University president Beck Taylor builds community throughout campus

by Max Carter

If you are a member of the community at Whitworth University, you know some things. You know that each student attempts to catch a pine cone before they graduate. You know how to analyze a worldview. You know that breaking a plate is actually not a bad thing. And you know that Whitworth President Beck Taylor is extremely involved on campus, a quality that is admired by faculty and students alike.
You might see Taylor in the Mind and Hearth, chatting it up with a smiling group of students. You might see him in the UREC, dishing dimes and swishing threes on the basketball court. And now, you might see him this winter at Fox Theatre, singing a beautiful, joyous harmony. Actually, you will definitely see that, because President Taylor will be singing with the Whitworth Men’s Chorus this school year.

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You might be thinking, “Oh my gosh, I couldn’t imagine singing in front of the president of my university, that would be so nerve wracking!” Well, as a member of the Men’s Chorus at Whitworth, let me tell you that any inkling of that was erased on Taylor’s first day of class. The environment was fun and comfortable, as Taylor reassured us that he was just “one of the guys.”

Obviously, it is not common at a university for the president to be this relational with the students. But Whitworth is different. Whitworth is a community-centered university, and Taylor is right smack dab in the center of that community. I would argue that Taylor is the fuel behind the incredibly relational atmosphere that exists at Whitworth.

With his example of presence on campus, Beck seems to encourage professors to meet with students outside of class, whether it be school related or not. Most students that I know feel comfortable approaching their professors with questions or concerns, or even just for a casual conversation about anything. At a larger university, you most likely would not be able to say that.

I personally am so grateful to have this kind of transparent, open dialogue between students and faculty at Whitworth. I feel that it encourages growth in students’ social skills, speaking abilities and invokes confidence in even the shiest of individuals.

Although our university has received much recognition and credentials over the years, the faculty, for the most part, remain humble. The students more or less do the same. But nobody is a better image of humility than our president. Do you think that students at Washington State University see interim President Daniel J. Bernardo in shorts and a T-shirt, playing intramural basketball with students? No chance. If you didn’t know any better, you wouldn’t see Taylor as the president of a nationally recognized university. You would probably just see him as one of the guys.

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