students at a campfire

During the 2017 Fall Semester, 14 students, two professors, and a program coordinator will load books, camping gear, and themselves into a couple of vans and hit the road for a semester-long tour of the American West.

The trip is designed as an exploration into the issues at the heart of the contemporary West. Students will earn 16 credits in environmental studies and history as they study Environmental Cooperation and Conflict, Landscape and Meaning, the History of Public Lands, and the Native West.

This prolonged journey into the field will allow us to learn directly from landscapes and ecosystems, as well as from people who live, work, and study in those places. Together, we expect to build a cohort of impassioned scholars with a particular breadth and depth of experiential knowledge who are equipped to build a better future for the West.

We will visit iconic, protected sites like Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, contentious places like the Little Bighorn and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, working landscapes like the Butte Copper Mines, and communities from present-day Native nations to "New West" towns like Bend, Twisp, and Moab.

Meet the Expedition

Learn More About the Students and Faculty on the Expedition

Read the Latest Journal Entry

February 11, 2016

February 11, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

I'm sure you already know this, but we have amazing students attending Westminster College. One of my greatest joys as president is the opportunity to meet so many of them. Seeing them achieve and thrive in classes and at events is such a good reminder of why we're all here and what we can accomplish.

Mr. Westminster

Last week, I had the privilege of being one of the judges for RHA's annual Mr. Westminster Competition. The event drew a packed house in the Vieve Gore Concert Hall, and I was so impressed by each of the twelve students who participated. Congratulations to Calen Smith on winning the official Mr. Westminster crown!

President Steve Morgan and Mr. Westminster Calen Smith

NCAA Visit

Last week, we had evaluators from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA II) who came to gauge the progress we've made in our first year. They gave our athletic department and programs high marks for preparedness going into year two, and we're on track with the many requirements for the NCAA II membership process. Congratulations to Athletic Director Shay Wyatt and his entire team for a job well done.

Also, in case you needed further proof of how great our student athletes are doing, check out this amazing 75-foot game-winning basket scored by Jordan Pryor in Saturday's game against Western New Mexico.


Last week we learned that the Bill & Vieve Gore School of Business has been approved to begin the implementation process for AACSB accreditation. Only five percent of business schools worldwide achieve this accreditation, and completing this three-year process will be an important boost for our school's worldwide reputation. I want to thank Dean Melissa Koerner and the business faculty and staff who have been involved in the application process. This is a big win after a lot of hard work, and I am thrilled about this new opportunity for our School of Business.

Princeton Review

The Princeton Review has included Westminster College in their 2016 Edition of Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck. In the profile on the college, we were praised for our community focus, personalized education, generous financial aid packages for over 95% of students, our "fabulous Career Resource Center," internships, and our "smart, eco-conscious, friendly" students.

Coach Chris Dorich Announces Retirement

Chris Dorich has been the head coach of the Westminster men's soccer program for 32 years—the only coach the program has ever had, in fact—but, Chris will be retiring from coaching at the end of March 2016. His dedication to the soccer team will be greatly missed by the Athletics department and all of us at Westminster. Thank you for your many years of service, Chris, and the impact you have had on hundreds of student athletes.

"Souper" Bowl

Last Friday, Irene Lokcik in Student Account Services organized a soup potluck that raised over $150 for the Student Hardship Fund and allowed all of us to try some delicious homemade soups! Thanks for organizing this great event, Irene, and a big thank you to everyone (especially winner Jana Smith) who shared their tasty creations. This is another great example of the amazing staff and faculty who go above and beyond to make our community strong.

Closing Thoughts

It's hard to believe that we're already well into February, but I hope that everyone is having a productive and engaged semester. Sandy & I invite you to join us Saturday night for the annual Chamber Singers Valentine's Day Concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Vieve Gore Concert Hall. I hope you'll take some time in the next few weeks to take a look at what our incredible students are up to.

All the best,

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Expedition in the News

Two people on a canoe
Group of Students around Campfire

The Route

Our proposed route is an enormous figure eight, heading northwest first (because of potential early winter weather) and including Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Course-related sites include sites of environmental/cultural conflict or cooperation (e.g., Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; East Tavaputs Plateau tar sands; Klamath River dams; the Berkeley Pit, the Nevada Test Site, Owens Lake); National Parks (e.g., Yellowstone, North Cascades, Olympic, Redwood, Grand Canyon, Great Basin); wilderness areas (e.g., Bob Marshall, Glacier Peak); Native nations and sites (e.g., Burns Paiute, Coast Salish, Miwok, the Nez Perce trail, Colville, Pyramid Lake, Hopi); dam sites (e.g., Teton, Grand Coulee, Hoover, Hetch Hetchy, Snake River); and relevant towns/cities (e.g., Bozeman, Bend, Cody, Moab, Winthrop, Page).

Expedition Route

Course Descriptions

Follow the Expedition's Progress