Monthly Archives: November 2017

Churchill biopic ‘Darkest Hour’ premieres at Westminster


An advance screening of “Darkest Hour,” a film about former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, was held at Westminster on Thursday, Oct. 26.

The event began with a reception at 5:30 p.m. inside the college’s National Churchill Museum. Staff, faculty, students, alumni and museum donors known as Churchill fellows mingled and enjoyed refreshments prior to the showing of the film. Fresh Ideas provided hors d’oeuvres, and museum staff set up a wine bar and a root beer keg for the event. Outside, a red carpet led the way to the door, and spotlights lit up the night.

The film was shown inside the Church of St. Mary, the Virgin, Aldermanbury, located directly above the museum’s entrance. The church is able to seat about 180 people comfortably. An estimated 130 to 140 guests attended the event, according to Tyler Oberlag, manager of guest services and museum operations. Everyone was dressed in formal attire, and Churchill fellows donned gold medals hanging from red ribbons worn around their necks.

Darkest Hour

The church eventually filled up to near maximum capacity for the showing of the film. PHOTO BY MADISON INGRAM.

“Darkest Hour” is set in the early days of World War II, soon after Churchill had become prime minister. It focuses on Churchill’s struggle to decide between negotiating with Hitler or going to war. Playing the lead role as Winston Churchill is Gary Oldman, an English actor, filmmaker, musician and author. Oldman has been in many popular films, such as “The Dark Knight” (2008), “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012), “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004), and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (2011).

The Churchill family made frequent appearances at the movie set in London as the film was being produced. The director of the film, Joe Wright, had produced many motion pictures before “Darkest Hour.” His other works include “Pride & Prejudice” (2005), “Atonement” (2007), “Hanna” (2011) and “Pan” (2015).

National Churchill Museum Director and Chief Curator Tim Riley, who helped coordinate the “Darkest Hour” festivities at Westminster, said he had heard about the film about a year and a half ago. He then brought the film to Westminster by making a few calls to its producers, he said.

Museum staff members sold tickets to the event at $50 piece. Based on the estimated ticket sales, the event raised approximately $6,500 to $7,500 for the museum.

“This is a great event and a great fundraiser for the museum,” said Churchill Fellow Warren Hollrah, who graduated from Westminster in 1976 and worked in the museum from 1978-2000.

“Since 2000, the museum has changed a lot,” he said. “In 2006, $40 million was invested into renovations of the museum. It looks different.”

Thanks to donations from the Callaway County Tourism Board as well as Senior Churchill Fellow Phillip Baeckman, 50 students and faculty were able to attend the event cost free.

“Darkest Hour” will be released in theaters throughout the United States on Nov. 22.

Carolyn Perry, Westminster’s first female President, celebrated at Center for Faith and Service


On a cold, windy Tuesday afternoon, members of the Remley Women’s Center invited the Westminster Community into the cozy Center for Faith and Service building to help celebrate Dr. Carolyn Perry, Westminster’s first female president.

Having served as the college’s senior vice president since 2012 and dean of faculty since 2008, Perry assumed the role of acting president this August following the resignation of former president Dr. Benjamin Akande. In doing so, she ended an all-male streak of Westminster presidents dating back to 1855.

Now, with the selection of Dr. Fletcher Lamkin as the college’s next permanent president, Perry will soon return to her regular position. Remley’s Oct. 24 reception was held to commemorate Perry’s time as acting president and her overall contributions to the college.

On the day of the reception, the first room inside the Center for Faith and Service was filled with people of all ages. Students, professors, alumni and friends of Perry’s were present to celebrate, eating fruit and desserts, and hoping to get a few words with the guest of honor before they left. Perry positioned herself in the middle of the room, talking to anyone who wanted to chat with her.


Members of the Westminster community gathered to celebrate Perry being the college’s first female president. PHOTO COURTESY OF KHALED KHALILI.

When asked about her experience as acting president of Westminster College thus far, she explained that it has been a privilege to work in a community that is so tight-knit, loyal and committed. She said that this atmosphere has made her transition to the acting president’s position not only a less difficult process but also a fun, worthwhile experience.

She added that she was intrigued by the alteration of responsibilities that came with the change of positions and would continue to carry out those responsibilities if she remained acting president.

