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Mind & Heart

November 2017

The concept of place continues to inform and shape much of what we do at Whitworth. Naturally, Whitworth’s beautiful campus is the central place that comes to mind. I know that we are all grateful for our piney sanctuary that provides life-giving spaces for intellectual and spiritual contemplation, discovery and growth. But, Whitworth has long considered places far beyond our campus borders. The Act Six program and Whitworth’s ongoing involvement in the West Central neighborhood of Spokane come to mind. Now in its 12th year, Whitworth’s Act Six program recruits students from historically underrepresented communities in Spokane and the Puget Sound area explicitly for the purposes of developing leadership skills and preparing them to return to their neighborhoods, schools and communities to initiate and lead important change. Another place-based initiative is Whitworth’s decadeslong partnership in Spokane’s West Central neighborhood, where students, faculty, staff and alumni have contributed thousands of hours to support those who aspire to transform one of Washington’s poorest neighborhoods into a place of vitality. Most recently, I visited the Wai‘anae Coast on the Hawaiian island of O‘ahu, where Whitworth is developing another place-based relationship with students and others who come from this beautiful, yet impoverished region. With the generous support of the Kamehameha Foundation, and under the visionary leadership of Assistant Professor of Education Keith Lambert,'91, and others, Whitworth is developing an exciting cohort model, similar to the Act Six program, to educate students who aspire to return to their home community after graduation to impact the lives of others. Whitworth is a place of learning. And Whitworth is a place of sending – sending our graduates and many others to places far beyond the “pine cone curtain,” people who desire to honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity.

+ Academics

The forensics team took second place overall and fourth place in the speech sweepstakes out of 41 schools from 12 states competing in Portland, Ore. Whitworth defeated national and regional rivals including the Air Force Academy, Rice University, Oregon State University and the University of Minnesota. The team brought home nine speech awards and 12 debate awards. Go #ArguingBucs!

Four members of the English department presented at the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association meeting in Spokane Oct. 12-14. Thom Caraway presented a keynote speech on “Publishing and Design Curricula in English Studies.” Kari Nixon, Fred Johnson and Casey Andrews also made presentations.

Megan Hershey (Political Science) had an essay published in Sojourners called “The Changing Landscape of Progressive Evangelicalism.”

Jann Leppien (School of Education) presented on the topic “Beyond the Boundaries of Giftedness” at the Gifted & Talented Symposium at Montana State University.

Keith Beebe (Theology) was the featured speaker for conferences celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in October in Walla Walla and at the San Joaquin Presbytery (PCUSA) in Fresno, Calif. For both conferences, he presented two lectures under the title “A Mighty Fortress: Timely Truths for a Troubled Age,” based upon Martin Luther’s classic hymn, and preached a sermon titled “Can These Bones Live?” based upon Ezekiel 37.

+ The Arts

Whitworth’s Christmas Festival Concerts will be presented in Spokane and Seattle by more than 100 students, including members of the Whitworth Choir and the Whitworth Women’s Choir. Don’t miss this incredible evening of worship and celebration. Seattle details: Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 3, at 2 p.m.; First Presbyterian Church of Seattle; tickets available at Spokane details: Saturday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m.; Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox; order tickets at or call 509.624.1200. Julie and I hope to see you there.

Students in the directing class will present A Festival of Short Plays on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. in Cowles Auditorium, Stage II. Admission is $5. And thanks to everyone who came to support Whitworth Theatre’s powerful production of The Elephant Man.

+ Student Life

Whitworth has joined other Washington colleges and universities in becoming a member of the JED Campus program. This groundbreaking program is designed to guide schools through a strategic planning process of evaluating systems, programs and policies that will build on existing efforts to promote emotional well-being, reduce substance abuse and prevent suicide. Thanks for your prayers about these challenging issues.

+ Financial Aid

The U.S. Department of Education recently released the three-year loan-default rates for domestic and foreign schools. Whitworth has a 2.2 percent default rate, compared to the national rate of 11.5 percent. Whitworth undergrads have about $6,000 less debt than other grads nationally as well. Our Whitworth alums are doing a great job managing and repaying their student loans as the university continues to allocate record amounts of financial aid to keep a Whitworth education accessible!

+ Alumni & Parents

Parents of current students, purchase an Exam Survival Kit for your student by Nov. 16! I’ve already ordered Lauren’s survival kit! Gifts will be ready the week before finals, and proceeds will support the Alumni Scholarship Fund. Order your student’s end-of-semester treat at

George’s Elves, the popular alumni gift exchange, is back! Whitworth alums are invited to sign up at by Nov. 19. Gifts must be sent by Dec. 11.

Attention all Whitworth Pirates on O‘ahu, men’s basketball is coming your way as Whitworth faces Arcadia on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 5:30 p.m. Join the Pirate ‘Ohana, and Julie and me, for a pregame event. Visit for more information and to register.

