I've been employing good old-fashioned shoe leather this past week, meeting with legislators and policy makers in Washington, D.C. This marks my annual trek to Capitol Hill to meet with other higher-education leaders and lawmakers to discuss important issues and trends facing colleges and universities, and, more specifically, those institutions that remain firmly rooted, like Whitworth, in their Christian commitments. My intent here is not to be partisan, but rather to give you a sense of the issues at hand, perhaps even to compel you to pray for wise decision-making in D.C. and in state capitals around the country. I'm persuaded that the beauty of the American higher-education system is that it's not a system at all, but a tapestry of diverse institutions that serve our society with different distribution, financial and educational models. There is no unifying, controlling or even coordinating function. Rather, educational institutions are held accountable by the markets they serve and the stakeholders they love. Increased government scrutiny and accountability, some of which is quite reasonable given the billions of federal and state dollars that support our students and schools, can have the potentially unintended effect of contributing to the homogeneity, rather than to the rich diversity, of higher education. Government scorecards that measure only employment outcomes of graduates, or the threat of federal accreditation, are two such examples. The issue most pressing for Christian institutions, and more generally for all faith-based organizations, is the ability to operate in an environment unencumbered by pressures and demands that would dilute the faithful missions they steward. Threats to withdraw federal funding or to deny accreditation to colleges and universities for living out their religious and moral teachings can erode the fundamental identities of hundreds of colleges that want to educate both mind and heart. Whitworth, and institutions like it, may embody its faithful mission in ways consistent with its underlying values, theological traditions, and practical commitments only when the government both protects us and allows us to flourish. I'm grateful for a country that continues to provide for institutions like Whitworth and the students who attend it, but I don't take it for granted. This is why my days in D.C. are never wasted.
Lisa Laurier (School of Education) received a $2,000 grant from the Inland Northwest Community Foundation for literacy consultation with the Coeur d'Alene School District.
During Jan Term, faculty-led study programs met in Hawaii, Washington's Cascade Range, Guatemala, Costa Rica, South Africa, China, London, and other major cities in Europe. Beginning this month, Whitworth students will participate in semester-long programs in the Central America Study & Service Program and the France Study Program, while others are on exchange in Australia, Belgium, France, India, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Spain and the U.K. And this spring, we'll welcome students from Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Libya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
Several January events at Whitworth honored the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. They included a screening of Selma, a community march downtown, a worship service, volunteer service opportunities, and a panel discussion involving Whitworth faculty Larry Burnley (History/Diversity, Equity & Inclusion), Kathy Lee (Political Science), Dale Soden (History) and Roberta Wilburn (School of Education).
I had the privilege of presenting to fellow presidents of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities on Jan. 28 in Washington, D.C., on diversity, equity and inclusion on Christ-centered campuses. I'm pleased to report that many peers see Whitworth as a leader in this conversation. I might have even earned a few consultation visits to other campuses.
+ The Arts
An exhibition of the printmaking process, featuring works by Ric Gendron, Makoto Fujimura and Abram Krol, from Whitworth's permanent art collection, will be on display in Cowles Student Gallery (Lied 102) from Feb. 9-March 7.
Gordon Wilson (Art) received a $11,400 grant from the McMillen Foundation as an artist-in-residence for the month of October 2016.
The Bryan Oliver Gallery presents the exhibit Gala Bent: Everything Seems to Be Coming Together. The opening reception will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 9, from 5-6 p.m., in the Lied Art Center, and an artist's lecture will follow at 6 p.m. in Room 102. The exhibit, "a selection from recent bodies by Gala Bent along with new pieces that explore the harmonies and dissonances that make the shape of the world around us," will run Feb. 9-April 1.
Whitworth Theatre's spring production, Enchanted April, tells the story of two unhappy London housewives who rent a villa in Italy for a holiday. They recruit a pair of difficult upper-class women to share the cost and experience. Together under the Mediterranean sun, the women clash and then begin to bond, rediscovering themselves in hilarious and unexpected ways. The show will run March 4, 5, 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. and March 6 at 2 p.m. Tickets: www.whitworth.edu/theatretickets. Questions: email@example.com or 509.777.3703.
