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Construction Begins on Whitworth’s Beeksma Family Theology Center

March 22, 2018
Construction is underway on the Beeksma Family Theology Center at Whitworth University. A project blessing ceremony will be held April 12 at 3:15 p.m. The $2.8 million addition to the Seeley G. Mudd Chapel will allow the theology department, the Office of Church Engagement and campus ministry to be housed in one building, which will lead to greater synergy among the three programs.

The expansion will provide offices for more than 20 faculty, staff and student employees and new gathering spaces for students. The chapel will also be renovated to offer additional seating and improved audiovisual systems, as well as a remodeled conference room.

“This new addition, as well as renovation, has long been a point of discussion. Finally the time has arrived,” says Jerry Sittser, Whitworth professor of theology and senior fellow in the Office of Church Engagement. “We think the space is just right. It’s full of light, places to gather and wide hallways for conversation. Collaboration is a key principle at Whitworth.  The Beeksma Family Theology Center will encourage just that. We are both grateful to the Beeksmas, and other donors, as well as to the administration for facilitating this expansion, and we are eager to move in.”

The center is named in honor of Barney and Joyce Beeksma, who provided a $1.5 million gift toward the project. Barney and Joyce Beeksma are Whitworth alumni, Class of 1954. Barney graduated with a B.A. degree in business management and Joyce with a B.A. in education. The Beeksmas also contributed a sizeable gift to the tennis bubble project. A number of their grandchildren have recently graduated from Whitworth or are currently attending. Several other donors contributed significant gifts to make this project possible, including the M.J. Murdock Trust and local philanthropist Jim Cowles.

Bouten Construction Co., in Spokane, is the contractor on the project and expects to complete it by fall 2018.

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 more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Tad Wisenor, assistant vice president of Institutional Advancement, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4401 or

Trisha Coder, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or