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

March 6, 2017

March 7, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

We are officially halfway through the semester and spring break is just around the corner. Students are preparing for midterm exams and preparations are already underway for this year’s graduation ceremonies. All eyes are focused on enrollment for next year as we now concentrate on converting applicants to admits and, finally, to enrolled students.

Board of Trustees Meeting

At the two-day board meeting in February, the Board of Trustees approved a number of key strategic initiatives:

  • The 2017–18 Operating and Capital Projects budget
  • Promotions for 16 faculty
  • A new major in Outdoor Education and Leadership
  • A new major and minor in Sports Management
  • Discontinuing the Masters of Professional Communication program
  • Appointment of a pricing committee to oversee the renovation of the Nursing Skills Lab
  • A charter for the Retirement Plan Fiduciary Committee
  • This year’s honorary degree recipients and Commencement speaker

The trustees also discussed the college’s five-pronged enrollment plan and new business models, along with progress reports on the Comprehensive Campaign.

Commencement Speaker and Honorees

I’m pleased to announce author and humanitarian Rev. Gregory J. Boyle, S.J., as the college’s 2017 Commencement speaker. Father Boyle is the founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, CA, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world. He is the author of the 2010 New York Times bestseller “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion,” and the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary, “G-Dog.”

We will also be giving honorary doctorate degrees:

  • Cherie Wood, Mayor of South Salt Lake
  • Ronald W. Jibson, retired Chairman, President, and CEO of Questar
  • Dr. Michael Bassis, teacher, scholar, administrator, and Westminster’s 16th president

This year’s Commencement ceremony will be held May 13, 2017 at 9:45 a.m. at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah. You can read more information about Father Boyle and all of our Commencement honorees online.

Employee Appreciation Celebration

Last Friday, we honored 53 employees for their years of dedicated service at the Employee Appreciation Celebration. We also announced the winners of the annual Westminster Community Awards:

  • Frances Peacock, Student Advocate Award
  • Chris Hartman, Spirit of Westminster Award
  • Krista DeAngelis, Community Outreach Award
  • Winter Morse, Westminster Leadership Award
  • Global Engagement, Department of Distinction Award

Congratulations again to the winners and all of our nominees on their outstanding accomplishments this year.

Emergency Management Plan

We recently posted the latest emergency management plan to the website and I encourage you to take a few minutes to read through it and familiarize yourself with our procedures. The Senior Team and Leadership Council have reviewed the plan and elected for the whole campus to participate in the Great American Shake Out on April 20. More details are forthcoming.

AABI Accreditation

At the end of February, the aviation program received full accreditation from the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) for the next five years. This accreditation affirms that all students who graduate from Westminster’s aviation program have a broad background in the aviation industry, as well as the necessary skills for aviation specialization. Congratulations to the aviation faculty and staff that worked hard to achieve this recognition.

All College Meeting

I invite you to attend the All College Meeting this Thursday, March 9, from 3–5:00 p.m. in the Gore School of Business Auditorium. We will be addressing the 2017–18 budget and plans for the future.

Final Thoughts

Last week we hosted the annual Scholarship Luncheon where we honored three donors who have focused their philanthropic efforts on helping students who want to become teachers: Buckley Johnson (’59), Myra and Lucille Harris (’36), and the M. Lynn Bennion Foundation. I love seeing first-hand the difference scholarships make in the lives of our students, and the incredible things it enables our students to accomplish. Westminster really is a place where students can pursue their dreams and I want to thank all of you who work each day to continue that legacy.

I wish you all a fun and relaxing spring break next week.

Kind regards,

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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