20 for 2015: Memorable Blue Jay Moments
As Westminster heads into a bright New Year, here’s a look back at 20 memorable 2015 moments for the Blue Jay Nation in 2015.
Westminster College and Fulton State Hospital announced a new internship partnership for psychology majors. Through the new partnership, undergraduate students at Westminster have a unique opportunity for a yearlong, practical experience at the Fulton State Hospital.
“Most undergraduates don’t typically get this kind of experience,” says Ted Jaeger, chair of the Westminster Department of Psychology. “This internship offers the equivalent of the experiences a PhD student will get.”
Churchill’s granddaughter Edwina Sandys, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, and the British Ambassador to the United States Sir Peter Westmacott (above, placing wreath) were among the special guests at the National Churchill Museum on campus in January 2015 to honor the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s death.
For the past two years, the Alpha Eta chapter at Westminster was named top Kappa Alpha Order chapter in the nation. For the sixth time, the chapter received the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a Kappa Alpha chapter, the George C. Marshall Award of chapter excellence, presented annually to the top one to three chapters in the Order in recognition for their superior operations and performance.
In March 2015, following the Enid and R. Crosby Kemper Lecture, Westminster President George B. Forsythe announced a significant gift from Dr. Monroe E. Trout and his wife Sandra from Appleton, WI to establish a Professorship of Churchill Studies. This professorship provides the National Churchill Museum with an Executive Director and the necessary resources to raise its profile and move to the next level of excellence. Above, Dr. Jim Williams, named the first Trout Endowed Professor of Churchill Studies.
Westminster senior Suravi Shrestha (above) was one of only of 12 to win a H.Y. Benedict fellowship for graduate study at the 2015 Alpha Chi national conference. Also at the 2015 conference, Westminster’s Dr. David Jones was elected the national Alpha Chi President for a four-year term. Dr. Jones serves as Associate Dean of Faculty, Professor of Psychology, and Alpha Chi advisor at Westminster.
To commemorate the fraternity’s historic significance, the Alpha Delta Chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternal order dedicated a marker at their house on April 26 during Alumni Weekend 2015 at Westminster College. Alpha Delta is the oldest chapter of any fraternity or sorority in continuous existence west of the Mississippi River.
In April, the Westminster community gathered to honor and celebrate the contributions of and impact that President and Jane Forsythe have had on our college during their 10 years of service.
Danielle Smulcenski ’15 made history for the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) in May: She was named the first 9x SLIAC Academic All-Conference recipient, according to official results released by SLIAC. A 3-sport athlete during her four years at Westminster,she maintained a 3.76 cumulative grade point average (GPA) throughout her collegiate career, marking the first time a SLIAC student-athlete has achieved this honor.
On May 8, 2015, Westminster College introduced its 21st president, Dr. Benjamin Akande – a leader who pledges to take Westminster into its next era of excellence. Above, Dr. Akande and his family enter Coulter Science Center Lecture Hall for the surprise announcement.
In July, education rankings from Money magazine name Westminster College as one of America’s 50 Most Affordable Private Colleges. Money’s rankings are the first to combine the most accurate pricing estimates available with students’ likely earnings after graduation and a unique analysis of how much “value” a college adds.
The Westminster pitching staff finished the 2015 baseball season with two #1 national rankings for NCAA Division III. The Westminster Blue Jays finished first in the nation in strikeouts-to-walks ratio with 4.22 strikeouts to walks and first in the nation in walks allowed per nine innings with just 1.93 allowed. Above, pitcher Deion Hughes.
The Westminster women’s basketball team finished the 2014-15 season with a 3.507 team grade point average (GPA), tying for 16th place in the Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association (WBCA) Division III Academic Top 25 Honor Roll. With the 2015 WBCA Academic Top 25 Honor Roll, the Westminster Blue Jays have marked their name on the list for the fourth consecutive year and the fifth time overall.
Quoting Winston Churchill and Harry Truman, United States Homeland Security Chief Jeh Johnson today encouraged politicians and the public during a speech at Westminster College to reinforce and not undermine the nation’s internal security and basic freedoms. He also discussed other key issues, including the planned migration of Syrian refugees to the U.S., before nearly 1,000 college students, faculty, staff, and guests, during the prestigious Green Foundation Lecture – ending a three-day symposium titled “Security vs. Liberty: The Balance of Freedom.”
Data released in September 2015 on the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard shows Westminster about the top 5 colleges in Missouri for graduation rate. With 70% of students graduating within 6 years, Westminster ties for 3rd place with St. Louis University and the University of Missouri – Columbia. Washington University and Truman State University lead the list. The average graduation rate for schools across the country is 59%.
In August, national financial technology company SmartAsset.com ranked Westminster College in Missouri’s top 5 for students looking for a college where graduates receive high starting salaries. SmartAsset ranked the colleges where graduates have the highest starting salaries and Westminster ranked 4th in the state of Missouri in a recent study, with Westminster graduates reporting an average starting salary of $47,500, compared to a state average of $40,332.
The Alpha Eta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Order (pictured above) celebrated their 125th anniversary on Saturday, October 24, 2015 at Westminster College. Events included the ceremonial planting of an oak tree and a short reception in the Mueller Student Center, as well as dinner in the Backer Dining Hall.
The historic inauguration of Dr. Benjamin Ola Akande as the 21st president of Westminster College was held on Saturday, October 31, in Champ Auditorium. The event included family, Washington University officials, and envoy from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including theExecutive Governor of Oyo State Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi. Washington University Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton delivered the keynote address. The inauguration festivities spanned week-long as Westminster faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends gathered to support Dr. Akande.
Men’s and Women’s Soccer Earn Bids to NCAA Tourney with SLIAC Championships
In November, the Westminster College men’s soccer team headed to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year after winning the 2015 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Tournament. The Westminster Blue Jays defeated Webster University 2-1 in the championship match, naming them the SLIAC Tournament Champions for their third straight year.
The women’s soccer team also won a bid to the NCAA Tournament with their win to clinch the 2015 SLIAC tournament championship. The team won the championship after defeating Webster in penalty kicks 5-4. The game ended in a tie after 110 minutes of scoreless play, sending the game into penalty kicks.
In November, U. S. Army veteran Bret Robertson, a junior strong safety at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., was named the fourth recipient of Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). The Armed Forces Merit Award is presented annually to an individual and/or a group who has created, developed and produced a program within the realm of the sport of football that provides care, concern and support for past or present members of the United States Armed Forces and/or their families.