Whitworth University

Whitworth University is a private Christian liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and located in Spokane, Washington. Founded in 1890, the Christian university enrolls more than three thousand students and offers over one hundred graduate and undergraduate programs in a variety of academic disciplines.[5]

Whitworth University
Former names
Whitworth College
MottoEducation of Mind and Heart
Established1890, 129 years ago
AffiliationPresbyterian Church (USA)
Endowment$151.17 million[1]
PresidentBeck A. Taylor
Academic staff
156 Full-time
Location, ,
47.754°N 117.418°W / 47.754; -117.418
200 acres (0.81 km2)
ColorsCrimson, Black          
AthleticsDivision III (NCAA)
NicknamePirates, Bucs

Whitworth competes athletically at the NCAA Division III level in the Northwest Conference as the Pirates. The school's colors are black and crimson.[6]

Whitworth's founding mission is to prepare graduates to "honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity."[7]


In 1883, George F. Whitworth established the Sumner Academy in Sumner, a small town in Washington Territory, east of Tacoma. Incorporated as Whitworth College in 1890, it relocated to Tacoma in 1899. When a Spokane developer offered land just before World War I, the college moved once more, and classes were held for the first time in Spokane in September 1914. Whitworth merged with Spokane Junior College in 1942, when the latter shut down due to financial difficulties during World War II.[8]

The board of trustees voted to change the institution's name to Whitworth University in 2006, which became effective July 1, 2007.[9]


Whitworth's campus in northern Spokane has 200 acres (0.81 km2) of stately pines, wide-open green spaces and first-rate facilities. In 2009, Whitworth opened a University District (U-District) location near downtown Spokane, expanding program offerings for nontraditional evening students and providing an ideal location with shorter commutes for working professionals.

Due to an expanding student body, the university has invested more than $140 million in campus improvements in recent years. In 2019, Whitworth began construction on a $13 million Athletics Leadership Center.[10] The university also finished renovation in 2019 on the newly titled Megan E. Thompson Aquatic Center.[11] In 2018, the university completed a renovation of the Beeksma Family Theology Center. This renovation expanded the Seely G. Mudd Chapel and provided offices for more than 20 faculty, staff and student employees.[12] In 2015, the university renovated the Cowles Music Center, which remodeled the existing space and added 21,481 square feet (1,996 m2) of new teaching studios, practice rooms, rehearsal rooms and lobby space to the structure.

In 2011, the Robinson Science Hall was dedicated. This 63,000-square-foot (5,900 m2) building was built for biology and chemistry sciences, as well as math courses. The Robinson Science Hall is part of a three-phase expansion that includes renovations of the Eric Johnston Science Center, which is the current building for plant biology, physics, and other courses in the science, technology, engineering, and math degrees that Whitworth offers.[13]

Since 2010, all new facilities constructed on the Whitworth campus are LEED-certified.[14]


Whitworth offers 107 undergraduate majors and programs, 5 graduate programs and 7 adult bachelor's degree completion programs. Academics at Whitworth is organized in four branches:[15]

The College of Arts and Sciences supports the general education curriculum across the university and houses 18 undergraduate arts and science departments. The college offers 41 majors, the M.A in Theology graduate program and a number of interdisciplinary undergraduate programs.

The School of Business includes undergraduate programs in accounting, business management, economics, finance, marketing and organizational management. It also oversees two graduate programs.

The School of Education includes the Department of Teacher Education; the Department of Graduate Studies in Education; the Master in Teaching Program; the Evening Teacher Certification Program; and the Center for Gifted Education & Professional Development.

The School of Continuing Studies provides bachelor's degree programs for non-traditional students through evening degree programs and accelerated-format classes.

The university also offers 30-plus study abroad programs available to students over Jan Term, May Term, or during a full semester. 43 percent of Whitworth's 2019 graduates participated in one or more off-campus programs.[16]


Whitworth's admission standards are considered “more selective” by U.S. News and World Report.

The class of 2023 had a middle 50% SAT score range of 1080-1300 and a middle 50% GPA (weighted) between 3.62-4.15.

