One privilege I'm granted because of my position at Whitworth is to begin new traditions. Beginning new traditions can be difficult – in fact, it occurs to me that the words "new" and "tradition" don't go together at all. In fact, it's presumptuous. But this year I called upon our community to light a campus Christmas tree during our annual all-campus Christmas party. I picked a 50-foot spruce just outside the HUB, one that could hold gobs of lights and could be seen from across The Loop. I was amazed at the turnout as students and employees gathered around and sang Christmas carols to usher in the Advent season under the warm glow of the tree.
During my brief remarks, I asked the students to consider the tension between endings and beginnings, because they are living both right now. As students returned from Thanksgiving Break, they were immediately confronted with the final two weeks of the semester, with projects, papers and exams looming. The end of the semester is hectic, but also welcomed. Students are also living into the beginning of Advent, a time when we anticipate Grace and Truth coming to live with us in our torn-up world. But as with any two forces that exist in tension, it's easy for beginnings to overwhelm endings, or for endings to blind us from beginnings. My prayer for the students that night was that the conclusion of the semester, with all of its stresses, wouldn't cause them to overlook the beginning of this joyous season, and that the beginning of Christmastime and the anticipation of returning home wouldn't cause them to lose sight of their immediate academic responsibilities. I asked them to finish strong and begin strong.
A proposal by Corey McKenna (School of Education), "Teaching Performance Assessment in California," was accepted to the American Education Research Association (AERA) conference, in Chicago.
Jann Leppien (Margo Long Chair in Gifted Education) will present two sessions at the 61st annual convention of the National Association for Gifted Children, in Baltimore. The sessions are titled "Making Inroads in Designing High-Quality Curriculum for Advanced Learners While Addressing the Common Core State Standards," and "Case Studies of School Districts' Gifted Education Identification Practices."
Adam Neder (Theology) delivered a paper, "Karl Barth and Christian Witness Today," at the 2014 Princeton Theological Seminary Reunion.
Will Kynes (Theology) is co-editor of Reading Ecclesiastes Intertextually (T&T Clark). Will also contributed a chapter in the book: "Follow Your Heart and Do Not Say It Was a Mistake: Qoheleth's Allusions to Numbers 15 and the Story of the Spies."
Jeremy Wynne (Theology) contributed a chapter, "Wrath," in The T&T Clark Companion to the Atonement.
John Larkin's physics lab recently launched experiments to near space (80,000 to 120,000 feet up) to measure ozone, cosmic rays, solar-panel efficiency at high altitude, and ionization of air. The experiments were carried by a weather balloon that "beamed" its coordinates down to Earth. Their backup system was tracked in near-real time. Pictures from past flights are posted on www.whitworthnearspace.org. John says, "Beck Taylor has requested a 'passenger' space on one of the flights this year, and we are currently planning to send George Whitworth to near space in spring 2015 to get pictures of him high above the Earth."
A class, Environment & Society, taught by Patrick Van Inwegen (Political Science) and Vange Ocasio (School of Business), recently hosted a Spokane carbon-market conference. Students met with representatives from regional schools, businesses and nonprofits to discuss plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions voluntarily and to identify steps for establishing a local carbon market.
Megan Hershey (Political Science) presented a paper in November at the African Studies Association annual meeting: "We Expect No Change: The Mixed Responses of Nairobi Youth Groups to Government Programming."
The Whitworth forensics team, coached by Mike Ingram (Communication Studies), won TWO tournaments at Pacific University, in Forest Grove, Ore., recently. The team also took first place (out of 14 schools) at Lower Columbia College in Longview, capturing 50 (fifty!) individual awards.
+ The Arts
Jazz pianist extraordinaire Brent Edstrom (Music) will be featured with the University of Minnesota Jazz Ensemble on Dec. 8 at Ted Mann Concert Hall on the University of Minnesota campus. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.
+ Student Life
+ Alumni & Parents
Whitworth faculty and staff are going On the Road to see Whitworthians in cities across the West. Gordon Jackson and Erica Salkin (both Communication Studies) will head to Denver on Jan. 31 and to San Diego on Feb. 1, while Forrest Baird (Philosophy) and Bendi Benson Schrambach (World Languages & Cultures) will be in Spokane on April 11 and in Orange County, Calif., on May 2. Visit www.whitworth.edu/ontheroad for more information.
