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Bill Robinson to lead his final Founder's Day Convocation as part of Whitworth's Heritage Month 2010

January 13, 2010
Other events during Heritage Month to include film festival in honor of longtime English professor, lecture by noted Abraham Lincoln historian

Every February, Whitworth holds a Heritage Month celebration to commemorate its founding, on Feb. 20, 1890. Heritage Month 2010 will kick off with the university's annual Founder's Day Convocation, when students, faculty and staff gather to remember the university's past and dedicate themselves to building upon that legacy in the coming months. On Feb. 4, after 17 years of presiding over the ceremony, Bill Robinson will give his final convocation address as Whitworth's president. In September, he announced that the 2009-10 academic year would be his last at Whitworth, making him the second longest-serving and one of the most influential presidents in the school's history.

In addition to Robinson's convocation address, another focal point of the university's 120th anniversary celebration will be the second annual Leonard A. Oakland Film Festival, Feb. 18-20, which pays tribute to long-serving Professor of English Leonard Oakland. Oakland, who has taught at Whitworth for 44 years, recently moved into a half-time faculty position. He identified film studies as the area in which he wants to establish long-term funding; the university is collaborating with his friends and family to create an endowment in his name that will fund the festival.

The festival will feature showings of three major motion pictures and the showing of an Emmy award-winning documentary produced by a Whitworth alumnus and his wife. A documentary about Oakland produced by a Whitworth alumna will also be shown.

Other Heritage Month events include a lecture by Ron White, a former Whitworth staff member who has written three bestselling books on Abraham Lincoln, including his latest, A. Lincoln: A Biography. White has lectured on Lincoln at the White House, the Library of Congress and the Gettysburg battlefield. He also has been interviewed on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

Members of the Spokane community are invited to join Whitworth students, faculty, staff and alumni for all Heritage Month events. Admission is free unless otherwise noted. Following is more information (for complete details, visit

  • Thursday, Feb. 4

    Founder's Day Convocation
    11 a.m., Cowles Auditorium
    Each semester begins with Founder's Day Convocation, which features music and worship, faculty in academic regalia, and the honoring of top students. Whitworth President Bill Robinson and campus historian and history professor Dale Soden will speak.

  • Friday, Feb. 5

    Thirteenth annual Gospel Explosion
    7 p.m., Cowles Auditorium
    Join Whitworth students and choirs from throughout Spokane for this annual campus celebration of Black History Month.

  • Friday, Feb. 12

    o Annual Soul Food Dinner sponsored by the Black Student Union
    5 p.m., Multipurpose Room in the Hixson Union Building
    Admission: $9

    o Simpson Duvall Endowed Reading with Linda Hogan
    7:30 p.m., Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall
    Hogan, a full-time author, served previously as professor of American Indian
    studies at the University of Minnesota and professor of English at the University
    of Colorado. She has published six poetry collections, seven books of prose, and
    countless anthologies.

  • Monday, Feb. 15

    The 2010 Hans Moldenhauer Memorial Lecture, "Performance of Sounding Silence: John Cage"
    7:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room in the Hixson Union Building
    Composer and music instructor Donivan Johnson will explore the life and music of maverick American composer and writer John Cage (1912-1992). The annual lecture focuses on contemporary music and its place in society and music education.

  • Feb. 18-20: Second Annual Leonard Oakland Film Festival

    o Thursday, Feb. 18
    Movie No. 1: Waltz with Bashir
    7 p.m., Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall
    The event will open with a short film, Saving Lives in World War II,
    produced by Whitworth alumnus Doug Bocaz-Larson, '93, and his wife, Kim, who
    received a recent Emmy Award in the Southwest /Rocky Mountain region for their
    work on this historical documentary.

    o Friday, Feb. 19
    Movie No. 2: Sita Sings the Blues
    7 p.m., Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall
    The event will open with the documentary, A Portrait of Leonard Oakland, produced
    by Whitworth alumna Andrea Palpant Dilley, '00.

    o Saturday, Feb. 20
    Movie No. 3: The Visitor
    3 p.m., Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall
    The event will open with the announcement of winners of a student-made short-film
    contest and a showing of their films.

  • Monday, Feb. 22

    "Art + Text" CIVA Traveling Exhibit
    This exhibition, from the international organization Christians in the Visual Arts, features works in a variety of media created by artists as a way to express their personal attitudes, opinions and faith.
    Reception: 5-7 p.m.; lecture by artist Daniel Sidell: 7 p.m.
    Bryan Oliver Gallery, Ernst F. Lied Center for the Visual Arts
    The exhibit runs through April 1. The gallery will be closed March 22-26.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 24

    A lecture, "Abraham Lincoln 2010: Wisdom for Today," by Ronald C. White, Jr.
    7 p.m., Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall
    White, a former Whitworth staff member, is author of the book, A. Lincoln: A Biography, a New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times bestseller.

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 Rau, associate director, donor relations and special events, (509) 777-4250 or

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