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Whitworth president announces Rhosetta Rhodes as new chief of staff

August 4, 2011
Rhodes currently serves as university's director of service-learning and community engagement

Whitworth University President Beck A. Taylor announced today the appointment of Whitworth Director of Service-Learning and Community Engagement Rhosetta Rhodes, '99, to the position of chief of staff in the Office of the President. The appointment is effective Sept. 1.

"I chose Rhosetta for this important role because of her broad experiences, her keen sense of Whitworth's mission and vision, and her passion for progress and excellence," says Whitworth President Beck A. Taylor. "Rhosetta has been successful at every point in her career, as the Whitworth community has experienced first-hand. I'm excited about what Rhosetta brings to the work in the president's office and in the cabinet."

In her new role, Rhodes will prioritize tasks and external events and handle all formal communications from the president's office. She also will serve on the president's cabinet and as chair of the University Council, which oversees strategic planning at Whitworth and is composed of senior administrators, faculty, staff and student leaders. Rhodes succeeds in the role Greg Orwig, former chief of staff, who recently was appointed acting vice president for admissions and financial aid.

"I am extremely honored and excited to serve Whitworth in this new capacity, where I can be involved more directly in advancing our strategic direction," Rhodes says. "For the past four years, I have had the opportunity to expand our connections to the external community and to champion the great work of our faculty, staff and students. Moving into this role will provide a broader platform from which I can continue to be a conduit of support as we equip our students to honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity."

Since 2007, Rhodes has served as Whitworth's director of service-learning and community engagement, a program that involves thousands of students, staff and faculty each year and provides opportunities for the campus to demonstrate its commitments to Christian service and community involvement. Rhodes has also served as director of Whitworth's Center for Conflict Transformation, and she is a certified mediator in a number of different settings and jurisdictions.

During her time in those positions, Rhodes has expanded the university's traditional service-learning initiatives to include education in philanthropy, training in mediation skills, and important community development opportunities for students. She also has enriched the Bonner Leader programming and community-based research options. Her efforts have helped raise the local and national visibility and reputation of Whitworth's service-learning program, as evidenced by the university's recognition as a President's Higher Education Community Service Award recipient for 2010, 2008, and 2006.

"Rhosetta has directed a highly effective, productive and creative effort to serve valued community partners while engaging students in life-changing educational experiences,” says Kathy Storm, Whitworth's vice president for student life, which oversees the service-learning and community engagement program. "Under Rhosetta’s leadership, our service program has become far richer and more effective than we could have envisioned."

Rhodes also is actively involved in the Spokane community. She currently serves on the boards of the Center for Justice, the City of Spokane Community Development Board, the Washington Commission on National and Community Service, and the YWCA. Her past service includes membership on the City of Spokane's Task Force on Race Relations and the City of Spokane's Human Services Advisory Board, and terms as president of the City of Spokane's Chase Youth Foundation, director of the East Central Neighborhood Revitalization Partnership, co-founder of the Inland Northwest Service-Learning Partnership, and board member for Leadership Spokane.

Before coming to Whitworth, Rhodes held appointments in a variety of higher education and public service organizations including Spokane Falls Community College, the U.S. Postal Service, and Fairchild Air Force Base.

The search for Rhodes’ successor in the Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement will begin immediately. Storm is leading the search and says the university is committed to continuing its excellence in this area.

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.


Beck A. Taylor, President, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3200 or

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