Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bill Robinson to present keynote speech at Governor's Prayer Breakfast Feb. 26

Whitworth University president to address "Leadership that Unites" during 69th annual gathering for Washington State political representatives, business leaders, students

Calling on 17 years of leadership experience as president of Whitworth University, Bill Robinson will be the keynote speaker for the 2010 Governor's Prayer Breakfast, to be held Friday, Feb. 26, at 7 a.m. at the Red Lion Hotel, in Olympia. Robinson will discuss "Leadership that Unites," based in part on themes from his most recent book, Incarnate Leadership: 5 Leadership Lessons from the Life of Jesus. He also will speak to college students participating in the Washington Student Leadership Forum on Friday and Saturday in Olympia.

Robinson was invited to be the breakfast's keynote speaker by event co-chairs Governor Christine Gregoire, State Rep. Al O'Brien and State Sen. Janéa Holmquist. State Rep. Kevin Parker, a Whitworth alum who also teaches in the university's MBA program, will introduce Robinson.

"It's an honor for me to be asked to speak to the governor and elected officials in our state," Robinson says. "I'd love to be able to bring a message that encourages unity. It's a very partisan political climate. Now is a good time for us to be thinking about ways we can work together. That requires civility and respect."

Robinson has announced that this academic year will be his last as president of Whitworth University, making him the second-longest-serving and one of the most influential presidents in the school's 120-year history.

More than $83 million in campus improvements have been made during his tenure, including a new center for the visual arts, a landmark general academic building, three new residence halls and several outdoor athletics facilities. Financial support from alumni and friends has increased steadily, contributing to an increase of nearly $75 million to the university's endowment before the recent market downturn.

Known for his relational and approachable style, Robinson has devoted much of his energy to connecting in person and in writing with students, employees and friends of the university. His award-winning monthly newsletter, Of Mind & Heart, is read by more than 20,000 people inside and outside the Whitworth community and is one of Robinson's favorite vehicles for promoting Whitworth's distinctive mission.

Robinson is lauded by alumni, donors and friends for understanding and articulating Whitworth's unique educational mission to uphold Christian conviction and intellectual curiosity as complementary rather than competing values. His unwavering focus on Whitworth's mission to its students has contributed to record levels of student applications, enrollment, retention and post-graduate success.

A communications scholar who has distinguished himself as a teacher, speaker and community leader, Robinson received his bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Iowa, his master's degree from Wheaton College, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He also studied at Princeton Theological Seminary and the Moody Bible Institute. Most of his scholarly work has focused on organizational, cross-cultural and interpersonal communication. He also has done informal research in undergraduate majors of religion and philosophy. In 2002, Robinson published Leading People from the Middle: The Universal Mission of Mind and Heart (Executive Excellence Publishing); a second edition will be released this spring. Incarnate Leadership was released by Zondervan in February 2009.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Greg Orwig, director of university communications, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu.