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Mind & Heart

December 2017

“What is your only comfort in life and in death? That I am not my own, but belong – body and soul, in life and in death – to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.” These are the words that begin the Heidelberg Catechism, that ancient proclamation of faith written more than 450 years ago. I write this Christmas newsletter on the eve of Advent. It just occurred to me how grateful I am that Advent gives us three full weeks to prepare our minds and hearts for Christmas. I say this because I’m not ready. I’m not quite ready. Christmas reminds us of God’s faithfulness. The birth of Jesus – God made flesh – demonstrates God’s desire to know and to be known. The Christmas miracle, our “comfort in life and in death,” is that God loves us so much that God pursues us in the person of Jesus Christ. Our only appropriate response to such lavish grace is faith. But I don’t always feel ready to acknowledge the hope and peace that Christ brings because I see so little of those precious goods in my world today. I confess to you that I feel beleaguered – not quite hopeless, but certainly discouraged and jaded by the constant reminders of how far I, and others, fall short of God’s glory. It’s easy for me to blame the world’s problems on others. But I’m a part of those problems. Do I “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly” with God in ways, and often enough, to take Christ’s comfort to the world? I fear not. My prayer for myself, and for you, is that we use these weeks before Christmas to rediscover – to find our faith anew. The opening lines of the Heidelberg Catechism are both invocation and doxology – an invitation in our weakness to find again and again comfort and strength in the grace of Christ, and a celebration of God’s persistent and steadfast love that breaks through the world’s brokenness. There is comfort there. Indeed, it is our only comfort. As the first question of the catechism ends, we are assured with these words: “Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.” May this Advent season be one of renewal and hope for all of us.

+ Academics

Just in case you missed it, Whitworth was named the No. 1 private regional university in the West for undergraduate teaching by U.S. News & World Report in its 2018 rankings!

Nine Whitworth science students presented their summer research Nov. 10-11 at the Murdock College Science Research Conference in Spokane, co-hosted by Whitworth. Nicholas Bratt, ’19, walked away with an award for best oral presentation, and Travis Widmer, ’18, and Thomas Dale, ’19, won the prize for their poster in the Physics Division.

The Whitworth Forensics team took fourth place at the Linfield College tournament in McMinnville, Ore. The team brought home 13 speech awards and 13 debate awards and finished ahead of regional rivals including Oregon State, Pacific, Utah State and University of Oregon.

Whitworth’s Ethics Bowl team finished fourth at the Northwest Regional Ethics Bowl at Pacific Lutheran University. The team defeated Montana State and Gonzaga on its way to a strong showing.

Seniors William Tadlock, Sam Wynsma and Brian Ault (Math & Computer Science) took first place in Division 1 at the regional ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest.

The Math & Computer Science Department was recognized by Spokane’s Mead School District for its promotion of STEM education.

Robin Henager (School of Business) published articles in the Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning and the Phi Kappa Phi Forum and won a $10,000 research award for the use of data collected at the University of Arizona.

David Cherry (School of Education) has been elected as president of the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education; his term begins next May.

Katherine Karr-Cornejo (World Languages & Cultures) presented “Historical Fiction and the Historian’s Archive” at the annual meeting of the Asociación Internacional de Literatura y Cultura Femenina Hispánica (International Association of Hispanic Women’s Literature and Culture).

+ The Arts

The abstract paintings of Todd Reed are on display in the Bryan Oliver Gallery. The exhibit will be open until Jan. 26, 2018.

Meredith Shimizu (Art) will give a lecture called “To See and be Seen: Manet’s Woman at the Bar” at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m.

Whitworth’s Christmas Festival Concerts are underway, presented by Whitworth choirs and student instrumentalists. The Seattle concerts drew hundreds who began their Advent season with the beautiful choral music. The Spokane concerts will be on Dec. 9 and 10. Tickets are available at

+ Student Life

The PirateLink Mentorship Program launched Dec. 1. Students will be hand-matched with alumni who can provide personalized tips on career planning, résumés, transitioning from the classroom to workplace, and networking – all based on the student’s major and career goals. Alumni can sign up to be a mentor at mentor. Students may request a mentor at

Counseling Center Director Monica Whitlock has been appointed treasurer of the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors and is a member of the group’s annual survey team.

+ Financial Aid

The 2018-19 Whitworth Donor-Sponsored Scholarship Application is now open. These scholarships are established by the generosity of individual donors, corporations and foundations for students currently attending Whitworth full time. Scholarships range from $1,000 to $5,000. Students should log into the online application located in the scholarships section of the financial aid webpage. The application deadline is Feb. 15 at midnight.

In mid-December, Student Accounting Services will email students their spring 2018 Billing Information Forms, which reflect their estimated charges and estimated financial aid. The email will contain a link and instructions for completing the online form. The form is due Jan. 5. Also, please sign up to receive your 1098T tax form electronically. Go to Pirate Port, select Financial Aid & Billing, select 1098T Electronic Consent, and click the top button.

