Founded in 1890, as the Sumner Academy, Whitworth University is located on a 200 acre campus in Spokane, WA. Close to the Idaho border, the “Lilac City” is home to the Crimson and Black of the Whitworth Pirates. Spokane not only celebrates the purple shrub with a Lilac Festival each May, it is a sister city to Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan and celebrates ‘Japan Week’ annually. The region is tech-savvy and forward-thinking in its economic base (clean/green energy and technology) having transitioned from traditional manufacturing and trade. Whitworth has several notable alumni, including Mike Sando of ESPN and other athletes.
Academically, Whitworth University submits to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and offers over 50 degree programs including Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees and post-baccalaureate and post-masters certificates. Noted for Nursing, Education and Music, the university has received special accreditations from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, National Association of Schools of Music and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, respectively. These represent the largest of the programs offered.
Online or distance learning is available and the list of courses is growing both in undergraduate and graduate programs, but the vast majority of students attend classes on campus. Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, Whitworth’s motto “Education of Mind and Heart” is brought out in their mission statement: “The University’s mission is to provide its diverse student body an education of the mind and the heart, equipping its graduates to honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity.”
Student life for the over 2,500 member student body offers many activities beyond academics. Whitworth has 12 teams competing in NCAA Division III sports and several intramural teams for the casual athlete ranging from volleyball and soccer to ultimate Frisbee. Clubs on campus number over 30 and range from business to cooking to dance and fitness. There is also a chapter of the Army ROTC. The 10 on-campus residence halls offer self-government (where the local hall council sets policy and rules).
There are three notable traditions at Whitworth: a student much catch a ‘virgin’ pine cone (one that falls from a tree before it hits the ground) and accidently drop their food in the cafeteria before graduation. Also, there is the expectation of an engagement “ring by spring” of a co-ed’s senior year! Whitworth University’s stated core values of intellectual inquiry and integration of Christian faith and learning help to fulfill the school’s motto. There is a high regard for personal responsibility; the stated purpose of the school is to build “a community of Christian scholars characterized by shared commitments to Christ, academic excellence, freedom of inquiry, and respect for difference.”