February 24th , 2022
Westwood Village Rotary Club

Coming up on March 3rd

Kiki VanDeWeghe

The Great UCLA forward and many years a pro player, Kiki VanDeWeghe, will be our speaker IN PERSON at the Luskin Center.

Westwood Virtual Rotary Club Meeting for February 24th 2022

At precisely 12:30 PM, Diane Good (IPP,PP) gave us the Warm and Friendly
WVRC welcome, Chicago-style. She announced it was someone’s birthday and we
all thought of our myriad grandchildren until she proclaimed today the 117th
Birthday of Rotary International. She then called forward our own James
“Chatty” Crane to lead us in our Pledge to the Flag. 

           PP Chris Bradford, understanding we were all upset about Ukraine and
its citizens, offered up an Irish Prayer for them, concluding with “…may all life’s
seasons bring joy to you and yours…”

           John O’Keefe mentioned that Chuck McCreary was visiting us today and
John’s own wife Patty was here also. The busiest realtor in Westwood, PP Mark
Rogo, introduced his Blair House neighbor, Nancy Cohen, on her fourth visit.

           PP Diane then bowled us over with all the current events: WVRC is meeting
next Thursday, March 3, live and in the flesh, at the Luskin Center at UCLA. Please
make sure you RSVP if you have not, or sent REGRETS to Terry M. White or PP
Tom Barron no later than Monday morning.

           Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (weekend meeting for high schoolers) was
announced for April 29 up at Running Springs. We have two more sponsored
spots for deserving local high schoolers. 
           The District 5280 District Conference will convene May 12-15 not far from
the RYLA venue in Lake Arrowhead. The RI Convention runs June 4-8 in Houston,

           PP Ron Lyster won our Super Bowl Pool by keeping faith with our LA Rams,
while the rest of us doubters had little faith until Kupp caught the final TD pass
with 1:25 left. Now, Ron can buy .138 share of Tesla!
           Two PPs are enjoying their 69th (Jim Collins) and 39th (Chris Gaynor)
WVRC Anniversaries. Those of lesser tenure shall not be mentioned.
           Please contact Diane The Good or Phil Gabriel right away if you want to
help judge The Annual Pageant of the Arts at University High School (Zoom) which
happens Next Week!

           Sensing some Covid Downer Vibes, Diane ran through a list of WVRC
accomplishments for the first half of our Rotary Year ’21-’22:

  • we completed (Zoom) our traditional Christmas Shopping Spree with the children at the Salvation Army Westwood Transitional Center on Sepulveda;
  • we helped families at Camp Pendleton;
  • we partnered with the YMCA to feed the foodless and funded the Nora Sterry School PE program again;
  • we partnered with our own Roosbeh Farahanipour of Delphi and Mary and Robb’s Westwood Café fame, to give our WLA Police and Firemen a square meal;
  • we prepared boxes for the Homeless;
  • we helped the Vets build their own gymnasium;
  • we helped our own Nevan Senkan assist blind children in Istanbul;
  • we donated $2500 to help build an athletic field in Vista del Mar;
  • we helped the Westside Food Bank and the Haifa Int’l School in Israel.

This is NOT a comprehensive list, but perhaps enough to make you dump
those Covid Blues!

           If that’s not enough, Kiki VanDeWeghe (Coco’s uncle) will be our speaker
next Thursday. After playing as a Bruin in the National Championship Game, he
was the 11th pick in the 1980 NBA draft and twice an All-Star. He continued in
 basketball as a coach, then executive, and now as advisor. Maybe we can
 convince him to help our LA teams! He had a 52.5% career FG average!

           John O’Keefe, who knows enough interesting Irishmen to fill a year of
Programs, introduced our speaker, Dr. Paul O’Reilly, incoming president of
TAC-Thomas Aquinas College, a local school (near Ojai) which provides a unique
Catholic liberal arts education. Dr. Paul grew up in Belfast during the Troubles
in the ‘70s in a family of eight children. His mother, raising them alone, moved
them to a Protestant neighborhood which looker nicer, but soon two of his
siblings were horribly attacked. Worse, two of his uncles who had been helpful,
were both murdered and the entire family was stunned. His mother saved the
day by immigrating to New Brunswick, Canada with the eight children and moving in
next door to her brother who sponsored her. They opened a doughnut shop
and enjoyed peace until his mother was hit and killed by a drunk driver on
Christmas Eve, 1977, the year they arrived.

           Fortunately, his uncle and aunt next door with four children of their own,
adopted Dr. Paul and all his siblings. Through all of this, his memories of growing
up, he says, are mostly of the strength of family, generosity, and kindness. He
was greatly impressed with the relative wealth of Canada and then, of the US.
He wasn’t particularly interested in college, but his new mother tricked him into
visiting TAC, and the small family-like atmosphere attracted him.  He really
dreamt of becoming a wealthy entrepreneur, but these strange students seemed
oblivious to wealth or high-paying careers.
He graduated and married his college sweetheart, and began his married
life in Canada. After graduate studies, he returned to TAC as a professor in 1989
and has been there ever since. And, by the way, he and his wife have 12 children!

           So, just what is unique and “strange” about the curriculum at TAC? I
call it a curriculum because EVERYONE studies the same courses: Natural Science
every year, Mathematics every year, Philosophy, History, Literature, Religion, etc. 
There are no Majors or Minors-everyone graduates with the same list of courses
taken. Likewise, everyone keeps up with their studies, since they are assigned
homework, reading every class and discuss what they read in seminar style. TAC
clearly believes in the liberal arts and sciences as a common core of knowledge
which produces intellectual growth and a happier life, not a head start on your
own chosen vocation, as professional majors like engineering and medicine do.

           Likewise, Brown University, which my daughter and I visited, claimed to
produce a liberal arts education, but they have a huge course catalog and NO
course requirements, just score 120 credits and graduate. I attended Carnegie
Institute of Technology as a Freshman, where literally every student was
planning to be an engineer or an artist. After three months there, it was clear
that I needed to transfer to a more “liberal education” 

           TAC receives no funding from any church, Catholic or otherwise and
nothing from any government. 68% of the student receive financial aid, but
work on campus to earn it. The TAC campus in Ventura County is maxed at
400 students, but another campus in Northfield Maine (very near Canada)
has recently opened.

           As explanation of the TAC method, Dr. Paul did share with us that
“We, the teachers, assign the readings and question the students in seminar.
The students are required to respond to the questions using material from their
reading. The teachers are actually the authors of the Great Books.”

           He left us with another profound, and less serious, thought:
Why did the Irish get potatoes, the French, wine, and the Arabs, oil?
God gave the Irish first choice!
YOPP Dwight

WVRC 2020/2021 Leadership Team
President: Nancy McCready
Treasurer: Terry M. White
Youth/Vocational Service: Phil Gabriel
Director/Peace: PP Marsha Hunt
Foundation: PP Steve Day
Global Scholarships: PP Chris Bradford
Webmaster: PP Ron Lyster
Director/Merchant Minute: PP Mark Rogo
District Governor: Bette Hall
Immediate Past President: Diane Good
Secretary: PP Diane Good
Community Service: Aaron Donahue
International Service: Nevin Senkan
Program Chair: PP Tom Barron
Membership: PP Mike Newman
Director/Social Media: PP Aly Shoji
Windmill Editor: P Nancy McCready
Assistant District Governor: Michael Lushing