Plenary Sessions

Gretchen Kinder

Gretchen Kinder Portrait
As Executive in Charge of numerous shows, Gretchen Kinder spent 25 busy years in Hollywood after graduation from Westminster in 1994. And the hard work has paid off. The Jefferson City, MO, native has racked up more than 30 reality shows and numerous commercials, music videos, and independent films. Most noteworthy to many are the juicer, celebrity-filled reality shows that are her specialty, such as Project Runway, Fear Factor, The Bachelorette, and The Apprentice. Kinder's lips are sealed about her encounters with headline-makers such as Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Lindsay Lohan, Sean P. Diddy Combs, and President Donald Trump in his pre-presidential years. Contracts demand silence, but overriding the legalities are Kinder's Midwestern work ethic and natural humility. A head for business certainly helped along the way. These virtues could be an odd assortment of qualities for many but are perfectly reasonable for someone with an English degree from a liberal arts college such as Westminster.

Dr. George Smith

George Smith portrait

Dr. George Smith, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2018, is a Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri. Dr. Smith received his undergraduate degree at Haverford College, a liberal arts institution much like Westminster in its size and mission, and at Mizzou soon established a reputation as an outstanding teacher and mentor. He strongly believes that science is a collaborative enterprise and that “breakthroughs” are seldom the result of grand individual efforts, and are often the collective results of what he sometimes calls “small science” done quietly in laboratories spread throughout the world.


Believing that scientists, like other citizens, should not confine their efforts to their professional work, but should engage themselves with the broader problems of society and the world, he has for many years been studying, writing, and speaking about the issue of human rights in Palestine.