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Mind & Heart

March 2017

I woke up this morning with the Wescombe family on my heart. Noel Wescombe, a beloved former faculty member in the psychology department, passed away earlier this week from a lengthy and courageous battle with brain cancer. Noel, his wife Cathie, and his two daughters, Meghan and Natalie – both Whitworth alumnae – are dear members of our community, and Noel's loss is felt far and wide. I'm not sure I've ever witnessed a more grace-filled exit from this life than Noel's. Gentle in spirit and firm in his faith, Noel taught all of us how to live and love, even in the midst of a debilitating and cruel illness, one that he knew would claim his life far too early. Noel was the consummate Whitworth professor – "encouraging," "selfless," "intelligent," "accessible," "dedicated" and "faithful" are just some of the words I've heard to describe him in the past few days. Testimonies from former students are pouring in. "He was an amazing professor and taught me what I'm truly passionate about." "Noel's kindness and generosity gave me a home at Whitworth." "He was always such a gentle spirit and a Whitworth treasure." "My life would have been very different without his delightful presence." Another Whitworth professor wrote to me, "Noel had the ability to make one feel accepted and equal and cared for without saying a word. A truly godly man, in my experience, and one of the most Christ-like people I have ever known." In life and death, Noel has blessed this community. Although his departure saddens all of us, it is a reminder to me of why I love this place so much. Whitworth is filled with people like Noel, and inspired by Noel, who give of themselves completely. Whitworth's mind-and-heart education is special not only because of the fabulous educational experiences our students have, but also because of the people who shape those experiences. Noel Wescombe, like so many on this campus, never held anything back. His legacy will ripple on this campus and in communities around the globe for decades to come. Thanks, Noel, for shaping the community you leave behind.

+ Academics

Katie Creyts (Art) was appointed to the board of directors for Artist Trust. She will serve the city's arts community for three years.

The biennial art-faculty exhibit is up in Lied Center. Works by Bradley Oiler, Katie Creyts, Lance Sinnema, Rob Fifield and Gordon Wilson will be displayed in the Bryan Oliver Gallery through Mar. 24.

Roberta Wilburn (School of Education) has been selected to receive the 2017 INSIGHT Into Diversity Giving Back Award in recognition of her passion for social responsibility.

Alan Mikkelson (Communication Studies) and Colin Hesse, '03, a communications professor at Oregon State University, recently co-published two articles, about relational functioning in romantic relationships, in Communication Studies and Communication Quarterly.

The forensics team took second place at the University of Oklahoma debate tournament on Feb. 11. Whitworth winners include James Eccles, Micah Allred and Kat Duarte, all '17; Jesse Domingo, Jacob Farrell and Sara Muscente, all '18; and Tucker Wilson, '20.

Megan Hershey (Political Science) recently published an article, "Bringing African Voices into the Undergraduate African Politics Classroom," for the online journal PSNow.

Patrick Van Inwegen (Political Science), Kathryn Picanco and Doreen Keller (School of Education), as well as students Anne Marie Noll and Vincent Peak, both '17, presented at the Washington Higher Education Sustainability Conference in February.

The Whitworth Student Investment Group won the Chartered Financial Analyst Research Challenge regional competition for the third year in a row. Members include Teagan Brown, Victoria Roberts, Andrew Shaw and Lucas Cherry, all '17, and Matthew Wilkinson, '18.

Our Center for Gifted Education partnered with the University of Washington to design a summit on gifted education, held at UW Feb. 9-10, with sessions led by our Jann Leppien.

Keith Lambert (School of Education) co-authored a chapter in Teacher Performance Assessment and Accountability Reforms: The Impacts of edTPA on Teaching and Schools.

+ The Arts

Whitworth Theatre will present its spring production, Go, Dog. Go!, directed by Brooke Kiener, '99, on March 10, 11, and 12 at the Bing Crosby Theater, in downtown Spokane. This adaptation of the beloved book by P.D. Eastman is a treat for all ages. Tickets can be purchased from TicketsWest online or by phone: 1.800.325.7328.

Members of the Whitworth Jazz Ensemble, under Dan Keberle's direction, recently took home several performance awards from the 50th Annual Elmhurst Collegiate Jazz Festival, in Chicago.

+ Student Life

It's spring, kind of, and while the ground remains icy, Whitworth's students are anything but! We will celebrate Black History Month with the music of Tiffany Williams and the band Sessionz as well as with Larycia Hawkins and "The Movement" (a traveling history show that chronicles 50 years of love and struggle).

This month, ASWU will host the Whitworth Unplugged talent show, and Mac and Ballard halls will sponsor the traditional Awkward Middle School Dance. Finally, hiring will begin this month for student leadership positions for 2017-18. There's a lot of spirit at Whitworth in early spring!

+ Financial Aid

We're glad to be sending financial aid awards to members of the Class of 2021. Admissions counselors are calling incoming freshmen who have been sent an award. However, if you have questions, please feel free to call the financial aid office at 509.777.3215 or stop by our office, located in McEachran Hall. We're open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Incoming freshmen and transfer students who have applied for talent awards will begin receiving notification of those awards soon. Talent awards are bestowed in the areas of art, music, theatre, journalism, forensics and Young Life. For specific deadlines and application processes, please visit to link to specific departments.

