Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

Jan. 15, 2009

Whitworth to Celebrate Heritage Month with New Film Festival in Honor of Longtime English Professor

Events marking university's 119th anniversary also to include art exhibit opening, gospel concert

Whitworth will pay tribute to long-serving Professor of English Leonard Oakland by hosting the inaugural Leonard A. Oakland Film Festival Feb. 20-22. The festival will be the focal point of Heritage Month 2009, an annual event that commemorates the university's founding in February 1890.

The festival will feature three film showings as well as discussions with several of the filmmakers, including Oakland's longtime friend Ron Shelton, writer/director of Bull Durham and White Men Can't Jump. Whitworth will also host a Leonard A. Oakland Celebration Banquet, on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 6 p.m. at the Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane. The banquet will include the premiere of a new short film, A Portrait of Leonard Oakland, produced by Whitworth alumna Andrea Palpant Dilley, who is a producer and director at Spokane-based North by Northwest Productions.

Oakland has taught at Whitworth for 43 years. As he moves into a half-time faculty position, the university is working with his friends and family to create an endowment in his name. He has identified film studies as the area in which he wants to establish long-term funding, so the endowment will be used to fund an annual or bi-annual film festival in his name.

Other events slated for Heritage Month include a Gospel Explosion performance and the opening reception for a new art exhibit in which Tom O'Day will unveil the artworks that he buried on campus 20 years ago and recently exhumed.

Members of the Spokane community are invited to join Whitworth students, faculty, staff and alumni for all Heritage Month events. Admission is free unless otherwise noted. Following is more information (for complete details, visit www.whitworth.edu/heritagemonth):

  • Thursday, Feb. 5

    Founder's Day Convocation
    11 a.m., Cowles Auditorium
    Each semester begins with Founder's Day Convocation, which features music and worship, faculty in academic regalia, and an opportunity to honor top students. Whitworth President Bill Robinson and campus historian and history professor Dale Soden will speak.

  • Friday, Feb. 13

    Twelfth annual Gospel Explosion
    7 p.m., Hixson Union Building's Dining Hall
    Join Whitworth students and choirs from all over Spokane for this annual campus celebration of Black History Month.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 17

    Art Exhibit and Lecture: "Recovery (Twenty Years)," by Spokane artist Tom O'Day
    Reception: 5-7 p.m.; artist's lecture: 7 p.m.
    Bryan Oliver Gallery, Ernst F. Lied Center for the Visual Arts
    Twenty years ago, Tom O'Day buried 30 artworks outside Whitworth's fine arts building; last fall he returned to campus to exhume the works. He has reassembled the unearthed pieces for this exhibit, which will run through April 3. O'Day is a full-time instructor at Spokane Falls Community College, where he directs the gallery program. He makes art that deals with transition and the process of change; he has destroyed and transformed more than 300 works of art through immersion, freezing, explosions and other methods.

  • Friday, Feb. 20-Sunday, Feb. 22: Inaugural Leonard A. Oakland Film Festival

    • Friday, Feb. 20
      Movie No. 1 – Soul Searching: A Movie about Teenagers and God
      Friday, Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m., Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall
      The film is a documentary by Whitworth alumni and former Oakland students Tim Eaton, '74, and Mike Eaton, '87, followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers.
    • Saturday, Feb. 21

      • Movie No. 2 - Bull Durham
        Saturday, Feb. 21, 3 p.m., AMC Theatre in River Park Square downtown
        Ron Shelton will introduce his film, which was nominated for an Academy Award for best original screenplay in 1989. The movie served as Oakland's on-set crash course in contemporary filmmaking. Donations accepted at the door.

      • Leonard A. Oakland Celebration Banquet
        Saturday, Feb., 21, 6 p.m., Davenport Hotel's Grand Pennington Room
        Cost: $45.
        Join us as we celebrate more than 40 years of service to Whitworth by senior faculty member Professor of English Leonard A. Oakland. Be among the first to view A Portrait of Leonard Oakland, and enjoy a conversation between Oakland and filmmaker Ron Shelton.

    • Sunday, Feb. 22
      Movie No. 3 – An International Classic
      Sunday, Feb. 22, 3 p.m., Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall
      An international film chosen by Oakland, who teaches a class in international film studies, will be shown. Join Oakland and the KPBX-FM Movies 101 team for a post-film discussion and pre-show Oscar predictions.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,600 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Nancy Rau, associate director, donor relations and special events, (509) 777-4250 or nrau@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.

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