Share a memory or reflection

You are invited to add a comment on The Bill Board, a place for alumni, parents and friends to reflect on Bill Robinson's 17 remarkable years of leadership at Whitworth.


  1. Thanks, Bill and Bonnie for making me feel welcome to campus from the first day I set foot on Whitworth. We'll miss you greatly!

    Alan Jacob

  2. Bill and Bonnie...Thank you so much for your 17 years of service and leadership at Whitworth. You have been such an integral part of my life and Whitworth experience.

    Bill - I will always treasure the "hot chocolate" meetings that you had in your office with Rebecca and I. Also, who can forget your annual appearance at the Hawaiian Club Lu'au and holding the fire-knife? Thank you for being such a wonderful President, boss, and friend over the past 16 years. We will miss you a lot and wish you the best. Remember to come visit us in Hawaii!

  3. Best wishes, Bill and Bonnie! Whitworth will miss you.

    See you in Bologna, spring 2011?

    Lars Olson

  4. Bill - Thank you for exemplary leadership, and for making each member of the Whitworth Community feel special. God bless you and your family!
    Steve LaPointe

  5. The Erickson FamilyJune 24, 2010 at 12:30 PM


    Our daughters have been blessed by your extraordinary incarnate leadership at Whitworth University. We will always be thankful for their mind and heart education, and we are sure glad we met you on the Skaggs Ranch porch back in 2003! The rest is history. Blessings on you and Bonnie as you embrace the next season of your lives and ministry.

    Rick & Nancy Erickson
    Colorado Springs, CO /Austin, TX

  6. Lars & Hayley GaardeJune 24, 2010 at 12:35 PM


    Thank you for your years of leadership at Whitworth. You and Bonnie have been so wonderful to us. We wish you the best of luck in the next chapter of your lives!

    Much love,

    Lars & Hayley Gaarde

  7. I am an alum - ex'57 - only met Bill face to face during our 50 year class reunion. I have read "Of Mind and Heart" monthly for years - and have been impressed with the quality and direction of Bill's leadership. Whitworth U is, I believe, unique in its purpose to pursue dynamic faith and also academic excellence. I pray that continuing and new leadership of this great institution will continue on the path that Bill and others have blazed - for God's glory, His Kingdom's advancement, and countless changed and prepared servant lives. Phil Muir, Quincy, MI

  8. Bruce and Lisa CutterJune 24, 2010 at 12:51 PM

    We will never forget moving our son into his freshman dorm 3 years ago and Bill getting off his bike and saying, "hi Steven, I've been looking forward to meeting you". We were completely blown away, and it was such confirmation to us that this was exactly where God wanted him to be. Thank you for your years of dedication and service.
    Bruce and Lisa Cutter

  9. Thank you for your leadership, as you've built a school that is as much a family as it is an institution of higher learning. When hearing the students talk about you, it's clear that they see you as a friend, as well as a leader. Thank you for helping to guide them, and for making Whitworth "home." Best wishes to you and Bonnie as you start on your next adventure!
    Barbara Lewis Mill

  10. The great thing about Bill, of course, is he always shows up at the right time.

    Like many alums, I remember laying bleeding in the dirt of a heavily-armed drug-running guerrilla camp west of Bogata, shot in a botched black ops operation the suits deny all knowledge of.

    Pinned down by sniper fire. Radio's shattered. Airstrike's due in three minutes. I'm cursing under my breath, reading myself my last rites, pretending my family can hear my delirious apologies. Hope's running out even faster than blood.

    Suddenly, in the distance, a roar of an engine. A familiar sound, almost like --

    -- there, Bill Robinson, himself, soaring over the 30-foot-high barbwire fence on his motorcycle. Crazy son-of-a-gun musta ramped off the nearby shanty.

    He lands, skidding to a halt, blocking the incoming fire with his bike.

    "I... I... thought you'd forgotten about me," I cough out of cracked lips.

    "You kidding?" Bill yells over the sound of his twin handguns, "Grace" and "Truth," blasting away. Each shot is clinically precise, hitting some guerrillas in the mind, others in the heart. "Daniel Walters? Communication major? Class of '08? Simon and Garfunkel fan? Social Security number of 538-18-3425?"

    He tosses a CommunityDisruptor W-800 EMP grenade toward the SAM anti-air missile platform.

    "I never forget a name," Bill half-smiles.

    Boom. Grenade goes off; there's a white light, a high-pitched crackle, and the lights go out.

