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Elevate a Liberal Arts Education as Essential and Relevant to All Majors and Careers

For music major Peter Underhill, '18, and his classmates, the expanded and renovated Cowles Music Center inspires creativity and strengthens connectivity.

"The new spaces offer a thrilling atmosphere to learn, practice and rehearse," he says. "The new student lounges and ‘Main Street' have allowed students, faculty and staff to find new ways to gather and support one another. Students meet to encourage each other through difficult homework, life situations and matters of faith. The center has transformed our music and our Christian community."

Cowles Music Center opened in fall 2016. Every dollar of the $13.5 million project was provided by generous donors, including the Harriet Cheney Cowles Foundation, which gave $2 million, and Whitworth trustee Walt Oliver, '67, and his wife, Kay, who gave $3.75 million.

The center embodies the stellar music-making that has been happening at Whitworth for generations and also promotes innovation, according to Chair and Professor of Music Ben Brody, '98. "The two rehearsal rooms incorporate recent technology to provide excellent acoustics," he says, "and the new recording studio and computer lab allow students many exciting opportunities to use music technology to create and record music."

In addition to music majors, hundreds of students from other academic disciplines are benefiting from Whitworth's music program and its inviting new center. Last year nearly 400 non-majors participated in at least one music class or ensemble, or took lessons.

"Non-majors appreciate getting to create something that is completely different from what they are learning and creating in their other classes," Brody says. "Students who study music learn how to work efficiently and independently through daily practice and how to collaborate as a part of a team through ensemble rehearsals. Both of these qualities are highly valued by employers in just about any field."