“I really enjoyed building the president’s team and making sure that they were supported well and worked together well,” she said. “So, I would want to continue making sure we’re all pulling together to make Westminster strong. I also really enjoy telling the story of Westminster, and I would have been happy to have had more opportunities to make Westminster’s successes known—especially among alumni and donors.”

However, Perry will, of course, be returning to her the senior vice president and dean of faculty position.

“I think the dean of faculty position might be the best one an administrator could have, because it focuses on hiring the best faculty, getting them the resources they need to do excellent work and supporting student academic endeavors,” she said. “There are plenty of headaches, as with any job, but I’m looking forward to getting back.”

Perry, who taught English for her first 17 years at Westminster and has been an adviser to Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society, and to the Remley Women’s Center, also said that her favorite moments at the college revolve around her tenure as dean of faculty.

One of her favorite memories is more of an image, she said, “a picture of a number of our younger female faculty together at the Women’s History Month Conference a few years back.” She added, “I remember thinking how brilliant and vibrant and strong our female faculty are, and I was so proud that I had played a role in recruiting them and helping them find their place at Westminster.”

Perry said that it may take time for her to readjust to her dean of faculty position; however, she added that she believes she can more be effective at her position once she does settle in, as she has gained valuable skills and insights from her brief yet historic stint as Westminster’s first female president.

Lamkin aims to maintain ‘incredible’ student experience, establish sustainable financial model

Dr. Fletcher Lamkin said he plans to attend many student events as the college’s next president. He is pictured here at the Blue Jays’ Oct. 28 football game with his wife, Cindy, (middle) and Lucy Kirby, wife of former Westminster Dean of Students Pat Kirby. PHOTO COURTESY OF PAT KIRBY.


Dr. Fletcher Lamkin, who served as the president of Westminster College from 2000-2007, was appointed by Board of Trustees to the same position last month. Lamkin is replacing Dr. Carolyn Perry, who has been the college’s acting president since Aug. 18, when then-president Dr. Benjamin Akande resigned.

Lamkin said that he does not intend to have an inauguration ceremony but plans to be fully transitioned into the presidency by Thanksgiving break.

On Oct. 28, Lamkin and his wife, Cindy, stopped by Westminster to watch the Blue Jays’ football game. During the game, the president-elect talked with The Columns about his return to Fulton and his plans for his second term at Westminster.

From 2008 until earlier this fall, Lamkin presided over three other institutions in three different states, most recently, at the University of West Virginia, Parkersburg.

“I had a great job where I was … but this is where my heart is,” he said. “When I had a chance to come back, and I found that the board had voted unanimously to bring me on, I was delighted.”

Lamkin said that his love for Westminster is due largely to the college’s “great” mission and the multidimensional student experience that it facilitates.

“The one thing that’s been enduring for 166 years is that incredible student experience that we have here that does more than just academic learning – it’s all about building character, building leadership, being a good citizen,” he said. “All those ingredients are still here. People ought to feel great about being at Westminster College.”

“I had a great job where I was … but this is where my heart is.”

Despite this strong student experience and everything positive the college has to offer in Lamkin’s view, fewer people are coming to Westminster. The college experienced enrollment growth during each of Lamkin’s eight years as president – and student population expanded by 26 percent overall during that period – but recently, enrollment has been declining. In fact, with a fall semester population of 766, as reported by Director of Institutional Research Sarah Parsons, the college now has fewer than 800 students for the first time since 2002-2003.

Lamkin proposed a few strategies for reversing this trend. First, he said that he has to analyze the school’s current enrollment strategy and see how recruitment personnel are being utilized.

From there, he said that he plans to advocate word-of-mouth recruiting.

“Students need to be talking this place up, faculty need to be talking this place up, and alums need to be talking this place up, as well as the administration and the actual enrollment representatives,” he said. “Enrollment is everybody’s job.”

Finally, Lamkin said that he will focus heavily on student retention, stating, “[Enrollment] is a combination of retaining the ones you have … and attracting new students.”

Lamkin explained that his retention strategy will consist of interacting with students – at Greek houses, SGA meetings and other events – as well as assessing the quality of academic programs, administrative support and on-campus housing.

If there are issues, we’re going to correct them, and if there are things that are good, then we’re going to sustain,” he said.

However, Lamkin said the college might not be in a financial position to adequately correct negatives or sustain positives.

