Is Whitworth America's "alternative Christian university"? Whitworth's 14th president, Ed Lindaman, was both lauded and criticized when he came up with that tagline for the university in the 1970s. I suspect that some of his skeptics were concerned about how a Christ-centered university would or should interact with an increasingly dynamic social culture that was putting pressure on things like sexual ethics, gender roles, race relations and America's identity in the global community. It was a time of tumultuous change in our society, and Christians had real questions about how to engage faithfully with the changing culture. The role for the Christian college was in question. But I tend to be much more sympathetic to President Lindaman's intentions. I'm confident that he saw Whitworth as a place rooted in Christian faith that could boldly invite those tough conversations to a campus that was truly committed to both educating students about competing ideas and to equipping them to honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity. By not growing the proverbial protective hedges around the campus tall and thick in order to keep out ideas that might cut contrary to certain ways of thinking, I think President Lindaman wanted to offer Whitworth as a needed place of refuge, an intellectual and spiritual sanctuary of sorts, where people with differing perspectives, nuanced questions, and nagging doubts could come to share and learn from others without having their faith questioned.
Fast forward 40 years. Has the role for Whitworth changed? We again find ourselves at a time when faithful, Christ-honoring, Bible-believing Christians disagree on a host of important issues. Which institutions are honoring Christians' dual commitments to truth and grace, faith and reason, curiosity and conviction, responsibility and compassion, mind and heart? Which Christian institutions of higher learning are looking to engage and shape culture rather than retreat from it? I'm confident that Whitworth continues to be an important and distinctive "alternative" for many faithful students who are searching not only for what they believe, but for why they believe it. If that sets Whitworth apart, I'm glad for it.
Meredith Shimizu, '93 (Art), will present a series of monthly public lectures through March at Spokane's Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. Each lecture focuses on a single artwork from the Italian Renaissance.
First-year students and student leaders from the English department recently worked in the Westminster Garden to prepare the site for a new pergola, designed, fabricated and installed by Santa Barbara artist David Shelton. Stop by soon to see this beautiful addition to the courtyard.
Outsiders in a Promised Land, by Dale Soden (History), has been published by Oregon State University Press. The book explores the role that religious activists have played in shaping the culture of the Pacific Northwest.
Congratulations to John Larkin (Physics), who received a $2,600 grant from the Jonathan F. Reichert Foundation. The grant will help expand the use of existing equipment in the quantum physics lab.
Corey McKenna and Stacy Hill (both School of Education) received a $20,000 grant from the Washington Educational Research Association. They will conduct research and assist WERA in expanding its role in facilitating, promoting and sharing educational research in Washington state.
Jann Leppien (Margo Long Chair in Gifted Education) recently presented "Understanding the Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Students" at the Young Child Expo and Conference and conducted a training session with teachers in the Pullman School District. And congratulations to Jann on receiving a $32,000 sub-award from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Whitworth President Beck Taylor (that's me) also presented at the Young Child Expo and Conference on research related to poverty and early childhood development. I was also recently appointed to the executive committee of Thrive Washington, the state's leading public-private partnership that provides leadership in Washington in the area of early learning.
Karin Heller (Theology) gave a keynote address, "Teresa of Avila (1515-2015): A Woman between the Roman Catholic Church's Crossfire and Exaltation," for a celebration of the saint's 500th birthday, in October, at Gonzaga University.
+ The Arts
Hear them here, before they go over there! In March, the Whitworth Wind Symphony will head across the Pacific to Thailand for a concert tour. But this month, you can hear them without having to go halfway around the world: the Whitworth Wind Symphony will present its fall concert, All Dark Is Now No More, on Sunday, Nov. 15, at 3 p.m. in Cowles Memorial Auditorium. Admission is $5, and students and seniors (62-plus) get in for free.
+ Student Life
October began with Homecoming Week. ASWU cleaned, repaired and painted the Pirate’s Cove area and redid the fireplaces just in time for the homecoming bonfire/s’mores/live music festival on Saturday night. Saturday morning began with each dorm making a float for the homecoming parade competition, and those floats toured The Loop. Julie and I had the privilege of bringing up the rear in a very nice Mustang convertible on loan from Wendle Motors!
