A Presidential Tradition
The inauguration of Westminster’s 18th President
by Brittany Punjabi (’16)
Bagpipes played, the sun shone brightly, and Converse Hall acted as a stately backdrop at the September 26, 2015, inauguration of Westminster’s 18th president, Stephen R. Morgan. President Morgan donned the purple and gold robe presented to him by Richard Brockmeyer, the managing director of plant and facilities operations, as a symbol of the staff’s support. Lifetime trustee and alumna Ginger Giovale presented Steve with the purple Westminster hood, and former president Michael Bassis placed the President’s Medal of Honor around Steve’s neck.
Faculty, staff, family, friends, alumni, and students gathered to see their friend and new president be inaugurated. Student participation was evident throughout inauguration—beginning with Student Body President Costa Lasiy’s (’16) selfie with the president—and continuing on through the Campus Showcase.
A large part of the day was devoted to showcasing Westminster’s different programs and opportunities to get involved. “It was a classic Westminster atmosphere,” Costa says. “Everybody connected with everybody and enjoyed their time.”
Past inauguration celebrations were mainly for faculty, staff, and alumni; but Steve wanted his to be different. Costa helped include students in the inauguration celebration. “Originally, inauguration dinner was going to be 21 and over a separate Student Activities Center event,” he says. However, plans were changed because Steve wanted as many students as possible involved in the post-inauguration celebration. “ cares about the administration-and-student relationship,” Costa says. “It’s great that the administration is focusing on student involvement.”
Claire Martinez, director of advancement events, helped organize inauguration. She recalls that Steve was very hands-on with the events of his inauguration. “We did a lot to make it student friendly,” she says. “What made the day and each event feel so inclusive are Steve’s positive relationships on campus throughout over 30 years of working here and how he treats every single person.”
Dinner and dancing closed the night; purple lights lit up Converse, and everyone enjoyed Steve’s 26.2 root-beer brew. Attendees continued to take selfies with the president throughout the night, while alumni, students, faculty, staff, family, and friends gathered to celebrate the day that Westminster’s 18th president was officially put in office.
- The President’s Medal of Honor made its first appearance at Peggy Stock’s inauguration in 1996.
- Steve’s root-beer brew was given the name 26.2 because of his love for marathons.
- The current chair of the Faculty Senate, Dr. Janine Wittwer, bore the Westminster Mace at inauguration.
- Faculty wore different colored hoods with their black robes, which signify their academic discipline and their highest degree.
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.