members with publishing opportunities for writers seeking to publish their work. On April 23, the club had a showing of the movie “The Importance of Being Earnest” to complement the play currently being shown on campus, and on April 30, it will help host a poetry reading in Reeves Library to celebrate Library Month.
Performing Arts Club
The Westminster Performing Arts Club has seen a dramatic increase in activity over the last two years. Members have performed in plays such as “Trojan Women” last spring, and this semester, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” which has its final performance in Champ Auditorium Saturday, April 25 at 8:00 p.m. Both productions were directed by Dr. Nate Leonard, who has just completed his second year as Assistant Professor of English. The also put on one-act comedies from David Ives’s collections during the last two fall semesters. Students in the club have participated in various activities on and off campus, including a variety of coffeehouses, CAB-sponsored activities, forum theater for social change, and an independent film set in Fulton called Monsters of Missouri. At present, the club is working on the formation of the Westminster Arts Association, spearheaded by Carrie Antoine, ’17, which will bring all artistic clubs together and increase the presence of the arts on campus.
Alpha Lambda Delta
The Westminster chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta, a national honor society for first-year students, was just chartered this past fall 2014 with members of the current junior class who, in their freshman year, would have qualified for membership in the society. Sophomores were then inducted this past winter, and 33 students in the current freshman class were inducted this spring. This brought the total up to 103 Westminster students inducted, starting with the class of 2016. In order to join, a student must have a GPA of at least 3.75 after their first semester of college and be in the top 20 percent of their class. The current officers are Madison Feldewerth, Sawyer Young, Sydney Sexton, Hannah Hunt, and Stefanie Eggleston.
This year, Westminster has welcomed numerous famous people to campus. The Symposium on Democracy brought musicians Moira Smiley and VOCO, Green Lecture speaker Bob Geldof, actor Andy Paris, photojournalist Sally Stapleton and producer Dale Bell. Missouri Representative Travis Fitzwater has been on campus for numerous events. The 50-year anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death brought Edwina and Duncan Sandys and British Ambassador to the United States, Sir Peter Westmacott. The C.S. Lewis Legacy lecture brought in Dr. Michael Ward, while The Women of Westminster Leadership Conference had Amanda Seales as this year’s keynote speaker. This year’s concert included The Madison Letter and Aaron Carter.
Since last May, the Study Abroad office has been very busy sending students around the world for their studies and service projects. Every summer, there are faculty-led summer courses, which are both international and domestic. Ten students participated in the World Health Empowerment Project (WHEP) in Belize, led by Dr. Mike Ampsoker; nine students participated in Medicos en Guatemala, led by Dr. Chris Halsey and Dr. Enrique Salas-Durazo; and six students participated in the East Africa Service Project led by Dr. Bob Hansen. In the U.S., nine students participated in Paleontology in the Badlands, led by Dr. David Schmidt. Eight students have taken part in the traditional Take A Friend Home program, one student independently studied abroad over the summer, and three students participated in the Projects for Peace. During the regular school year, 21 students studied abroad at international institutions and Semester at Sea.