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Fifty years ago, Whitworth was one of 60 colleges in the U.S. that instituted "January Term" as part of a new 4-1-4 academic calendar. "This is a time to be intellectually adventuresome" Garland "Gus" Haas, political science professor and inaugural Jan Term coordinator, wrote in the 1969 course catalog. Jan Term classes were intended to provide students a change of pace, allowing them to focus on a single course of study as part of a class or independently, on campus or off.

Across five decades, Jan Term has proven to be a seminal Whitworth experience for students, producing rich personal growth, vocational discernment, lifelong friendships and cherished memories.

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Scroll and click through the decades to view alumni memories of Jan Term

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"Given the chance to take a class with Dr. Vic Bobb, I'd always jump at it. So, when he offered a Jan Term class on the works of Edgar Allan Poe, I enrolled with gusto. Every day, during one of the darker, colder, bleaker winters of my time at Whitworth, my fellow students and I would gather in Westminster Hall and pour over tales of the macabre, narratives of obsession, and poetry of devotion. In the evenings, we would again come together to watch film adaptations of Poe's work starring Vincent Price--Vic all the while grinning knowingly as most of us felt a degree of terror 'never felt before.' Vic's boyish enthusiasm, our shared excitement, and the quiet of campus in January set the perfect scene in which to learn about the nature of creativity and the seeds of inspiration. That Jan Term helped to forge bond between many of us as English majors that will not soon be forgotten."

Lindsay Perry, 2010

"There are few memories of my time at Whitworth that I recount with the fondness that I do when I recall spending a month traveling through France and Switzerland. Karin Heller led us through exploration of the European roots of Christian spirituality. I was one of the few people who had a chance to go abroad as a freshman, so it was my first real opportunity to connect with a professor outside of the classroom. However, it was also an incredible chance to connect with other students. I couldn't have said it then, but now, it shapes my sense of call as the Church here in America finds itself in a similar position to the Church in Europe...we're living in a post-Christendom world, but that doesn't mean that God isn't still working, or that God isn't continuing to use the Church. My time in Europe helped shape my understanding of what it means for me to live and lead in the world today."

Kimberly (Stokesbary) Briggs, 2010

"I got the chance to travel to Tanzania through the education department. This was my first international travel experience, and staying in 'homestays' for the whole visit helped me to not only learn how to accept large cultural differences, but also connect with others through those differences. Working in a school in Tanzania shaped the beginning of who I am as a teacher, giving me opportunities to see effective teaching practices in action and work on a literal global scale."

Caitlin Lieseke, 2011

"Over Jan Term 2011, I had the privilege of attending the Power and Politics of Art trip to Italy and Germany with Dr. Strauch. I didn’t know most of the other students on that trip, and some of them I never saw again afterwards. Despite that, I had an absolutely amazing time getting to know some amazing people while traveling to some of the most incredible places in the artistic world. I spent my 19th birthday in Pompeii, and I don’t know that I’ll ever get to top that particular birthday experience. I wouldn’t trade it for anything."

Ian Frye, 2013

Ian Frye '13, Power and Politics of Art: "Brandenburg: Nearing the end of the trip, the three boys from the group gaze thoughtfully about the square in front of the Brandenburg gate as they ponder the adventures yet to come in the trip and in life.

"A group of four of us arrived in San Francisco and decided we would walk a few blocks to our hostel instead of taking a cab. We each were weighed down with luggage, and soon realized we had made a poor decision (don’t trust the rural girls to know how to get around a city!). As we walked through the Tenderloin district we were stopped a few times and told to get a cab, but no taxi would stop for us. Finally, a man waved us down a cab and insisted we get in. We all made it in one piece and learned a valuable lesson about city life."

Jill (Lundgren) Graham, 2011

"In Jan Term 2010, I went to Thailand with 10 other women as part of a class led by Pam Corpron Parker. This was my first time taking a trip that required a passport, so it was a big step for me. But Pam encouraged me to sign up because she knew I would benefit from the experience (she was right, as she always was on important matters!). It was a transformative experience in so many ways. We engaged deeply in issues ranging from inter-religious conflict and peacemaking, to human trafficking and sexual violence, to the rich and complex history of Thailand, to the positive and negative impacts of tourism culture, to the treatment of elephants and the bountiful botanical resources and remedies, and so much more. I've truly never been the same since that trip, and so much of my current work at the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities and my current M.Div. studies at Fuller have been shaped by this experience, especially the studies of culture and of inter-religious conflict and reconciliation. That in particular is an area of extreme interest for me now and will likely shape the rest of my life, both in regards to my career and my personal life. But I suppose that's to be expected when you get kissed by an elephant - it's a sign of great luck and fortune! God worked wonders in my heart on that trip, and I am so glad I had the opportunity to have a Jan Term experience like that."

Morgan (Feddes) Satre, 2011

"For Jan Term 2012, I had the privilege to participate in a trip to London, England for a Theatre and Art focused trip. While we stayed mainly in London, we had some day trips to Dover, Stratford upon Avon, Bath, and other outlying English cities. We attended museums, art galleries and professional theatre shows. We wrote journal responses and had some readings as well in response to how art and the performing arts affect culture and their audiences. I still remember how great that trip was!"

