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Mind & Heart Newsletter: March 2020

The March 2020 update from Whitworth University President Beck A. Taylor

The role I play brings some sad days to be sure. But I can honestly say that no day during my presidency has been sadder and more difficult than last Monday, March 16. During the preceding two weeks, I and other Whitworth leaders closely monitored the increasingly challenging public health crisis surrounding the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We had already made some tough decisions – like repatriating our students who were studying abroad, canceling future trips that students were eagerly anticipating, and canceling the much anticipated 50th anniversary Hawaiian Club lu‘au, among other important events. Whitworth had even already taken the unprecedented step of announcing that all courses and instruction would move to remote and online learning platforms. Still, we were hoping and praying that students could remain on campus and that the crisis would abate soon enough to allow for an eventual return to in-person classes and the normal celebration that accompanies the close of any other academic year.

So it was with overwhelming sadness last Monday when I not only announced that face-to-face classes wouldn't resume this semester, but also that the residence halls had to close and students had to evacuate the campus. In an instant, gone was any perceptible piece of the vital campus life and energy that fuels this place. Gone were the smiles on the Hello Walk and the laughs heard in the dining hall. Roommates had to part ways suddenly. Residence hall rooms had to be cleared. And many faculty members didn't even get the chance to wish their students well in person. Seniors and other graduating students were sent packing not knowing whether we could even host commencement ceremonies in May. Gone was the Whitworth we know and love.

As I communicated this difficult news to campus, I reminded people that it was OK to acknowledge the loss we feel and our anxieties about the future. Those are human emotions – natural and healthy. Still, I couldn't help but also remind my friends that God is sovereign and still good. We can say simultaneously that we don't like what's happening and we have a lot of doubts, and that we trust in a loving God who cares for us and who cares for the Whitworth community. We must, now more than ever, place our trust in the Lord, I said. Where else can we turn?

I don't know what the future holds for any of us, or for Whitworth. But I can tell you that beginning on March 30, our faculty will be delivering mind-and-heart education. Students will be learning. And lives will be shaped to honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity. We will trust in God, and we will lean on each other. Together, we will face the future with faith, hope and resolve. Whitworth will survive this. And we will give all thanks and glory to God in heaven. May Christ's mercy and peace be upon each of you now and in the weeks to come.



The forensics team won the National Christian College Forensics Association's national tournament, defending its national title for the third consecutive year. The Ethics Bowl team tied for third place at nationals. Way to go, team!

Hannah Pomante '19, a former art major, was selected by Spokane Art School for its artist-in-residence program. We're proud of you, Hannah.

Alan Mikkelson (Communication Studies) co-authored the top paper in the Interpersonal Communication Division at the Western States Communication Association conference. The paper is titled "Development of the revised relational maximization scale and explorations of how relational maximization relates to personal and relational outcomes."

U.S. News & World Report ranked Whitworth's Center for Gifted Education among the best in the country for its online programs for the second year in a row.

Stacy Hill (School of Education) received a grant from the Whitworth Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for a Teacher Certification Program project titled "Recruiting and Retaining Teacher Candidates of Color." This grant will lead faculty and staff to refine strategies to recruit and retain candidates of color in the program.

The Beeksma Family Theology Center inner garden now features a concrete relief sculpture titled Ex Vetere by local artist Sarah Thompson Moore.

Student Life

Whitworth University has received the Carnegie Foundation's Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, an elective designation that indicates institutional commitment to community engagement. This classification is the highest form of achievement for universities partnering to make a difference in the world. Whitworth's Dornsife Center for Community Engagement led the institutional self-study needed for the classification.

The Associated Students of Whitworth University has released a new student engagement platform, Honor Follow Serve (HFS). This platform, which includes a mobile app, will be the go-to place for students to share and learn about campus events and club meetings. The goal is to help students figure out how they can honor, follow and serve as Whitworth community members. The app is in the App Store and Google Play.


Our March 1 priority application deadline for freshmen has passed, but we are still accepting applications and admitting students on a space-available basis. The priority application deadline for transfer students is July 1. The sooner students complete their applications, the sooner we can send admissions decisions and financial aid offers. Go to

We regretfully had to cancel our large campus visit events, but small campus tours remain available Monday-Saturday at 2 p.m. Sign up at For those who were counting on attending a campus visit event to earn a one-time, $1,000 Visit Scholarship, we will be in touch soon about how to qualify for the scholarship in other ways. In the meantime, we encourage you to join Visit Coordinator Quincy McCune for a video tour or take an interactive virtual campus tour. Find both at

Here's a presidential pro tip for prospective students who want to increase their odds of getting one of their top residence hall choices and their preferred class schedule in the fall: Deposit now! Go to to pay the $350 enrollment deposit and lock in priority housing and class registration benefits.

