‘This is a special place’: Whitworth University’s new president has high hopes for the future

SPOKANE, Wash.– Whitworth University officially welcomed its new president on Friday!

Scott McQuilkin, Ph.D. will be the university’s 19th president.

McQuilkin has served as interim president since June 1, 2021. Before that, he served for 12 years as vice president for institutional advancement and spent years in various faculty, coaching and administrative roles. He was a tenured professor and chair of the kinesiology department; served as head baseball coach; and was the athletic director for 14 years.

To top it all off, he’s a Whitworth alum.

4 News Now’s Emily Blume sat down with him to talk about what it means to him to become president and how he plans on leading the Pirates into the future.

Q: You’ve been here at the University since you graduated, is that correct? 

A: I began here as a student in the fall of 1980. So, other than three years away for my doctoral program at Penn State. Now, this is my fifth career, fifth different role at Whitworth. Long time. Long time resident

Q: What are your goals going forward?

A: Whitworth, as I said for the future, is to sustain, and serve, a mission. We have excellent students who we send into a world that needs them. So, there is a reason Whitworth is so highly ranked by peers and rating organizations. It’s because we’re so good in the classroom, our students are so well served. We have excellence across our curriculum, our students are so well taught so my responsibility is to improve, enhance and sustain

Q: And you expect Whitworth to continue to grow?

A: Where we will be growing is in our graduate and continuous studies program. This fall we’ll welcome our first two classes in our OT and PT programs. Those have been in the works for 4-5 years. We’ll be opening a $25 million Dana Health Science Building. Those will be our growing focus and will have a great impact. Not only at Whitworth, but throughout the region because of those programs.

Q: What would you like to say that I haven’t already asked?

A: This is a special place. Whitworth University is an incredible place. The quality of the education we provide, the students we send into the world, this mission-minded community. I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

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