Close Menu

Whitworth University Announces New Program to Equip, Support Washington Students to Become Multicultural Leaders

June 8, 2023

Whitworth University is pleased to announce a new program designed to equip and support community-minded students from three Washington cities to become effective multicultural leaders on campus and in their communities.

Starting in the 2024-25 academic year, the Multicultural Leadership Program will enroll 20 incoming Whitworth students per year to receive pre-college training, financial aid covering 100 percent of direct college costs, leadership training and mentoring, coursework in U.S. cultural studies, and focused preparation for post-college plans. 

The new program replaces and expands on the Act Six Leadership & Scholarship Initiative for which Whitworth was the founding college partner in 2002 and through which the university has enrolled 20 cadres of extraordinary student leaders. Degrees of Change, the Tacoma-based parent organization for Act Six, and Whitworth will continue to fully support Act Six scholars enrolled at Whitworth through the final cadre’s graduation in 2027.

“We have been incredibly blessed by our partnership with Act Six over the past two decades and celebrate the tremendous impact of Act Six scholars on our campus and in their communities,” says Greg Orwig, vice president for research & innovation. “As the percentage of our students who are from Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities and/or are first-generation students has grown to nearly 50 percent, the university has been exploring options to support more student leaders from underrepresented backgrounds in a way that is financially sustainable and that addresses significant changes in the higher education and cultural landscape. The Multicultural Leadership Program positions us to achieve those goals.”

Through Act Six, Whitworth enrolled eight students per year – four from Spokane and four from the Tacoma-Seattle area. The Multicultural Leadership Program (MLP) will enroll 20 students per year – 10 from Spokane, five from Tacoma and five from Tri-Cities. Whitworth seeks to retain its historic connection with the Tacoma community while expanding in Spokane and Eastern Washington, regions from which a growing share of the university’s applicants and enrolling students are coming.

Students from Spokane, Tacoma and Tri-Cities who are admitted to Whitworth for fall 2024 and who qualify for the state’s College Bound Scholarship will automatically be invited to apply for the Multicultural Leadership Program. Semifinalists will be invited to a two-day campus event in late February, after which the 20 finalists will be selected. MLP Scholars will receive financial aid – from Whitworth, state and federal sources – that is guaranteed to cover full tuition, mandatory fees, housing and meal plans for four years of attendance at Whitworth.

MLP scholars also will receive training about college readiness and transition through the summer before enrolling and will participate in Whitworth’s BUCS Bridge pre-orientation program focused on college navigation, community building and identity development.

Throughout their four years at Whitworth, MLP scholars will participate in a living-learning community, meet regularly one-on-one and as cohorts with advisors from the university’s Office of Student Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, take part in annual leadership seminars, conduct a research project, participate in an off-campus study program, serve in student leadership roles, and complete a minor in U.S. cultural studies.

“Our students and the communities where they will live, work and serve when they graduate increasingly reflect the beautiful diversity of God’s creation. These communities require leaders equipped to pursue justice, equity and inclusion for all people,” says Rhosetta Rhodes, vice president for student life and dean of students. “Our goal is to equip MLP scholars to be visionary, inclusive, transformational leaders.”

To learn more about this program and its requirements over a student’s four years at Whitworth, go to  

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 about 2,500 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Greg Orwig, assistant vice president for research & innovation, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4580 or

Rhosetta Rhodes, vice president for student life, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4536 or

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