Whitworthians in the Puget Sound are invited to a reception and to cheer for Pirate basketball as the teams take on Puget Sound in Tacoma on Friday, Dec. 1. Visit for more information.

The annual Seattle Alumni & Parent Chapter Christmas Party will take place Saturday, Dec. 2. Join us for the party, and then join Julie and me as we head to the Whitworth Christmas Festival Concert afterward. Visit for party details. Don’t miss out.


+ Admissions

The Early Action I application deadline is Nov. 15. Early Action applicants will receive an admissions decision within three weeks of completing their application file. They also will be included in Whitworth’s first round of financial aid awards in mid-January if they submit their FAFSAs to Whitworth by Dec. 1. The application is free and can be accessed at

Whitworth is doing more than ever to ensure a mind-and-heart education is accessible and affordable. This includes a four-year graduation guarantee ( to ensure students avoid costly delays that have become too common at many public universities. The net cost of four years at Whitworth is estimated to be $30,000 less than in-state tuition for five years at a flagship public university. Read more at

Whitworth applicants and admitted students are encouraged to join the New Whitworth Pirates 2018 Facebook group and to follow the university on Instagram (@WhitworthUniversity) and Snapchat (WhitworthU). These are great ways to connect with current and future Pirates.

+ The Campaign for Whitworth

On Nov. 20, we will kick off the What the World Needs campaign. You will hear from students Sarah, Micah, Eric and Hannah about how your donations help them become the leaders our world needs. Would you help us start off strong by making your gift today at Thanks for helping these four students and many others like them! Speaking of helping students, alumni, parents and friends of Whitworth, including many of you, have committed more than $100 million in gifts, future gifts and pledges to the university as part of The Campaign for Whitworth. Thanks for your incredible support and for helping us reach this important milestone! More details on the ongoing campaign can be found at We have much more to do to support mind-and-heart education. Thanks for your faithful support.

+ Sports

The football team is 6-2 with two games left in the season. While senior QB Ian Kolste has reached Whitworth career-record milestones for passing yards and total offense, Leif Ericksen, ’20, and Connor Johnson, ’21, have filled in well while Kolste was out with an ankle injury. Rehn Reiley, ’19, has surpassed Whitworth’s career kicking records, reaching 33 field goals in less than three seasons.

The volleyball team is 14-9 overall and in second place in the Northwest Conference with an 11-3 record. The Pirates recognized seven graduating seniors at the end of October, including four starters. Cassandra Mendoza, ’18, has been a four-year starter and received All-NWC recognition each of her first three seasons.

The women’s soccer team (11-6-2 overall, 10-3-2 NWC) is in third place in the conference standings with one match left in the season. Whitworth has 30 goals scored in 2017, and 12 Pirates have tallied at least one of the goals. Leah Corra, ’18, and Kathryn Bischoff, ’17, lead the way with eight and five goals, respectively.

The men’s soccer team is 10-7-1 overall and 8-4-1 in the NWC. The Pirates are in third place in the standings with one match left. After starting the NWC schedule 1-3-1, the Bucs are 7-1 in their last eight matches. Whitworth has done a great job sharing the ball, leading the NWC with 27 assists. Jonah Snider, ’18, leads the league individually with eight assists.

The women’s cross country team won its third straight Northwest Conference title on Oct. 28 in Walla Walla, Wash. Kayla Leland, ’18, became Whitworth’s first individual conference champion in women’s cross country. But depth made the difference for the Pirates, who had five runners among the top 14 finishers. Bailey Scott, ’18, finished in fifth place to earn first team All-NWC recognition.

The men’s cross country team finished in fourth place at the NWC Championships. Côme Nzibarega, ’18, took eighth place to lead the Bucs and earn second team All-NWC recognition.

The women’s golf team finished in third place at the 2017 NWC Fall Classic, led by Amy Wagner’s, ’21, fourth-place finish as an individual. The men’s golf team took fourth place at the same tournament. Elijah Pittser, ’19, finished in sixth place individually.

And believe it or not, winter sports are upon us. Swimming had its first meets of the 2017-18 season, and the AquaPirates have been practicing hard since the beginning of October. Basketball practice is in full swing. The men’s team plays an exhibition at the University of Montana on Nov. 10, and then officially opens the season at midnight of Nov. 15 with a game against La Verne in the Fieldhouse. The women’s team hosts Whittier and La Verne in the Ramada Inn at Spokane Airport Classic on Nov. 17 and 18.

Closing Thoughts

As I write this, Spokane’s weather forecast includes our first snowfall in the next couple of days. The warm days of summer don’t seem that long ago, and we’ve had the most beautiful October I can remember. But the seasons change, and now we enter the quiet, peaceful (and dark) days of winter. There’s nothing more idyllic than Whitworth’s campus covered with new snow. As we enter our month of Thanksgiving, please know how thankful I am for your support and prayers.

Beck A. Taylor