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My Favorite Professor

Fenton Duvall

Whitworth Professor:
Fenton Duvall,
Professor of history,

Fenton Duvall co-founded Whitworth's Core Worldview Program with Professor of English Clarence Simpson, served as dean of students for four years, and was the first faculty member to lead an international Jan Term study program. In 2006, a group of alumni made a contribution in Duvall's name and requested that Whitworth's newest residence hall be named after their favorite professor and mentor. Fenton Duvall died in 2008, at the age of 96.

"I first met Fenton Duvall the spring of my freshman year, when I took History of Western Civilization [now Core 150]. He was intelligent, creative, personable, and concerned about his students. While all these qualities were important, what I appreciate most is that he cared about me and all of his students.

Whitworth Alumnus: Joel Harding, '67, B.A. in history and education; '70, Master of Arts in Teaching

Joel HardingJoel Harding taught social studies and English, coached athletics, and was activities coordinator at Mead High School, in north Spokane, from 1967-97. He also was a coordinator for the Washington State League of Schools; an associate with the Center for Organizational Reform doctoral program at Gonzaga University; and an adjunct professor at Whitworth, where he taught the class Milestones, History and Philosophy of Education. Now retired, he lives in Waterville, Wash.

Dr. Duvall led a group of students on a tour of Western Europe in the summer of 1963. My classmate, Brian Wolfe, '66, and I followed a similar itinerary there from October of that year until January 1964. After our return, Dr. Duvall and the summer tour students invited us to meet with them as part of a group that was discussing what they had learned in their travels. His concern that we be part of the learning group was surprising, and welcome.

When I was at Whitworth, preparing to be an educator, I learned from Dr. Duvall that I could be personally involved with my students, seeing them as individuals yet expecting them to learn at a high level. That approach became a hallmark of my own career in the classroom, with organizations, and on the athletics field. While I felt blessed by his attention and support, I am certain each of his students felt similarly.

As a 30-year teacher at Mead High School, which is in the same community as Whitworth, I was able to apply the lessons I learned from Dr. Duvall and other dedicated Whitworth professors and staff. Dr. Duvall's youngest son graduated from Mead before I arrived there in fall 1967. However, I was able to share with the sons and daughters of Whitworth staff and professors the lessons I had learned from Fenton Duvall and his learned, compassionate colleagues. This completed a circle of quality of which Dr. Duvall was a primary part and allowed his contributions to extend far into the future."


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