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Whitworth Sustainability Challenge encourages individual awareness, commitment

October 30, 2009
Dinner with Bill Robinson, $1,000 donation to Second Harvest, pizza party
up for grabs in friendly competition among students, employees

Whitworth University’s Fall Sustainability Challenge, Nov. 8-14, will offer students, faculty and staff a fun way to learn how individual decisions they make about recycling, food, energy, transportation and water to meet their needs affect the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

"I hope more students become aware of the changes that need to be made on campus and in their own lives in order to be a more eco-friendly school," says Katie Staudinger, a junior peace studies major who is president of the student environmental club Good Deeds for Trees. "I want students to realize how easy it is to make small changes that have big impacts in saving the planet. Additionally, it's our calling as Christians to be stewards of the creation that God made for us."

The challenge pits each of Whitworth’s residence hall communities, off-campus students, and faculty/staff against one another to determine who can do the most to learn about and promote sustainability. Participants can learn how to live more sustainably and win prizes by:

  • Taking the Whitworth sustainability pledge

  • Completing an online quiz that details one’s ecological impact

  • Submitting entries in poster and YouTube video contests promoting activities that make Whitworth a more sustainable campus

  • Taking part in Prime Time sustainability activities in the residence halls each night of the challenge. Activities will include guest speakers, videos, games, discussions and opportunities to create and view entries in the poster and YouTube video contests.

Details of the sustainability challenge are available on Whitworth’s website at

The group with the highest point total by the end of the week will be able to choose from the following prizes: a formal dinner hosted by Bill Robinson, a pizza party during finals week or a $1,000 donation to Second Harvest food bank made in honor of the winners. The winner of the sustainability poster contest will receive an iPod and the winner of the YouTube video contest will receive a Flip video camera. All of the prizes are provided by Sodexo from savings created when Whitworth’s students voted to remove trays from the dining hall to reduce food waste.

The challenge is organized by the Presidential Planning Commission’s sustainability sub-committee, which was established to identify and prioritize activities that should be undertaken to make the campus more sustainable. The sub-committee has identified short- and long-term goals for education/curriculum, research operations, and external communications/outreach. These goals, as well as sustainability initiatives already undertaken by the university, are outlined on Whitworth’s website at: Recent sustainability initiatives include plans to construct a $31.7 million biology/chemistry building to meet LEED silver requirements for green building and operations, a board endowment committee decision to invest $2.5 million in clean technologies, completion of a comprehensive carbon audit of university operations and sustainability challenges to raise campus awareness.

"The point of the sustainability challenge is to help people see the little things that they can do to make a big difference toward sustainability," says Patrick Van Inwegen, associate professor of political science and co-chair of Whitworth’s sustainability sub-committee. "I hope that by participating in the challenge, people will be more conscious consumers and have a better sense of how their actions affect those around them. Our consumption of natural resources increasingly comes at the expense of the rest of the world. We have a mission of following Christ, whose life exemplified caring for the poor and marginalized in society."

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.


Patrick Van Inwegen, associate professor of political science, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4844 or

Greg Orwig, director of university communications, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4580 or

Whitworth senior wins prestigious award for scientific research

October 26, 2009
Danjuma Quarless presented research at University of Massachusetts, in Boston

Senior Danjuma Quarless received first place in the 2009 Scientific Poster Presentation this summer while participating in the University of Massachusetts Medical School Summer Research Fellowship Program. Recently, he also was accepted to present his research at the American Society of Cell Biology's annual conference, which will be held in San Diego this December.

Quarless received the award from the University of Massachusetts for his research in deflagellation-induced gene expression in Chlamydomonas. Chlamydomonas is a type of green alga and unicellular flagellates. Flagellate are cells with one or more whip-like organelles called flagella, found in some animals.

"My experience presenting in Boston paled in comparison to the experience of performing the research at UMass Med," says Quarless, who is a resident of Lakewood, Wash. "I was treated as a true grad school student and I carried a major portion of responsibility for the project, which forced me to step up to the plate and provided an opportunity for personal and professional growth."