Students on campus represent 30 states and 42 countries. As of 2019, international students make up 4.3 percent of undergraduate enrollment.[17]


In 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked Whitworth #1 in Best Undergraduate Teaching (West), #3 Best Regional University (West), #1 Best Colleges for Veterans (West). For the 19th consecutive year, Whitworth also ranked as one of the top 15 best universities out of 140 master's-level universities in the 15-state region of the Western United States.[18] Also in 2019, Whitworth made Forbes’ America’s Top Colleges List, ranked No. 65 for “Best in the West." [19] The Princeton Review also rated the university as one of the Best Universities in the West for 2020.[20]

Whitworth was named by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance "300 Best College Values for 2019." The university earned the No. 65 spot on the magazine's list of best values among private universities and has placed in the top 100 for eleven consecutive years.[21]

INSIGHT into Diversity Magazine awarded Whitworth the 2018 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award for the second year in a row.[22]

In 2018, Whitworth was named a "Best Christian Workplace" based on a national survey of employees at hundreds of Christian universities, churches, businesses and nonprofit organizations. [23]


Whitworth's athletics teams are the Pirates (or, unofficially, the Bucs). The university offers 21 varsity sports and competes in the Northwest Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III. Men's sports include cross country, football, basketball, swimming, track and field (indoor and outdoor), golf, tennis, soccer and baseball; women compete in soccer, volleyball, basketball, swimming, track and field (indoor and outdoor), golf, tennis, lacrosse and softball. Whitworth has played their home football games at the Pine Bowl (an on-campus football stadium) since the 1930s.[24] The field within the Pine Bowl was changed to turf from grass in 2017 and subsequently was dedicated to the parents of the main donors by being named Puryear Field in 2018.[25] Whitworth began playing football in 1904, and has only missed 7 seasons since then, due to WWI (1917-1919) and WWII (1942-1945).[26]

Whitworth has won a total of 13 Northwest Conference McIlroy-Lewis All-Sports Trophies, including the last 12 in a row (2008–2019).[27]

Student life

The Associated Students of Whitworth University ("ASWU") is in charge of clubs and activities on campus.[28] The ASWU is composed of four executive officers (President, Executive Vice President, Financial Vice President, and Administrative Assistant)[29] who coordinate the student government and lead the student body, several dorm senators and representatives who represent specific living areas and hold voting power, and coordinators who are responsible for programming in specialized areas.

Campus Media

Whitworth.fm is the campus' online radio station, owned and operated by ASWU. The station includes music, talk shows and coverage of Whitworth sporting events.

The Whitworthian is the weekly student newspaper. The paper has received a number of awards, including "Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper" from the National Mark of Excellence Awards sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists in 2009.[30]

Natsihi is Whitworth's yearbook that has been in publication since 1914. The yearbook consistently wins awards and was selected as the "Most Outstanding University Yearbook for 2017" in the year's Annual Review and Contest Awards.[31]

Notable alumni


  1. As of June 30, 2018. "U.S. News & World Report". Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  2. Facts About Whitworth University page provides enrollment numbers
  3. Facts About Whitworth University page provides undergraduate enrollment numbers
  4. Facts About Whitworth University page provides graduate enrollment numbers
  5. Fall 2018 press release's boilerplates identifying enrollment, program numbers
  6. "Whitworth Athletics".
  7. "About Whitworth".
  8. "Junior College joins Whitworth". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). February 20, 1942. p. 3.
  9. Press release details Whitworth's name change
  10. "Athletics Leadership Center Construction".
  11. "Megan E. Thompson Aquatic Center".
  12. "Beeksma Family Theology Center Project".
  13. "Whitworth University Biology Department - Facilities". Whitworth.edu. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  14. "Sustainability Operations".
  15. "Academics at Whitworth".
  16. "Facts & Rankings".
  17. "Students".
  18. "University Rankings". U.S. News and World Report.
  19. "Forbes' America's Top Colleges List".
  20. "Princeton Review".
  21. "Kiplinger's Best Value".
  22. "INSIGHT Into Diversity". INSIGHT Into Diversity.
  23. "Best Christian Workplace".
  24. "New-look Whitworth welcomes La Verne to the Pine Bowl in season opener | The Spokesman-Review". www.spokesman.com. Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  25. "Whitworth Facts & Rankings". Whitworth University.
  26. "Associated Students of Whitworth University". whitworthaswu.com. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  27. "Leadership Directory". whitworthaswu.com. Retrieved 2019-02-18.
  28. "National Mark of Excellence Awards Results 2009".
  29. "Whitworth Yearbook Staff Wins Two National Awards".
  30. "The 2008 Time 100". Time. April 30, 2009.
  31. Kevin Parker biography at Washington State House Republicans
  32. Additional Whitworth Facts: http://www.whitworth.edu/GeneralInformation/WhitworthFacts/AdditionalFacts.htm#Alumni
  33. Maben, Scott (2013-06-17). "Ray Stone, former Coeur d'Alene mayor, dies". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
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