Multi-State Effort to Bring High School Students to Symposium a Success

Westminster College may be the most innovative, risk-taking institution of higher learning in the country as a result of a recent massive effort to bring high school students to campus. The Enrollment Services Department carefully planned a multi-state high school takeover for the 14th annual Hancock Symposium.

Approximately 150 bright students were transported, housed, fed and otherwise carefully looked after throughout the two-day “Breakthrough”-themed Hancock Symposium 2019. The goal was to show the students exactly what Westminster is all about by exposing them to the College’s innovative Hancock Symposium presentations as well as the world-famous John Findley Green Foundation Lecture.

Admissions Counselor Lane Hume, ’10 ΚΚΓ, who helped coordinate the event, says she has never experienced anything quite as exciting as this year’s Symposium.

“I heard from the majority of counselors that this is the only fly-in program they have ever attended that invited both the counselors and his or her students,” Hume says. “The consensus has been overwhelmingly positive!”

Hume works for Westminster out of Little Rock, AR, and manages the territory of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas ― areas where Westminster recruits heavily and benefits from an active alumni population. Students traveled with their counselors from her territory as well as from central Missouri to attend Symposium. And all costs, including airfare, came directly from generous alumni donations that amounted to more than $10,000.

For a complete list of donors, see the chart below.

“I’d like to say a special thanks to our committed alumni for supporting this meaningful initiative,” Hume says, adding that the College also played a role in the event by allowing students to room overnight in the Quad.

As for the students who attended Symposium, comments have been resoundingly positive.

“What I loved most about the Symposium was the diversity of thought there,” says Ashley Xie from Highland Park High School in Dallas, TX. “It was so amazing that I could access opinions from experts in their fields, especially since I’m just a high schooler. It definitely was an experience of a lifetime.”

A counselor who filled out a blind survey is credited with the following assessment: “I came back to my school singing Westminster’s praises and informing my colleagues and students of the unique opportunities available at Westminster. Only this type of fly-in could have provided me this level of insight.”

Hume adds that the positive reactions are similar to hers when she attended Symposium as a freshman in 2006, which solidified her love of and commitment to the College.

“This group of young men and women were engaged, asked questions and blew me away with the knowledge they brought to Symposium,” Hume reflects. “Those two days on campus were not just about lectures and speeches, they were about the camaraderie of knowledge and the excitement that anything is possible via education and community.”

For more information on how you can be involved in sponsoring a high school student’s visit to Westminster College, please contact

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is a Media and Content Strategist at Westminster College in Fulton, MO. A 1992 graduate of the College, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communication in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.