Jessica (Shirley) Loomer, 2012

"I had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania for Jan Term 2012 with Dr. Bruininks. I watched as my host family for the day spent their very last shillings to buy myself and the other two students mangoes. I have never seen anyone demonstrate such selflessness and have never been more humbled in my life. I keep a 500 shilling bill framed in my kitchen to remind me of that display of sacrifice."

Annie (Merriman) Gabriel, 2012

"It's one thing to choose a major and study a particular subject in school, but to experience what it's like in real life is entirely different. The Media Impact trip allowed journalism majors to visit places like The New York Times, CNN, and PBS. We were able to meet and talk with all kinds of different journalists. It helped us build our career network before graduation."

Brianna (Anderson) Rogers, 2014

"At Tall Timber, we were living monastically- living in community with limited technology and following the Divine Offices. In the midst of our rhythm, we had time set aside for play. Some of us had just taken a dance class from Jamie Edwards, and one night, we taught everyone the Virginia Reel and got the whole class dancing!"

Christina Melahn, 2013

"Over Jan Term 2011, I had the privilege of attending the Power and Politics of Art trip to Italy and Germany with Dr. Strauch. I didn’t know most of the other students on that trip, and some of them I never saw again afterwards. Despite that, I had an absolutely amazing time getting to know some amazing people while traveling to some of the most incredible places in the artistic world. I spent my 19th birthday in Pompeii, and I don’t know that I’ll ever get to top that particular birthday experience. I wouldn’t trade it for anything."

Ian Frye, 2013

"I went to New York my last Jan Term. It showed new and inventive techniques for my theater degree, and allowed me to explore the city as well as connect with my peers. I also got to see shows, both on Broadway and off. This trip showed me career paths for every aspect of theater; it expanded my knowledge and made me feel confident in my choice to pursue theatre."

Kristina Hess, 2013

"I participated in the Psychology of Poverty, Altruism, & Hope in Tanzania Jan Term Trip in 2014. That trip remains the most amazing experience of my life. We lived alongside native Tanzanians, speaking Swahili, eating new foods, learning their culture, gathering stories, and adventuring in East Africa. The trip was pivotal in my faith life, exposing me to new walks of life and challenging me to explore what I really believed about humans and the world. Studying abroad during Jan Term will always be a formative turning point in my life, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity!"

Kirin (Foster) Casteel, 2015

Kirin (Foster) Casteel '15, in Tanzania with host family, 2014

"In January 2013, I participated in the Intensive Oral Spanish abroad program in Xela/Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. My confidence and oral fluency grew immensely through five hours of daily one-on-one tutoring. Today, I'm a bilingual youth services librarian at a public library in Oregon. I use Spanish daily to improve library services to Spanish speaking kids and families in our community. I found my Jan Term trip to Guatemala particularly meaningful because of family ties. My aunt and uncle lived near Xela in the 1990s. (One of my cousins was born there!) As I prepared for the trip with the Spanish department, I learned that my grandparents had studied at the same language school, Casa Xelaju. I even got to meet my cousin's nanny, Ellie, over lunch break one day!"

Lindsay (Slater) Delaney, 2015

This is a photo of me with my language instructor, Auri

"Jan Term on campus is normally pretty snowy. One night, a group of friends from Arend and I sculpted a 7 foot tall Darth Vader and some Minions out of snow in the loop. It took a few hours, but it was worth the fun of walking by our sculptures and hearing other people comment about them for the next few weeks!"

Sarah DeLong, 2015

"I spent one of my Jan Terms with Dr. Keith Beebe exploring the history of Christianity in Europe. God used this time of learning about revivals, and seeing His name proclaimed throughout history and the entire world, to deepen my walk with Him and have a revival within my own heart. One of the huge connections was that I met four incredible women on this trip, who I later lived with the following year. These women have been crucial in my life and we have simply gone through life together. They are the ones that have cried with me during loss, stood by my side during some of the darkest times in my life, and also celebrated the joys that life brings as well. We have seen God's faithfulness and love, and are in fellowship despite the geographical distance. These women are so important in my life that one will actually be a bridesmaid in my upcoming wedding, and the rest will be involved in scripture reads and other aspects! All I can say is that if it wasn't for Jan Term, I never would have had the chance to know these incredible sisters in Christ!"

Sarah Gady, 2016

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"I had an incredible Jan Term experience in Thailand with Pam Parker, Gordon Watanabe, and Kyle Usrey. The interdisciplinary approach helped me see the world in a new way, as I integrated threads from women's studies, education, and business."

Stephanie (Getman) Gronholz, 2005

"I was the teaching assistant for the 2005 Reformation and German Church Struggle study tour, and it's not an exaggeration to say that this trip was a turning point in discerning my vocation. This trip inspired me to study Christianity under oppressive regimes such as national socialism and communism. Because of this trip, I went on to earn a Ph.D. in religion, politics, and society. Now I am a theology and church history professor at Indiana Wesleyan University. This semester I get to fulfill a dream: teaching a course on the life and theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Thanks, Jim Edwards and Jan Term!"

