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President's Report 2015-16

Six years into his presidency and five years into the Whitworth 2021 Strategic Plan, President Beck A. Taylor reviews Whitworth's progress.

In what ways has the Whitworth community contributed to accomplishing the strategic plan's goals?

The entire Whitworth family has embraced the vision and goals within the plan – and faculty, students, staff, alumni, community volunteers and trustees have worked diligently and creatively to bring us closer to realizing our dreams. None of the achievements made thus far would have been possible if Whitworth's hard-working and talented people hadn't asked how they could contribute to making this place better. But that's the story of Whitworth, isn't it? No matter the era, and no matter the circumstances, Whitworthians come together to sustain and extend the mission. That's what makes this place so special.

As we've reached the midway point of the plan, what accomplishments make you most proud?

It's hard just to name a few. First, going back to the very beginning of the process, I'm grateful that the Whitworth community agreed to be visionary. Under Bill Robinson's leadership, Whitworth thrived and succeeded in so many ways. It would have been easy to rest on our laurels. But instead, the community asked a courageous question: How can we elevate Whitworth's place within Christian higher education even higher and be known as a premier institution of higher learning? Our academic programs are stronger and more relevant as they meet the needs of students who are grappling with the challenges of the 21st century. The campus is more diverse than it's ever been, and all of us are more equipped to provide leadership in an ever-changing and more complex world. Students are gaining international experiences at places all over the globe, and they are developing intercultural competencies that will enable them to be positive forces for good, no matter where they are called to serve. Whitworth's graduate and continuing studies programs continue to grow and gain reputation. Whitworth's donors have never been more generous, and new program endowments, scholarships and facilities, such as Robinson Science Hall and Cowles Music Center, are providing state-of-the-art learning spaces for our students. And we're being more intentional about what it means to be a Christ-centered institution that engages the world's toughest issues with competence, courage and compassion. These are among the things I'm most grateful for.

What challenges and opportunities do you foresee as Whitworth works to achieve its remaining goals?

All of the things I've mentioned have been achieved during higher education's most turbulent time in recent memory. We are working harder than ever to keep an exceptional Whitworth experience accessible to any student who chooses to attend. Balancing our aspirations, many of which require more resources, with our commitments to affordability is one of our toughest challenges. But I'm confident that Whitworth will meet that challenge.