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Whitworth University launches presidential search committee

April 16, 2021

Whitworth University Board of Trustees Chair Brian Kirkpatrick announced today the launch of a 17-member presidential search committee to select President Beck A. Taylor’s successor. The committee hopes the 19th president will be in office by early to mid-2022. 

Taylor has accepted the presidency of Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., and will resign from Whitworth on May 31 after leading the institution since 2010. 

The search committee represents trustees, faculty, students, staff and alumni of the university. The members of the committee are: 

  • Co-chair: Travis Downs ’85, Whitworth trustee, Partner, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, LLP
  • Co-chair: Barbara Richter ’77, Whitworth trustee, Retired Procter & Gamble Executive
  • James Bennett ’89, Whitworth trustee, President/CEO, Luvo Wealth Advisors
  • Rev. Scott Dudley, Whitworth trustee, Senior Pastor, Bellevue Presbyterian Church
  • Nancy Hines, Associate Vice President, University Marketing & Communications
  • Rev. Robyn Hogue ’77, Whitworth trustee, Senior Pastor, Skyline Presbyterian Church
  • Taudd Hume ’94, Alumni Representative, Attorney
  • Dawn Keig, Faculty President, Associate Professor, Business & Economics
  • Brian Kirkpatrick, Whitworth Board of Trustees Chair, Retired CFO, T-Mobile USA
  • Andrea Lairson ’81, Whitworth trustee, Attorney and Board Chair, Bear Creek School
  • Kathy Lee, Professor, Political Science
  • Walter Oliver ’67, Whitworth trustee and former board of trustees chair, Committee Advisor, Retired Senior VP-HR/Administration, General Dynamics Corp.
  • Rhosetta Rhodes '99, '12, Vice President of Student Life & Dean of Students
  • Kamesh Sankaran, Professor, Engineering & Physics
  • Jason Thackston ’92, Whitworth trustee and former board of trustees chair, Senior Vice President for Energy Resources, Avista Corp.
  • Gregor Thuswaldner, Provost & Executive Vice President
  • Rachel Ayres '22, Student Representative

The full board also ratified the selection of Scott McQuilkin as Whitworth’s interim president. McQuilkin has served as the university’s vice president for institutional advancement since 2009.

“This search committee will perform the critical work of finding the next president of the university,” Kirkpatrick says. “Whitworth is a special place and seeks to find a president that reflects its mission and high academic standards while advancing the goals of the university into the future.” Kirkpatrick thanked President Taylor and indicated his leadership has set the stage for the next president to continue to advance the university. He concluded by saying, “I thank the members of the search committee for serving the university through this critical work.”

Along with the announcement, the university also launched a webpage that will provide a search timeline, feedback from search committee members and updates in the search process. It can be accessed here:

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