Miranda Zapor Cruz, 2005

"One night, during my sophomore year Jan Term, I decided last-minute to attend a ballroom dance being held at the HUB. When I arrived, a guy I knew asked me to dance. We ended up dancing together the entire night. Little did I know, that it was actually the final for his ballroom dancing class, and he was supposed to be rotating partners (sorry, Janie)! Luckily for me, that was the start of something special. Some years later, he and I danced on the same floor during the first dance of our wedding, held—where else?--at Whitworth."

Mary (Eagle) Harwood, 2006

"During my first Jan Term at Whitworth, I had the opportunity to take Portraits of America with Dr. Hunt! In this course, my classmates and I were able to choose how the class was taught. Some of my classmates chose to read out of the textbook and take multiple choice exams. The other group chose to read historical biographies and write several papers. This course helped me build a relationship with my classmates, as well as my professor!"

Ben King, 2007

"Jan Term my freshman year in BJ was a chance to really get to know more of our fellow dorm mates. Afternoons and evenings spent playing games and having dorm worship really forged a connection. By the time Jan Term Break rolled around, 10-15 of us from BJ all packed into cars and drove across the state and back to visit each others’ home towns. From East Wenatchee, Manson, and Chelan, to Seattle, Bellevue, and Yakima, it was a great time to bond with friends and build relationships that still last to this day. It's also how my husband and I met (Mike Lafferty '07)!"

Rachael (Erickson) Lafferty, 2007

"My freshman Jan Term, I took Judy Mandeville's Sacred Dance Chroeography course. We were all asked to dance our testimony, which was particularly difficult for me after the recent death of my younger brother. I felt like God was so far away when my brother needed Him. One day after class, Judy sat with me in the pews of Whitworth Presbyterian Church, and told me the story of a time when she had cried out to God and asked Him where He was while we suffered. She said that she saw a clear picture in her mind of Jesus on the cross, arms outstretched, saying, 'I was here. I am here.' I still remember Judy stretching out her arms like Jesus, and the way my faith shifted that day to incorporate a God who is doing His deepest work when we are in our darkest moments. I went on to create a dance testimony in which I clung to a bunch of white flowers, and eventually placed them down at God's feet. It was a key part of my grief journey and my faith journey, and I am grateful to Judy for walking with me through it."

Jeannie (Sibbett) Huskisson, 2008

"January of my sophomore year is still cemented in my mind as a formative and fun trip to Europe for Core 250 abroad with Dr. Baird."

"The ability to learn about the development of philosophy, theology and Western civilization in the actual places where they evolved was incredible. I soaked it all in--the knowledge, the culture, the environment--and enjoyed every moment. From sledding in the Alps to savoring a hearty Tuscan stew in Florence, this trip was beyond memorable."

Laura (Richardson) Cullen, 2008

Core 250: "I soaked it all in--the knowledge, the culture, the environment--and enjoyed every moment. From sledding in the Alps (pictured) to savoring a hearty Tuscan stew in Florence, this trip was beyond memorable."

"During my senior year at Whitworth in January 2009, I participated in the 'Power and Politics of Art' study-abroad trip in Italy and Germany. It was an eye-opening experience to get a taste of the rich history, art, music, and culture in two countries. It greatly expanded my worldview, and remains one of the most transformative experiences I’ve had in my life. We were in Berlin for President Obama’s inauguration and watched television coverage while at an event at the American Embassy. We also witnessed how local Berliners marked the day, such as a restaurant owner displaying a cardboard cutout of Obama."

Julie Wootton-Greener, 2009

Our class at the Forum in Rome on our first day in Italy

"I attended Christian Spirituality with Jerry Sittser at Tall Timber camp. While finally understanding how routine and balance can fit together perfectly in life, I unexpectedly found my new calling. On Sundays, Chef Victoria would put out the most amazing brunch spread, including made-from-scratch pesto cheesy buns. I returned to Tall Timber the following summer so I could learn to cook from her. She has become a mentor to me as I ended up switching from a science career to culinary. And I am actually going to go visit and cook with her in a few weeks in St. Paul!"

Linh Aven, 2009

"My freshman year I took ice skating, along with several friends who lived with me in BJ. On the last day we dressed in wacky clothes and played hockey (or at least tried!), mostly just chasing the puck around and trying not to fall. It helped solidify friendships I have to this day."

Melissa (Garner) Turissini, 2009

"Dressing up in silly outfits on the last day of ice skating class, 2006"

Melissa (Garner) Turissini '09

"Enjoying gelato in Florence in the Power and Politics of Art trip in 2007"

"During my senior year Jan Term, I went on The Power and Politics of Art study tour to Rome, Florence, and Berlin with Dr. Strauch and Dr. Brody. It was 22 days of pure wonder and amazement, growth and culture shock, artifacts and pizza and gelato - more awestruck moments than I've ever had in my life. I turned 22 years old on that trip, but I felt like I aged 10 years in the knowledge I gained. That January was the best solid month I've ever had or probably will ever have in my life."