“We don’t have, quite honestly, a sustainable financial model to support the terrific student experience that we have here,” he said, adding, “That’s my job as the president – to make sure that we have the resources we need to do the job that we’re trying to do here.”

He said that there are two steps in establishing a sustainable financial model: using resources efficiently and acquiring additional resources.

“Since the recession of 2008, middle-class families don’t have the disposable income that they used to have, so we need to keep the costs down,” Lamkin stated. “We do that through being very efficient in the way that we spend money and use resources and being sure that we support programs that have the most bang for the buck.”

In order to get more resources, Lamkin said that the college’s administration needs to form a “strategic plan” and then reach out to potential donors.

If there are issues, we’re going to correct them, and if there are things that are good, then we’re going to sustain.”

“We need to have our ‘I’s dotted and our ‘T’s crossed and make sure that we have developed a plan that makes a lot of sense and is supportable,” he said. “And, then, with that plan you go to the people, the donors of the college, and get them to appreciate what’s here and to believe in what we’re doing.”

Lamkin said that he hopes to ultimately raise the college’s endowment to $100 million. Based on the latest figures, this would be a jump of approximately $44 million.

During his first term at Westminster, Lamkin oversaw a capital campaign that raised $80 million, a record for private colleges of Westminster’s size in Missouri, according to Westminster News. $30 million of those funds went to the renovation of Coulter Science Center.

“My experience with the wonderful Blue Jay Nation is that if they believe, they will step up, and they will support this college,” Lamkin said.

Westminster students shadow non-profit organizations in Kansas City


Last month, several Westminster students traveled to Kansas City to participate in a Shadow Day hosted by Nonprofit Connect of the Kauffman Foundation. After the event, seniors said that they felt more secure about entering the workforce. Shadow Day provided students with a behind-the-scenes look into non-profit organizations and ignited their passion to work in this field.

Westminster senior Jordan Esry chose to shadow Unbound, an organization that serves poor communities around the globe. She described the day as an eye-opening experience.

“It was really inspiring to see how much people at Unbound cared about the work they were doing,” she said.

While Esry did not know much about non-profit organizations before the event, Shadow Day allowed her to learn about various aspects.

“Typically, I just think of nonprofit as the outreach, but shadowing showed me a larger picture of non-profits that I didn’t realize was so important,” she said adding, “It was very interesting to learn about the financials, public relations, and other areas I don’t always think about.”

“Typically, I just think of nonprofit as the outreach, but shadowing showed me a larger picture of non-profits that I didn’t realize was so important.” — Jordan Esry, ’18

Nathan Wilson, ’18, decided to learn more about Greek life. He shadowed Bob London, the national executive director of the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity.

Wilson said his experience allowed him to appreciate non-profit organizations more: “They are a business sector that tends to be misunderstood, and they do a lot of great work. I like how it is a way to pursue public policy and social work without going into the government.”

Both students described Shadow Day as a valuable experience and said they would encourage other college students to shadow as well.

“It is so much easier to learn about an organization when you’re actually talking with the people who work there,” Esry said. “Shadow Day helped me gain more insight about Unbound and the nonprofit sector in general.”

Wilson agreed that the event gave students a closer look at the non-profit world.

“It really helps you learn about the world you may enter and how to best position yourself after graduation,” he said.

“[Shadow Day] really helps you learn about the world you may enter and how to best position yourself after graduation.” — Nathan Wilson, ’18

Other students who participated in the event included: Melissa Buehner, John Lindstrom, Nick Hardeman, Kyle Kroll and Sandra Mondragon.

According to The Center for Career Development, Liz Icenogle, ’05, covered the registration fee for each student. For more information about working in nonprofit organizations, contact

Laundry 101: A how-to guide for Westminster freshmen

Laundry piles up in Sloss Hall laundry room as students do not retrieve their loads. PHOTO BY ALLIE KENNEBECK.


When a high school graduate makes the transition to college, one of the most popular questions the incoming freshman is asked is “Do you know how to do laundry?” This is usually followed up with an unsure response such as “I believe so” or “I hope so.”

Doing laundry is a basic lifelong skill that every college student must learn to master. As seen by some of the laundry rooms in the Quad, it is clear that many freshmen still have a lot to learn about how to do their laundry, or at least how to do so in the Quad’s communal facilities. The following tips can help students do laundry more effectively and more efficiently.

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