    As I begin to black out, I hear the telltale rotor whir of B-ROB, Robinson's personal helicopter, and feel myself being dragged toward it.

    I wake up three weeks later at Sacred Heart. Robinson's gone, of course, probably sent off to save souls in some other forgotten part of Hell. Never got a chance to thank him.

    But there, on the bedside table, is his calling card, recognition of what we'd been through: A single President's Christmas reception potsticker.

    That's my memory, anyway. I'm sure you all have similar stories.

    Thanks Bill.


  11. Dear Bill,

    My only regret is that in the several hundred years since I graduated in '71 I never had the chance to meet and spend time with you before the other day at Bel-Air Pres during your swan song tour. But, we have been put together at this late date for a reason and I joyously (your word!) look forward to figuring out why! Hit 'em straight and next year you and I are teaming to win the Whitworth Golf Tourney. Congratulations on a job VERY well done. Lee Tomlinson

  12. We thank Bill, or as our kids call him "PBR" (President Bill Robinson), for his outstanding leadership, spiritual direction, and interest and love of the students at Whitworth. Our daughter received a degree PLUS married the center of the football team and so it was a two for one experience that has been such a blessing. We are thankful and wish Bill and Bonnie the very best in the years ahead. Thank you for all you have done.

  13. Bill, from the first week I transferred onto campus you were always around and willing to interact with everyone on campus. It was always so fun to see you riding around campus on your bike and chatting with everyone. You have been such a great example of servant leadership, and I appreciate that so much!

  14. Thank you for leadership and dedication. I hope you know how much the students appreciate your hard work and find you extremely cool. You will definitely not be forgotten. I know this because several of us own t-shirts with your face on them. Hopefully that's more flattering than it is creepy.

    We'll miss you.
    Emily Miller

  15. Bill taught me about leadership. He showed me that a leader isn't always nice and shouldn't always aim to please everyone. Bill was / is a leader with a definite vision, one which he defended tersely from those who would subvert it, to Whitworth's benefit.

    Realizing the inevitability of opponents, he aimed to please the undecided as well as those who agreed with him. Yet, Bill always showed appreciation for those who respectfully disagreed. He considered criticism as a part of the job, and took it in stride and in mind. Still, through each controversy he did not publicly waver in the pursuit of his vision.

    Through that persistence and that near-dogmatic adherence to what proved to be a timely vision for Whitworth, he increased the university's reach and its students' understanding and education, and he increased the vastness of each of our potential. In the process, he also increased the number of fancy buildings, the school's debt and as a result, in a task that borrowed him from us far too often, the endowment.

    Bill demonstrated model leadership, putting the needs of his constituents above his own popularity, and in the process he became popular. I feel privileged to have interacted with and learned from him, whether over Didier's, or during the build-up to the 8th of May, or at speakers' functions and university banquets. He was a determined, empathetic and productive president, one to be lauded by friends and opponents, and opponents who are friends.

    Thanks Bill.

  16. B Rob and Mrs. B are simply amazing people. A great example of a loving God that we are able to hang out with folks like you. I am all in on the Robinson fan club, but only if I can be an officer! From day 1 of knowing you Bill and Bonnie you have lived out the wonderful incarnation of Christ. Your kindness, consistency and practical love of others is a model I know I can only aspire to. But your legacy truly is in the hearts and minds of so many. Look up College President and family in the encyclopedia, your families pics should be there! Well done good and faithful servants! May God bless your next steps as He has your previous ones. Kevin and Sara Bryant, Portland OR.

  17. Thanks for knowing our daughter's name and praying for her even before she arrived on campus. Our son, Max, arrives this fall. Is it too much to ask you to pray for him as you pray for the new president? Thank you.

    Thank you too for all your rejuvenating work at my old alma mater. Gratitude abounds.
    Flannery's mom

  18. I became a Bill Fan when my son, Seth Hubbert, started Whitworth in 2000. I love the way you think, the way you write, the way you interact with the students. For many years, I have poured over Mind and Heart - and revel in your language. You make life at Whitworth real to me, though I am 500 miles away. You have such a perfect balance of faith, sense of humor, intelligence, and inclusion. I have loved the direction you have carried Whitworth and cannot quite imagine the campus without you. I must admit when I learned that you were leaving, I was so happy that Seth had graduated and didn't have to lose you while he was still going to school.
    My family thanks you for your leadership and your devotion to Whitworth. You have forever left your mark on an amazing institution. May God bless you all with the riches you have shared with us.
    Becky Hubbert

  19. Bill and Bonnie, you were like second parents to me during my time at Whitworth. Thank you Bonnie for playing so beautifully at our concerts and rehearsals for all those years, and thank you Bill for always being the first one to applaud at our concerts (not to mention attending every one, more than any other president would be expected to do).

