Hail to the Chief

Gayle Beebe assumed leadership of Westmont July 1 as the college’s eighth president. He, his wife, Pam, and their three children (Anna, 14, Elizabeth, 12, and Ricky, 8) moved into the president’s house above the college last month. The family came from Spring Arbor, Mich., where Beebe served as president of Spring Arbor University for seven years.

Beebe has spent his first days meeting individually with faculty members and making plans for the coming year. He has also named Doug Jones as vice president for finance. Jones worked with him as vice president of finance and administration at Spring Arbor University and begins Sept. 1. He replaces Ron Cronk, who retired last October.

Beebe succeeds Stan D. Gaede, who accepted a position as scholar-in-residence and senior adviser to the president at Gordon College in Massachusetts in July 2006. Former president and Chancellor David K. Winter has served since that time as interim president.

“After seven of the best years of our life at Spring Arbor University,” Beebe says, “Pam and I are honored and privileged to be selected as the next presidential couple at Westmont College. We believe Westmont’s distinction and national profile will provide some incredible opportunities to make a life-changing, culture-influencing contribution to our world. We look forward to the great work that lies ahead.”

Beebe attended Westmont for a semester in 1980 while earning his bachelor’s degree at George Fox University in Oregon. He received master’s degrees in divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, in philosophy of religion and theology from Claremont Graduate University, and in business administration in strategic management from the Drucker School at Claremont Graduate University. He completed his doctorate in philosophy of religion and theology from Claremont Graduate University in 1997. Prior to leading Spring Arbor, Beebe served as dean of the school of theology at Azusa Pacific University.

Merlin W. Call, chair of the presidential search committee, says the committee reviewed more than 200 resumes before inviting Beebe to interview for the position.

“The appointment of Dr. Beebe ushers in the next generation of leadership for Westmont College,” says Board Chairman Steve Stong. “He has a strong Christian faith and is a proven academic leader and has been deeply involved in the community surrounding the university. The board of trustees is thrilled to have this uniquely gifted man leading Westmont into the future.”

“Dr. Beebe is remarkably well suited for the presidency of Westmont,” says Winter. “He is bright and articulate, warm and relational, energetic and principled. I expect him to become deeply involved in the Santa Barbara community as well as with students, faculty and staff members at Westmont. We are very excited about the future.”

Under Beebe’s leadership, Spring Arbor University was named a top-tier university by U.S. News & World Report in its most recent America’s Best Colleges and Universities publication. The Council of Christian Colleges and Universities awarded Spring Arbor its 2003 Racial Harmony Award, which honors institutions making considerable progress in the areas of diversity, racial harmony and reconciliation.

Beebe has also been instrumental in improving campus facilities at Spring Arbor, which recently completed a $45 million capital campaign, including a major academic building. Spring Arbor has a 100-acre main campus in south central Michigan as well as 14 satellite campuses throughout the region.

He has published numerous academic articles and edited several publications. He spent five years working with Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Lynda Graybeal and Thomas Oden to write the acclaimed “Renovaré Study Bible.”