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Three new members elected to Whitworth University’s board of trustees

October 30, 2014

L. Denice Randle, '07
L. Denice Randle, ’07, the Rev. Mark Toone, and the Rev. Eric Peterson, ’85, were elected to the Whitworth University Board of Trustees during the board’s recent October meeting and will participate in the board’s next meeting, in January 2015.
Randle is the director of education and employment with the Metropolitan Development Council, in Tacoma, Wash. Previously, she was a TRIO Upward Bound teacher and program coordinator through Making a Difference in Community, a nonprofit in Tacoma. She taught and wrote college-level curricula and counseled students on how to navigate college institutions, managing an annual caseload of 40 first-generation, high-need high-school students at Henry Foss High School.

At Whitworth, Randle, who majored in English, was a resident assistant; an ASWU senior class coordinator; a member of the Black Student Union; and she participated in the Exceptional Praise gospel choir. She entered Whitworth as a member of the second Act Six cohort, but graduated with the first cohort. Randle received a master's degree in education from Pacific Lutheran University in 2008. She is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Pierce College and the Jane Russell Leadership Fellowship Award for her leadership in education and service to underrepresented youths and adults.

“I am thrilled to welcome Denice to Whitworth’s board of trustees,” President Beck A. Taylor says. “As an alumna and graduate with the first Act Six cohort, she has advanced quickly in her professional circles, and this is evidence of how highly she is regarded in the education field. Her insights, intellect and leadership will be invaluable as the demand for a Whitworth education continues to grow.”

Rev. Mark Toone
Toone, pastor of Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church, in Gig Harbor, Wash., is returning to the board after a brief sabbatical, having served from 1992-2011. He became Chapel Hill’s fifth pastor in 1987 and has seen the congregation grow to about 1,600 members.

“We are so grateful for Mark’s return to the board of trustees,” Taylor says. “His leadership experience as a previous trustee and as Chapel Hill’s longtime pastor will be deeply beneficial to the university, and his tireless devotion to the church will no doubt play a great role in deepening Whitworth’s commitment to faith and learning in the coming years.”

Toone earned his B.A. from California State University (Bakersfield), and his master’s in divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1982. He earned his Ph.D. from St. Andrews University, in Scotland, in 1988. Prior to his arrival at Chapel Hill, Toone served as the associate pastor for youth and Christian education at First Presbyterian Church, in Bakersfield, Calif. In 2013, he was appointed to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church Interim Committee to examine the preparation and requirements for those seeking ordination as teaching elders in the EPC.

Toone and his wife, Cyndi, have two children. Their daughter, Rachel, is a 2014 Whitworth alumna, and their son, Cooper, is a current student at Whitworth.
Rev. Eric Peterson, ’85

Peterson, who has served as the pastor of Colbert Presbyterian Church since it was first chartered in 1998, helped organize the congregation in 1997. Prior to joining Colbert Presbyterian, Peterson was the associate for pastoral care, healing and spirituality at Marine View Presbyterian Church, in Tacoma, from 1990-97. He earned his B.A. in religion from Whitworth in 1985, and a master’s in divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1990.

“Eric’s commitment to his church, to Whitworth, and to the local community is inspiring,” Taylor says. “As Whitworth seeks to strengthen its commitment to the Presbyterian church, Eric’s leadership, informed by his experiences as an alumnus, a parent of Whitworth students, and a pastor, will play a major role in steering the university on a path that will build upon its mission to integrate faith and learning.”

Peterson also serves as a board member for Camp Spalding. Two of Peterson’s children are Whitworth graduates: Drew, ’10, and Sadie, ’13. His daughter Lindsay is currently attending Portland State University. His wife, Elizabeth, is a 2002 Whitworth alumna.

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


Scott McQuilkin, vice president for institutional advancement, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4386 or

Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or