Category Archives: Feature

10 incentives for getting through fall finals

Westminster’s Reeves Library is a common study area for students during finals week.


Finals week. These dreaded words can make students shudder. It is safe to say no one looks forward to finals week. If you do, you just may be a professor. But, instead of throwing yourself in front of a car on your way to a final — which may seem like the best option — consider these incentives for getting through finals week.

1. Furry friends. You get to go home and see your beloved pet that you have missed all semester. Who doesn’t love animal cuddles?

2. Christmas cookies. Santa isn’t the only one who gets a sweet treat this Christmas season. “Treat yo’ self” — you deserve it.

3. Home-cooked meals. We all have to admit that nothing is better than a home cooked meal. Say goodbye to dining hall and hello to cooking done right.

4. Relaxation time. Forget walking miles around campus every day. You don’t have to leave your couch for like a month.

5. Freedom. You’ll be out of the class that you absolutely dread. There are some classes that seem to take what seems like six hours to get through or there are difficult classes that make you want to pull out your hair and develop ulcers. It will all be over soon.

6. Christmas movies. Freeform’s “25 Days of Christmas” schedule will be like your class schedule; you have to know when to tune in.

7. Binge-watching TV shows. You will have plenty of time to watch all 10 seasons of that show you have been wanting to watch for the past few months. If you are really dedicated, you can finish more than one show.

8. Family time. Sure, being away from home and somewhat “adulting” is nice, but coming home to see your family and get some quality bonding time is much needed.

9. Personal space. You get your own room, and you get to sleep in your own comfortable (possibly larger) bed. Even if you love your roommate, you need your time away. And, let’s be honest; he or she is probably getting on your nerves.

10. Christmas and New Year’s. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Bundle up, drink some hot chocolate, eat cookies, watch movies, spend time with loved ones, and be merry. On New Year’s Eve, make a resolution that you may or may not follow through with. Cheers to a great 2018.

Good luck on what may feel like the worst week ever. You can do it.

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.

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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Students debate whether Trump should be impeached

Christian Payne speaks in Hermann Lounge on Friday, Oct. 6. Payne argued there are currently no grounds on which to impeach Trump. PHOTO COURTESY OF JOSEPH OPOKU.


Four first-year students and Westminster Debating Society members debated in front of a crowd of students in Hermann Lounge on Friday, Oct. 6, whether U.S. President Donald Trump should be impeached. Jesse Calvert and Ian Meyer argued that Trump should be impeached immediately, while Christian Payne and Joshua Danbury-Nolan asserted that there are no grounds on which to impeach Trump at this point in time.

Each side of the debate had five minutes to give an opening statement, three minutes to cross-examine the opposition, 30 seconds to respond to the cross-examination, three minutes to make a rebuttal and two minutes to give closing remarks. Debating Society Faculty Adviser Dr. Kali Wright-Smith moderated the discussion.

Impeachment refers to the passing of formal legal charges against a government officer by the House of Representatives. If a simple majority of representatives agree to impeach the officer, the officer is tried by the Senate and removed from office if found guilty in a two-thirds majority vote. The U.S. Constitution states that officers may be impeached for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Calvert gave the opening statement for the affirmative side. He said that the impeachment of Trump would be “beneficial and just.”


Students listen as Calvert presents the case for Trump’s immediate impeachment. PHOTO COURTESY OF JOSEPH OPOKU.

Calvert said that Trump has been accused of seven different impeachable offenses, including colluding with Russian officials to boost his presidential campaign and obstructing justice in a resulting investigation of the alleged collusion. On the latter point, Calvert specifically referenced Trump’s dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey, who was involved in the investigation.

“Trump is abusing his powers to avoid impeachment,” Calvert stated. “As college students, we cannot prove that Trump has committed all of these crimes, but we can prove that he doesn’t want the truth found out.”

When asked by Danbury-Nolan in cross-examination how advocating Trump’s impeachment is fair when it is unclear whether Trump has actually committed any impeachable offenses, Calvert replied that impeachment and the subsequent trial would allow for clarity.