    I was always amazed at Bill's memory, not only remembering my name through the years, but those of my parents as well. You both made the life and culture of Whitworth so rich and inviting. I can't imagine an education at Whitworth without you. You truly will be missed. Thank you so much for all that you gave to make my education not just of the mind, but of the heart.
    Tony Disney

  20. Bill -
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your many great years of service and leadership at Whitworth! You and Bonnie are top notch individuals, and Whitworth is blessed to have you as long as they did. You had a major part in making my experience at Whitworth as great as it was! Thanks so much!


    Justin Glaser
    Class of 2005

  21. Bill,

    Seeing all of these comments makes me more thankful for you and aware of the impact you have made on Whitworth students. Even though we never really got to know each other, I felt so supported and appreciated by you during my four years at Whitworth.

    I will always remember seeing you biking around Whitworth, talking to any student you could. I remember seeing you chatting with students in the HUB and anywhere else on campus as well. I loved how much you truly loved your job and the people you worked for/with. It is so evident in everything you do.

    You set such a great example for everyone to follow and your shoes will not be easy to fill!

    I wish you and your family all the best in the years to come! Thank you for blessing my life and giving me more of a glimpse of who Jesus is.


    Amber Bobst
    Class of 2003

  22. Hi Bill,

    I will never forget how blessed I was to be a part of your senior capstone class. You helped to prepare my heart and mind for what has proven to be one of the most challenging transitions I have ever experienced. You have left an indelible mark upon my life and I will never forget you. I have deepest respect and admiration for you and all you have done for Whitworth. May the Lord bless you as you embark upon your next adventure.

    Joanna (Graham) Scott
    Class of 2003

  23. Dear President Robinson,
    As an employee in the Whitworth Foundation Dept. for almost 7 years, I thought of you with great respect. But, as a student, I was called off stage during the graduating ceremonies to learn that my father had left there to go to the hospital. After being reassured that he was really okay, I sat again on stage until my turn to walk across & shake your hand. Your first words to me, "How is your father" demonstrated the depth of care that you truly lived out during your years on campus. Thank you so much.

  24. Who introduced Whitworth College to the NFL.

  25. My dad, who is a teacher, can often be heard saying, "Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

    It goes without saying - yet it is worth acknowledging - that students never doubted how much Bill Robinson cared for them.

  26. There are two things that have left an imprint on my life as a result of knowing you, Bill. The first is the fact that you knew every single student by name. (I'm certain you stayed up to the wee hours every night studying WhitNet!) From the first time I met you early in my Freshman year, you remembered my name. You have no idea what an impact that had on me and how special you made me feel. Thank you.

    The second thing I will never forget is the Convocation talk you gave one year (either my Sophomore or Junior year). You spoke about Grace and Truth and how you can't have one without the other. Your words were so appropriate to my life at the time and I can't tell you how many times in the years since that I've thought about what you said. Thank you.

    May the Lord reward you for your faithful service to the Whitworth community and may He bless and guide you in whatever lies ahead. I love you guys!!

    Sarah (Lusk) Parfitt

  27. Dear Bill,
    I'll never forget the kind compliments and encouragement I received from you. Thank you especially for the honest Core 350 advice lecture. I admire you greatly and am grateful for your service to Whitworth.
    -Blair Daly

  28. Bill,
    You have left an indelible mark on me and so many others. Thank you again for your commitment to Christ and example of servant leadership. I continue to be encouraged and inspired by your leading from the middle and genuine care for others. I am still boggled by how you memorized so many names!
    May God bless you richly as you enter the next stage of work and ministry.
    - John Ranheim

  29. Andrea Leksen HarrisonJune 25, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    How many university presidents not only know the names of their students but before they even arrive on campus their freshman year? Bill, your dedication, leadership and genuine spirit will continue to impact the Whitworth community for years to come. Bonnie, it was such a joy to have you and your musical talent be a part of the music program!

    May you both be blessed as richly as we have all been blessed by you...

    Andrea Leksen Harrison

  30. A wonderful president of Whitworth during his time;though i didn't get opportunity to meet him but he is there for you when you need his help,am a living witness.