+ Alumni & Parents

Alumni Night at the Fieldhouse is Saturday, Jan. 27. Alumni and their families will enjoy free admission as the Pirate basketball teams play Puget Sound at 4 and 6 p.m. Make sure to join us at halftime of the men’s game for a complimentary reception! Register at

Portland-area Whitworthians are invited to a reception and to watch the Pirates play Lewis & Clark on Saturday, Feb. 3, at 4 and 6 p.m. More information to follow. For now, save the date!

Events for Whitworthians in the greater Phoenix, Chicago and Washington, D.C., regions are coming in March. Keep an eye on

Save the date for Homecoming & Family Weekend 2018! Oct. 12- 14 is going to be one big Whitworth weekend on campus as alumni and their families return for homecoming reunions, and families of current students celebrate Family Weekend. Details and registration information will be available in early summer.


+ Admissions

Congratulations to prospective freshman students admitted with honors for fall 2018! Be on the lookout for invitations to attend one of our Honors Colloquium scholarship weekends: Feb. 17-18 and March 3-4. Despite the fact that three full-tuition scholarships and 10 $1,000 semifinalist scholarships are at stake at each Honors Colloquium, participants consistently tell us that they have fun and enjoy connecting with one another and with the academic opportunities at Whitworth. Attendance is capped at about 125 students for each event and registration is handled on a first come, first served basis, so don’t dawdle. Parents are encouraged to attend as well. See

This recent statistic captures an important point that often gets lost in the media noise around college costs: The average net price (after financial aid) to attend a private college or university is lower today than it was 10 years ago. That is because private colleges like Whitworth are spending $32 billion on financial aid for students and families. Whitworth becomes even more affordable when you factor in that a much higher percentage of graduates finish in four years at Whitworth than at larger public universities. Read more about Whitworth’s affordable excellence at

+ The Campaign for Whitworth

Give before Dec. 31 and we all win. As you are making your final tax-deductible gifts for 2017, please consider adding a gift to Whitworth to your list. Your gift not only benefits our students’ experiences while at Whitworth, but it also helps them become the graduates our world needs. Make your gift today at give.

Gifts of appreciated securities are a great way to make a gift and avoid capital gains, but don’t forget to call us! If you plan to transfer securities, please contact the office of institutional advancement at 800.532.4668 or 509.777.4343. We want to know who to thank and how you would like your gift designated.

Check out the planned Athletics Leadership Center at Updated renderings and a new video in support of our highest-priority facility are now available. One Team!

+ Sports

The football team finished the year 8-2 and tied for second place in the Northwest Conference standings with a 57-24 season-finale win over Willamette. The Pirates have 25 wins over the last three seasons, tied for the second-highest total in school history with the 2006-08 teams and only behind the 26 wins accomplished by the 1959-61 squads. Quarterback Ian Kolste, ’18, was selected as the NWC Offensive Player of the Year. He retires as Whitworth’s career record-holder for total offense, passing yards, passing touchdowns and completions. Seven Pirates earned first team All-NWC, and 14 earned some level of all-conference recognition.

The women’s cross country team finished 13th at the NCAA Division III Championships on Nov. 18 in Elsah, Ill. It is the second- highest finish in team history. Kayla Leland, ’18, finished in 19th place in a field of the best 280 Division III runners in the country, earning her second straight NCAA All-America plaque. Thais Pedro-Trujillo, ’18, finished just outside the top 100 in 101st place.

The men’s basketball team is off to a 5-0 start, and the Pirates are ranked 13th in the first regular season top-25 poll. Whitworth is coming off of wins against North Central (Ill.) and Arcadia (Pa.) at the Hoops in Hawaii Thanksgiving Classic. Ben College, ’20, is leading the team in scoring average.

The women’s basketball team is 3-1, and the only loss is to the No. 2-ranked team in the NAIA. Whitworth surpassed 90 points in wins over Whittier and La Verne to open the season. First-year point guard Camy Aguinaldo, ’21, leads the NWC in assists per game and is tied for the team lead in points per game.

The men’s swimming team is 4-0 in NWC dual meets, while the women’s team is 2-2 this season. The Pirates will conclude the fall schedule with an invitational meet at Puget Sound, and then travel to Puerto Rico over Christmas Break for several days of intense training and competition.

Whitworth is the leader after the fall season in the race for the NWC McIlroy-Lewis All-Sports Trophy. The Pirate teams accumulated 87 points, followed by Pacific Lutheran (82) and Willamette (66) in the standings.

Closing Thoughts

Julie and I pray that this Christmas season brings joy, peace and comfort to you. In the midst of our world’s problems, God breaks through to remind us that God is in control. As we close the chapter on 2017, I want to thank you for all of the ways you have supported Whitworth this year, especially through prayer. May 2018 be a year during which each of us finds new ways to take Christ’s comfort to a hurting world as we “honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity.”

Beck A. Taylor