The Taylors enjoyed our first Christmas at home in many years. Our usual routine is to visit family members scattered across the country. Since nothing says "Welcome home!" like a boarding pass, we decided to allow Zach, our oldest, to relax at home after his first semester away at college, and we spent several nights at a quiet, rustic cabin at nearby Priest Lake. Julie and I thought the kids would balk at such a low-tech environment without much to do, but we all surprised ourselves with how much everyone needed some peace, quiet, and time together. One thing we had were plenty of movies to watch. My all-time favorite movie is Chariots of Fire, which won the 1981 Academy Award for best motion picture. You should have heard the groans from the teenagers when I placed it into the DVD player. 1981! Did they make color movies back then? Everyone but me fell asleep watching. But I was eagerly awaiting my favorite line in the movie, when Eric Liddell declares to his sister, "I believe God made me for a purpose – for China. But he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure… to win is to honor him." I love that line because it fits so well with my understanding of calling and vocation. God gives all of us unique gifts, and when we use those gifts well, God takes pleasure in us. One of the joys of serving at Whitworth is the opportunity to watch our students discover and affirm their many gifts, and then to watch them learn to use those gifts to "honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity." To experience our Creator's pleasure when we steward God's marvelous gifts is indeed a blessing.
Whitworth's Ethics Bowl team, the "Philosoraptors," recently took first place at the Northwest Regional Ethics Bowl, at Seattle Pacific University. They defeated 13 other teams and secured a bid to the national bowl for the fifth consecutive year. The team is coached by Mike Ingram (Communication Studies) and Keith Wyma (Philosophy). Whitworth's team also took first place at the recent Pacific University tournament. The team won 171 individual speech and debate awards last fall.
Students are participating in the following Jan Term programs around the globe: Anthropology, in Hawaii; Christianity, in Great Britain; Costa Rica Freshman Honors; Ecology of the Bible; Tall Timber; Education, in Hawaii; Education, in Tanzania; Marine Ecology, Puget Sound; Math History, in Europe; Media Impact, in New York & Washington, D.C.; Power and Politics of Art, Europe; Spanish for Health Professions, in Costa Rica; Spanish Language, in Spain; The Actor's Experience, in New York City.
This month, history majors Thomas Hull and Hannah Tweet, both '15, are in Washington, D.C., for Smithsonian internships. Brandon Emerson, '15, was selected as recipient of the Mary Jane Maxwell Student Travel Endowment. He will travel with Anthony Clark (History) to study the history and art of Rome.
Kristin Bertsch, '16, received a Gilman scholarship to go on Whitworth's Britain and Ireland Study Program this spring.
Sandi Bennett (Evening Teacher Certification) presented "How Can You Eliminate Barriers that Restrict AP Access for Students?" at a recent Washington Educational Research Association conference. Sandi and Lori Johnson (ETC/MIT) were part of a presentation titled "Trial by Fire: Lessons learned in TPEP implementation."
Lisa Laurier and Lori Johnson (both School of Education) received word from the Hagan Foundation that the grant proposal they submitted for their literacy work in schools has been funded. They received a grant of $5,000.
Jann Leppien (Margo Long Chair for Gifted Education) and Nancy Hertzog, from the University of Washington, presented two preconference sessions for the Washington Educational Research Association conference in Seattle. They also presented three general sessions for a highly capable strand offered to conference participants.
Claudia Dumitrescu (School of Business) co-authored a paper, "Community Supported Agriculture Programs: A Novel Venue for Theory-Based Health Behavior Change Interventions," that has been accepted for publication in the Ecology of Food and Nutrition.
Student groups such as the Students for Education Reform (SFER), Act Six Scholars, and student leaders such as cultural diversity advocates led the effort last fall to organize opportunities for the campus to assess and address the ways in which Whitworth communicates through word and deed, and through mind and heart, its value, support, and inclusion of students from various historically underrepresented racial and ethnic populations. Assistant Vice President for Diversity & Intercultural Relations Larry Burnley helped to lead this effort.
+ The Arts
+ Service Learning
+ Student Life
+ Financial Aid
The 2015-16 FAFSA website is now available for students who wish to renew their need-based or federal financial aid. Families can file the electronic pre-filled FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov. Our priority deadline is May 1 for returning students who seek financial aid for 2015-16. For new freshmen and students who wish to apply for summer work-study, the deadline is March 1; for transfers, it's July 1. Families who file their tax returns prior to completing the FAFSA may be able to load the IRS data into the FAFSA. This data load saves time and assures accuracy of the data. Students who receive only a Whitworth academic scholarship need not file the FAFSA.
The 2014 1098T Tuition Tax Form will be available electronically at the end of this month. Just go to the Student Account Information section of Pirate Port (or WhitNet), and click on 1098 Electronic Consent. By electing to receive the form electronically, you'll find it available earlier; it can be viewed and printed at any time. The form is used to support your request for educational tax credits on your tax return. Please consult your tax advisor or go to www.irs.gov for more information on available educational tax credits. You may also want to take a look at the Worksheet for Reporting Scholarships/Grants on Federal 2014 Tax Return, found on the financial aid office's Forms webpage, at www.whitworth.edu/financialaid, to determine whether any of the financial aid you/your student received in 2014 is taxable.