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, Quarless’s study examined the genetic regulation of flagella growth in the microbe Chlamydomonas. These are similar in structure and function to human cilia, which are cells that create a lashing movement, especially found in free unicellular organisms. Defects in human cilia are linked to kidney disease, male sterility, retinal degeneration and obesity. With help from the Whitman lab’s Jason Brown, Quarless developed an analysis that can be used to measure the extent of flagella gene expression in Chlamydomonas.

All three judges gave Quarless perfect scores for the presentation of his poster in the categories of overall verbal skills, overall poster quality, effectiveness of the verbal presentation, effectiveness of the poster presentation, quality of work and organization. He took first place in the competition for the entire program as best overall poster, presentation, and experiment.

"He is always one of the first students to ask an insightful question, and he is always engaged in the material," says Frank Caccavo, Whitworth professor of biology and Quarless's advisor.

Caccavo adds that Quarless has been instrumental in the development of a new bioinformatics degree at Whitworth. The degree will combine the fields of biology and computer science. Quarless is majoring in mathematics with a concentration in bioinformatics. After graduating in May, Quarless plans to attend graduate school in the field of bioinformatics, mathematical biology or biomedical sciences.

During his sophomore year, Quarless completed a study, "Comparing Beta-globin Gene Clusters Using a Fractal Geometry Visualization Tool." He teamed with Finn Pond, professor of biology, and Kent Jones, professor of mathematics and computer science, to compare human and chimpanzee DNA through a computer program created at Whitworth. Their goal was to create a computer program that could analyze and determine information about genetic sequences acquired from online sources, such as the National Institute for Biotechnology Information, Quarless says.

Outside the lab, Quarless played football for two years and is in his third year as a member of Whitworth’s track and field team. He also is part of the fourth cadre of Act Six, a leadership and scholarship program that equips emerging urban leaders to engage in the college campus and their communities at home. Quarless served as a student representative for ASWU his junior year, and attended two of the national Act Six meetings.

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.


Frank Caccavo, professor of biology, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3454 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or

Whitworth named a top producer of Fulbright students for 2009-10

October 22, 2009
The Fulbright Program recently announced that Whitworth was a top producer of students who received Fulbright awards in 2009-10. Whitworth was the only private institution in Washington state to be recognized. The success of the top-producing institutions was highlighted in the Oct. 19 print edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education and in its online edition. Whitworth, which submitted seven applications and had two Fulbright scholars selected, is listed in the master's institutions category, along with 28 other institutions including University of Redlands, Drake University, and Ithaca College. Visit to view the top-producers list (the list appears below the article).

Whitworth alumnae Kendra Hamilton and Amy Whisenand, both '09, were selected last April to receive Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grants to teach English as a foreign language in Malaysia and Germany, respectively. This was the second time two Whitworth students had received Fulbright awards in the same year. Since 2000, 10 Whitworth students and four faculty members have been selected as Fulbright scholars, according to John Yoder, Whitworth professor of political science and the university's Fulbright advisor.

"The fact that Whitworth students are consistently winning Fulbrights, among the most prestigious academic awards in the U.S., is evidence of the high caliber of our undergraduate programs," Yoder says. "More important, winning a Fulbright opens doors to great academic and professional opportunities for students in the future."

The achievement of having two students receive Fulbright awards in 2009-10 is notable in light of the fact that of the 29 schools in Whitworth's category, only three are smaller than Whitworth, while others, such as Villanova, City College of New York, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Hunter College, have between 10,000 and 20,000 students. Another category of schools receiving multiple Fulbright grants includes top-name research institutions that submitted applications at every level, including numerous proposals for master's or Ph.D. research. For example, the University of Chicago had 128 applications at all levels while Whitworth submitted seven at the bachelor's level. Many of the schools that won more than one award are Ivy League schools and prestigious institutions such as Bryn Mawr and Macalester, according to Yoder.

In October, Whitworth submitted six undergraduate applications for the 2010-11 Fulbright awards: three for English teaching awards in Argentina, Belgium and Malaysia, and three for research awards in Bahrain, El Salvador and Ethiopia. Applicants who make the first cut will be announced in early February; Fulbright recipients will be named in late spring.

