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Dale Soden

Dale Soden

Professor of History | Director of the Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith & Learning
Years of Service: 35

What brought you to Whitworth, and what kept you here?

I came to Whitworth because I knew that it was a Christian, liberal-arts college with roots in the Presbyterian Church. I wanted to work at an institution where teaching was prized and where it was possible to ask difficult questions and be with colleagues who were intellectually engaged and took their personal faith in Christianity seriously. I have stayed because of all those reasons as well as the friendships and relationships I have made with students and colleagues.

What is one unforgettable moment you experienced in a class?

I don't really have one moment; I suppose the ones I think about relate mostly to the times when I pulled out my guitar and led students in singing protest songs and, of course, Roll on Columbia.

What is one unexpected thing a student has taught you?

Oh, students have taught me many things, but I think as much as anything, they have taught me how creative human beings can be, how inquisitive we can be, and how important it is to remain humble. This is a profession that prizes expertise and knowledge, but in the end, we are all on a journey and we all see though "a glass dimly," in the words of the Apostle Paul.

How have you changed since coming to Whitworth?

That's a hard question, but I'd like to think that I am less worried about making a mistake and more interested in learning from others.

What parting advice would you offer current students and lifelong learners alike?

Cherish your friends; keep trying to love your neighbor; and don't take yourself too seriously. Life is a gift – enjoy it and appreciate it as much as possible. And keep singing Roll on Columbia whenever you can.

What is one Whitworth experience, value or memory that you'll carry with you into retirement?

I love walking the campus early in the morning or sometimes late in the afternoon. Because I've had so much enjoyment studying and writing some of the history of Whitworth, I love thinking about many of the names on the buildings. I love the many coffees I've had with students in the HUB, the countless games of basketball I've played with colleagues in Graves Gym, the classrooms where I've taught countless students, Cowles Auditorium where I've shared snippets of Whitworth history and even performed on stage, the chapel for worship and the remembrance of lost colleagues and students. These are all special places and more for me.

What do you look forward to in retirement?

Aside from not grading exams and papers, I look forward to doing some more writing, seeing the grandchildren more frequently, hanging out with friends, and exploring all sorts of places and new things with my soul mate, Kathy Storm.