Close Menu

Scott McQuilkin Named 19th President of Whitworth University

January 28, 2022

The Whitworth University Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of Scott McQuilkin, Ph.D., as the university’s 19th president. 

McQuilkin has served as Whitworth’s interim president since June 1, 2021, following President Beck A. Taylor’s departure for Samford University. 

Whitworth Board of Trustees Chair Brian Kirkpatrick says McQuilkin has dedicated his entire career to Whitworth University and its mission and has been an exceptional and visionary leader in every capacity. 

“It is with delight and respect that I announce that Scott McQuilkin will be the next president of Whitworth University,” Kirkpatrick says. “When Scott was named interim president, both he and the board officers agreed that he should not be an applicant for the permanent position. Scott stated that his candidacy would very likely deter some high-quality candidates from applying. Therefore, desiring for the candidate pool to be as robust as possible and the best outcome for the university, Scott was never a candidate, and he remained outside the process throughout the duration of the search. Although this was disappointing for many in the community, the process was undertaken with consideration of over 60 applicants. When our exhaustive search concluded without a presidential appointment, the board then approached Scott, asking him to consider a permanent appointment. After many in-depth and thoughtful discussions, he enthusiastically agreed to be considered by the board for the presidency.”

Whitworth trustee Barbara Richter ’77, co-chair of the Presidential Search Committee, is confident McQuilkin will lead Whitworth through the many challenges that higher education institutions are facing.

“Scott understands what makes Whitworth unique and has an outstanding ability to lead our diverse student body, families, staff and faculty to not only preserve, but promote our culture and values,” she says. “His personal commitment to Christ is evident in all that he does in his life. Scott will use his gifts of excellence, commitment, work ethic, intelligence, calm and humility as he forges his strategic vision and plan for Whitworth’s present and future.”

An alumnus and longtime employee of the university, McQuilkin previously served for 12 years as vice president for institutional advancement. In that critical role, McQuilkin was a member of the president’s cabinet and oversaw a staff of 40 people in fundraising, donor relations, marketing & communications, and alumni & parent relations. Under McQuilkin’s leadership, institutional advancement carried out its most successful fundraising campaign in the university’s history. The 11-year Campaign for Whitworth raised more than $156 million in gifts and future commitments, supporting more than 600 projects and programs.

In addition to earning his undergraduate degree from Whitworth, McQuilkin earned his master’s degree in education from Whitworth and then went on to earn his Ph.D. in exercise and sport science from The Pennsylvania State University. He has served the university in various faculty, coaching and administrative roles, including as a tenured professor and chair of the kinesiology department; as head baseball coach; and as athletic director for 14 years. During his tenure as director, Whitworth Athletics won numerous conference championships as well as the coveted McIlroy-Lewis All-Sports Trophy – which recognizes the Northwest Conference’s best overall intercollegiate athletics program – three times. McQuilkin has also taught in Whitworth’s acclaimed Core/worldview studies program.

“In Whitworth’s history, no new president has known Whitworth better or loved Whitworth more than Scott McQuilkin,” Whitworth President Emeritus Bill Robinson says. “I have watched him lead with confidence, humility and strength for almost 29 years. In 1995, when I asked (begged) Scott to reduce his time as a faculty member and become Whitworth’s director of athletics, he asked me what I expected of him. I answered by saying I wanted our athletic programs to be a reflection of him. I couldn’t think of a loftier goal. Soon we were hanging conference all-sports championship banners in the fieldhouse. Some 14 years later, I asked Dr. McQuilkin to head up institutional advancement. He and his team kept the banners coming, but ones in the form of friends and funds supporting Whitworth at unprecedented levels. Scott is one of the most talented people I have ever met. He’s good at everything, except maybe oboe. But if there is one quality that exceeds his estimable abilities, it is his honor. In the 17 years we worked together and the 12 years since, never have I seen a hint of Scott putting himself in front of the mission or the institution. His high integrity and low self-importance will inspire the trust from the entire university community. Scott McQuilkin, along with his strong, smart and gracious partner, Janice, will safeguard Whitworth’s mission and fill its future with bright hope.”

Beck A. Taylor, Whitworth’s 18th president, agrees the right person has been chosen for the job.

“I am thrilled about Dr. McQuilkin’s appointment as Whitworth’s next leader,” says Taylor, now president of Samford University. “Scott has been a part of the Whitworth family since he was 18 years old. It’s no exaggeration to say that he may have unmatched experience with and knowledge of Whitworth’s unique educational mission and culture. Scott will successfully champion Whitworth’s Christ-centered approach to higher education, and Whitworth, empowered by Scott’s leadership, will continue to stand among the country’s finest faith-based universities.”

Dawn Keig, faculty president and associate professor of business & economics, says between his background in academia and the relationships he has formed over his many years on campus, McQuilkin has a unique understanding of the university’s mission and the bonds shared among the Whitworth community.

“We have been working closely with Scott in his interim capacity since last May and deeply appreciate his collaborative leadership style as he thoughtfully and proactively seeks faculty, staff and student voices on important issues that impact how we live out our mind-and-heart mission,” Keig says. “Faculty have a true and authentic partner in Scott. We are looking forward to continuing our close relationship with him and supporting him as our 19th president as we step up together to new and exciting possibilities.”

McQuilkin has also made a tremendous impact by serving organizations like Northwest Harvest, the leading hunger relief agency in the state. He is in the third year of a four-year term as board of directors chair. From 2005-08, he was the corporate board chair of YMCA of the Inland Northwest; he also held the organization’s title of mission emphasis committee chair. 

His commitment to God is evident in positions he has held within the Whitworth Community Presbyterian Church. From Sunday school teacher to personnel commission elder, McQuilkin not only practices what he preaches, but he graciously and eloquently spreads the word of the gospel through the halls of Whitworth. 

McQuilkin shares his love for Whitworth along with his wife, Janice ’85, and their three children, all Whitworth graduates: Morgan ’12, Kelsey ’14 and Tyler ’16. 

McQuilkin will become Whitworth’s 19th president on Feb. 1, 2022. For more information about President-Elect McQuilkin and to read comments from his colleagues, click 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