October ended with a campus visit from the renowned Taco Truck, a fair-trade festival, and some salsa dancing – just a few of the events we enjoyed as we celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month.
+ Financial Aid
The U.S. Department of Education recently released the three-year loan-default rates for domestic and foreign schools. Whitworth has a 3.8 percent default rate, compared to the national rate of 11.8 percent. Way to go, Pirates! This represents the good work our financial aid staff does in making a Whitworth education more affordable for our students and their families.
+ Alumni & Parents
Whitworthians in the Puget Sound are invited to An Evening at Matthews Winery on Nov. 12. Visit www.whitworth.edu/wineryevent to register and to learn more.
Parents of current students, purchase an Exam Survival Kit for your student by Nov. 22! Gifts will be delivered the week before finals, and proceeds will support the Alumni Scholarship Fund. Order your student’s end-of-semester treat today at connect.whitworth.edu/examsurvivalkitsfall2015.
George’s Elves, an alumni gift exchange, is back by popular demand this holiday season! Whitworth alums are invited to sign up at connect.whitworth.edu/georgeselves2015 by Nov. 30.
SoCal Whitworthians: Save the date, and plan to join us for Whitworth on Ice at L.A. Live. And by “Whitworthians,” we mean you! Strap on a pair of skates Dec. 5 and pretend that California is a winter wonderland.
Join us for our annual Alumni Night at the Fieldhouse as the Pirate men and women ballers battle Pacific University on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 4 and 6 p.m.
Our Nov. 30 early action (non-binding) application deadline is just around the corner. Students who apply by Nov. 30 are guaranteed an admissions decision in two weeks or less. Admitted students also can submit their enrollment deposit to get priority status for housing selection and class registration. Deposits are fully refundable through May 1, the application is free, and it's great to get this done before the holidays. Go to www.whitworth.edu/apply.
There is a great deal of discussion in the media these days about college debt. While student loans are an integral part of financing higher education for most college students and are definitely a good investment in a student's future, we understand the concern about student debt and are doing all we can to help our students borrow responsibly. Based on the most recent data, on average our graduates have borrowed just 18.4 percent of the total tuition for their four years at Whitworth. This compares with an average of 22.5 percent at our top five private college competitors and 67.5 percent at our top five public competitors. And our four-year graduation rate is 2.2 percentage points higher than the average of our top five private competitors, and 27 percentage points higher than the average of our top five public competitors. When I put my economist's hat on, this tells me Whitworth is an exceptional value.
Prospective freshmen are encouraged to join the Whitworth Class of 2020 Facebook group. It's a great way to connect with other students looking at Whitworth as well as with current students who can answer questions about the life of a Pirate.
+ The Campaign for Whitworth
This year, Whitworth is home to 2,246 traditional undergraduate students. Ninety-seven percent received scholarship support. One hundred percent are ready to change the world. Beginning Nov. 23, we're asking you to be the spark and Light the Match. If 2,246 alumni, parents and friends make a gift – one for every traditional undergraduate student on campus – by Dec. 18, a group of Whitworth trustees will match that effort with a $100,000 gift to Whitworth! Help Whitworth reach 2,246 donors and fuel the flames of excellence in our students. Please use the attached envelope or go online to www.whitworth.edu/give. Thank you so much!
Each November we attach an envelope to this newsletter in the hope that you'll consider contributing to The Whitworth Fund, which is one of the initiatives in The Campaign for Whitworth. The Whitworth Fund supports student aid and other institutional needs. Thanks for considering this extra gift, which will be much-appreciated and well-used.
+ Whitworth Serves
We want to know whom you serve and how you serve! Please let us know by visiting www.whitworth.edu/whitworthserves and clicking on the green "Share your service" button.
