Category Archives: News

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.

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

Senator Bernie Sanders delivers 58th annual Green Lecture

Sanders delivers the 58th annual John Findley Green Foundation Lecture inside Westminster’s Champ Auditorium on Sept. 21. Members of the Churchill Singers and select students and faculty members sat onstage during the speech. PHOTO BY JIM MALVEN.


U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., delivered the 58th annual John Findley Green Foundation Lecture at Westminster College on Sept. 21. Sanders is the longest-serving independent in U.S. Congressional history and ran for the Democratic party nomination in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Young conservative advocate promotes open, respectful dialogue in first event of 2017 Symposium

Dillon speaks in Hermann Lounge on Wednesday, Sept. 19. PHOTO COURTESY OF LONE CONSERVATIVE. 


Conservative journalist and political commentator Kassy Dillon spoke to an audience of Westminster students, faculty and board members on Wednesday, Sept. 19, in the first event of the 2017 Hancock Symposium.

In her talk, entitled “Campus Conservatism and Social Media,” Dillon discussed issues regarding conservatism on college campuses and explained how social media can be used as a tool for conservative and non-conservative activism. She also promoted open, respectful dialogue among all peoples on all subjects.

Dillon defined conservatism as “the idea that a well-ordered government is necessary to a well-ordered society, but is not the solution to the problem of society.”

She added, “Conservatism is based on the ideas of conserving the values of the Constitution. Government exists to defend the right of the people, not to be the source of those rights.”

Dillon argued that conservative ideals are being repressed in the world of higher education and that this repression is unhealthy for students of all political affiliations.

“Conservatism is based on the ideas of conserving the values of the Constitution.”

To support her first argument, she gave the example of what she implied to be an extreme reaction to conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro coming to speak at the University of California, Berkley, in September. Shapiro, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Buzz, was lined up to speak, but, Dillon said, excessive pushback coming from liberal-sided students, faculty and administrators led to the school charging the Shapiro organization $600,000 for security measures.

Dillon also described an incident that occurred at Hampshire College, a private liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts, last November. On the night before Veteran’s Day, Hampshire students pulled down an American flag and set it on fire. In response, the president of the college ordered the removal of all American flags found on campus, to avoid further controversy.

These examples highlight the pressing issue that Dillon explained throughout her talk: the difficulty that conservatives face in expressing their beliefs.

In addition, Dillon said that the restraint of certain beliefs, including conservative rhetoric, is harmful and has no place in higher education.

“College is supposed to be a place where students are exposed to new ideas,” she said. “It is not the job of a college to protect its students from ideas, but to teach them how to confront them head-on.”

She said that academia should be a place for “an open, respectful dialogue which celebrates the idea of diversity of thought,” adding, “Diversity of ideas is as important as any other kind of diversity.”

To promote political diversity for college students, Dillon founded Lone Conservative, an online platform where young, conservative-minded college students may voice their opinions and inquire about issues in our society today. Dillon created the blog to provide an easy way for conservatives to acquire the information they want or need, as well as serve as a forum for discussion and debate over certain topics.

“The Internet, and social media in particular, is a great place to connect with other conservatives, learn from each other and develop platforms,” she said. “Social media is great for political activism because it opens so many doors that were never there before.”

Dillon said that the Internet plays a vital role in the cultivation political opinions, which is why she said her blog is so essential to the millennial conservative culture.

“It is not the job of a college to protect its students from ideas, but to teach them how to confront them head-on.”

However, Dillon also spoke of some of the downsides to the use of social media in the world of politics, namely that social media can lead to gross generalizations and false conclusions.

She said that “the drive to fit ideas into 140 characters and the constant desire for attention means that both sides are pushed to further and further extremes.”

On the conservative side of the spectrum, the furthest extreme is the “alt-right.” The alt-right, which has been associated with racist and fascist ideas, is not affiliated with the official conservative party. Members of this group have been known to take the idea of freedom of speech and warp it into their own perception, which is that we should be able to speak about whatever we want, regardless of its offense to other people, Dillon said. These movements are the sources of many of the United States’ difficulties on social media and in the real world, including the Neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia, and many more hate crimes across the country, she added.

Dillon explicitly stated that the conservative party in no way adopts or condones the actions of extreme white nationalists, and that it is unfair to attribute the actions of such a small group to the entire the Republican Party.

Because of these misconceptions regarding the party’s platform, Dillon  explained, the Internet, although a useful tool for our education and advocacy, can be quite dangerous. The alt-right will continue to spread false conspiracies, causing people who side to the left to condemn the right even more, eventually pushing people from either party to be polar opposites of the other, she said. Dillon said that she wants to break open these barriers by cultivating true dialogue between those who differ in ideology in order to attain a more compete perception of each political standpoint.

Toward the end of her talk, Dillon stated what she believes to be the most important way to initiate change in society, and that is to simply talk about it and create dialogue that was not there before.

When asked by a Westminster student how students can “restore sanity to [the] college campus,” Dillon replied: “I think it’s important that students speak up, but do it respectfully. Talk to you professors, make friends with them. You have to speak up. Organize.”

“I think it’s important that students speak up, but do it respectfully.”

Then, in a follow-up question, another student asked how they may speak up if they are a minority. Dillon answered: “I would talk to people, have discussions. One-on-one chats are my favorite thing.”

Dillon suggested that students make relationships with those who disagree with them, in order to try to create new opinions while also attempting to learn from the opinions of others as well. She urged the students in the audience to voice their opinions and to act on their beliefs with all of their heart.

Creech to remain acting president of SGA following Pope’s resignation

SGA Vice President Lydia Creech (second from left) became acting president this June, following the resignation of Carson Pope. She is joined here by SGA Treasurer Daniel Epler, Secretary Nicole Hall, Constitution and Elections Chair Missy Rolseth, and Speaker of the Senate Isaac Coronel. PHOTO COURTESY OF LYDIA CREECH.


Westminster’s Student Government Association (SGA) recently underwent senatorial and class presidential elections, bringing in a group of new representatives. In November, students will elect five executive officers. One student, though, transitioned into a new position in the SGA during the summer.

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