A Message from Westminster’s Interim President and Chief Transformation Officer

Dear Blue Jay Nation,

When I walked through the Columns for the very first time in the late summer of 1975, I was 18 years old and just beginning my college life at Westminster. When I walked back through those Columns four years later and into the world for which the College had prepared me so well, I could never have imagined I would be coming back as its Interim President.

So I begin this new assignment humbled by the unpredictability of life — which has more recently humbled us all by confronting us with a challenging pandemic — and also by the deeply gratifying support and encouragement I have received from so many of you.

In the coming months, I plan to devote a great deal of time and attention to listening to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other interested parties of the College. Naturally, after many years as an active alumnus and most recently as Chair of the Board of Trustees, I have ideas about how Westminster can thrive into the future. But it’s also important to hear your ideas and to understand the hopes and dreams our students carry for themselves as well as for the College.

As I take on this new responsibility, there are several people whose contribution I want to recognize: First and foremost, I want to express my appreciation to Fletch for everything he has accomplished as President of the College, for his participation in a smooth transition, and for his willingness to stay on for a while in an advisory capacity. I know that he and Cindy are looking forward to a well-earned retirement. We look forward to an appropriate send-off for them later this year.

I also want to congratulate my fellow Blue Jay Jim Morton, with whom I have been serving on the Board and who has been elected Board Chair. Jim is a Westminster Lifetime Alumni Achievement Award Honoree, and I know of no one who is more dedicated to this College.

To Dr. David Roebuck and our faculty, I want to say how much I look forward to working with all of you in continuing the transformation of our curriculum to meet the needs of today’s students while staying true to the timeless values embodied in our mission.

To our staff, I have worked with many of you over the past several years, and I look forward to working again with you in this new capacity. I also want to thank you for going above and beyond in this especially difficult year to keep the College running despite the unprecedented challenges of a global, and unpredictable, pandemic.

To our alumni, I want to thank you for your financial support of the College, which is essential, and invite you to actively join us on this journey. We need your involvement in recruiting, mentoring, and hiring the next generation of alumni to shape not only their future but the College’s as well.

To our students: You are why we are all here. The great virtue of a liberal arts college is that we are built entirely around the teaching of undergraduates. At too many of our great universities, undergraduates come last. Indeed, star faculty are often recruited with the promise that they won’t have to teach undergraduates at all. Not here. Preparing you for the wider world, including graduate and professional education at those very universities, is our entire reason for being. Everything I do as Interim President will be to ensure Westminster’s ability to provide you with the knowledge, skills, and intellectual curiosity to carry you through life. That’s what Westminster gave to me, and we owe you no less.

Especially to our incoming students, who will be arriving this fall: What an exciting time to begin your college education. We will be starting on this adventure together. The world for which Westminster will prepare you is very different from the one I entered upon my own graduation. Yet I have no doubt that we will meet that challenge, transforming and reinventing ourselves while staying true to that inner compass which helps us discover the Power in Purpose. I look forward to meeting each of you soon as you come through the Columns to begin your unique, transformational journey at the College I care so much about.


Donald P. Lofe, Jr.
Interim President and Chief Transformation Officer

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.

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