Whitworth Home Page > Whitworth 2021 >
Background: A Decade of Growth & Achievement
Whitworth University launches its new vision and strategic plan in a position of great strength following a decade of tremendous growth and achievement.
Whitworth has been ranked every year since 2001 in the top 10 of U.S. News & World Reports' rankings of best universities and best values among regional universities in the Western U.S. Whitworth also has been ranked consistently by Kiplinger's as one of the top 50 private university values in the U.S. and has been recognized for excellence by Forbes, The Princeton Review, Colleges of Distinction, and the Center for Student Opportunity.
Demand for a Whitworth education has grown significantly over the past decade; freshman applications have increased by 580 percent to nearly 10 applications for every available spot in the 2010 freshman class. During the same period, full-time traditional enrollment increased by 42 percent to 2,202 students, and, buoyed by growth in graduate and continuing studies programs, total enrollment grew nearly 50 percent to 2,989 students. Freshman-sophomore retention and graduation rates reached record highs well above national averages.
Enrollment growth made it possible to expand facilities, academic and student life programs, and faculty and staff. With the completion of the 63,000-square-foot Robinson Science Hall, more than $90 million in campus improvements have been completed since 2000, significantly enhancing the grounds and the quality of academic and residential facilities.
Whitworth has hired 58 percent of its current faculty during the past decade, infusing new energy and expertise into the university's academic programs and its distinctive approach to faith-learning integration. Likewise, the university has built upon its historic strengths in student leadership development, co-curricular programs and study abroad; its first international center opened in Costa Rica in 2010. Whitworth has been recognized nationally for its excellence in a number of areas. In 2009-10, the university was named a top producer of Fulbright scholars, The Whitworthian was honored as the top non-daily student newspaper in the country by the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Pirates had seven NCAA teams finish in the top 20 nationally while winning the award for the best athletics program in the Northwest Conference for the third year in a row.
The level of excellence Whitworth has achieved is due in large part to the university's generous benefactors, who contributed significantly to the annual fund, capital projects and the endowment. Whitworth completed the Faith in the Future Campaign in 2002, raising $10.3 million over the $50 million goal. During the past decade, donors contributed an average of $8.2 million per year to the university, and the endowment grew 110 percent to just over $89 million (Dec. 31, 2010).
President Beck A. Taylor assumed leadership of the university in July 2010 and has reinforced Whitworth's distinctive mission to provide an education of mind and heart characterized by rigorous and open intellectual inquiry and the integration of Christian faith and learning. Building on the strong foundation that has been laid, Whitworth University now has an extraordinary opportunity to set a clear, bold direction for the next decade.