“As college students, we cannot prove that Trump has committed all of these crimes, but we can prove that he doesn’t want the truth found out.” — Jesse Calvert

Payne delivered his team’s opening statements. He explained that he and Danbury-Nolan, both students from the University of Winchester, do not necessarily believe that Trump should never be impeached, rather that he should not be impeached now. In fact, they said that they do not fully support Trump’s policies and joked about being glad to be going back to the United Kingdom after the end of the semester.

Regardless, Payne said that impeachment should be delayed at least until special counsel Robert Mueller finishes investigating Trump’s alleged affairs with Russia, or until any other evidence of impeachable crimes committed by Trump can be collected.

“We are asking you for one thing,” Payne said. “Time.”

Payne added that Trump has the right to fire officials such as Comey and that Comey’s dismissal does not constitute obstruction of justice, per se.

“We are asking you for one thing,” Payne said. “Time.”

Calvert objected in his cross-examination of Payne that a vote of impeachment does not require extensive evidence.

Payne agreed but pointed out that several political commentators called for former president Barack Obama to be impeached when he was in office. Payne cited an article from the Atlantic that summarizes potential grounds for the impeachment of Obama laid out by reporter Aaron Klein in a 2013 book. In the book, Klein questions whether Obama bypassed Congress in passing his healthcare plan and immigration policy, whether National Security surveillance monitoring under Obama was legal or ethical, and whether the Obama administration acted with integrity in Syria.

Payne said that these and similar arguments for Obama’s impeachment were ridiculous and that an impeachment of Trump on the day of the debate would be just as ridiculous as an impeachment of Obama during his presidency.

In the affirmative side’s rebuttal, Meyer claimed that there are reasons to impeach Trump now, and that although Trump had the right to fire Comey, the issue is not whether Trump had the right to do so but whether he should have done so.

Danbury-Nolan gave the rebuttal for the opposition, in which he declared that an immediate impeachment of Trump would violate Trump’s right to due process, as there is no evidence of any impeachable activity yet.

Calvert took the opportunity in his closing statement to criticize this point, restating that impeachment is only the first step in the process of the potential removal of an officer and that Trump would still receive a fair trial if he were impeached.

“They claim to care about due process, but we care about it a little more than they do, because we understand it,” he said.

Payne closed his team’s argument by telling the audience to “consider the consequences” of an imminent impeachment of Trump for the justice system.

“[Imminent] impeachment would lower the bar and weaponize the system,” he said.

Prior to the debate, students used the website Mentimeter to vote whether Trump should be impeached. Forty of 54 students (74 percent) voted “yes,” and 14 (26 percent) voted “no.”

After hearing both sides’ arguments, students voted again – a total of 53 this time. Thirty-two (60 percent) voted “yes,” while 21 (40 percent) voted no.

Bernie Sanders to speak at Westminster on Sept. 21


United States Senator Bernie Sanders will deliver the 2017 John Findley Green Foundation Lecture on campus later this month, according to an announcement made Friday by Dr. Carolyn Perry, Westminster acting president, and Dr. Kurt Jefferson, director of the Churchill Institute for Global Engagement.

Sanders was a candidate for the 2016 U.S. presidential election and is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history.

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Perry addresses Westminster’s presidential transition

Dr. Carolyn Perry was appointed acting president of Westminster College on Aug. 18, 2017, after having served as senior vice president and dean of faculty for five years. 


More than 50 student organization heads and members filed into Hermann Lounge on Friday, Aug. 18, in response to an invitation they received from recently appointed Acting President Dr. Carolyn Perry. Perry said that she would discuss and take questions pertaining to the leadership transition that students were informed of less than an hour earlier.

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Acting President Perry answers questions about leadership transition, Westminster’s future

Dr. Carolyn Perry listens to a student’s question in Hermann Lounge on Friday, Aug. 18. PHOTO BY JIM MALVEN.


On Friday, Aug. 18, Dr. Carolyn Perry, who earlier in the day had been named Westminster’s acting president, talked to students about the resignation of former president Dr. Benjamin Akande and the leadership transition that then ensued. Afterward, she answered students’ questions about the transition and the future of Westminster.

These questions and answers can be seen below. Please note that some have been edited for length or clarity.

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