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Writing class to host “This Whitworth Life,” a public storytelling event, Dec. 6

December 3, 2013

Nine people from various areas of the Whitworth community, including Professor of English Leonard Oakland, Custodian Casey Armstrong, and Trustee Ken Roberts, will read five-to-eight-minute stories about a defining moment in their lives during “This Whitworth Life,” a storytelling event hosted by the EL 347 Creative Nonfiction Writing class. Following each reading, a panel of faculty members will provide commentary.

“This Whitworth Life” will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, in the Hixson Union Building Multipurpose Room. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

“This Whitworth Life” provides an opportunity to hear the “untold” stories of Whitworth staff, faculty and students, and also allows the members of Assistant Professor of English Nicole Sheets’ creative nonfiction class to gain workshop experience through meeting and working with the readers prior to the event.

“My hope is that this storytelling event will add to Whitworth’s already robust sense of community,” Sheets says. “All of the storytellers have some connection to Whitworth; our cast represents students, faculty, facilities services, campus security, program assistants, administrators, coaches and trustees.”
Story readers are:
  • Casey Armstrong, Whitworth custodian
  • Joel Diaz, senior sociology major and Whitworth security officer
  • Austin Foglesong, freshman English major 
  • Mackenna Kuehl, senior English major 
  • Leonard Oakland, Whitworth professor of English 
  • Ken Roberts, member of the Whitworth Board of Trustees
  • Toby Schwarz, Whitworth professor of kinesiology and athletic coach
  • Annie Stillar, program assistant for the Whitworth English department
  • Kathy Storm, associate provost for Whitworth faculty development
“Stories remind us that everyone’s a complex person, that we’re all storehouses of experience,” Sheets says. “Plus, stories are fun.”

“The idea came, in part, from a Storytelling and Authenticity Roundtable event that I attended at Gonzaga in 2010,” Sheets says. “That event brought people together from different parts of Gonzaga’s campus who shared stories about something that had been important to them in terms of identity, career choice, or a personal passion.”

The faculty panel will comprise Charles “Casey” Andrews, Whitworth associate professor of English; Suzette McGonigal, Whitworth counselor; and Raja S. Tanas, Whitworth professor of sociology.

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