+ Admissions

Our March 1 priority application deadline for freshmen has passed, but if you know someone who needs an extension, please encourage him or her to contact the admissions office at 800.533.4668 or Applicants with incomplete files should submit transcripts, letters of recommendation and test-score reports as soon as possible. The sooner we have a complete file, the sooner we can inform applicants of admissions decisions and financial aid awards.

Students admitted to our incoming freshman class are encouraged to sign up for our Bucs Bound admitted-student event on April 9-10. Participants will be able to explore academic and co-curricular programs, meet current and future students, get a jump start on housing and class registration and compete in our Pirate Price is Right game to win free housing for a year. Space is limited, so sign up soon at

Transfer students are encouraged to sign up for our new Pirate Pathways program at Participants benefit from a simplified application process, quarterly meetings with our transfer advisor, guaranteed admission for students with a 3.0 GPA in their prior college experience, and personalized campus visits.

+ The Campaign for Whitworth

On April 25, you can make all the difference. Watch your inbox for more information!

Want to know how you can double your donation? Your employer may match the gifts you make to Whitworth! Some employers place a special value on education and are therefore willing to match the donations their employees make to institutions of higher learning. Want to learn more? Ask your employer about matching gifts, or email for help. Thanks for doubling your gift to Whitworth!

+ Whitworth Serves

A Portland-area alum who volunteers with a hospice agency offering respite for primary caregivers has this to say about service: "I wouldn't do it if I didn't love it. I've volunteered every year since I was 16. It's centering and grounding, and it's consistently the best part of my week. You get a reprieve from being a selfish human being." Whitworthians serve in myriad ways and for countless organizations. Please consider sharing your story with us at

+ Alumni & Parents

Are you headed to spring training this year? Join other Pirates for lunch and to watch the Arizona Diamondbacks play the Cleveland Indians on March 19. Scott McQuilkin, '84, vice president for institutional advancement and former athletics director and Pirates baseball coach, will be there. We're also working to secure a special guest from the Diamondbacks. Cost is $36/person, and registration ends March 13. Visit for info and to register.

Families of current students, it's nearing time to order Final Exam Survival Kits. Please keep an eye on your email inbox for order information at the end of the month. Surprise your favorite Whitworth student with one of two great options, which will be ready for him or her to pick up just before Finals Week, in May.

Are you more creative than a fifth grader? Find out! Join Forrest Baird (Philosophy) and Kathryn Picanco (School of Education) in Portland on April 28 for an evening of problem-solving. Visit for details and registration information.

Washington, D.C.-area Whitworthians, we'll have family-friendly group seating at the Mariners vs. Nationals game at Nationals Park on Tuesday, May 23. Visit to register today!

+ Sports

Men's swimming finished in third place at the 2017 NWC championships in a very close competition with Whitman and Pacific Lutheran. Only 18 points separated the top three teams after three days of competition. Patrick Wilber, '18, won two events – the 100 and 200 backstrokes – while Eben Schuman, '19, won the 100 butterfly, and Owen Lempert, '20, won the 50 freestyle. Whitworth also won the 200 freestyle relay.

The women's swimming team came in fifth in the final NWC championships standings. Hannah Galbraith, '20, finished second in both the 100 and 200 backstroke races.

Men's basketball, ranked 4th in the nation, is on its way to the NCAA Div. III tournament for the 11th year in a row. The Pirates wrapped up their 12th consecutive 20-win season last week, finishing 23-4, and will play Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the first round of the tourney. Christian Jurlina, '17, has moved up to sixth on Whitworth's all-time scoring list, with nearly 1,500 career points.

The women's basketball team just missed a shot at the fourth and final NWC tournament spot, finishing the season 10-15 overall and 6-10 in the final standings. Madison Moffat, '19, and Grace Douglas, '18, earned honorable mention on the 2017 All-NWC team.

After a weather delay to the beginning of the season, the baseball team went 2-1 during opening weekend, then went to Southern California (talk about terrible weather!) to play the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens. After a lot of schedule-juggling, the Pirates swept P-P, running their record to an impressive 5-1.

The softball team made two trips to Southern California and finished with an excellent 9-3 record in its first 12 games. Michelle Silva, '19, is batting .415 with three home runs and 13 RBIs.

Indoor track is nearing the end of its schedule, which means that outdoor track is beginning. Kayla Leland, '17, continues to dominate the mile and the 800-meter run. She won last weekend with a sub-five-minute mile at the University of Washington.

Both men's and women's tennis have begun their spring schedules with non-conference matches at Lewis-Clark State. The Pirates will open NWC play this weekend.

Closing Thoughts

I was recently elected president of the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities. It's an honor to lead this organization that offers so much support to America's private institutions of higher learning. Upon my return home, my 10-year-old, Chloe, who never misses a beat, exclaimed, "Daddy, now you're the president of the presidents." I guess that's true. Thank you for the opportunity I have to walk this incredible journey as Whitworth's president. There's not a better job in the country.

Beck A. Taylor

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