Westminster Expedition Students in the Open American West

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

May 6, 2016

May 6, 2016

Dear Colleagues,


The last couple of weeks have certainly been eventful for many of us as spring semester came to a close and we celebrated our graduates at commencement. I have been to 35 commencements at Westminster but this was one was very special since it was my first as president. Thank you to the many faculty and staff that work hard to make these graduation ceremonies so memorable for our graduates and their families. Moving the date up a month was no easy feat. I'm was impressed with everyone's efforts and that we were able to give our all our graduates the send off they deserved. Now we turn our attention to May Term, summer classes and planning for next fall.

Commencement 2016

Board of Trustees Meeting

The Board of Trustees also met last week. The trustees focused on their board goals, academic programs, enrollment planning, the comprehensive campaign and the long term business model for the institution. They approved the list of graduates, several new emeritus faculty (Carolyn Connell, Elizabeth Herrick, Joyce Sibbett, and Janet Dynak), the new Planning & Priorities Committee, and minor edits to the faculty manual. Three new trustees were invited to join the board in July: Rex Falkenrath, Ryan Hessenthaler, and Charlotte Tullos. And the Board said goodbye to long-time trustee Jim Clark, who we also honored on Saturday with an honorary degree.

Advancement News—New Endowed Scholarship

At the board meeting, VP of Advancement Staci Carson announced a very exciting new gift to the college from the Meldrum Foundation. Long-time supporters, Pete and Cathie Meldrum have committed to fund a $1 million endowment commitment to support first-generation students wanting to attend Westminster. The endowment will also help first-generation students in their junior and senior year needing financial help to complete their education. We are so grateful to the Meldrum family for continuing their generous support to Westminster.

Quick Enrollment Update

May is a critical month for securing our class for next year. We still have 1,100 admitted students who have not deposited or withdrawn yet for next fall, so our Admissions and Financial Aid Teams have been incredibly busy making calls and firming up commitments. We are still running behind last year's deposit numbers, which makes all of us anxious, but we are still optimistic we can close the gap. Look for John's enrollment report next week.

Civic Engagement Honor

There are so many stories to tell about our wonderful students. One I would like to highlight this week is Elhom Gosnick. Elhom was recently named a 2016 Newman Civic Fellow by the Campus Compact. The award honors a student who had gone above and beyond in the area of civic engagement. Westminster prides itself on its commitment to community connection and making a difference. To have one of our students recognized nationally as a leader in this capacity is outstanding. Congratulations to Elhom.

Amazing Students

One of the great joys of being president is meeting our students and hearing their stories. One of our graduates this year is Amram Musunga, who graduated last Saturday from the Masters of Accountancy Program. Amram also has his undergraduate degree in accounting from Westminster. Amram stopped by my office to personally thank me for his education. He told me his amazing story of coming to Utah from Kenya to attend BYU, but instead decided to attend Westminster. He told me the impact his professors had on him and that he now looks to secure a job with a national public accounting firm so he can return to his country and help develop better accounting systems that promote business development. Our students want to change the world and I'm thrilled we have students like Amram that have the desire to do it.

Steve Morgan and Amram Musunga

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