Jazz professors Dan Keberle and Christopher Parkin, '04, will present clinic sessions at the 2016 Washington Music Educators Association conference, in Yakima, Feb. 11-14. Dan's session is titled "Jazz Methods for the Non-Jazz Teacher," and Chris will present "Improvisation from the Inside Out."
+ Student Life
Snow-equipment rentals have broken all records for Whitworth Outdoor Rec. Students aren't binging on TV shows in their spare time; they're in the mountains! In addition to snow-country adventures, Jan Term featured Martin Luther King, Jr., weekend and a number of special events (see Academics). Monday night offered dorm discussions regarding King's speeches and legacy, and on Tuesday a panel of faculty and staff addressed this same topic for the entire Whitworth community.
+ Financial Aid
The financial aid staff is reviewing files for new freshmen and transfer students for the 2016-17 academic year. New students who have filed the FAFSA by the March 1 deadline will begin receiving their financial aid awards early next month. Returning students who meet the May 1 priority deadline for filing the FAFSA will receive their financial aid awards electronically in May and June. Students can confirm our receipt of their 2016-17 FAFSA by checking Pirate Port under "Missing and Received Documents." Academic scholarships are automatically renewed as long as a student is making satisfactory academic progress.
Three scholarships are available for Washington students through the College Success Foundation. Once you're on the CSF Washington State website, click on Supports/Scholarships for information on the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship, the Leadership 1000 Scholarship and the Governor's Scholarship. The deadlines for these scholarship applications fall between Feb. 24 and March 7.
Financial Wellness Week is Feb. 15-18. The financial aid office and the Balance Your Bucs Program are hosting several events on campus for students to learn about a variety of financial topics, such as credit, budgeting, investing, auto loans, and more. We'll offer daily workshops on various financial topics from 5-6 p.m. in the HUB, and we hope you'll attend our financial-wellness fair on Thursday, Feb. 18, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in the HUB's Lied Square.
+ Alumni & Parents
Each year we present four awards to deserving Whitworth alumni, and we need your help to compile a list of nominees for 2016. Visit www.whitworth.edu/alumniawards for more information and to submit a nomination. All submissions are due by the end of the day on Wednesday, Feb. 17.
Alums, parents and friends are invited to cheer on the Pirate hoopsters as they battle PLU in Tacoma on Saturday, Feb. 20. Join us for snacks at a free reception between games (women at 4 p.m.; men at 6). For more information, and to let us know you're planning to attend, please visit connect.whitworth.edu.
All Whitworthians in the San Francisco Bay Area are invited to join former psychology faculty member Kathy Storm (Academic Affairs) and Josh Orozco (Philosophy) on Saturday, Feb. 20, as they present Forgiveness: Perils or Promise? For more details, visit connect.whitworth.edu.
George Whitworth would have been 200 this March, and you are invited to celebrate his life and legacy with us at a special birthday party on Saturday evening, March 12, at the Davenport Hotel, in downtown Spokane. This event will feature student performers, a buffet dinner, and opportunities to commemorate our founder and his contributions to the Pacific Northwest. Details and registration can be found at connect.whitworth.edu/200birthday. An exhibit of photos and artifacts will be on display in the Harriet Cheney Cowles Memorial Library until the end of March.
Cactus League fun with Whitworth! Join Seattle Mariners Assistant General Manager Jeff Kingston and me in Peoria as the Mariners take on the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday, March 19. Your $40/person registration includes dinner, an exclusive pre-game conversation with Jeff, and seats near the third-base dugout. Visit connect.whitworth.edu for details and to register by March 16.
