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Mind & Heart Newsletter: March 2019

An update from Whitworth University President Beck A. Taylor

I've recently finished reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's most recent book on U.S. presidential leadership. Leadership: In Turbulent Times (Simon and Shuster, 2018) profiles Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson from early childhood experiences, through formative early-adult experiences, and into challenging leadership crises that tested their values, leadership styles and inherent weaknesses. Central to the book's theme is the question, "Do the times make the leader, or does the leader shape the times?" As an academic, I've learned that the answer to almost any complex question is that it depends, and it certainly does when considering the notable lives and times of these four U.S. presidents. What strikes me about these four presidents is that despite their moral and leadership failings, each was shaped by his education with steadfast and durable values that stood the test of fierce ethical and moral dilemmas. Lincoln, for instance, was a self-taught man whose insatiable appetite for the law convinced him of the equality deserved and dignity owed to all, regardless of race. In stark contrast to Lincoln's meager education, Teddy Roosevelt was Harvard educated and was afforded all of the privileges of wealth and status. Yet, Roosevelt fought for the common man and woman, and led reforms that would eliminate corruption and displace immoral actors from within local and federal government. Most effective leaders I know rely upon immutable principles that form the core of their personhood, and no matter the circumstances, they allow those principles to guide and direct their leadership. What forms the core of a person – mind and heart – is at the center of a Whitworth education. It's not clear whether any Whitworthians will one day lead our country, but I'm confident that they have and continue to lead in their communities, places of worship and workplaces. And the world is better for it.


In the School of Education, Lisa Laurier and Kathryn Picanco received a grant from the Hagan Foundation to continue their literacy work at Evergreen Elementary in Spokane, expanding to include science. In coordination with this grant, Sharon Naccarato will focus on writing instruction and Mark Selle will work in Mead High School. 

Kraig Wheeler (Chemistry) received a $122,168 grant from the Health Sciences and Services Authority of Spokane County to provide the final funds needed to purchase the diffractometer partially funded by the National Science Foundation.

Melissa Rogers (Psychology) received a $2,000 grant from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology for a project titled "Examining the Benefits of Exercising as a Part of Introduction to Psychology Curriculum." 

Jonathan Moo (Theology) has been selected as Whitworth's new Edward B. Lindaman Endowed Chair. He is interested in using this role to foster "interdisciplinary and campus-wide conversations about belonging, community, and environmental and social justice." 

Haley Jacob (Theology) was awarded the 2019 Junior Faculty Scholarly Promise Award. She was recently named by Christianity Today as one of the most promising female theologians to read. 

President Beck A. Taylor will interview historian and presidential biographer Jon Meacham on May 6 at the Fox Theater in Spokane as part of a book series co-presented by Whitworth and The Spokesman-Review. Tickets are available now at

The Arts

Whitworth Theatre's spring production of Almost, Maine by John Cariani is a collection of vignettes all occurring at the same time in the same small town. Performed by a rotating cast of actors, Almost, Maine asks us to consider the wonder of love. Dates: March 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. and March 10 and 17 at 2 p.m. Admission: $15, adults; $12, seniors and students. Tickets: theatretickets or 509.777.4374. 

The Whitworth Wind Symphony will present its spring concert, A Child's Garden of Dreams, on April 28 at 3 p.m. at the Fox Theater in Spokane. Admission: $7; free for students with I.D. The program will feature music by David Maslanka and Gustav Holst, as well as the Spokane premiere of a new work the wind symphony helped commission, Peter Van Zandt Lane's Echo Chambers

The Whitworth Wind Symphony was showcased at the National Conference of the College Band Directors National Association in Tempe, Ariz., as one of a handful of outstanding bands from small colleges and universities.

Student Life

Whitworth ranked No. 1 for the second year in a row in student satisfaction with the Act Six leadership and scholarship program. Act Six assessed student-scholars at its 15 affiliated colleges and universities on the support they received. 

Whitworth presents the Diversity Monologues on March 12 at 7 p.m. in Cowles Auditorium. Students will present short monologues addressing this question: How do you come to know freedom? This year's event will also showcase artist and scholar-in-residence Jamaica Osorio, an activist, poet, musician and educator. 

Alumni & Parents

Spokane alumni, sneak a peek inside the Steam Plant stacks while enjoying great food and making personal and professional connections. Alumni Afterhours is March 7. Visit for details and to register.

Looking for calendars with information about alumni and parent events, academics, or campus visits? Visit

Portland and Spokane alumni and parents, you're invited! Gather with other Pirates to learn how students, faculty and staff are using intergroup dialogue, a unique approach to bridging divides across cultural differences. We'll be in Portland March 8 and in Spokane April 5. Sign up now at

Denver, we're headed your way! Join us April 6 to hear how Whitworth is facing the challenge of being deeply Christian in a culture of higher education that seems to be pulled toward two extremes: completely secular or very conservative. Alumni and parents are welcome to attend. Sign up at

Have you saved the date for Homecoming or Family Weekends? We're back to two separate weekends: Homecoming will be celebrated Oct. 4-6, and Family Weekend will be hosted Oct. 11-13. Registration opens in early summer. If you're an alum and would like to help plan your reunion, contact

It's nearly time to order Final Exam Survival Kits. Parents and families, look for an email with order information in the next few weeks. Surprise your favorite student with one of two great options, which will be ready for student pickup just before finals week in May. 