Mary Kate (Anderson) DeBoer, 2009

"I recall specifically the Jan Term trip that Richie Ressel and I took in January of 2009. We were international observers for municipal elections in San Salvador, El Salvador, but we also spent about two weeks staying with Richie's host family in Honduras. The Perez family lived in a small village called Limón, up a road from the town of Chalmeca. Richie had previously stayed with the Perez family during the CASP program."

Jeff Upton, 2009

Jeff and Richie with host family in Honduras

"Each Jan Term at Whitworth was filled with growth and experiences that shaped me into who I am today. I had the privilege of participating in 5 of them, because I did the MIT program immediately following graduation. I traveled with the Whitworth Jazz Ensemble three times during Jan Term: 2006 to Brazil, 2008 to Italy, and 2010 to New York and New Orleans. The opportunities to travel helped give me an understanding of the music culture from different parts of the world. As a music teacher and professional musician, this has given me credibility with my audience and a deeper understanding of the stories of different styles of music."

Sky Thoreson, 2009

Dan Keberle, Brent Edstom, Brazil 2006 (contributed by Sky Thoreson '09)

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"I had the opportunity to travel to Israel on a Jan Term trip led by Raja Tanas my sophomore year (1998). Walking in the dirt of the Bible for a month was amazing, but what I remember most were the people we met. We hiked through the Judean wilderness to visit a monastery built into the cliffs. When we happened upon a Bedouin family during our hike, Raja translated as so we could learn about their family and shepherding. The month also included a trip to the U.N. refugee camp, and having coffee in the home of one of the community leaders there. We also spent our last afternoon in Israel helping one of the staff from the Lutheran church in Bethlehem. His family was trying to defend their land from encroaching settlements, and were going through all the law cases dating back to ancient time to try and save their property. Our group volunteered to help rebuild a wall on the property. This Jan Term was far from a tour-bus tour of Israel. We walked where Jesus walked, but more importantly, we spent time with his people and heard their stories."

Gretchen (Anderson) Cleveland, 2000

"One of the best memories was being in Israel for the first snow in, I think, decades. We ended up not being able to do anything on our planned itinerary as no one knew how to drive in the snow. So it allowed our group to walk around Bethlehem and explore, find food, laugh as we watched grown men popping out from behind buildings to surprise friends with snowballs. We also had the unique experience of having a snowball fight with our hotel staff at the Bethlehem Inn. We had sat in the lounge one evening and heard these men’s stories of life in the West Bank, of having been imprisoned. They became friends over our stay there. The trip also included a trip to the UN refugee camp and having coffee in the home of one of the leaders in the camp. We also spent our last afternoon in Israel helping one of the staff from the Lutheran church in Bethlehem where we lived our last week. His family was trying to defend their land from encroaching settlements and were going through all the law cases dating back to ancient time to try and save their property. As such, our group volunteered to go and help rebuild a wall on the property. This was far from a tour bus type of tour of Israel. We walked where Jesus walked, but more importantly, we spent time with his people and heard their stories."

Gretchen Cleveland '00, Jan Term 1998 in Israel with Raja Tanas

"One of my defining Whitworth memories occurred during a Jan Term trip to Germany in January, 2003. It was the World War II and Reformation history trip led by Edwards and McGonigal. We were traveling during a time of global tension, as inspectors were in Iraq to determine if there were 'weapons of mass destruction,' and many around the world were angry at President Bush's military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq."

"We were walking through a train station and I had been asking Dr. Edwards questions about what was going on in Afghanistan. I was a senior religion major with about four months until graduation. My mind had been focused on final courses, job search plans, and ending my Whitworth experience. The events beyond the Pine Cone Curtain just hadn't been important until now. Apparently I had asked one too many questions, because Edwards turned back toward me and spoke a sentence that left a stark imprint on my mind forever: 'You are far too intelligent to be this ignorant.' He then turned back around and walked on ahead. I purchased a Newsweek magazine that afternoon, and upon returning to Spokane, changed the home page on my computer from Whitworth email to a news outlet. I needed to learn what was happening beyond the curtain so that I could actually make a difference out there."

Now I serve as a professor, and challenge students to be aware of what is going on beyond their bubbles and to be part of changing our city of Portland."

Meg Dumez, 2003

"A couple days before we were supposed to leave for our trip to Sitka, Alaska, the professor broke her leg. They sent a substitute for the first week to get us settled, but then we were unchaperoned."

"Also, I got an ear infection the first week in Sitka, and the chaperone insisted I go to the doctor before she left. Because we didn't know a doctor and there was no urgent care, we're ended up at the ER. The ER doc gave me his personal phone number to call if I needed. Small town... not what I was used to."

Sarah (Fox) Suarez, 2004

"Playing hockey on a frozen lake in Zermatt, Switzerland, after taking a gondola up the Matterhorn was pretty magical!"

