I got to know David Winter shortly after the Business Times had begun production in the spring of 2000.
We had hired a recent Westmont graduate, Laura Polland, who turned out to be a terrific writer and our founding technology editor. And we’d been encouraged to reach out to Westmont by Ed Birch, who was an early advocate for our newspaper within the business community.
Over a lunch at the Westmont campus, I spent an hour explaining our vision for the Business Times and I got an introduction to Westmont’s own vision for its students, as a liberal arts institution focused on Christian values and ethics.
Through the years we followed Westmont’s progress in building a new campus, in surviving the devastating fire that ripped through Montecito. And always Winter was a towering presence.
Although he stepped down officially as president in 2001, he remained a trusted adviser to many on the campus and in the business community. He returned as interim president and chancellor in 2006-07.
Today, with Gayle Beebe as president, Westmont has become a nationally ranked undergraduate institution with an expansion underway into downtown Santa Barbara and an active internship program.
“Westmont continues to benefit from Dave’s contribution during his long and distinguished service,” Beebe said in a statement. “The college and our local community are fundamentally different and better because of his vision and the work he accomplished.”
Winter had an advanced cancer diagnosis this summer and returned home in early August. He died Aug. 15 at the age of 84. His memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at First Presbyterian Church on the corner of State and Constance Streets in Santa Barbara.