Under the Fulbright Program, more than 1,500 American students in more than 100 different fields of study were offered 2009-10 grants to study, teach English, and conduct research in more than 125 countries throughout the world beginning this fall.

Of the roughly 1,500 Fulbrighters, 65 percent are at bachelor’s-degree level, 17 percent are at master's-degree level, and 19 percent are at Ph.D. level. Students receiving awards for this academic year applied through 570 colleges or universities. Lists of Fulbright recipients are available at

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program equips future American leaders with the skills they need to thrive in an increasingly global environment by providing funding for one academic year of study, research or assistant teaching abroad. Fellows undertake self-designed programs in disciplines ranging from the social sciences, business, communication and performing arts to physical sciences, engineering and education.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 290,000 participants worldwide with the opportunity to observe each others’ political, economic and cultural institutions, exchange ideas and embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world’s inhabitants. In the past 61 years, almost 42,000 students from the United States have benefited from the Fulbright experience.

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.


John Yoder, professor of political science and Fulbright advisor, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4432 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or

Poet Bruce Guernsey to present Endowed English Reading Nov. 6 at Whitworth

October 21, 2009

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Award-winning poet Bruce Guernsey is Whitworth's Endowed English Reader for 2009. Guernsey will read from his works on Friday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth University. A book sale and reception will follow the reading. Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-3253.

Guernsey is a distinguished professor emeritus at Eastern Illinois University, where he taught creative writing and American literature for 25 years. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Atlantic, American Scholar, and more diverse publications such as The Journal of Medical Opinion, Cat Fancy, and Yankee. His prose has been published in War, Literature and the Arts, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and Fly Rod & Reel. His essay "The Raven's Gift" won the creative nonfiction award from the journal, Flyway. He also was a featured poet in Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry.

Guernsey has published three of his own poetry collections, including New England Primer (Cherry Grove Editions, 2008), The Lost Brigade (Water Press and Media, 2005), and January Thaw (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1982). In 2007, he took over as editor of Spoon River Poetry Review.

Guernsey has received fellowships in writing from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. He was awarded seven faculty excellence awards while at Eastern Illinois University, and in 1992 he received the State of Illinois Board of Governors' Distinguished Professor Award, the highest honored offered by that state. He also was nominated twice for the Carnegie Institute's United States Professor of the Year. He received Fulbright Lectureships to Portugal and Greece, and he has sailed around the world twice with Semester at Sea.

Guernsey taught previously at the College of William and Mary, Johns Hopkins University, the University of New Hampshire, and Virginia Wesleyan College, where he was the poet in residence for four years. He graduated with honors from Colgate University, holds M.A. degrees from the University of Virginia and Johns Hopkins University, and holds a Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire.

The English Readings Endowment was established to bring nationally recognized writers to the Whitworth campus and the greater Spokane area. During their time on campus and in the community, visiting writers offer classroom visits, workshops, meetings with students and faculty, and literary readings.

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.


Doug Sugano, professor of English, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4212 or

Annie Stillar, program assistant, English department, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3253 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or

Whitworth chemistry major awarded full-tuition scholarship from Woodrow Foundation

October 16, 2009
Rebecca Johnson, a junior at Whitworth University, has been awarded the prestigious Woodrow Foundation Scholarship. The $29,280 scholarship covers Johnson's tuition and books for the 2009-10 academic year.

"Winning this scholarship is very significant to continuing my education as a pre-med student," says Johnson, a chemistry major on the biochemistry track with a minor in music. "I have many more years of education ahead of me in medical school, and this scholarship has given me confidence to keep going when the classes become even more difficult."

Originally from West Linn, Ore., and now a resident of San Diego, Johnson plans to study osteopathic medicine. She's considering pursuing the field of infectious disease, both in her research and her work with patients, which led her to work at an AIDS camp last summer. Johnson says she's not sure whether she will pursue her dream locally or internationally, and says that her main goal is to help those who are forgotten or overlooked by their societies.

