Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

February 20, 2002

Whitworth College Receives $750,000 for Campus Technology from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Whitworth College has received a $750,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for technology in a major new academic building and in other instructional facilities on campus.

"We're extremely grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for all it does to support education and other critical causes in our region and around the world," said Whitworth President Bill Robinson. "Whitworth has made a commitment to focus its technological investments where they will have the greatest impact on student learning. No liberal arts college can have cutting-edge technology in every area, and Whitworth has chosen academic technology as its area of excellence. This grant enables us to lift even higher that commitment as we expand our academic facilities on campus and as we seek to provide the latest technological tools to our students and faculty."

The grant was awarded from the foundation's Pacific Northwest Giving Program, which funds non-profit organizations in Washington and Oregon. Supporting two key initiatives in Whitworth's $50 million Faith in the Future Campaign, the grant provides $420,000 for instructional technology in the new academic building and $330,000 for a campus technology access initiative.

The new academic building - to be named Weyerhaeuser Hall in honor of longtime Whitworth trustee C. Davis Weyerhaeuser and his wife, Annette - will provide much-needed classroom and office space to accommodate the college's enrollment growth, which has been driven largely by record retention rates over the past decade. The 30,000-square-foot building will house Whitworth's new School of Global Commerce and Management and the departments of Politics & History and Sociology. The building also will house the Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith & Learning and the Regional Resource and Research Center, which provide vital contact points between the campus and the larger community. All of these programs will rely on up-to-date technology to facilitate learning, information sharing and communication.

The grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will cover multimedia teaching stations and projectors for a large lecture hall and seven classrooms as well as recording and closed-circuit broadcasting equipment for the lecture hall, hardware and software for a computer lab and two conference rooms, and campus networking equipment in the new building.

In recent years, the college has made a number of significant technology improvements, including upgrading the campus network to a gigabit backbone, installing an IP phone system, developing a robust website, and annually upgrading workstations in student computer labs and faculty and staff offices. However, the goal of Whitworth's technology access initiative is to enhance student and faculty access to the campus network and to the latest technological tools. The foundation grant will help cover hardware and software for satellite computer labs, multimedia instructional technology in the few remaining classrooms on campus that aren't already equipped, training and development for faculty and staff, and other instructional technology upgrades.

"Since installing a fiber-optic backbone and the first administrative and academic computers more than a decade ago, Whitworth has recognized the transforming power of technology for achieving its educational goals," says Ken Pecka, Whitworth's director of instructional resources. "While remaining committed to the personal attention that epitomizes a Whitworth education, the college has aggressively pursued technological tools that enhance the teaching and learning experience. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant supports us in the ongoing goal of enhancing academic excellence through the strategic deployment of technology to support our students and faculty."

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to improving people's lives by sharing advances in health and learning with the global community. Led by Bill Gates' father, William H. Gates, Sr., and Patty Stonesifer, the Seattle-based foundation has an asset base of $24.2 billion. For complete information, visit www.gatesfoundation.org.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The college enrolls 2,100 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Kristi Burns, Whitworth vice president for institutional advancement, 509-777-3243 or kburns@whitworth.edu.

Ken Pecka, Whitworth director of instructional resources, 509-777-3292 or kpecka@whitworth.edu.

Greg Orwig, Whitworth director of communications, 509-777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu.

Amy Low, GMMB (for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) 206-352-8598 or amy.low@gmmb.com.

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