President Emeritus Bill Robinson

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Biography

William P. (Bill) Robinson is president emeritus of Whitworth University, in Spokane, Wash. He served as Whitworth's 17th president, from 1993 to 2010, after serving as president of Manchester College, in Indiana, from 1986 to 1993. His tenure as Whitworth's president was the second-longest and one of the most influential in the university's history.

With uncommon clarity, Robinson understood and articulated the "grand paradox" of Whitworth's mission, to uphold Christian conviction and intellectual curiosity as complementary rather than competing values. Inspired by Robinson's leadership, Whitworth students, faculty and staff joined with alumni, donors and friends to achieve record levels of freshman applications, enrollment and retention; $83 million in campus improvements; and a $75 million increase in the university's endowment.

In his role as president emeritus, Robinson works closely with Whitworth President Beck A. Taylor and the university's institutional advancement staff on external relations. He also writes and speaks widely on leadership, organizational culture and communication in corporate, nonprofit and ministry settings.

A communications scholar who has distinguished himself as a teacher, speaker and community leader, Robinson earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Iowa, his master's degree from Wheaton College, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He also studied at Princeton Theological Seminary and the Moody Bible Institute. Most of his scholarly work has focused on organizational, cross-cultural and interpersonal communication. He has also done informal research in religion and philosophy, his undergraduate majors. In 2010, a second edition of Robinson's book Leading People from the Middle: The Universal Mission of Mind and Heart was released. The book was first published in 2002 by Executive Excellence. His second book, Incarnate Leadership, was released by Zondervan in February 2009.

Robinson is a past chair of the Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce (now Greater Spokane Incorporated) and a founding co-chair of the Higher Education Leadership Group of Spokane. He also serves on the board of Princeton Theological Seminary and the ING Educators Advisory Board, and he is an independent observer to the executive committee of Moss Adams, LLP.

Born Sept. 30, 1949, in Elmhurst, Ill., Robinson has been married since 1974 to Bonnie Robinson, a classical musician who serves as principal organist for First Presbyterian Church of Spokane. The Robinsons have two daughters, Brenna and Bailley, and a son, Benjamin. Brenna, Whitworth Class of 2000, is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Her husband, Alan Stanfield, '97, is an English teacher and head football coach at Spokane's Shadle Park High School. They have a  son, Asher Alan Stanfield, born in July 2008, and a daughter, Anna Mae Stanfield, born in July 2010. Ben graduated from Whitworth in 2003; after spending two-and-a-half years working with youth in an international Anglican church in Cairo, Egypt, he joined his sister at Princeton Theological Seminary and then returned to Cairo as an ordained minister in the church he served before attending seminary. Ben's wife, Emily (Hinson, '05), works as a registered nurse in Cairo; she also does volunteer healthcare for refugees. Bailley is a 2006 graduate of Pepperdine University; she earned her M.S.W. from Washington University, in St. Louis. In 2008 she married Michael Wootton, Whitworth Class of '04. They moved back to Spokane in 2011; Bailley now directs the CCASL mentoring program at Gonzaga University, and Mike is a professional photographer.