During her years at Whitworth, Johnson has been active in Good Deeds for Trees, Cup of Cool Water, the Bonner Leadership Program, and the Whitworth Wind Symphony, and she has served in a leadership position at En Christo. She credits the organizations, specifically those that aim to help the homeless, with providing a large part of her off-campus education. In Oregon, she worked at an assisted-living facility and volunteered at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, in Portland.

"Volunteering with the poor and homeless has changed my worldview," Johnson says. "It's not about giving people a lunch as much as it is about loving people for who they are, having conversations with them, and letting them know that they are important and have a purpose."

Kerry Breno, assistant professor of chemistry at Whitworth, says Johnson's diverse interests and demonstration of campus leadership make her highly qualified for the scholarship. As Johnson's professor and adviser, Breno describes her as a well-rounded student who is organized, efficient and dynamic.

"Rebecca is highly qualified for the scholarship," Breno says. "She has tremendous potential for success in all her endeavors. I am very pleased that she is the winner of this year's Woodrow Foundation Scholarship."

The Woodrow Foundation Scholarship is awarded each academic year to one student at Whitworth University. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must have a 3.75 or higher GPA, demonstrated leadership skills, and high financial need. Students are nominated by an academic department; the nominations are reviewed by a university committee that selects five finalists. The final selection is made by US Bank, which serves as the trustee for the Leon Woodrow estate.

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.


Nancy Morlock, assistant director/scholarship coordinator of financial aid, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4378 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or

Jazz legend Lee Konitz to perform Nov. 7 with Whitworth Jazz Ensemble at the Fox Theater

October 14, 2009
Concert part of 20th anniversary celebration of Whitworth's thriving jazz program

Alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, winner of the 2009 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Award—our nation's highest award in jazz, will perform in concert with the award-winning Whitworth Jazz Ensemble on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m. at the Fox Theater, in downtown Spokane. Admission is $17. For tickets, call TicketsWest at (509) 325-7328 or purchase online at Tickets also can be purchased at the Fox Theater's box office.

Konitz will conduct a free jazz clinic for Whitworth students, Spokane-area students, and the general public on Friday, Nov. 6, at 5:15 p.m. in the Music Building's Recital Hall. For more information about the concert or clinic, please call (509) 777-3280.

"This fall, Spokane will have hosted two of the most important living jazz musicians—Dave Brubeck, who performed at the Fox in September, and now Lee Konitz," says Dan Keberle, professor of music and director of jazz studies and the jazz ensemble at Whitworth. "Not only will the Whitworth jazz students learn from hearing Konitz perform, but they also will have the rare opportunity to spend time with a jazz musician who has been playing with all of the jazz greats since 1945. Konitz is a walking jazz history book, as well as a supreme musician."

The concert will be part of a weekend of events, including a reunion for alumni of the jazz program, celebrating the 20th anniversary of jazz studies at Whitworth. To register and find a complete listing of jazz reunion events taking place Nov. 6-8, please visit For more information, please call (509) 777-4250.

During the concert at the Fox, Konitz, who helped launch the "Cool Jazz" movement, will play expanded jazz band arrangements of tunes from the landmark jazz album, Birth of the Cool, which he recorded with Miles Davis and Gerry Mulligan, et al., in 1949 and 1950. The album represented a major development in post-bebop jazz and was significant to the history of cool jazz, which is a style of jazz music that rose to prominence after World War II, when predominantly white musicians from California mixed with mostly black bebop musicians from New York to form a smooth, composed sound that include improvisation.

Konitz has been playing jazz music for more than 60 years, during which he has produced more than 50 albums. A few contemporary artists in whom his influence can be seen include West Coast alto saxophonists Art Pepper, Bud Shank and Paul Desmond

In his youth, Konitz studied alto saxophone with several teachers in Chicago. As a teen in the early 1940s, his jazz style began to mature as he studied under noted pianist Lennie Tristano. Their recordings together include the 1949 releases Intuition and Digression, which represented the first free improvised recorded music.

