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Mind & Heart Newsletter: January 2019

An update from Whitworth University President Beck A. Taylor

In one of my favorite little books on teaching, author Jay Parini writes, "Thank God for academic time, with its endless supply of fresh starts. In the academy, time is oddly and infinitely retrievable. The slate is wiped clean, the clock is rewound. While feelings of guilt over past failures may linger, one can redeem them. That's what beginnings are for." It's true that the start of a new academic semester creates a fresh start for students and instructors alike, at least as it relates to coursework and grades. I used to tell all of my students on their first day of class that everyone begins the semester with an A in the course. For those whose lives aren't scripted by the regular restarts of academic life, the new year provides a similar opportunity to reflect on our lives and perhaps to set goals for changes we'd like to see in ourselves and in the world. Reflection and assessment are healthy habits, and although I'm not a big New Year's resolution maker myself, the opportunity to set goals and to envision a future better than today's reality shouldn't be missed. If you're one to make resolutions at this time of year, I hope that you're still thinking of them just as intently in July. Also, as my pastor wrote to me this morning, "Just as important as persevering to achieve our goals is seizing the surprise gifts when they present themselves along the way. Stay alert to them. God – who alone possesses sovereign perspective – has a beautiful way of reordering and redirecting the lives of the people he loves." Whatever goals you might have for the start of 2019, I hope and pray that this year is filled with more love, more grace, more joy – more Christ. I'm not sure I know everything we'll need to get through this next year, but I'm sure those things are necessary for all of us. May God bless you and yours this year!


Kraig Wheeler (Chemistry) received the Lynwood W. Swanson Scientific Research Award from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. The annual award recognizes a senior faculty exemplar with an established, productive and nationally recognized research program. 

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust also awarded $30,000 in grant funds to support a new faculty position in the growing chemistry department. 

Whitworth's Ethics Bowl team won the Northwest Regional Ethics Bowl in November, besting 10 universities from three states. The team will next head to the national competition in Baltimore. It marks the ninth time in 11 years Whitworth has qualified for the national tournament, winning the national title twice in the past six years.

Congratulations to six Whitworth students who, under the guidance of Mike Ediger (Health Sciences), were accepted into the Washington State University College of Nursing. Rachael Ueda '18, Ruth Adams '20, Whitney Setterstrom '20, Angelina Chernyy '20, Tara Pham '20 and Jenona Trixshia Rigor '20 will begin their first term this month. 

Political science major Daniel Herron '22 recently published an article in Duke Divinity School's Faith & Leadership online magazine titled "Lessons From The Robloxian Christians Online Church," about the online church he founded at age 11. 

The Whitworth Marriage & Family Therapy Program was granted initial accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education in December. Special thanks are extended to Doug Jones (School of Education) and his team for their leadership during this extensive process. 

Will Kynes (Theology) spent the fall at the National Museum of African American History and Culture as a Smithsonian Senior Fellow and the head of Whitworth's Honors Smithsonian Internship Semester. During this time, he completed two books, An Obituary for "Wisdom Literature": The Birth, Death, and Intertextual Reintegration of a Biblical Corpus and Reading Proverbs Intertextually.

Student Life

We are pleased to announce that as of Jan. 1, Whitworth's campus is completely smoke- and tobacco-free. We join the growing ranks of American universities that are committed to providing a cleaner and healthier environment for students, employees and visitors. During this season as we reflect with gratitude on the people and blessings in our lives, we are also reminded that one of the most precious gifts we can wish for one another is good health. Smoking cessation products and resources will be provided through Whitworth's health center for the next several months.

Career services managed 78 for-credit student internships this fall. These experiential learning opportunities helped students develop professional connections and clarify their career goals. 

Financial Aid

The financial aid team is reviewing new student financial aid applications and files for incoming freshmen who completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by Jan. 1. Financial aid awards will be sent in mid-February. 

Continuing students who want to be considered for all sources of financial aid are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by March 1 to be included in the first review and awarding processes. Continuing students can expect to receive their financial aid awards in late spring. 

Alumni & Parents

What have you been up to? Whitworth Today readers would love to know! Go to and tell us about your family, work, travels, hobbies or accomplishments. Fill out as much or as little of the form as you wish, but be sure to submit a life update. 

Spokane-area alumni and their families are invited to enjoy free admission to our annual Alumni Night at the Fieldhouse on Saturday, Jan. 19! Join us as the Pirate basketball teams battle Pacific Lutheran in a Northwest Conference doubleheader (women tip off at 4 p.m. and men at 6 p.m.). Visit to register. Go Bucs! 

Know a Whitworth alum who deserves to be recognized?  Please nominate alumni for any of four annual alumni awards. Visit by Jan. 31 to learn more and to submit a nomination for 2019. 

