Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Whitworth chief of staff appointed acting VP for admissions and financial aid

Greg Orwig brings success as communications director, strategic planner to new role

Whitworth Chief of Staff in the Office of the President Greg Orwig, '91, has been asked to put his extensive experience promoting Whitworth to internal and external audiences, as well overseeing strategic planning for the university, to work in a new role as the school's acting vice president for admissions and financial aid.

President Beck A. Taylor says Orwig has long served as a champion for the university's mission, and his team-building, analytical and communication skills will serve him and the university well in this new role.

"Greg Orwig is as perfectly suited as any in our community to provide very capable and effective interim leadership in this area," Taylor says. "In many ways, the chief admissions officer is the top salesperson for the institution, and I can think of no one better at representing Whitworth to prospective students and their parents."

Orwig succeeds Fred Pfursich, who has accepted a position as vice president for enrollment at Whittier College, located in Southern California. During Pfursich's 20-year tenure at Whitworth, the university's enrollment nearly doubled, its applicant pool increased seven-fold, and a substantially enhanced academic profile of entering students led to increased retention and graduation rates, and a significantly higher proportion of students majoring in the sciences.

"There's no doubt in my mind that Whitworth would not be in the strong position it's in currently without Fred's solid leadership in enrollment management, and his commitment to Whitworth's mission to educate the mind and heart," Taylor says. "Whitworth's freshman applications topped 7,000 this year, and this fall's entering class promises to be one of Whitworth's highest achieving freshman cohorts. We celebrate Fred’s great work and dedication to Whitworth for the past 20 years; we are better because he was here."

Orwig, who will assume his new role on July 20, will oversee admissions and financial aid, working with the university's communications office on marketing to prospective students and their parents, creating strategies for recruiting travel, overseeing the campus visit program, and guiding financial aid policy. The process for recruiting and identifying Pfursich's successor will be developed in the coming weeks and led by President Taylor. "It's too soon to nail down specifics on how long that search process will take, as we want to be sure to be very thoughtful about the university's long-term needs in this crucial area," Taylor says.

"I am excited about the opportunity to provide interim leadership for enrollment services, and I look forward to working with the great team of people in admissions and financial aid to build on Whitworth's strong record of success in these areas," Orwig says. "As a proud alum and longtime employee of Whitworth, I count it an honor to be able to work with prospective students and their families as they experience the university's distinctive mission and community."

Orwig, who graduated from Whitworth in 1991, worked in Texas for several years, first as a newspaper reporter and then as public information officer for Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He moved back to the Northwest in 1996 to serve as media relations manager for the University of Washington, where he earned a master's degree in public administration in 1999.

Orwig returned to his alma mater in 1999 to serve as Whitworth's director of communications. During his 11 years in that role, Orwig helped establish new visual brands for the university and athletics program, led Whitworth's integrated marketing initiatives, and expanded media relations and public relations efforts. In Sept. 2010, President Taylor tabbed Orwig for the newly-created chief of staff in the president's office position. In that role, Orwig has advised Taylor and the University Council in shaping Whitworth's strategic plan, has helped set and manage priorities in the president's office, and has handled all formal communications from the president's office.

Orwig will continue to serve as chair of the University Council and to provide oversight for the Whitworth 2021: Courage at the Crossroads vision and strategic plan.

"The Whitworth 2021 vision and strategic plan outlines some ambitious and exciting enrollment objectives," Orwig says. "While Whitworth moves forward to identify long-term leadership in enrollment services, we can't afford to lose a single day in planning and executing strategies to achieve our goals. I am confident that we can make important progress in this interim period."

In the Spokane community, Orwig has served as president and board member of the Spokane Regional MarCom Association; communications committee member of the One Spokane anti-poverty initiative; communications recognition coordinator for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education District VIII; and elder at Whitworth Community Presbyterian Church.

His wife, Kristin, also graduated from Whitworth in 1991, and they have two children, Lauren, 14, and Luke, 11.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contact:

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.