After working with Miles Davis on Birth of the Cool, Konitz went on to play with Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker's prominent band and then in Stan Kenton's big band. Since then, he has mainly led his own small groups and toured abroad. In the 1960s, he took a break from the music business but continued to cultivate his unique sound; during that time he worked with musicians including Paul Bley, Martial Solal, Charlie Haden and Brad Mehldau. He also worked as a private teacher, conducting lessons by tape with students worldwide. In the mid-1970s, he toured Europe with Warne Marsh, and in the 1980s he formed his own nine-man group and performed regularly.

In 1992, Konitz won the prestigious Danish JAZZPAR Prize. Over the past decade, his recordings have included Lee Konitz & The Axis String Quartet: Plays French Impressionist Music of the 21st Century (Palmetto, 2000) and One Day with Lee (2004), for which he joined with the Mark Masters Ensemble. Other releases include Inventions, featuring the Spring String Quartet (Omnitone, 2006); New Nonet (Omnitone, 2006); and Portology, featuring Orquestra Jass de Matosinhos (Omnitone, 2007). His newest CD, released earlier this year, is Parallels (Chesky Records).

Konitz represents the most prominent guest artist in a long list of internationally-renowned jazz musicians who have performed with the Whitworth Jazz Ensemble over the years. These artists have included Terence Blanchard, Bob Mintzer, Joe Lovano, Slide Hampton, Nicholas Payton, Kenny Garrett, Phil Woods and Gene Harris.

The Whitworth Jazz Ensemble performed at the 2008 Washington Music Educators All State Conference and won first place at the 2008 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival; the ensemble has won first place seven times since 1994. The 18-piece ensemble performs several concerts each year on campus, as well as at jazz festivals, in public schools, at civic events, and on annual tours throughout the United States. In January 2008 the ensemble traveled for the seventh time to Rome, Italy, for several performances with leading Italian jazz artists. In January 2006 the ensemble traveled to Sao Paolo and Salvador, Brazil, for concerts at two music festivals. In 2004 they traveled to Rome, followed by a performance trip to Hawaii. Other performance residencies in previous years have included trips to Havana, Cuba, two trips to Munich, five others to Rome, and nine performances in Australia, at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival and in the surrounding area. This January, they will embark on a tour of New York City and New Orleans.

The ensemble has produced eight CDs; the most recent is Travelin' Light, released in 2008. For more information on the Whitworth Jazz Ensemble, please visit

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.


Joan Lack or Loree Swegle, program assistants, music department, Whitworth University (509) 777-3280, or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or

Whitworth professor elected a vice president of the American Journalism Historians Association

October 13, 2009
Jim McPherson is best known on the Whitworth campus as a professor of communication studies and advisor of the student newspaper, The Whitworthian. Some also know him as an author and lecturer, as well as a former newspaper reporter, editor and public relations professional. This week, McPherson assumed a new role when he became first vice president of the American Journalism Historians Association.

McPherson was elected second vice president at the 2008 AJHA national convention, in Seattle, and became the first vice president at the 2009 convention in Birmingham, Ala., held Oct. 7-10. His primary duty is to oversee the program for next year's convention in Tucson, Ariz., where he will assume the position of president.

"I'm happy to be able to serve an organization that has done so much for me," McPherson says. "My two books, my four book chapters, and various other projects have come as a direct result of contacts I made in AJHA."

David Sloan, professor of journalism at the University of Alabama, founded the AJHA and has served as the organization's president. Sloan nominated McPherson for the position of vice president, which he says he would not have done if McPherson weren't exceptionally qualified.

"Like most of the other people who have served as AJHA president/vice president, Jim has the interest of the organization and of history at heart, rather than his own personal benefit," Sloan says. "People throughout the organization appreciate him for those qualities and think very highly of him."

Sloan says McPherson is an excellent and creative historian who is dependable, personable, hard-working and committed to the AJHA.

McPherson joined the AJHA in 1994 and has served on the board of directors, as co-chair of the history in curriculum task force, and as a member of both the publications committee and the oral history committee. He organized and hosted the 2008 AJHA national convention and also was the editor of the association's newsletter, The Intelligencer, for six years.

