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Whitworth celebrates $1.5-million gift from Dana and David Dornsife on Whitworth Serves Day

March 30, 2015

On Saturday Whitworth University will celebrate a gift of $1.5 million from Dana and David Dornsife, given in support of Whitworth’s Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement, which will be renamed the Dana and David Dornsife Center for Community Engagement. The gift is being celebrated on the same day that hundreds of Whitworth alumni, students, faculty and staff are serving their communities across the country during Whitworth Serves Day, a celebration of Whitworth’s 125th anniversary and a major component of The Campaign for Whitworth.

The Dornsifes’ gift will greatly bolster Whitworth’s commitment to service-learning and supporting the university’s mission in equipping its students to honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity.

“Whitworth is truly humbled and honored by the Dornsife’s incredible gift,” Whitworth President Beck A. Taylor says. “I know that the entire Whitworth community will join me in thanking Dana and Dave for empowering the university to deepen its commitments to serving the Spokane community, and to providing our students with tremendous new opportunities to strengthen their moral and civic development through experiential education.”

An open-house event will be held in Whitworth’s Dana and David Dornsife Center for Community Engagement on March 30 at 2 p.m. in honor of their gift. All are welcome to visit the center during this event in Whitworth’s Weyerhaeuser Hall.

In honor of Whitworth Serves Day, members of the Whitworth community are volunteering their time, talent and passions at more than 16 locations in eight states across the U.S.

People may also choose to volunteer throughout the year as part of Whitworth Serves, a component of the campaign that invites all members of the Whitworth family to serve in their own communities in Whitworth’s name. Service may be fulfilled in a variety of ways, such as alumni serving on Whitworth Regional Chapter leadership teams or reunion committees; acknowledging work participants are already doing in their home communities, such as providing meals to the underprivileged, assisting in a child’s classroom, or serving on the board of a local church or non-profit organization; or undertaking a new volunteer endeavor.

At the conclusion of The Campaign for Whitworth (June 30, 2017), the university will celebrate the collective volunteer hours served, the total monetary value of that time, and the global impact of participants’ service.

Serving humanity is central to Whitworth’s mission. In 2014, 98.2 percent of Whitworth’s student body engaged in service-learning activities, as service learning is incorporated into every academic department. During the 2013-14 academic year, Whitworth students contributed a total of 19,744 volunteer service hours at an estimated value of nearly half a million dollars to the Spokane community.

Additionally, the center for community engagement has developed an intercollegiate conference in partnership with area colleges and universities. The conference enhances faculty scholarship and partnership with community leaders addressing health, education, social justice and economic development. And in a 2013 Higher Education Research Institute Faculty Survey, 73.4% of Whitworth’s faculty reported volunteering one or more hours weekly in the community.

The Dornsifes’ gift will deepen Whitworth’s existing community partnerships in four important ways: sustain service levels; create a staff position in K-12 schools to support Whitworth volunteers; establish a second position to measure the university’s impact in Spokane; and strengthen partnerships in the Spokane area.

David Dornsife is the chairman of the Herrick Corporation, the largest steel fabricator on the West Coast. Dana is the co-founder of Axiom Design, Inc., an architectural electronic and lighting design firm, and founder of Adorn, a lighting and interior design company geared toward the custom-home market.

David graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and Dana holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Drexel University.

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.


Nancy Hines, director of university communications, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4638 or