I've been hearing a lot from my Midwestern friends lately. Larry, in particular, called every day last week. He moved in across the street from me when I was in kindergarten. We lived in suburban Chicago's DuPage County, where, if you weren't a Cubs fan, you were going to grow up persecuted. Larry didn't know this at age 6. So I lied to him. I told him that being a White Sox fan put you on the fast track to North School's social register. He bought it, and thus began 50 years of him taking guff. We hung on every pitch in the 1959 World Series, but the Sox lost. A couple of nights ago, 46 years of waiting for another chance came to a joyous close. This has nothing to do with anything in Whitworth Today, but I had to write it. Sorry for this blatant abuse of my office.
This Whitworth Today features our new strategic plan. And for the third time since I've been at Whitworth I'm introducing a five-year plan with the refrain, "Whitworth will be stronger, not different." The chart on the left begs the question, "At what point does stronger become different?"
By the numbers, we look different. But in three fundamental areas we are the same school freshmen found in the fall of 1990: our undergraduate, liberal-arts focus; our union of Christ-centeredness and a spirit of open inquiry; and our conviction that a nurturing community enables the kind of holistic learning we prize.
Why, then, having come so far, would we embark on such an ambitious strategic plan that will rely on a giant infusion of financial resources? I'm reminded of another letter I received from a Midwesterner, in which he enclosed a cartoon of a Washington state panhandler wheedling, "Say buddy, can you spare $3.75 for a double-shot hazelnut cappuccino?" Are we being greedy when we seek to attract almost $100 million? Absolutely not!
The quality of Whitworth's faculty, students and curriculum has banged its head on the resource ceiling. In the past six or seven years, for example, we have attracted superb scientists and artists to our faculty. Correspondingly, we have watched the number of majors in these two areas rise by more than 50 percent, accompanied by an equally impressive rise in their predicted grade points. If we hope to maintain, not to mention improve, our current levels of quality, we need more and better space. Aggressively and with great excitement, we must tap every source of support. And we will.
I hope that as you read about our future you will take great pride in enabling our past. Quite simply, we had no chance of pulling off the accomplishments of the last 15 years without you. What you have done, dare I say it, is even more amazing than what those White Sox just pulled off. And with your help we hope to repeat our success over the next five years. We thank God for you and for this wonderful school. Please keep us in your prayers. We believe with the psalmist that "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps vigil in vain."