Jen (Scales) Morlan, 2004

Core 250, 2003, at Palace of Versailles (contributed by Jen (Scales) Morlan '04)"

"I will always remember standing in the middle of Canterbury Cathedral with our entire group and singing the Doxology. That was an incredibly powerful moment."

Rebekah (Novasky) Prior, 2004

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"My freshman year, I took Asian American Lit with Doug Sugano at my roommate's suggestion (then-senior Dolly Cooke). I remember fascinating discussions of incredible texts. I'd go to class for three hours, head to water aerobics for an hour, and then end up in my dorm room to read for eight or so hours to be ready for the next day. I discovered my desire to study literature in that class. I now have a Ph.D. in Renaissance literature and write books for children. All because of one of the most intense and rewarding educational experiences I've had."

Anne-Marie (Williams) Strohman, 1995

"I loved my Whitworth Jan Term years. Back in the day (1993), Whitworth Security used to open the field house for people to walk or jog. I asked a cute blonde alto in choir to join me for jogging. The next Jan Term ('94), we traveled as part of the music and theatre study program to England. Dr. Tavener gave me special permission to miss a group morning meeting to stand in line for Phantom of the Opera tickets. Ultimately, Jenny (Gregory) Hirschfelder accepted my marriage proposal during the scene when Raoule confesses his love for Christine. England was a good January life experience!"

Matt Hirschfelder, 1995

"Due to heavy rains in the Bay Area, I missed my flight out of SFO to Seattle for the start of my Jan Term trip. I still made it in time to hug the group as they got on the plane and left me behind. Doc Evans pulled me aside, and handed me German marks and a sticky note with the name of our youth hostel in Munich, and wished me luck. I flew to Europe alone and managed to get on the train (going the right away), hail a cab, and get to the right hostel, where I found another sticky note from my roommate. I rang the doorbell and the group came rushing down to meet me. I made it! My mother, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck."

Jen (Willson) DeVries, 1995

"Native American Culture & Christianity class on the Nez Perce reservation. Great experience seeing the blending of Christian faith with old traditions. I experienced a Nez Perce sweat lodge with some of the elders, and I got to eat the best tamales ever. Once the grandmas knew I loved them, they gave them to me with every meal."

Brae Wilson, 1996

"My senior year I did Jan Term is Seoul, Korea, living in an orphanage, sharing the floor of a room with eight boys who lived in that room. Along with three other Whitworth education majors, we spent the month teaching English to those kids, all in the same room, with each of us taking a corner and a quarter of the kids. In one short month I exposed myself to another culture like I'd never done before in my life, discovered a thousand new insights and realities about teaching, and strengthened my faith in ways that have stuck with me over two decades later."

Mark Hilditch, 1997

"I love pipe organs and was beyond ecstatic to spend the morning of my 22nd birthday listening to Olivier Latry, a world-renowned organist, play for mass at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. A number of friends on the Core 250 trip joined me later that evening for a Bach organ concert at a local church. Best birthday ever!"

Mark Jackson, 1997

"On the train to Switzerland, one student discovered she had left her passport in a hotel room in Italy. Thankfully, Forrest kept a copy of all student passports and was able to provide this to the train customs operator. How embarrassing for that poor girl, who may or may not have been me."

Beth (Robblee) Soderlund, 1998

"January 1998. Professor Raja Tanas took 22 students to Israel and the Holy Land for a life-changing experience. We visited Jewish historical sites and spent time on a kibbutz. Over Turkish coffee, we heard family stories of triumph and hope. We planted trees with Palestinian families whose land was under siege, and ate meals while hearing stories of struggle. The complexities of land and faith and family were not lost on any of us as we debriefed in the cellar of a Lutheran Church in downtown Bethlehem - a space where Dr. Tanas spent time as a young man."

Becki Barrett, 1998

"Core 250 trip to Europe with Forrest Baird, 1997. In addition to traveling to Pompeii, Rome, Florence, Paris and London, we stayed in Zermatt, Switzerland. We took a break from learning about the Reformation by marveling at the beauty of the Matterhorn and laughing at ourselves attempting to play ice hockey."

Josh Hoops, 1999

Josh Hoops '99, Core 250 1997

"I went on the Prejudice Across America tour in January, 1998. I was born and raised in the PacNW. My parameters for understanding people in the world stretched all the way from Salem, OR (home) to southern California (grandparents) and out to Minnesota (other set of grandparents). This trip shattered my too-tiny world. Planes, trains and buses took us from LA to Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, Memphis, DC and more. I witnessed firsthand the screaming prejudices and biases in these cities. I remember thinking, 'It's nearly the year 2000. It's not the 1960s anymore. When are people going to get over this prejudice thing?' Yet, here we are, 20 years later, and racial, religious, sexual orientation, gender, etc. prejudices and violence rage beyond anything present on that tour. I'll never forget how my mind was opened that Jan Term, as it has helped me love others, checking my ingrown thought processes and filters. It's both humbling and empowering to see my prejudices flare up in my face years after the tour. In those precise moments, I become free to love people who are different from me. This is, after all, how I want to live in my pursuit of Jesus, but it took walkin' in Memphis to move in me to do it, even 20 years later."

