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Advance Whitworth's Distinctive Approach to Integrating Christian Faith and Learning

Next spring, Whitworth will break ground on the Beeksma Family Theology Center, a remodel of and addition to Seeley Mudd Chapel that theology faculty members have long been dreaming of. When the project is complete, the theology department, which currently resides in Westminster Hall, will be housed together with campus ministries and the Office of Church Engagement.

The center will allow greater collaboration between these three campus entities as they seek to forward the university's Christian mission, and will further Whitworth's commitment to the integration of faith and learning.

"I am so excited for this," says Jerry Sittser, professor of theology and senior fellow in the Office of Church Engagement. “It is a dream come true."

Barney and Joyce Beeksma, both '54, provided the $1.5 million lead gift for the project in 2016, and Whitworth secured full funding for the $2.8 million update last summer.

The chapel remodel will create a more welcoming environment, with more space for worship and gathering. A new main entrance will face The Loop. Sittser says these changes “will increase foot traffic and encourage conversation, study and so much more."

The Rev. Forrest Buckner, dean of spiritual life and campus pastor, says the Beeksma Center will “enable organic relational interaction between the staff and faculty in the three departments that could lead to any number of collaborative and creative ideas as we all seek Christ-centered theological education and formation."

Sittser notes that the Beeksma Center will symbolize everything Whitworth stands for.

“The center is at the heart of our mission," he says. “We are about serious study. We care about students and emphasize mentoring. We are committed to the gospel and to the life of the church. We value collaboration around the mission of the institution. This building captures and advances these goals."