Commencement Weekend is May 17-19. Celebrate with the Class of 2019 in person or via webcast. For more information, visit

Parents and families, undergraduate commencement DVDs are available for preordering. Visit by June 1 to order a DVD of the 2019 ceremony. 

We're hosting a joint 55th reunion to celebrate the classes of 1963, '64 and '65! Join us June 21-23. For more information and to register, visit


The priority deadline for high school seniors to submit their admissions application to Whitworth is March 1. Students can access our free online application or the Common Application at We can receive transcripts, test scores and letters of recommendation after March 1, but the sooner we get a complete application file, the sooner we can send admissions decisions and financial aid awards.

Incoming freshmen admitted with honors for fall 2019 should have received information about an amazing opportunity to spend next Jan Term studying on the north shore of O‘ahu with Ron Pyle (Communication Studies) and Terry McGonigal (Theology). Enough said. This is the only off-campus study program available to first-year students and is expected to fill up quickly, so sign up soon at

Spring is a great time for sophomores and juniors to start visiting college campuses and for seniors to make that final and potentially decisive campus visit. Virtually every week of spring semester, we have visit opportunities that include options for campus tours, class visits, overnight stays with residence hall hosts, interactions with current students and professors, and firsthand experience of Whitworth's warm and welcoming community. Don't miss out. Go to to sign up. 

Financial Aid

Staff are in the process of awarding financial aid to new freshman and transfer students for the 2019-20 academic year. The first batch of freshman awards was sent in February. Returning students who have filed the FAFSA will begin to receive their financial aid awards electronically in late spring.

The Campaign for Whitworth

One Pine Day 2019 was a huge success, as 742 of you made gifts totaling $118,705.71 to 47 projects and departments across campus. Feb. 20 was also Founder's Day, so it was great fun to sing "Happy Birthday" to Whitworth as your gifts were pouring in from across the globe. As always, we are so thankful for your generosity and support of our mission. 

New crowdfunding projects debuted on One Pine Day, but several are still not completely funded and will remain available through the spring. Check them out at


The men's swimming team claimed its second consecutive Northwest Conference championship, and 16th in the last 18 years, Feb. 7-10 in Federal Way, Wash. The Pirates ran away from the field, winning by a margin of nearly 200 points. Whitworth won all five men's relays, including a dramatic comeback in the 400 freestyle relay – the meet's final event. Ryan Grady '21 and Byron Rossmiller '20 shared NWC Men's Swimmer of the Meet recognition after each went unbeaten in his individual events. Grady won the 500 freestyle along with the 100 and 200 breaststrokes. Rossmiller won the 400 individual medley along with the 100 and 200 backstrokes. Owen Lempert '20 set a Northwest Conference record in the 50 freestyle, and Steve Schadt '96 was voted by his peers as the NWC Men's Coach of the Year.

The women's swimming team finished in third place. Jamie Siegler '21 set an NWC record while winning the 100 breaststroke, and Hannah Galbraith '20 won the 100 backstroke. 

The men's basketball team finished the season 21-6 after reaching the NWC tournament final for the 16th straight time. The Pirates were not selected for the NCAA Division III tournament, ending a run of 12 straight years in the NCAA field. Kyle Roach '19 earned first team All-NWC recognition and ended his career fifth on Whitworth's all-time scoring list. Ben College '20 joined his teammate as a first team All-NWC honoree. 

The women's basketball team finished 13-12 and tied for fourth place in the league standings under first-year head coach Joial Griffith. Camy Aguinaldo '21 and Madison Moffat '19 were second team All-NWC selections. 

The indoor track & field season is nearing its end. Nick McGill '20 (heptathlon) and Izzy Clark '19 (pentathlon) have broken Whitworth team records in their events and are expected to be invited to compete at the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships in Boston. 

Spring sports are underway. The softball team opened its season with five wins in eight games over Jan Term Break in California. The baseball team has taken trips to Atlanta and Los Angeles to start its season. Both tennis teams have picked up their first victories of the season. Golf is scheduled to resume March 9-10 at the Puget Sound Invitational. 

Closing Thoughts

Whitworth's spring semester is off to a fabulous start even if the weather isn't cooperating. I canceled classes for only the third time in my nine years at Whitworth because of snow and ice. Students seemed to enjoy the extra time to catch up on assignments and reading, and a snowball fight or two. After the third snowiest February in Spokane's history, we're all looking forward to warmer weather. But the warmth of the Whitworth community will have to do for now. May God bless you and yours.

Signed, Beck