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Mind & Heart

Summer 2015

"Be still, and know that I am God!" These words from Psalm 46:10 are familiar to many of you. I recently preached on this text, and it gave me a fresh opportunity to think about how I live my life. If there is any phrase that would decidedly NOT describe my life, or the lives of many of us today, it is "being still." Rather, "frenetic activity" would best describe my regular state of being. Who's with me on that one? According to the most recent study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, adults in this country spend more time working, less time sleeping, more time connected to technology, and less time engaging in traditional leisure activities than ever before. Could the busyness in our lives, no matter the source, account for the record number of us who report being chronically anxious, stressed out, and looking for resources to help us lead more balanced lives? Is it possible that all of the demands on our time are pulling us away from the sacred stillness that God is calling us to in Psalm 46? From the frantic schedules and responsibilities we keep - often filled with pursuits of our own choosing - to things that are out of our immediate control, like sickness, violence, financial ruin, mental illness, and other scary uncertainties, God knows that we experience anxiety, fear, and loss. These things can cause us to question our faith, our true identities, and the nature of the God we worship. But God, in his grace, invites us to sail into his safe harbor, a hiding place of refuge and strength, a place where we can re-center and re-order our lives and be reminded of who's really in control. My prayer for you and me this summer is that we can find opportunities to create intentional spaces in our lives into which God can speak. As he did with the prophet Elijah, he may be speaking to us in his still, small voice.

+ Academics

Cynthia Wright (Athletic Training) presented research on rehabilitation strategies for individuals with chronic ankle instability at the National Athletic Trainers Association Annual Meeting and Clinical Symposium, in St. Louis.

Todd Friends (Business & Economics) was hosted by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, as a guest panelist at the orientation of the cohort for the 2015 Critical Language Scholars, Beijing, China.

A paper by Vange Ocasio (Business & Economics), "Rural Finance Schemes in Subsistence Economies: Does a Market Model Really Work?," was accepted for the Western Economic Association International's 90th annual conference, in Hawaii.

Five economics students - Tyler Daggy, '16, Scott Mayfield, '16, Kaysee-Li Tomkins, '16, Rebecca Lemick, '16, and Whitney Marshall, '15 - were recently inducted into Whitworth's chapter of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the international honor society for economics.

Chemistry students Sarah Hill, '17, Evan Barnes, '16, Kona DeLude, '16, and Mark Klick, '15 attended the American Chemical Society regional conference with Deanna Ojennus (Chemistry). Ojennus and Klick gave a presentation on the students' work in collaboration with Professor of Computer Science Kent Jones.

Deanna Ojennus and Aaron Putzke (both Chemistry) received a $46,000 Li-Cor Biosciences grant for an Odyssey Fc Imaging System, which will aid students in five classes and in faculty research.

Professor Emeritus Gordon Jackson (Communication Studies) is the author of a new book, Christians, Free Expression, and the Common Good: Getting Beyond the Censorship Impulse (Rowman & Littlefield). In the book, Jackson discusses the role of Christians in Western democracies as advocates of advancing freedom of speech.

Kathryn Picanco (School of Education) presented "Environmental and Sustainability Education: An Essential Part of the Next Generation of STEM Teacher Preparation," at the May 30 meeting of the Next Generation of STEM Teacher Preparation, at Central Washington University.

Whitworth has established the Dennis Sterner Education Scholarship, named for the School of Education's recently retired dean emeritus, who served Whitworth through 27 years of leadership. Prior to his service at Whitworth, Dennis was a science teacher and district science supervisor who studied environmental education in his doctoral program at the University of Montana. While in Washington, he has been an active proponent of environmental education.

Lori Johnson (School of Education) has completed her doctoral program capstone presentation, "Partnering in Pre-Service Teacher Preparation," at the University of Washington.

Corliss Slack (History) wrote a chapter, "The Quest for Gain: Were the First Crusaders Proto-Colonists?," for the book Seven Myths of the Crusades (Hackett Publishing Co).

David Whisenand, '13, and Jonathan Kim, '15, philosophy majors and Ethics Bowl alumni, were admitted into the Harvard University School of Law, where they will begin taking classes this fall.

Theo Wisniewski, '16, received the Brown Fellowship, a full-tuition scholarship, at Washington University in St. Louis.

To help the Washington State Music Teachers celebrate their 100th anniversary, Judith Schoepflin (Music) presented a session at their conference, in Bremerton, on "Hidden Gems for Intermediate Piano Students from the Modern and Contemporary Eras."

Professor Emeritus John Yoder (Political Science) is the author of a new book, Power and Politics in the Book of Judges: Men and Women of Valor (Fortress, 2015). The book, which is available from, uses insights from political science, anthropology, and African studies to describe the political dynamics of the protagonists in the Bible's Book of Judges. Our keynote WIM 2015 speaker, Walter Brueggeman, calls Yoder's work "a very fine book," characterizing it as "a major contribution that I am glad to have in hand."

Brian Ploeger, '01, was named the winner in the college-graduate division of Downbeat magazine's 38th Annual Student Music Awards. Ploeger is currently pursuing a master of music degree at Washington State University. He studied trumpet with Whitworth Director of Jazz Studies Dan Keberle while in high school as well as when he was a student at Whitworth. Brian is the second jazz trumpet student from Whitworth in the past three years to win a national jazz competition: Jared Hall, '08, won the 2013 National Trumpet Competition in the jazz-soloist division.

