These are my last Whitworth Today words. Good. I'm out of words. That's why I had to quit my job. I ran out of words. Nah, that's a lame excuse. Words are reusable. It's a good thing. If they weren't, I'd spend the balance of my life pointing at stuff. I can just see myself at dinner, pointing silently at the salad bowl, followed by Bonnie looking silently back at me, and then busting the salad bowl over my head. I used to teach non-verbal communication. That would be a fine example. So I'll be reusing please and thank you, both with Bonnie and with you.
Under the please category, I have two requests. First, if you can make Beck Taylor feel as accepted as I have felt in this job, you will be doing a great service to Whitworth and to him. It shouldn't be hard. He absolutely loves Whitworth's mission, he is immensely talented, and, like his predecessor, he married over his head. Please love the Taylor family. We certainly do. We are just thrilled they have been called to Whitworth.
Please support Whitworth. Pray for this school every day. Love and support our students. Over the past 18 months, the challenges of the economic downturn have created several amazing opportunities for us to invest in resources that add great security to our future. These investments have, however, made budgets tight for the next two years. Sustaining our financial aid program during this tough period will depend significantly on your gifts.
For my two thank-you items, I'll pick up where I left off. Thank you for the support you have provided for Whitworth during the last two decades. It has been thrilling to watch how you have contributed to the transformation of our campus.
Thank you for the warmth with which you have embraced my family and me. I will always think of Whitworth as my life's work, and our whole family will forever picture Hawthorne House when we hear the word home. As Bonnie and I prepare to leave, I've been surprised at what little sense of loss I have felt so far. Though I certainly had a lump in my throat at commencement, this has been a very joyful year. When I try to understand why I'm not feeling more sentimental, I keep coming upon the difference between my job and my school. Stepping out of this job has both positives and negatives, and I find myself focusing on the positives. But leaving or replacing Whitworth would be excruciating. I'd be crying like Bonnie or Rick Hornor (my two favorite criers). We'll never really leave Whitworth, though. No matter how behind-the-scenes or invisible I will be in supporting Whitworth and Beck in my role as president emeritus, this will still be our school. My biggest loss will be an amazing relationship I enjoy with our students. But I have a lifetime's worth of great memories and durable friendships that will keep before me the students with whom I have walked this campus.
So I step out of this job with immense thankfulness to God. And I thank you for allowing me to do my best in lifting the Whitworth mission to honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity.