Spring 2011 Convocation

By Evanne Montoya

Whitworth campus celebrated the start of spring semester and February 1890 founding of Whitworth Tuesday, Feb. 8 in the Fieldhouse. Spring Convocation and Founder’s Day Celebration had a decidedly global focus.

History professor Dale Soden carried on his recent tradition of illuminating a piece of Whitworth’s past for students with a speech entitled “The Pinecone Curtain: Myth or Reality?”

“A Whitworth education has always been about preparing people to engage the world,” Soden said.

In spite of this, there is often a perception of Whitworth existing behind the so called “pinecone curtain,” or in other words being isolated from the rest of the world.

Whitworth exists in a balance of a certain amount of seclusion that allows for a place to reflect, with numerous connections, both historically and currently, to the outside world, Soden said.  Some fulfill roles both as a past and current thread, such as International Club which had its roots in the Cosmopolitan  club started in 1954, or En Christo which is celebrating 20 years as a student-led service club at Whitworth.

More recently, students experience the world through study trips led by Whitworth professors, study abroad and exchange programs, and the Costa Rica campus.  Along with this are opportunities closer to home to engage the world such as service learning and many of the clubs on campus.

Michael Le Roy, executive vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty expanded on this theme using a passage from Acts 8.

“God’s kingdom recognizes no human borders,” he said. Le Roy added that right now the need for people who are willing to act as global citizens is as great as it was in biblical times.

The new strategic plans emphasizes that desire to have members of the Whitworth community to think of themselves as global citizens, Le Roy said. Le Roy noted the importance for students to realize the knowledge, skills and values they can obtain through their time in college.

“Education is more than the accumulation of credits,” he said.

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