As another school year ends, Professor of Business and Management Ed Westbrook reflects on his time here as he prepares to say goodbye to Vanguard. Entering retirement has been a very bittersweet experience for himself, his students and other faculty, but he is honored that everyone is very supportive of him.
His time here, however, has not been short or unfruitful. Years of dedication have led up to this exit.
“I am 66. I’ve been here at Vanguard for 33 years. That’s half my life,” Westbrook said.
When he first began his career here at Vanguard, he was an adjunct professor and had one business law class every Wednesday night. Though Westbrook had fun being an adjunct professor, but after 11 years he became a full-time and took on more business classes.
33 years ago, Westbrook left his law practice to seek out a slower pace in life, something available to him as a professor.
“Here at Vanguard I have lived a very humane pace of life which has allowed me to really connect with students,” Westbrook said. “Just to sit and have a meal with them and just really get to know them has been a gift in itself.”
However, life at Vanguard has not been all Westbrook has been up to all these years. He had found his true passion teaching globally with the school’s study abroad program. Along with many other students and faculty, he has spent weeks planning out trips and making memories along the way.
“When I came to Vanguard in 1993, my goal was to go on a study abroad trip every other year to teach business and watch students grow through that,” Westbrook said. “This was the most rewarding part of my time being here at Vanguard.”
Westbrook has traveled to China, Tibet, Italy, Greece, Greek Isles, Turkey, and Ireland to name a few, but his first study abroad trip with students was to London and Paris. He has enjoyed watching the students grow through the independence that they were given on the trips in learning and exploring the way that they wanted to.
As for retirement plans, Westbrook owns a law practice in addition to a few co-owned businesses that he will continue to grow. He is also in the Dana Point Outriggers Club, which is a canoe racing club that he looks forward to competing in their summer races.
“I really love the water. I really enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding and surfing (in my younger years I don’t really do a lot of that anymore),” Westbrook said.
Travelling is also on the agenda. After commencement this May, he is excited to travel to Hawaii for a few weeks of relaxation and reflection on his memories and life here at Vanguard. But first, he will need to do his part in graduation.
“Faculty has voted me to be the commencement marshal, so I get to lead the faculty and the senior class has voted me to be the Baccalaureate speaker, so I am really excited to talk to them one last time,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook stated that he has met so many amazing people here at Vanguard that will be his life-long friends, and he has been so honored to have been surrounded by amazing students who he still is able to keep in contact with currently.
He also believes he has contributed to students’ success in Vanguard’s tightly woven community and loves to see what students do with their lives after graduation.
“Being at Vanguard has been a very exciting part of my life. I have not only been connected with amazing people, but people have always shown me a lot of love, especially now, and I really appreciate that,” Westbrook said.