+ Alumni & Parents
Nearly 200 Whitworth alums from across the nation, globe, and eras participated in our first year of George's Elves, an alumni holiday gift exchange. Thanks to those of you who participated in spreading cheer to Whitworthians near and far!
Mark your calendar to join us for Alumni Night at the Fieldhouse, on Jan. 24, as the basketball Bucs battle PLU. Wear your crimson and black to the women's game at 4 p.m., and stay for the men's contest at 6 p.m.; entrance is free for Whitworth alums and their families. Enter the raffle at the door to win great prizes, and join us for complimentary refreshments in the aquatics center foyer during halftime of the men's game.
On the Road events continue this winter and spring. Alums, parents, and friends are invited to join Gordon Jackson and Erica Salkin (both Communication Studies) as they present "The Right (?) To Be Forgotten" in Denver on Jan. 31 and in San Diego on Feb. 7. Forrest Baird (Philosophy) and Bendi Benson Schrambach (World Languages & Cultures) will be in Spokane on April 11 and in Orange County on May 2, presenting "Survivor: Outwit, Outplay, Outlast – But Do it Ethically!" Visit www.whitworth.edu/ontheroad for more information and to register.
Join Julie and me for regional 125th anniversary celebrations in Southern California on March 14 and in Denver on April 11. More details will be available soon at www.whitworth.edu/125.
Jan. 31 is the recommended deadline for students admitted through our Early Action application program to submit an enrollment deposit. The $350 deposit, which can be paid online at www.whitworth.edu/enrollment deposit, holds a student's place in the incoming freshman class and also gives students the opportunity for priority consideration in housing and class registration. The deposit is refundable until May 1, so all admitted students are encouraged to submit their deposit ASAP if they are seriously considering Whitworth as a college option.
Auditions will be held Feb. 7-8 for students seeking talent scholarships for participation in Whitworth music programs. Information about scheduling is available at www.whitworth.edu/music. Click on the Scholarship Auditions link. Live auditions are preferred, but recordings are accepted. Students who participate in Whitworth's excellent music ensembles are eligible to audition for talent awards regardless of their majors. Talent awards also are available for students who participate in art, theatre, journalism, forensics (speech and debate) and Young Life. Information will be mailed to students who indicated interest in these programs on their Whitworth admissions applications.
Registration is open for our Honors Colloquium scholarship competition weekends. Any incoming freshman admitted with honors is invited to attend one of the scholarship weekends – Feb. 14-15, Feb. 28-March 1 or March 14-15. About 100 students attend each colloquium and vie for two four-year, full-tuition scholarships and 10 $2,000/year scholarships. Participants also connect with current students and faculty, stay overnight in the residence halls and plug into campus activities – a great way to experience life as a Whitworth student. Eligible students can register online at www.whitworth.edu/honorsscholarship.
In the middle of this month, we'll host 18 extraordinary young leaders from Spokane and Tacoma/Seattle who are semifinalists in the Act Six Leadership and Scholarship Program. These students were selected from several hundred applicants to compete for a spot in Whitworth's 13th cadre of Act Six scholars. These students are gifted, equipped and challenged to be agents of transformation on campus and in their home communities.
+ The Campaign for Whitworth
+ Whitworth Serves
Women's basketball is 13-0 and ranked 15th by the WBCA and 17th by D3hoops.com. The Pirates are off to their best start in school history, led by KC McConnell, '16, who has been named Northwest Conference Student-Athlete of the Week in back-to-back weeks. Whitworth beat Whitman and Linfield at home last week, and they're now 4-0 in conference.
The swimming teams concluded the fall schedule with impressive performances. Wes Walton and Wes Tatum, both '16, went to North Carolina to compete at the U.S. Winter Nationals, where each posted NCAA Division III provisional qualifying marks in his races. Meanwhile, at the Husky Invitational in Federal Way, Alisa Stang, '15, tied the school record in the 50-yard freestyle, and Jason Smith, '18, won the 100-yard backstroke.
Micheal Ramos and Matt Bray, both '15, were honored as NCAA Division III All-Americans by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Ramos, the Northwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year, became the first NSCAA First Team All-American in school history. Bray, the NWC Defensive Player of the Year, was selected to the Second Team.
January is the season for resolutions. Mine are to love more unconditionally, judge others less quickly, listen more attentively, read more consistently, exercise more regularly, and appreciate the present more fully. I know that I'll fail at each of these before 2016 takes its first bow, so perhaps the most important resolution for any of us is to trust and abide in the grace of God more faithfully. That's my prayer for all of us as we begin a new calendar year – that we lean on Christ's grace in all things. Happy new year!