Alumni, save the date for Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 7-9. All alums are invited, and the classes of '56, '66, '76, '86, '96, 2006 and 2011 will celebrate milestone reunions! If you'd like to help plan your reunion, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The priority deadline for high school seniors to submit their admissions applications to Whitworth is March 1. Students can access our online application or the Common Application at www.whitworth.edu/apply. We will accept transcripts, test scores and letters of recommendation after that date, but the sooner we get a complete application file, the sooner we can send out admissions decisions and financial aid awards.
Incoming freshmen admitted with honors for fall 2016 should have received information about an amazing and timely opportunity to study race relations in America next Jan Term. Jason Wollschleger (Sociology) and 15 students will travel by Amtrak throughout the Southeast U.S. to explore the history and contemporary experience of underrepresented racial/ethnic populations in our country. The Race across America trip is expected to fill up quickly, so sign up soon. For more information, visit www.whitworth.edu/raceacrossamerica.
Spring is a great time for sophomores and juniors to start visiting college campuses and for seniors to make that final campus visit. We have "Why Whitworth" visit days planned during most Northwest high schools' scheduled spring vacations. We're also hosting our Multicultural Visit Program (MVP) April 7-9, for students
+ The Campaign for Whitworth
With Valentine's Day at hand, I'm reminded that many of you met your soulmates right here. I'll admit that a Whitworth Fund gift may not be that romantic, but it IS meaningful. Remember, if you are a Whitworth couple, showing a little love to Whitworth by making an annual gift counts for double participation.
Another way to double your impact is to find out if your employer matches gifts you make to Whitworth. You make a gift; your employer matches it. How's that for making a difference?
Finally, in case you missed the updated information in the recent issue of Whitworth Today, gifts and pledges to The Campaign for Whitworth now total more than $71 million toward our $100 million goal. We are blessed that so many of you are including Whitworth and our students among your philanthropic priorities!
+ Whitworth Serves
In the past week, five Whitworthians notified us of 1,069 hours of volunteer service they performed in the past year. Please join them in sharing your story of service with the Whitworth family at www.whitworth.edu/whitworthserves.
The men's basketball team is rolling! The Pirates are undefeated this year and are ranked No. 1 in the nation in the D3hoops.com top-25 poll. It is only the second time that men's basketball has earned a regular-season No. 1 ranking. George Valle, '16, and Kenny Love and Christian Jurlina, both '17, are averaging double figures in scoring.
Women's basketball finds itself in the thick of the Northwest Conference tournament chase at the halfway point of the conference schedule. The Pirates are 10-7 overall and 5-3 in the NWC. KC McConnell, '16, is having an MVP kind of season, averaging more than 20 points and five rebounds per game.
Men's swimming is unbeaten in dual meets against NWC opponents after sweeping Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran. Patrick Wilbur, '18, broke a long-standing aquatics-center record in the 100-yard backstroke against UPS, and Wes Walton, '16, broke the pool record in the 200-yard backstroke against PLU.
Women's swimming is 4-2 in NWC dual meets. Against UPS (a team win) and PLU (a hard-fought loss), Rachel Olson, '18, went unbeaten in her four individual events.She posted the NWC's fastest time this season while winning the
The indoor track & field season has only just begun, and already the Pirate teams are making noise. Shot putter Danielle Openiano, '17, and 800 runner Kayla Leland, '19, set school records at the season-opening Vandal Indoor Classic, at the University of Idaho. And Corey Burt, '16, won the men's shot put at the same meet while competing against mostly NCAA Division I opponents.
You don't have to spend too much time at Whitworth to know that Spokane's Cowles family has for generations attended to the needs of our campus – from Cowles Auditorium to the Cowles Memorial Library to the Cowles Music Center, currently under construction. Whitworth lost a true champion when Wanda Cowles died a couple of weeks ago after a courageous battle with cancer. A celebration of her life will be held on campus Feb. 13 at 2 p.m. All are welcome. Every institution can point to faithful friends who have sacrificed much, but not every institution has a Wanda Cowles, a relentless advocate for excellence. We miss her dearly, but Whitworth's students will benefit from her generosity for generations to come. Thank God for Wanda and her wonderful family, and for others like them.