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Whitworth University President Beck A. Taylor Leaving for Alabama Post

March 10, 2021

Whitworth University President Beck A. Taylor has accepted a university presidency in Birmingham, Ala., and will resign from Whitworth May 31 after leading the institution since 2010, Brian Kirkpatrick, chair of Whitworth’s board of trustees, announced today. On July 1, Taylor, 51, will become president of Samford University, a 6,000-student Christian institution and the 87th oldest university in the U.S. Taylor served Samford as dean of its Brock School of Business from 2005-10 prior to serving as Whitworth’s 18th president.

“President Taylor has led Whitworth during a dynamic period of growth and challenge,” Kirkpatrick says. “Not only has he advocated for Whitworth’s distinctive mission to provide a Christ-centered education of mind and heart, but he has personified those distinctives in his example to others. The university has seen impressive growth in academic areas, including new graduate and doctoral programs, as well as expansions of campus capital projects. We are grateful for Beck and Julie’s service over the past 11 years. Their student-centered approach has resulted in new programs such as a student ambassador program and expanded co-curricular opportunities. The university has seen enormous success in providing a challenging academic environment for students while also preparing them for vocations of service in the world.” Kirkpatrick reflected on the past year, saying, “Beck has faithfully and diligently navigated the disruptions caused by the worldwide pandemic. His stewardship and forward-focused leadership during these times is a testimony to his deep, abiding faith in Christ and his gifts as a thoughtful and vibrant leader.”

Taylor spearheaded Whitworth’s ambitious 10-year vision and strategic plan, Whitworth 2021: Courage at the Crossroads, which detailed plans to continue to elevate Whitworth among the leading Christian universities in the country. Under Taylor’s leadership, Whitworth renewed its emphasis on community involvement and heightened its efforts to enhance academic programs and quality, including the creation of the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Continuing Studies, an honors program and enhanced graduate programs, including Whitworth’s first professional doctoral programs. More than $110 million in campus infrastructure improvements have been made in support of the university’s academic, athletic and student life programs. Taylor led the university’s largest comprehensive fundraising campaign, which has resulted in the creation of eight newly endowed faculty positions and centers and recently garnered a $10 million commitment from philanthropists Dana and David Dornsife. The university’s endowment has increased from $80 million to $185 million. During Taylor’s tenure, Whitworth more than doubled the number of its international students and students from underrepresented racial and ethnic populations.

“The honor of being considered for the Samford presidency can only compare with the honor and privilege Julie and I share of being members of the Whitworth family,” Taylor says. He added, “We love Whitworth and its mission. We love all of you. This place has shaped us profoundly, and Julie and I are better people because of the spiritual and professional growth we’ve experienced here. It has been the joy of a lifetime to serve you. I hope that in some small measure, I’ve been able to sustain and strengthen Whitworth’s Christ-centered, mind-and-heart mission. If so, it has been a grace of God.”

Whitworth has an enrollment of over 3,000 students in its undergraduate, continuing studies and graduate programs. Under Taylor’s leadership, enrollment reached record levels the past three years. Taylor is the third-longest serving president in the university’s 131-year history, eclipsed only by William Robinson (1993-2010) and Frank Warren (1940-63). 

Kirkpatrick has indicated the board of trustees will name an interim president soon, as well as take up all aspects of the presidential search and transition during its April board meeting. Kirkpatrick expressed this sentiment: “We wish Beck, Julie and their family the very best as they leave Spokane, and we extend them our deepest gratitude for their service to Whitworth University.”

About Whitworth University:

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of more than 3,000 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


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