A member of the Whitworth faculty since 2000, McPherson received the university's 2007 Academic Challenge Award. He also is the author of several media-related articles and book chapters. His two books, published in 2008 and 2006, respectively, are The Conservatism Resurgence and the Press: The Media's Role in the Rise of the Right and Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. He also has experience in various newspaper positions, has been a freelance writer, editor and photographer, and once hosted a news-talk radio program on Whitworth's KWRS station.

Founded in 1981, the American Journalism Historians Association seeks to advance education and research in mass communication history. Through its annual convention, regional conferences, committees, awards, speakers and publications, members work to raise historical standards and ensure that all scholars and students recognize the vast importance of media history and apply this knowledge to the advancement of society.

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.


Jim McPherson, associate professor of communication studies, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4429 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or

Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq to discuss foreign policy lessons during Oct. 21 lecture at Whitworth

October 8, 2009
Whitworth faculty also to conduct panel discussion about U.S. involvement in the Middle East

As the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq rage on and tensions boil over in the rest of the Middle East, Ryan Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to that region, will present a lecture, "A New Foreign Policy? Lessons from Iraq," on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth University.

On Thursday, Oct. 22, Whitworth Academic Dean Michael Le Roy will lead Whitworth faculty members in a panel discussion about U.S. foreign policy opportunities and challenges in the Middle East. The panel will include Professor of Sociology Raja Tanas, Associate Professor of Sociology Jennifer Holsinger, Professor of Political Science John Yoder, and Professor of History Dale Soden. The discussion will take place at 7 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall. Admission to both events is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-4263.

Crocker, a Spokane Valley native, recently retired from a 30-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service that included appointments as the U.S. ambassador to Iraq (2007-09), Pakistan (2004-07) and Afghanistan (2002-04). His accomplishments earned him the Medal of Freedom, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award and the State Department Award for Valor. When President George W. Bush awarded Crocker the Medal of Freedom, he called him America's Lawrence of Arabia for his deft handling of U.S. diplomatic relations in that tumultuous part of the world. Prior to that, Bush also conferred on him the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest position in the Foreign Service.

"Ryan Crocker combines a profound commitment to the best of American values with a broad knowledge of history, strong language and cultural skills, and a sophisticated understanding of non-Western political systems," Professor Yoder says. "He will draw on his experiences in the Middle East to help the audience understand the guiding principles of a sound foreign policy."

Crocker grew up in an Air Force family, attending schools in the U.S., Morocco, Canada and Turkey. He holds a B.A. in English and an honorary doctor of laws degree from Whitman College, in Walla Walla, Wash. Since joining the Foreign Service, in 1971, he has had assignments in countries such as Iran, Qatar and Egypt. He was assigned to the American embassy in Beirut during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the bombings of the U.S. embassy and military barracks in 1983. He served as deputy assistant secretary of state for near Eastern affairs from 2001-03. In 2003, he joined the faculty of the National War College, where he was the international affairs advisor.

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.


Julie Shanholtzer, program assistant, Speakers & Artists Series and psychology department, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4263 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or

Whitworth to confer honorary doctorate on president of Oklahoma City health foundation

October 7, 2009
Whitworth University will confer upon Michael Anderson, Ph.D., president of the Presbyterian Health Foundation, in Oklahoma City, an honorary doctor of divinity in recognition of his long and distinguished service to the Presbyterian Church and his commitment to living out Whitworth's mission to honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity. The ceremony will take place as part of chapel services, in which Anderson will also present the message, on Thursday, Oct. 8, at 11 a.m. in the Seeley Mudd Chapel at Whitworth.

Since 2000, Anderson has headed up the Presbyterian Health Foundation (PHF), which he helped found and had previously served as a board member for 18 years. PHF seeks to support medical research and commercialization of new therapeutics and innovative diagnostics that save and enhance human life. Since its inception in 1985, it has given nearly $110 million in grants to Oklahoma science institutions, and the PHF research park in which Anderson works is home to more than 35 biotech companies.

