Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

September 30, 2002

Former Presbyterian Official to Deliver Lecture, Honor Longtime Whitworth Professors

Duncan Ferguson, former president of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities, will have two powerful visual aids when he presents a lecture on "The Vocation of the Teacher in the Presbyterian College" Oct. 7 at Whitworth College.

As part of the event, Ferguson will honor longtime Whitworth professors Don and Doris Liebert as recipients of the Higher Education Award given each year by the Presbyterian Church (USA). The event begins at 7:30 p.m. in Seeley G. Mudd Chapel on campus and is free and open to the public.

The Lieberts both retired in May after years of service on Whitworth's faculty and in the Presbyterian Church. Don Liebert, a sociologist and ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), joined Whitworth's faculty in 1973 and was instrumental in creating the college's respected Central America study tour, spearheading service learning and building connections between Whitworth and African American churches in the region. Doris Liebert joined Whitworth's education faculty in 1983 following work in public schools and with Young Life. As director of Whitworth's student teaching program for many years, Liebert played an important role in Whitworth having one of the highest teacher placement rates in the state. In 2001, she received the Washington State Excellence in Teacher Education Award, an honor bestowed annually on one teacher educator in the state.

Ferguson, who served Whitworth as chaplain, professor, vice president for academic affairs and acting president between 1970 and 1985, takes credit for introducing the Lieberts to one another and looks forward to honoring his former colleagues for their "outstanding service to the Presbyterian Church's mission in higher education."

Recently appointed as director of spiritual life and service at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., Ferguson spent the previous 12 years overseeing the higher education program in the national offices of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is credited with maintaining and strengthening connections between the church and a broad range of historically Presbyterian colleges.

During his Whitworth lecture, Ferguson will focus on material from his upcoming book, Called to Teach: Presbyterian Mission in Higher Education. The book addresses the theological implications of being a Presbyterian educator, including the call to engage, study and serve the world, as a manifestation of God, while also recognizing the limitations of human nature and reason.

"He will spell out what's important about the theological heritage and resources of the Presbyterian Church as one thinks about one's calling as a teacher," says Dale Soden, professor of history at Whitworth and director of the Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith & Learning, which is sponsoring the lecture. "Our students will benefit from the discussion of how to connect very seriously one's theological identity and one's vocation or calling. What difference does it make to have a Presbyterian worldview and how does that play itself out in one's vocation, particularly as an educator?"

Ferguson received his doctorate in contemporary religious thought from Edinburgh University and also holds bachelor's and master's degrees from both the University of Oregon and Fuller Theological Seminary. He has received honorary degrees from Barber-Scotia College, Albertson College and Waynesburg College.

Ferguson serves on the secretariat of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and is a member of the American Academy of Religion and the American Association of Higher Education. In addition to Called to Teach: The Presbyterian Mission in Higher Education, he has authored three books and numerous articles and book reviews.

The Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith and Learning, named for late Whitworth trustee and benefactor C. Davis Weyerhaeuser, promotes the integration of faith and learning through research and scholarship, training programs for students, faculty, clergy and laity, and support for study and development of an archive relating to religion in the Pacific Northwest.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The college enrolls 2,200 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Dale Soden, director, Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith & Learning, (509) 777-4433 or dsoden@whitworth.edu.

Michelle Seefried, program coordinator, Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith & Learning, (509) 777-3275 or mpace@whitworth.edu.

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

Related Links

Philosophy Home Page > Theology Home Page >

School of Education Home Page > Department Spotlight >

Sociology Home Page > Department Spotlight >

Center for Faith & Christian Learning >

Whitworth Press Release Index