Save the date for the 49th annual Hawaiian Club Lū‘au on Friday, March 15. More information is coming soon. 

Events for Whitworth alums, parents and friends will be hosted across the West this spring. Visit to learn about events in Spokane, Pasadena, Portland, Denver and more.

Homecoming plans are shaping up for Oct. 4-6, 2019! In addition to milestone reunions for members of the classes of 1959, '69, '79, '89, '99, 2009 and 2014, we've added reunions for former residents of Baldwin-Jenkins and for the 1960 national championship baseball team. Registration opens in early summer. Want to help organize your reunion? Contact

Alumni from 1963-65, save the date for a reunion on campus from June 21-23! Details are coming soon. 


Our Early Action II application deadline is Jan. 15. Early Action applicants will receive an admissions decision within three weeks of completing their application file. They also will receive an early financial aid award if they are admitted and submit their FAFSAs to Whitworth by Feb. 1. The application is free and can be accessed at

It's not too early to submit enrollment deposits. Freshman and transfer students admitted for fall 2019 can submit their enrollment deposit any time before May 1 at The $350 deposit holds a student's place in the incoming class and also gives students the opportunity for priority consideration in housing and class registration. The deposit is refundable until May 1, so it's a no-lose proposition for admitted students who are seriously considering Whitworth. 

Spots are filling up fast for our two Honors Scholarships Weekends Feb. 16-17 and March 2-3. These are great opportunities for students admitted with honors to connect with students and faculty involved in our honors program, visit campus and compete for full-tuition scholarships. Learn more and sign up at

Now is the time to schedule auditions or submit applications for Talent & Participation Scholarships. Students in any major who participate in art, Ethics Bowl, forensics (speech and debate), journalism or Young Life may apply. Audition dates and application deadlines vary but fall between Feb. 1 and March 1. Go to for details.   

The International Education Center welcomes Alicia Case as its assistant director of international admissions & recruitment. Alicia's significant international experience will aid her as she works to serve Whitworthians in Spokane and across the globe. 

The School of Continuing Studies has hired Phil Labrie as assistant director for veterans outreach & recruitment. Phil is charged with helping to raise Whitworth's profile among the region's military community.

The Campaign for Whitworth

December is always a huge month for philanthropy. We are so thankful for all of you who chose to include Whitworth in your end-of-year giving. 

Feb. 20 is always Founder's Day, but this year it will also be One Pine Day, our annual 1,890-minute giving event. More details will be coming soon, but you can learn more at


The football team claimed only the fifth unbeaten regular season in school history and won its first 10 games before falling in the second round of the NCAA DIII playoffs at St. John's University in Minnesota. Linebacker Kale Wong '20 earned third team AllWest Region, while defensive end Chad Wilburg '19 was selected as the Northwest Conference's co-Defensive Player of the Year and as a second team All-Region honoree. Offensive tackle Tyler Adamson '19 took home first team All-Region and was chosen as an honorable mention All-American. He participated in the 2018 National Bowl All-Star game in Daytona Beach, Fla. 

Marissa Mount '19 advanced to the NCAA Division III cross country championship, where she became an All-American with a 38th-place finish. 

The men's swimming team is unbeaten against NWC opponents this season, while the women's team only has one loss. The men's and women's teams concluded the fall half of their schedule by finishing first and second, respectively, at the Logger Open in Tacoma. Three Bucs set meet records: Ryan Grady '21 in the men's 200-yard breaststroke, Byron Rossmiller '20 in the men's 200yard backstroke and Jamie Siegler '21 in the women's 100-yard breaststroke. 

The women's basketball team is 7-4 heading into 2019 under first-year head coach Joial Griffith. The Pirates began NWC play with a pair of victories over Pacific and Willamette in early December. Jordan Smith '20, Camy Aguinaldo '21 and Megan Dorney '22 are all averaging 10-11 points per game. 

The men's basketball team is 10-1 and ranked in the top-10. The Bucs surpassed 100 points in four straight games in December and set a school record for points during a 143-95 win over ConcordiaChicago. At the Classic in Las Vegas in December, Whitworth earned wins over Johns Hopkins and Emory & Henry behind tournament MVP Ben College '20.

Closing Thoughts

My family and I spent Christmas week in Texas. For us, a visit to the Lone Star State reconnects us with a big part of our history. I grew up in Texas, and Julie and I met there. Subsequently, my first academic position was in Texas, and our oldest daughter can claim native-Texan status. It was also a time of bittersweet closure as we laid to rest my stepfather, who passed away in 2012, and my mother, who died in 2015. Burying their remains together on a piece of land that meant so much to them was important. The Christmas season can be joyous and difficult for so many. To me, it's a reminder of why we need the Incarnate One in our world. Let's keep Christmas close.

Signed, Beck