As president, Anderson has helped grant more than $65 million toward medical research at the Oklahoma Health Center, an extensive campus in Oklahoma City that houses the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, OU Medical Center and Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. He says he hopes to expand several areas of excellence at the OU Health Center, including ophthalmology, microbiology, cancer research and immunobiology.

Anderson, a Spokane native, graduated from Whitworth in 1956 with bachelor's degrees in psychology and philosophy. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh and an advanced degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. After receiving his doctorate, he was appointed to the Commission of Public Representation for the National Institutes of Health, which funds $30 billion in bioscience research annually.

A former longtime Presbyterian minister, Anderson demonstrates how one can be both a preacher and a promoter of scientific research.

"The goal of our foundation is to advance the health of human life," he says. "And that's also an aspect of a theological perspective on life."

His experience as a clergyman has helped Anderson stress to health professionals the importance of ethics in modern scientific research, and he has built his life and work around the belief that theology and science complement rather than contradict each other. Among his favorite sayings is a quote from Albert Einstein, who said, "Religion without science is blind; science without religion is lame."

The Rev. Dr. Jim Singleton, vice chair of Whitworth’s board of trustees, wrote in his nomination of Anderson, "In his current role with the Presbyterian Health Foundation, Mike is instilling ethical norms into scientific research in ways that build up and bless the culture. Mike is precisely the kind of graduate Whitworth hopes to inject into the world."

Before joining the PHF, Anderson was senior minister at the 2,600-member Westminster Presbyterian Church, in Oklahoma City, for nearly 25 years. During his years there, he worked with a small group to help launch PHF. Before he moved to Oklahoma, he was managing director of interpretation and stewardship for the worldwide mission of the New York City-based United Presbyterian Church. In this position, he helped raise more than $50 million for the denomination. He also served for five years as pastor of University Place Presbyterian Church, in Tacoma.

Despite his lifelong commitment to the church, Anderson has said he never expected to become a minister before arriving at Whitworth. He came to the school because of its successful basketball program, but while taking several religion courses, he became inspired to preach.

"God works in strange and mysterious ways," he says. "It was at (Whitworth) where I began to encounter all the forces that led me to this ministry."

Michael Le Roy, Whitworth's vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, says, "The way Michael Anderson has pursued his vocation and life work is deeply connected to the Whitworth ideals of commitment to Christ and the integration of that commitment with intellectual inquiry. On the Presbyterian Health Foundation’s website, Anderson references Michelangelo’s quote 'Ancora Impario' (I am still learning.) This devotion to the advancement of knowledge makes him an alum we are proud to hold high and to encourage our students to emulate."

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.


Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or

Children's author Candace Fleming to lead 26th annual Whitworth Writing Rally Nov. 7

October 6, 2009
As many as 600 students from the Inland Northwest are expected to participate

WHAT: The 26th annual Whitworth Writing Rally is a family literacy initiative for students in pre-school through 6th grade. The event features presentations by a well-known children's author followed by opportunities for participants to work with area teachers or Whitworth education students to create their own original illustrated book.

WHO: The 2009 rally will feature Candace Fleming, author of critically-acclaimed, bestselling books for children, including the picture books Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! and Boxes for Katje. She also has written nonfiction books for young adults, including The Lincolns, Our Eleanor, and Ben Franklin's Almanac. Two new books, Imogene's Last Stand, and The Great and Only Barnum: the Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P.T. Barnum, are due out later this month.

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 7. The first session is 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. (with check-in at 8:15 a.m.) The second session is 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (with check-in at 10:30 a.m.) A parent or guardian must accompany each child participating in the rally. A number of Whitworth students have volunteered to accompany children whose parents/guardians cannot attend. (Parents/guardians who can't accompany their children should call Lisa Laurier at the contact number below.)

WHERE: Cowles Memorial Auditorium at Whitworth University, 300 W. Hawthorne Road.

HOW TO REGISTER: Details are available by calling the Whitworth School of Education at (509) 777-3263; leave your name, phone number, and mailing address. A registration packet will be mailed to you.

