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Demonstrate Courageous Leadership in an Increasingly Diverse World

After her visit to Whitworth – despite an early predilection for schools in Seattle – Hawaiian Taylor White, '20, had found her college home. "The last thing that really confirmed my decision to attend Whitworth was a class I visited that covered the subject of how to introduce a biblical passage to a small group," she says. "The material covered exactly what I was struggling to do with my Bible study back home.

"When I came for my tour," Taylor continues, "I stayed with the most amazing hosts – Meagan Escobar and Cynthia Anker [both '18] – who took me around to see every single dorm and let me sleep in one of their beds while they shared the other. My visit was filled with affirmation."

Taylor arrived early in Spokane to attend the BUCS (Building Unity and Cultivating Success) Bridge program. This four-day gathering takes place immediately before school begins in the fall and serves first-year students from first-generation and underrepresented racial and ethnic populations. Students engage in community building, multicultural-identity development, and college navigation. A mentoring program follows the initial BUCS experience.

The program paid off for Taylor. "Whitworth already feels much like home," she says. "I've met some amazing students and some very personable and interesting professors. Everything I need is right here. I'm so excited for the next four years!"

Whitworth's enrollment growth in first-generation and underrepresented students – from 309 in 2011 to 507 in 2015 – can be attributed to new recruitment and outreach efforts that include the Multicultural Visit Program (MVP), staff training in intercultural communication, and making Spanish print/web materials available to parents of prospective students. Whitworth also expects improved retention for these students due to BUCS Bridge, peer mentoring, and other support programs offered by the office of student diversity, equity & inclusion.