Jodi Carlson, 1999

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"I learned so much about the world around me. I took three off-campus trips for Jan Term and each one taught me about a new culture. Studying volcanoes in Hawaii was the first time I ever had teriyaki food, and the Chinese celebrated their 200 years on the islands. Studying Paul's walks in Greece gave me a completely new view on a culture I would never have thought I wanted to know about. And, of course, Core 250 across Europe allowed me to dip my toe in so many different cultures. I never would have found my love for travel if it weren't for Jan Term at Whitworth."

Kathleen Cole, 1991

"I learned how to ice skate, had fun bowling and played in the snow. I never had the opportunity to travel during Jan Term, so Jan Term gave me the chance to take classes that I didn't have time for otherwise. Also, Jan Term gave me a chance to meet new people. With the on-campus population so much smaller, we were forced to make new friends and try new activities."

Katie (Vestal) Rodriguez, 1991

"I learned so much about the world around me. I took three off-campus trips for Jan Term and each one taught me about a new culture. Studying volcanoes in Hawaii was the first time I ever had teriyaki food, and the Chinese celebrated their 200 years on the islands. Studying Paul's walks in Greece gave me a completely new view on a culture I would never have thought I wanted to know about. And, of course, Core 250 across Europe allowed me to dip my toe in so many different cultures. I never would have found my love for travel if it weren't for Jan Term at Whitworth."

Lynn (Walker) Aley, 1991

"I took a Jan Term class my freshman year (1988-89) that changed the course of my life. I took a course from Dale Brunner on the Book of John. When I walked into class the first day, Dr. Hap Brahams, my pastor from home from La Jolla Presbyterian Church, was sitting in the same row and had come to Whitworth to audit the class! As a new Christian, I couldn't believe that Hap knew my name, greeted me with the warmest welcome and was here, in MY class and cared enough to celebrate that we were in a class together. This past year I had the chance to visit with Hap a few months before he died. His memory was failing and I could tell he was preparing to be with the Lord in heaven. But one of the few things he remembered during our last visit together was that more than 30 years ago we took that Jan Term class together, me as a freshman and he, the pastor with a flock of thousands. The memory of sitting with him in that class will forever be cherished and has become all the sweeter now that he has joined the Lord in heaven. He is living out for eternity the truths we learned together from Dr. Bruner in Jan Term 1989."

Paige (Baker) McIlraith, 1992




"Visiting Antigua, Guatemala, with classmates when I was a junior. Before visiting Guatemala, Spanish was just an easy 'A' in terms of the language requirement. After visiting Guatemala and experiencing the culture, Spanish became a living/breathing language for me, and I subsequently used the language in technical support and inside sales positions. This led to teaching myself Brazilian Portuguese and other languages."

Edward (E.J.) Sutherlin, 1993

1994, snow adventures at Mt. Spokane

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"'Intensive Care' was a quartet and music ensemble that traveled the West Coast. We gave testimonials and did PR for Whitworth College. In 1980 I was honored and privileged as a freshman to be the only female singer in this group."

Sue Speth, 1985

"For my junior year of Jan Term I wanted to do something stress-free, local and just plain fun. So I got cross country skis for a Christmas present and borrowed a backpack. Twelve of us left for the central Washington mountains and Tall Timber for a month of skiing, studying ecology, of course, and oh, yes, more skiing. We cooked, cleaned, baked cookies, skied some more, laughed and read together, both our textbook but more studying of the Bible. In 30 days we were all brothers in sisters in Christ who enjoyed each other and loved each other like family. Some 30 years later, most of us are still in contact, only because of Tall Timber with Stan and Becky Fishburn, also alums of the 70s. It was a perfect way for all of us to spend Jan Term and we became very good friends. I would repeat it in a heartbeat! "

Linda (Washburn) DeLong, 1987

"In 1986 I spent Jan Term teaching in a remote Indian village in Klukwan, Alaska. I remember sleeping outside on the deck of the ship that took us to Juneau and then riding in a Cessna to Klukwan. I stayed with Bob and Margaret Andrews, one of the only white families in the village, for the month. They were teachers (and Bob was the principal) of the only school in the village. I have maintained a relationship with them for over 30 years now through annual Christmas cards/letters. They helped me to understand the culture and solidified my desire to teach kids of all nationalities. I currently work with many international students from China and Korea, in addition to many local Hispanic students. God was preparing me for this mission even at the start of my career path."

Wendy (Simmons) Luttinen, 1987

"I actually LOVED taking the Gospel of Mark from Dale Bruner. I still talk about my experience taking that class. He was always on time (I never was, but learned to be). He was a dynamic professor who memorized everything and encouraged us to memorize the whole gospel (I really tried, too). He would draw stick figures to help us remember concepts, and he encouraged us to come up with a special project that reflected the gospel of Mark. I made a game board. I enjoyed it so much that I later encouraged my own students to be creative in their books of the Bible. Thank you, Dale!"