The Campaign for Whitworth

Students were blown away by donor generosity during One Pine Day 2020. Six projects were fully funded, with many others nearly hitting their goal. In addition, 17 new sustaining donors will make a difference for Whitworth students each month. Learn more about the impact One Pine Day has on Whitworth at

As Whitworthians, caring for our community is what we do. During this difficult time, we are concerned that students may be struggling to cover unexpected costs related to travel, access to technology, health and wellness, and other unbudgeted circumstances and expenses. Please consider supporting the Thrive Fund to provide emergency support for Whitworth students at

Financial Aid & Student Billing

We are glad to be sending financial aid offers to students admitted to the incoming class. Admissions counselors are inviting families to sign up for a call to review their student's offer. Check your email and texts! For questions, please call the financial aid office at 509.777.4340.

Families understandably start comparing financial aid offers this time of year. Three things we encourage them to keep in mind are: Focus on the net price after subtracting all aid from the cost of attendance. Remember that graduating in four years from Whitworth is significantly cheaper than graduating in five or more years from a large public university. And the biggest factor in whether students graduate and launch into successful careers is if they are at their best-fit school. Read more at

Whitworth offers interest-free payment plans to pay your balance in three, four or five installments per term. The cost to set up a plan is $35 per term. Fall payment plans can be set up this summer with the online billing form.

Alumni & Parents

In light of COVID-19, Whitworth is postponing or canceling our currently scheduled events for alumni and parents. By the time you read this, our team probably will have already refunded you if you had registered for a spring event. Right now, faculty and tech teams are busy preparing to instruct students online. Once they have handled that, we will explore our options for virtual, online events, so stay tuned!


The men's basketball season concluded in the 2020 NCAA Div. III tournament after the Pirates won a share of the Northwest Conference championship and earned an at-large bid. Ben College '20 is the 2020 NWC Player of the Year and an All-West Region honoree. Now the second-leading scorer in Whitworth history and the holder of several individual 3-point and free-throw records, he also was just named a third team Academic All-American. During the first weekend of the NCAA DIII tournament in Richardson, Texas, the Pirates defeated LeTourneau 88-86 on a last-second shot by Isaiah Hernandez '20. Then the Bucs rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit to defeat host Texas-Dallas 73-66 in the second round. Whitworth's game at top-ranked Swarthmore in the round of 16 was canceled, along with the rest of the national tournament.

The women's basketball team finished 14-11 overall and tied for fourth place in the final standings. In the final week of the season, the Pirates knocked off nationally ranked George Fox, took top-10 Whitman to overtime on the road and closed with a victory at Linfield. Sydney Abbott '22 earned second team All-NWC recognition.

The men's swimming team won its third straight Northwest Conference championship and 18th in the last 20 years last month in Federal Way, Wash. Owen Lempert '20 earned outstanding men's swimmer of the meet honors after finishing first in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyles and the 100-yard breaststroke. He broke his own NWC record in the 50 freestyle and qualified to compete at the 2020 NCAA DIII Championships, which were canceled.

The women's swimming team surged into second place on the final day of the meet, the team's best finish in five seasons. Hannah Galbraith '20 and Jamie Siegler '21 won multiple events in the meet, and Siegler broke her own meet record in the 100 breaststroke and qualified for the NCAA DIII Championships.

Nick McGill '20 is the only Pirate who made it into the 2020 NCAA DIII Indoor Track & Field Championships this month. He was scheduled to compete in the heptathlon for the second straight season, after finishing ninth in the event in 2019, but the meet was canceled.

After the NCAA canceled all winter and spring national championships, the Northwest Conference canceled the rest of the spring sports season.

The baseball team finished 11-5. Ben Wintringer '20 led the team in batting average and did not commit an error in 81 consecutive starts in left field between his sophomore and junior seasons.

The softball team went 5-9 with a young squad. Heather Menzer '23 hit the cover off the ball in her first season as a Pirate, leading the team in batting average, home runs and RBIs.

The lacrosse team (1-2) showed significant signs of progress in its second season. After scoring no goals in two matches against defending NWC champion George Fox in 2019, the Pirates tallied seven in the opening weekend match against the Bruins. Sidney Triepke '23 then broke the school record with five goals by herself in a 19-5 win at Whitman in the season finale.

The women's tennis team (4-4) pulled off a win over Lewis-Clark State for the first time in a generation on March 8 with a 4-3 victory over the Warriors. Whitworth hoped to be a contender in the NWC this season behind 2019 All-Conference honorees Erica Lee '20 and Avery Liening '21.

The men's tennis team's record of 2-5 was slanted after opening against the likes of NCAA Div. I Eastern Washington and Montana. Sean Singco '20 was playing at the top of the singles ladder.

The men's golf team was unable to open its spring schedule before the cancellations. The women's golfers finished second in their initial spring tournament behind Allie Slingsby '21, who was the medalist at the Puget Sound Spring Invitational.