All alums and faculty who participated in the Central or Latin America study programs will gather on campus July 10-12, 2015, for their reunions. More info to come. If you have questions, or if you'd like to help coordinate your group's activities, please email email@example.com.
All Whitworth alumni who've graduated from law school are invited to a reunion and CLE event on campus next July 9-11. Among other topics, we'll address the themes of working toward justice and thinking through the connection between faith and law. Attendees will also have plenty of time for reconnecting and restoration. If you're interested in attending, visit www.whitworth.edu/attyreunion to let us know.
Parents and families, please save Oct. 16-18, 2015, for our next Family Weekend. It wouldn't hurt to reserve a hotel room in town now!
We know many of you spread the word about Whitworth to prospective students and their families. Thank you, and please keep it up! Your influence and experience play a major role in prospective students' decisions. The next time you have the opportunity to talk about Whitworth to a prospective student (or his/her family), please share your unique story freely, and point student and family to our fine admissions team at www.whitworth.edu/admissions.
+ Financial Aid
+ The Campaign for Whitworth
I have recently been reflecting on the sudden drop in the temperature. It seems that Spokane went ahead and skipped right over the 30s and went straight into the bone-chilling 20s. The impact that has on our utility bills makes our flexible income even more important. December is, perhaps, the pivotal month in reaching our goal for The Whitworth Fund, which goes directly to student scholarships, faculty salaries, and other priorities – including heating dorms and classrooms. To all of you who sent gifts in response to the last Mind & Heart, thank you! If you haven't yet had a chance to mail in your gift, please send it to the annual giving office, or go online to www.whitworth.edu/give. Thank you again for your generosity in supporting Whitworth's mission.
+ Whitworth Serves
Women's soccer ended the season with a record of 8-11-1, 7-9 in the NWC. The Pirates finished well, winning three of their final four matches.
Whitworth volleyball won the Northwest Conference championship and advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament for the sixth time in school history. The Pirates finished the year 21-6 after falling to 3rd-ranked Cal Lutheran in the opening round of the national tournament. Maddye Dinsmore, '16, was named NWC Player of the Year, while Nicole Leonard earned First Team All-NWC. And in just her second year, Kati Bodecker was voted NWC Coach of the Year by her conference peers.
Football finished fourth and with nice alliteration (6-4 overall and 4-3) in the NWC. The Pirates earned a 30-7 win over George Fox in their final home game of the season, sending out 14 seniors with a victory.
The women's cross country team finished as NWC runners-up and in third place at the NCAA West Regional meet, just missing a bid to the NCAA Div. III championships. Kellyn Roiko, '16, earned First Team All-NWC honors, while Amanda Blankenship, '15, and Kristen Schoenike, '16, were Second Team honorees. All three earned All-Region recognition, as well.
Men's cross country finished fourth in the NWC and ninth in the region. Taylor Steele and Colton Berry, both '15, finished with All-NWC and All-Region honors.
The Whitworth swimming teams are both 4-0 through the first half of NWC dual meet competition. Bridget Louis, '15, has posted the best 400 individual medley time in the NWC this season. Wes Walton, '16, and Wes Tatum, '15, will travel to North Carolina this month to compete in the U.S. National Swimming Championships.
The women's basketball team got off to a great start with a come-from-behind win over Eastern Oregon. KC McConnell, '16, led the way with 22 points. In their second game, the Bucs crushed Rutgers/Newark, 82-37. And they've since triumphed over Eastern Oregon and College of Idaho. This week they head off to a non-conference tournament in Texas. The women were ranked 18th in the D3hoops.com preseason poll.
The Pirate men, ranked 17th in the pre-season poll, opened the basketball season with a 103-49 throttling of D'Youville College (N.Y.). Christian Jurlina scored 22 points to lead the way. The Bucs lost their second game, 74-72, in OT, to the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers/Newark, and their third to the St. Thomas (Minn.) Tommies, 90-69, before returning to their winning ways against Redlands (80-61) and Caltech (76-48). Looks like it's going to be another fun season!
My hope and prayer for you and yours is that this Christmas will be filled with Christ's joy and peace. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!