Lana (Howe) Aris, 1988

"Because of Jan Term, I feel like I witnessed a world that no longer exists. I was part of the inaugural Jan Term trip to West Berlin in January, 1988. I remember thinking at the time that if communist East and democratic West Germany reunited in my lifetime, it would be a miracle. Little did I know that the first step in that reunification, the crumbling of the Berlin Wall, would be less than three years later."

David Kennaly, 1988

East Berlin, 1988

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"Who can ever forget our capers during San Francisco Jan Term? A group of students studying a variety of subjects under the supervision of dear Ross Cutter. Mine was with the SF Federal Parole Office, and that was an eye-opening experience for sure. There were two of us assigned to update the information for halfway houses throughout the city, and we met many interesting characters and visited parts of the city that no tourist would ever see. One place that I wrote a paper on was Synanon, which at the time was billed as a halfway house, but as I observed, it was actually a cult that came under public scrutiny a few years later. We were also there at the height of the Moonies religious cult and not a day went by that we were not approached to come to one of their meetings."

Shannon Williams-Flora, 1980

"For Jan Term 1979, I took Pat Stien's Story Theatre class. That Pat is my mom was a huge bonus. Not because I had an advantage - I had to work extra hard - but because she was a master at giving us opportunities to connect with other students in class. Story theatre is a unique vehicle for bringing literature to life. As an English lit major, this class was a blast. But the meaningful connections I made were with fellow students in that class, lifelong friendships that started while practicing and performing Frog and Toad and The Brementown Musicians. Pat created a class culture of safety, which allowed us to be ourselves and encouraged us to expand our creative expression beyond our comfort zones. It was a magical space in which to play, create and make best friends. "

Beth (Stien) Davis, 1981

"I got the worst sunburn of my life at Hanama Bay during Jan Term in Hawaii, studying Christianity & the Asian Pacific Heritage. Not funny at the time, but memorable!"

Ruth Ann Heddendorf Leduc, 1982

"One Jan Term, I took a class about the perspective of family through the media - basically looking at how family is portrayed in movies, plays and TV shows. Not only did it challenge my own experiences and opinions of 'family,' it pushed me to formulate my goals for my 'family of the future.' Thirty-five years later, I am on the other side of raising a family, looking back to determine what it was that made our years together so successful and rewarding. I really believe this class helped me to realize I had an opportunity to create the family I'd always wanted, that I had the power and the control to set up family norms and traditions that would make things different for my children than they were for me. I was able to take the good things I already knew about families and intentionally add experiences and routines to them to make this one mine. I have helped to create an amazing family that surrounds me with support and love - nothing means more to me."

Glenna (Carlson) Ainley, 1984

"For my first Jan Term (1986) I stayed on campus, took a Dale Bruner course in the morning and learned to do some figure skating moves in the afternoon. After the ice skating class a few of us would stay late and try to play a little hockey. The time on campus that first January was a blast. There felt like more leisure time to hang out, explore Spokane, grow in friendships and play in the snow."

"It was also during that January that the space shuttle Challenger disaster happened. A large TV was in the dining hall for the Super Bowl a couple days earlier, and the TV was on during mealtime. I can't remember if we actually watched it happen live or just the news coverage afterward. But I remember the silence as we ate and watched. It was the quietest SAGA had ever been."

Steve Mercer, 1990

"I went out with a priest on a night walk ministry in San Francisco. I saw him work with people at low points in their lives, and it opened my eyes to a whole new world and a place in need of people to just listen to them."

Tammy Dee Jones, 1984

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Holy Land Tour, 1969

"Ron Short and Pat McDonald taught a group encounter class in the first Jan Term called Behavioral Dynamics. Our group of about 10 students met four days each week, from 9 a.m.-noon. Our prompt for interaction was provided by a set of audio tapes from the Western Behavioral Institute, and the emphasis was on speaking to 'here-and-now' experiences of our thoughts and feelings evoked by others in the group. Talking about 'there-and-then' experiences outside of the group was known as 'the snow in Denver' and was heavily discouraged. The group evoked a desire in me for more meaningful interactions."

"I am a relational psychoanalyst and am still practicing and teaching 50 years later. I run an existential process group for Seattle-area therapists, and we focus on here-and-now experiences. Thank you, Ron and Pat, and Whitworth, for igniting a lifelong passion."

Doug Hansen, 1971

"I am one of nine children, and Mom always taught us that travel is the best education. I used my inheritance from my grandmother and headed to Italy in January 1970 to study Renaissance art. Dr. Koehler and Russell Larson gave us so many lasting memories. Seeing Michaelangelo's 'David' outside of an art book brought me to tears. There's nothing like the real thing! January Term was new in 1970 and it was the best!"

Wendi Herd (Krieg), 1970

"I did two independent studies during the first two January Terms. The first (1969) was directed by Fenton Duvall. My parents were living in Philadelphia in a hotel on assignment for NASA. This gave me the opportunity to do basic "primary resources" research on mid-18th century Quaker education, a combination of my history major and my education minor. We attended a silent Quaker service and I scrounged records and museums for information about children in Philly. My 'aha!' moment was when a name that showed up on a school registry matched some books and church records in a particular Meeting House."