Whitworth's annual Pirate Night Dinner and Auction took place Nov. 5 at the Spokane Convention Center. Pirate fans showed up in force for a night of fun, festivities, and fund-raising for our winning Pirate programs. Go, Bucs!
On Oct. 22, nearly 240 Whitworth student-athletes canvassed local neighborhoods as part of the Cans for a Cause food drive, sponsored by Whitworth's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Volunteers collected 5,657 pounds of food – a new record – which was donated to Spokane's Second Harvest Food Bank.
The Whitworth football team has battled to an impressive 7-1 record. The Pirates' resurgence is due in part to the defense, which currently ranks third in all of NCAA Div. III in sacks per game. Junior linebacker Dalin McDonnell leads the Northwest Conference with six interceptions, two of which he has returned for touchdowns. Whitworth has two games left in its regular season.
Volleyball (18-6, 12-2 NWC) has clinched a berth in the NCAA Div. III playoffs, which will begin Nov. 14. The Bucs are hoping to wrap up a second consecutive conference championship, and senior Maddye Dinsmore has a chance to end her career as Whitworth's all-time leader in assists.
Men's soccer continues to excel. The Pirates are currently 15-1-1 overall and alone atop the NWC standings at 11-1-1. Whitworth has allowed only six goals all season, and goalkeeper Timmy Costa ranks among the national leaders in goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts. The men's NCAA Div. III soccer tournament will begin the second weekend of November.
Women's soccer continues to battle hard, despite season-ending injuries to several players. The team is 6-10-3 overall and 4-8-3 within the NWC. The defense has been solid, allowing only 0.91 goals per game. Whitworth has just one match left in the season.
The women's cross country team is on a roll, ranked 12th in NCAA Div. III. The Pirates head into the NWC championships riding the momentum of a dominating win at the Lewis & Clark Invitational. Senior Katie McKay finished in second place individually at L&C. The NCAA West Regional meet is coming up Nov. 14 in Southern California, and the NCAA Division III championships are a week later in Oshkosh, Wis.
The men's cross country team has battled injuries and illness this season, but the Pirates continue to have high hopes for a top-three finish at the NWC championships. Senior Chris MacMurray has led Whitworth's men across the finish line four times this season.
Men's golf picked itself up off of the floor after a seventh-place finish at the PLU Invitational, in late September, to win the NWC Fall Classic, in Sunriver, Ore. Seniors Oliver and Lyle Rudnicki finished first and second, respectively, in the individual standings. Heading into the last half of the season (in the spring), Whitworth now has a leg up on the rest of the league to win another NWC title.
The women's golf team had its own strong showing at the NWC Fall Classic, taking second place overall. The Pirates finished just behind the highly-ranked George Fox Bruins in the standings. Whitworth senior Chelsey Bailey was the individual runner-up in the tournament, as well.
The NWC dual-meet swimming season gets under way this month, following a mid-October dual meet against a very strong NCAA Div. II team, Simon Fraser University. Jackie Beal won the women's 200-yard backstroke, and Trevor Case won the men's 200-yard breaststroke for the Pirates.
Men's basketball tips off its season as the No. 3-ranked team in the country, according to the D3hoops.com preseason top-25 poll. The Pirates tested that lofty ranking with an exhibition game at the University of Montana this week, and the Bucs hung tough against the Griz for three quarters, eventually losing 83-64 to the NCAA Div. I squad.
Women's basketball welcomed more than 20 tryouts this season, and the team will carry both a varsity and a junior-varsity squad for the first time in several years. Junior KC McConnell is the only returning starter, but she is one of the best players in the NWC, and she provides a solid foundation for her team to build on.
The October blitz is over. What fun it was to host Homecoming Weekend, Family Weekend, the meeting of the board of trustees, and the President's Leadership Forum. Despite my enthusiasm for the people and events that October offered, I'm glad that the calendar has flipped and that we're now into the workmanlike November schedule. Students and faculty alike are hunkered down, working hard to reach Thanksgiving Break. Much learning will take place this month, even as the days grow shorter and the nights colder. I'm praying your month of thanksgiving is blessed.