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Dear Class of 1984,

I hope your summer was fantastic, and that fall has arrived wherever you are. As I type this on October 11, we are back to enjoying our more "typical" early fall warmth, just in time for Homecoming Weekend!

Do you have plans to be in Santa Barbara on October 14-15? If the answer is "yes" I hope you'll drop by homecoming and look through some of the improvements that are (still) being made to campus. If you have not been to campus since the completion of the Adams Center for the Visual Arts and Winter Hall for Science and Mathematics, and the completely renovated Baseball complex and Russ Carr Field, and the new track and Thorrington Field where our soccer teams perform, you are in for a wonderful treat.

After the completion of Westmont's new buildings, the Art Department vacated the old "Reynolds Gallery" (you remember the old building situated below Armington near Deane Chapel). Crews spent the summer transforming the interior of Reynolds into a state-of-the-art Music building, complete with 12 soundproof practice rooms (up from just 4 in their previous home) and faculty offices. The improvement is stunning! And now that music has moved out of Porter Theatre, the Theatre Arts and Biology departments are getting new spaces for their students as well.

Our class has a new group on Facebook (Facebook has been updating their system, and erased our '84 group in the process). So when you have a minute you can head over to Facebook and rejoin our class group. As always, I welcome and invite you to send me an article about what you've been up to recently. I'll collect your responses and include them in our next newsletter in December. For this newsletter, Kurt Cook sent me this update about his life these last few years. Thank you Kurt for sharing your life and this picture of your gorgeous family!

In His Grace,

David MacCulloch, Class Agent for 1984


Photo of Kurt

Kurt Cook

I'm not sure what I was expecting back in the early fall of 1980 as my parents drove me out from Colorado to start college at Westmont. Now, 30 years on, I still value those 4 years immensely. I am grateful for so many aspects of life at Westmont. I think the three areas that most standout are the many relationships with fellow students and faculty, the special academic environment that Westmont offered us and the spiritual nurture that was provided in so many ways. For me, our time at Westmont laid a great foundation for the pilgrimage of life that lay ahead.

After we graduated, I stayed around Santa Barbara for a year working in the Westmont biology lab and coaching track and cross country at Santa Barbara High School. In the fall of '85 I moved to L.A. and spent the next 4 years in medical school at USC. This was a challenging time in my personal life as I struggled with loneliness and found it difficult to find a home church during a time when a good support system would have really helped. After USC, I returned to Colorado for 3 more years of family medicine residency training.

I emerged from the 7 years of medical training feeling kind of battered and bruised. There was a job opening in Santa Barbara so I returned there and spent the next 5 years working in a large private clinic position as a family doctor. During this time I had the opportunity to work with Westmont students doing practicums in my office and went on Potter's Clay as a physician with the medical team several times. I was a part of Santa Barbara Community Church which was a great blessing in my spiritual life.

During my time working in Santa Barbara I wrestled with defining my "calling" in the medical field. While I was a Westmont student, my vision of entering medicine had been to either work overseas or in a medically underserved setting in the US. I felt that God had provided a time of healing for me while working back in Santa Barbara but that it was time to move in the direction of my earlier sense of calling. In 1998, I took a year off from work and did a master's degree in international health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in England. This was a wonderful time during which I made many friends from other countries and really enjoyed some time of intensive study and research at a fascinating institution. After my time in London, I enjoyed several months of volunteering at mission hospitals in Nigeria and Ecuador and spending time with the Mercy Ships ministry in Guatemala.

Just before leaving for one of my volunteer opportunities in Ecuador, Westmont track coach Russell Smelley and his wife Allison invited me to their home for a game night with some other couples. They mentioned that they had also invited Susan Keortge, a Westmont alum who was now back at Westmont as a professor in the psychology department. Susan and I started dating and got married on the lawn in front of Kerrwood Hall in 2002. We lived in Ventura County for several years while I worked for the county health department there. Our 2 children, Bethany and Nate, were born there.

Two years ago, we relocated to the Denver area where I now work for Denver Health, the provider of medical services to the uninsured population in Denver. In addition to providing family medicine services as my clinic in a Hispanic neighborhood, I enjoy working with medical students and resident doctors through the medical school here. My position here feels like a good fit in keeping with the "calling" I experienced during my time as a student at Westmont.

I certainly couldn't have imagined, 30 years ago, what a profound influence Westmont College would have on my life. There are so many fond memories, so many lifelong friendships. I am sure many of my classmates feel the same. May God continue to use and bless Westmont. Best wishes to all of the class of '84!


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