Director of Vocal Studies Scott Miller is musical director for the Coeur d'Alene Summer Theater's current production of Singin' In the Rain, and Mary Trotter, '08, adjunct instructor in the music department, is pianist/accompanist for rehearsals as well as a member of the orchestra. Performances run Thursday-Sunday through the month of July.

+ Student Life

Although the students are outta here on summer break right now, our residence halls are still hopping with participants in our camps for high-school football, basketball, soccer and volleyball players. In June alone, we welcomed 650 kids! We're very grateful for our eight student conference assistants, who are ensuring that everything runs smoothly in the halls.

+ Alumni & Parents

Homecoming is just around the corner! (Well, kinda.) All alumni are invited to join us Oct. 2-4. There will be special milestone reunions for the classes of 1955, '65, '75, '85, '95, '05, and '10. We will also celebrate our four annual Whitworth Alumni Award winners. For a full list of events and to register, visit

Our Alumni Discovery Project is in its third year, and 16 Whitworth student ambassadors are interviewing alums around the nation to hear their unique stories about life before, during, and after Whitworth. We're proud to say that nearly 1,000 Whitworth alums have already participated since the project began in 2013. If you've participated, thank you. We continue to learn from your stories. And if you've been invited, I hope you'll take the time to meet with one of our ambassadors. Visit to learn more.

Families of current students are invited to Family Weekend, Oct. 16-18. Join your student on campus and experience life at Whitworth during this busy, exciting event. To learn more and to register, visit

If you're the parent of a current or incoming Whitworth student, join us in a Facebook group created just for you. Log in to Facebook, search for Parents and Families of Current Whitworth Students '15-'16, and join in the conversation.

Creative events for alumni, parents, and friends are happening all across the West this summer and fall. Visit to see what's going on in your area.

+ Admissions

We hosted 350 incoming students and their parents at our inaugural Sneak Preview event July 24. These new members of Pirate Nation enjoyed a barbecue dinner together, got tips from current students and parents about what to expect during their first year at Whitworth, and even got a sneak peek at their dorm rooms. Moms and dads from across the Western U.S. brought their tape measures and are now out shopping.

Enrollment deposits are due Aug. 1 for transfer students. Go online to, and click on "Guarantee Your Spot" to find a link to the transfer deposit submission form. Transfer students are a great addition to the Whitworth community.

The deadline for completion of the billing e-packet and submission of a payment plan for fall term is early August. There are nine- and 10-month payment plans available to ease the bill-handling. If you have any questions, please call a member of our great student-accounting-services staff, at 800.535.4668.

+ The Campaign for Whitworth

Whitworth is celebrating the end of another fiscal year. The Whitworth Fund received gifts totaling nearly $1.2 million in support of the university's annual budget. This is a huge help. Whether you are an alum, a parent, or a friend, we are grateful for the support you provide Whitworth each year. You help make the difference for our students between a good education and a great one. Thanks for helping to make this a wonderful 125th-anniversary year for The Whitworth Fund and for our campus community.

Construction is officially under way on the Cowles Music Center. The $13.5 million expansion and remodel of the existing music building is one of the key capital initiatives of the Campaign for Whitworth. We are still wrapping up fund-raising for this highest priority building project, and it's not too late to name a seat in the recital hall by visiting

+ Whitworth Serves

The first month of the school year will hereafter be known as "Servestember." After a successful Whitworth Serves Day in March, we are expanding our efforts to an entire month to encompass our annual Community Building Day and the National Day of Service honoring Sept. 11. Several alumni chapters are getting in on the act again, and we will feature a daily story of a Whitworthian who serves. We hope you will join us in this most tangible expression of the Whitworth mission.

Emily Lower, '88, serves as a volunteer instructor at Omega Martial Arts in Springville, Utah. She writes, "I love encouraging students when they don't think they can do something. Why? Because I feel that way weekly in my classes. You want me to do a dive roll? I have to do a jump turning kick and hit the target? I am always coming from a place of encouragement with students." As always, we would love to hear your own stories of service and of why you give of your time and talent. Please visit and complete our short online survey.

+ Sports

The 2015 Whitworth Golf Classic at the Spokane Country Club was a super-successful event. More than 40 foursomes had a great time supporting Pirate student-athletes, and Denny Denholm picked up a hole-in-one!

Whitworth's Dan Scheibe, '15, was signed by the Texas Rangers and assigned to the Spokane Indians' short-season Single A squad. Dan made his professional baseball debut on June 23, pitching two scoreless innings.

The men's and women's swimming teams were both recognized as Scholar All-America programs by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. The women's team GPA was 3.50 last spring, while the men's was a not-too-shabby 3.30.

Several Whitworth teams have announced their incoming classes for 2015-16. Check out for more information about our newly recruited athletes (and our more seasoned competitors, as well).

Closing Thoughts

The Taylors are having a great summer. We've enjoyed having Zach home from Belmont. Lauren has been busy with club softball, and Chloe enjoys spending days in the back yard with friends, splashing in the water. Julie and I can't believe how quickly the summer days seem to pass. Before you know it, our beloved students will be back on campus, and our evenings will be filled once again with recitals, speakers, athletics events and other opportunities to connect with students. Even so, we are trying to find those rare opportunities to practice stillness in our lives. I pray that the remainder of the summer is a blessing to you and yours.

Beck A. Taylor