The Whitworth Writing Rally is an opportunity for children to develop their reading and writing skills with assistance from a professional author and trained educators. As many as 600 students from the Inland Northwest are expected to participate in the 2009 rally. Fleming will talk about where she gets her ideas and will show examples from her many books. A Whitworth improvisational theatre troupe also will perform.

After each session, children are invited to attend a punch-and-cookies reception in the Multipurpose Room of the Hixson Union Building, where they will have the opportunity to share the books they have created. They can also meet Fleming during the reception and get her autograph.


Lisa Laurier, Whitworth Writing Rally director and associate professor of education, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3263 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or

Renowned jazz drummer Ali Jackson provides clinic for Whitworth, Spokane-area students

October 1, 2009
This fall, Ali Jackson, best known in the jazz world as a drummer for Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, conducted a jazz music workshop for Whitworth and other Spokane-area college and high school students.

Students from Whitworth, Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University and several local high schools attended the free clinic, which was held Sept. 16 in the music building at Whitworth.

Dan Keberle, professor of music and director of the award-winning Whitworth Jazz Ensemble, described the clinic as educational, inspiring, motivating and entertaining.

“It's often very inspiring for students when they learn first-hand about the educational and musical background of a world-class jazz musician," Keberle says. "They find parallels between the musician's life and their own, and they're motivated to work hard to achieve their goals."

One of Whitworth’s student jazz combos performed a song for Jackson, who gave them suggestions for making the piece more exciting and interesting, Keberle says. He says the students had to be courageous to perform in front of such a jazz great and to be critiqued in front of their peers, and he says that they both played and presented Whitworth’s music program very well.

Other prominent jazz musicians who have come to Whitworth in recent years include Kenny Garret, Eric Reed, Nicholas Payton, Steve Turre, Byron Stripling and Bob Mintzer. In November, legendary jazz master Lee Konitz will perform with the Jazz Ensemble at the Fox Theatre, in downtown Spokane. The concert will be part of a weekend of events celebrating the 20th anniversary of Whitworth's highly-acclaimed jazz program.

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.


Dan Keberle, director of the Whitworth Jazz Ensemble and professor of music, (509) 777- 4582

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or

Whitworth Theatre to stage Pierre Corneille's "The Illusion"

Professor of English Leonard Oakland to make special guest appearance

The Whitworth Theatre Department will present its fall production, "The Illusion," Oct. 16, 17, 23, and 24 at 8 p.m., and Oct. 18 at 2 p.m., in Cowles Memorial Auditorium on the Whitworth campus. General admission is $7; students and seniors pay $5. Tickets may be purchased online at For more information, please call (509) 777-3707.

Adapted by Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner, "The Illusion" is a 17th-century tale of loss and redemption that explores the most real illusion of all – love. Nothing is as it seems in the play. An old man comes to a magician's cave desperate for news of his estranged son. The magician conjures scenes from the boy's life, but what begins as a swashbuckling romantic adventure turns to heartbreak…or does it? The play is filled with rich poetic language, ironic humor, and profound insight into the nature of love. Special guest performer Leonard Oakland, longtime professor of English at Whitworth, joins the cast as Pridamant, the bitter old man searching for his son.

"Kushner's adaptation takes a traditional tale of adventure and romance from the 17th century and explores the situations from a modern point of view, stripping away the illusion of ‘happily ever after’ while affirming the power of love and forgiveness to change our hearts and our world," says Diana Trotter, the play's director and a professor of theatre at Whitworth. "What really appeals to me about this play is that at its core, it's about the painful cost of love, and a redemption that isn’t easy or cheap."

Trotter says she has wanted to direct this play for years, but that it's very challenging because the roles are incredibly complex for young actors, the technical needs are substantial, and the role of Pridamant, the Father, needs to be played by an older adult. Trotter says she has always wanted Oakland in the role, and she was delighted he agreed to take it on.

A veteran of film and radio, Oakland is well known to Spokane audiences for his cameo appearances in such films as White Men Can’t Jump, his 20 years as producer and host of a classical music program for KPBX radio, and his frequent appearances on NPR’s popular Movies 101.

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.


Jennifer Toulouse-Lee, theatre department program assistant, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3707 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703, or