Whitworth receives landmark $10 million

by Isaac Price | Staff Writer

Dana and David Dornsife, international philanthropists and long-time supporters of Whitworth, pledged $10 million toward the university’s health science program, the largest gift in Whitworth’s history.  This gift, announced by the university in a press release on Dec. 15, 2020, will be directed towards Whitworth’s pending doctoral programs in occupational therapy and physical therapy starting in 2022. It will also accelerate the construction of the new health sciences building, named after the couple.

According to an article in The Spokesman-Review, the Dornsifes have made a name for themselves in higher education investment.  David Dornsife is the chairman of national steel firm The Herrick Corporation. The couple have previously given $1.5 million to Whitworth, establishing the Dornsife Center for Community Engagement.

President Beck Taylor stated that the recent $10 million gift was the peak of the Dornsifes’ investment in Whitworth.

“Dave and Dana have been real champions of scientific education and research for many years . . . [at] several other schools. When we developed the plans for our new doctoral programs in the health sciences, this gift was the culmination of our plans,” Taylor said.

The recent $10 million gift will contribute to Whitworth’s most advanced facility so far. 

Stacey Smith, Whitworth’s senior associate vice president for institutional advancement, spoke to the impact the gift will have on Whitworth’s upcoming health science doctoral programs.

“[The gift] is a game-changer.  It allows us to not only get the building finished, but to get the faculty hired, the programs in place, and it allows Whitworth the freedom and the ability to move full-steam ahead with no restrictions for health sciences,” Smith said.

The Dornsife gift to the health science program will impact more than just the Whitworth community.

“This gift allows us to build the best facility in the Inland Northwest: the labs will be top-notch, the clinical spaces will be above anything else in this region, and so it’s a game changer both for Whitworth and for the region,” Smith said.

The Dornsifes’ gift has also helped Whitworth hit the $150 million mark in the Whitworth 2021 fundraising plan.

“[The Dornsifes] are some of the top philanthropists in the country, and for them to evaluate us against all the other places they give money to shows that they view Whitworth as a place worthy of their investment,” Smith said.

According to Taylor, a gift like this deserves a worthy response from the Whitworth community.

“We are a community built on philanthropy and generosity and our response to that is gratitude and stewardship.  We will make sure to use those funds to make sure that Whitworth students get the absolute best experience here,” Taylor said.

The Dana & David Dornsife Health Sciences Building is expected to complete construction and open to the public in 2022. To learn more about the building and the programs it will host, log on to https://www.whitworth.edu/cms/academics/dornsife-health-sciences-building/.