"My second January Term I interned in my congressman's field office. Pete McCloskey was a liberal Republican and co-chaired the first Earth Day that spring. Because of that connection, I returned to campus and was chair of Whitworth's first Earth Day celebration."

Cinda Warner Gorman, 1971

"I took a class that drama professor Al Gunderson taught. We practiced the play The Great Cross Country Race, where the animal characters spoke English and the humans spoke Pig Latin! What was so humorous was traveling by car to various locations in Spokane to perform, dressed head to toe in costumes and make-up, getting surprised looks from drivers and children beside us at traffic stops while waving to them."

Gary Heasell, 1971

"Under Al Gunderson's direction, a number of students participated in The Great Cross Country Race, a children's play. We pulled the whole show together in two weeks and performed that very first Jan Term. We also performed at a local school for children with disabilities. A number of lines in the play made fun of other characters, calling them idiots or stupid. We quickly realized in this setting that these words would be hurtful to the students.These words, and worse, had been said to these young people. So we all spontaneously began to make up new lines that were simply delightful to our audience, like 'You are such a silly turnip!'

"This packed audience, sitting in rapt attention on the floor of the school cafeteria, loved the play. By the end, we Whitworthians were teary, knowing we had adapted the show lovingly to our audience, who found the message of the tortoise beating the obnoxious hare to be entertaining and inspiring. For we had been blessed to perform before many 'tortoises' who had been made fun of. It has been a lovely memory I have carried for, now, 50 years."

Steve Gorman, 1971

"I have fond memories of the first Jan Term in 1969. It was very cold (minus 25 degrees recorded one day at the airport) and we had more than 4 feet of snow, which were both records. We just had to work our way across campus to the dining hall and our class one or two times a day and to our dorms. We were thankful for the people who worked the plows to open the paths and roads to all the buildings at least once a day. There were many students from California and Hawaii and other places who had never experience either the cold or the snow as we had that winter."

Nancy (Yeats) Boyles, 1971

"I went to Guatemala with Dr. Hicks' biology class in 1970. It was the first time I had gone out of the country. It was an incredible learning experience for me. I am not sure how much biology I learned, but I have never forgotten the experience. We stayed at a small seminary, with local people cooking for us. I even cut my foot on a Coke bottle at a pool and had to go to a local hospital for stitches. Even that visit is etched in my memory. The hospital was dark, very small and looked in need of fresh paint. I hopped around on one foot the rest of the trip. I became good friends with the Hicks family and they came to my wedding. My Jan Term experience in Guatemala forever changed my worldview and made me eager to go to more places and enjoy the experience of other cultures. Thank you, Whitworth!"

Faith (Cizik) Skater, 1972

"During Jan Term 1972, I was privileged to go on a tour of European pipe organs with Pacific Lutheran University. We saw and played pipe organs in England, France, Holland, Germany and Denmark. We were able to be in some of the old and beautiful cathedrals, playing some magnificent instruments. It is an experience I will never forget."

Jill (Parke Cook), 1972

"Jan Term gave me an opportunity to slow down and savor learning. As a senior, I designed my own class, reading 18th century women novelists. What a treat to meet with Leonard Oakland weekly to discuss my observations. I still love a good Jane Austen novel and have reread some many times. "

Marlee (Blick) Huber, 1972

"My sophomore year I was in a religious drama class taught by Al Gunderson. We put together the morality play Everyman and then took it on the road around Washington state. The night we performed in Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands we were in an old and very creaky wooden church. The wind was howling outside and around that old church, and as I gave the closing narrative of the play I was sure that the Second Coming was at hand. I gave an inspired performance!"

Doug Anderson, 1973

"I took an independent study class from David Dilworth. The purpose of the class was to self-evaluate my faith and create a spiritual autobiography of my faith journey. This was important because I was doubting what I had learned from my home church while growing up. As I worked through my autobiography, I realized the tremendous spiritual influence I had from my childhood church. Dr. Dilworth was so helpful in guiding me through this experience."

Marilyn (Moffitt) Mattie, 1973

"Dr. Krebbs very nearly became lost in the vast Arctic, but found his boundaries when thoughts of his wife's gooseberry pie (with cheddar cheese) brought him back to the group! He really 'smelled' home!"

Terra Hardin, 1973

San Francisco, 1974

Clipping from the Spokesman-Review, 1975, contributed by Alanna Borgen Crouch '75: France and England with Adele Gallaher, Isla Rhodes, and Leonard Martin

"In January 1973 I took the seminar class Theonetics - the Study of God in Change, taught by President Ed Lindaman. His wife, Geri, was also in the class. The bond we formed was strong enough that four years later, Ed and Geri came to my wedding in Ephrata, Wash."

Ken Onstot, 1976

"Great internship at First Pres San Mateo. Even though the Irish setter at my lovely host family's home ate my favorite sweater, and the sign I designed and helped paint on the side of the church had to be painted over that night, by the light of car headlights, because of immediate community complaints, I was included in an inner circle of pastors in a way that pushed me straight along the path of what has been a life of ministry."

Dan Sanford, Professor