Westminster College hosted several major events and achieved a number of milestones in its 2013-2014 year so far.
Major events on campus that attracted major speakers included the Westminster Symposium on Global Sports in September, which headlined baseball player Roberto Clementi Jr. and the first American to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Tori Murden McClure. The annual C.S. Lewis Legacy Lecture in February was given by Episcopal Presiding Bishop Dr. Katherine Jefferts Schori, the first woman to hold that position in the church's history. The National Churchill Museum also hosted its first visit by Churchill's great-grandchildren, Randolph Churchill and Jenny Churchill Repard, and acclaimed Churchill biographer Paul Reid in March.
In October, a major part of the Westminster Homecoming activities was the school's first Homecoming Parade, held down Court Street in cooperation with the Downtown Brick District. In November, the Westminster Men's Soccer team went on to the sectionals of the NCAA Division III tournament for the first time in the college's history.
Every year, Westminster faculty, staff, and students "live the mission of Westminster" by performing at least 10,000 hours of community service. This year, two majors projects involved 200 students in the October "Into the Streets" effort to do clean up, painting, repair and maintenance projects in Fulton, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service project when students, staff and community members came together to fill 2,500 Buddy Packs with food that are given to schoolchildren who do not receive nutritious meals in their homes.
Westminster College raised $8,215 for the Callaway County United Way, exceeding Westminster's original goal by $1,175. Co-Chairs of the campaign were Westminster President Barney Forsythe and his wife, Jane.
Westminster student Nathan Swan was selected as the Most Outstanding Delegate at the American Model United Nations meeting in Chicago.
And although the college decided to close the facility at the end of the year due to low enrollment, Westminster opened its first extension campus in Mesa, Ariz., in August. The first semester officially kicked off Aug. 22 with about 24 students enrolled.
William Woods University was recognized in the 2013-2014 school year as one of five private non-for-profit universities that offer an affordable college education.
The College Database, a higher education information system for potential college students, named William Woods on the list of colleges with the highest financial return on investment. Colleges that earned the top spots graduates students who make more than $30,000 per year and have tuition rates of less than $20,000. The salary of an average William Woods graduate is $32,400, according to a university press release.
AffordableCollegesOnline.org (AC Online) also gave William Woods a similar honor when it released its "AC Online: Highest Return on Investment Colleges in Missouri." The study assessed more than 200 colleges in Missouri and ranked William Woods No. 20 out of 27 colleges in which a degree paid off the most.
The university's equestrian program kept busy in both semesters. In December, William Woods hosted the United States Saddle Seat Equitation World Cup Team Trials, which included three and five-gaited trials. Students worked the event as riders' grooms and judges' scribes. Twelve riders were selected from the event for the 2014 Saddle Seat World Cup, representing the U.S.
A former William Woods University board member made a substantial donation, which was announced in January, to the Imagine Campaign. Sam Cook, Central Trust Bank chairman of the board, was the donor and the soon-to-be-built amphitheater in the new Sorority Circle will be named after him. In August 2013, William Woods received a $1 million boost to the Imagine Campaign after a grant came through from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation.
Blair Oaks Middle School science teacher Emily Libbert graduated in December as the first William Woods online student. She received her master of education degree in teaching and technology.
William Woods' online program was ranked seventh overall in Missouri and 141st nationally on U.S. New's list of quality online degree programs.
Sorority sisters and fraternity brothers on the William Woods campus teamed up to benefit hungry children.
Students donated about 4,000 pounds and $2,224 in April to The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri's Buddy Pack program.