  31. Amy (Reid) Smith '94June 25, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    Hi Bill- You came during my junior year at Whitworth and I will never forget you. Sean and I still feel so connected to Whitworth after all these years, largely in part to your monthly letters. Your Christ-like leadership is one-of-a-kind and we are truly grateful for all you've done for Whitworth. May God continue to bless you and Bonnie in the next chapters of your lives. -Amy

  32. Sally LaRose '64June 25, 2010 at 10:41 PM

    Even though I attended Whitworth prior to your presidency, I felt inspired reading your awesome comments in the monthly newsletter. And I feel proud to be a Whitworth graduate.

    May God bestow many blessings on your family.

  33. Thank you Bill for all the opportunities, for living out loud, and for being such a fabulous and courageous leader. There are so many golden moments for me whether directly in interacting with both of you, but also the honor of observing how a true and spiritual leader leads. Thank you Bonnie for sharing Bill and providing us a grand example for how a true team and partnership leads our community with style, grace and generosity.

    One of my favorite memories was the early morning thank-you gift that I left for you - and your enthusiastic reception of the best scotch that I could find for you. I'd do it all over again, and again.

    Thank you for the gift of Ben on the CASP. For the gift of Act Six and all that you have done for so many of us.

    The best to your family!
    With deep appreciation, and gratitude,

  34. Bill~

    What a great blessing you have been to Whitworth! We have had the pleasure of speaking with you a couple of times over the past two years since our son, Travis, started at Whitworth. It has been so encouraging to watch you ride your bike all over campus trying to catch a glimpse of the athletic events taking place all at once...completely immersing yourself in each one as you cheer on the Pirates, including the football team on which Travis plays. From the first time we heard you speak at parents weekend...we knew God had lead our son to ask us to follow him to this place he wanted to plant himself to grow. Thanks for taking Travis in and cultivating the fertile soil in which he is becoming a tremendous human being. Travis' trip to Jamaica this past spring changed him forever, and would not have been the same experience with any other university anywhere else on earth...of this we are certain!

    Blessings to you and Bonnie and you travel down the next fork in the road God has paved for you!

    Bruce & Kim Todd
    Odessa, WA

  35. Bill and Bonnie,
    You have blessed our family and the community of Spokane and inspired us all to greater things. We will miss your bicycle on campus, and your humor in "Mind and Heart". I will pray for the new president and his family as I often did for you, as I pass by the house on the corner. God Speed for the rest of your journey! Inez, for the Houks

  36. It was your presence and caring nature that made us feel comfortable that Whitworth was the place for our daughter in 2008. We have had no regrets since and will forever be grateful for your dedication, faithfulness, and love for the students at WU. Blessings to you and Bonnie for a wonderful new life.
    Steve and Betty Peterson
    Tucson, AZ

  37. Bill and Bonnie - We entrusted you with two of our most prized possessions and you did not let us down!! The very best to you and your family!

    Bill and Chauni Haslet

  38. In the spring of this year, I returned to Whitworth following an absence of 40 years, to hear the lecture of a dear friend, Dr. Ron White. After Ron's presentation, several, including myself, were invited over to Bill and Bonnie's for wine and cheese and great conversation. As the evening was drawing to a close, Bonnie sat down at the piano and Bill prompted all of us to join him in song. Amazing! It was as if we had a campfire in the middle of the living room; it made for quite the memory.

    Thanks to you Bill and Bonnie and Godspeed going forward.

    Pacakrd (Scott) Brown '68

  39. Dear Bill and Bonnie:

    Thank you for your many years of thoughtful and loving service to the institution so many of us treasure. As you move into a new chapter of your lives may God bless you richly with fond memories and deep satisfaction for a job done exceptionally well. Bravo and best wishes!

    Stephanie Halton

  40. Bill, thank you for your years of exemplary service. I have appreciated all you've done in service to Whitworth and, more primarily, to God. Bless you and Bonnie in the next chapter of your life.

  41. Bill,

    You have been a terrific professional support for me throughout most of my adult life. I still remember a Bay Area alumni gathering in 93/94 and the way you compared Whitworth's distinct mission to kittens being delivered by c-section and needing to be jostled gently to imitate passage through the birth canal. You never ceased to come up with new and powerful ways to bring to life the place I have loved for so long.

    You have opened many doors for me and it has been my distinct pleasure to serve my alma mater throughout your presidency.

    I can't wait to see what God has in store for you and Bonnie next and I am excited for the dedication of the building that will bear your names when it opens a short year from now.

    Many thanks.

    Tad Wisenor

  42. Bill,

    Every time "Of Mind and Heart" arrived, I knew I could count on finding tears filling my eyes before I even finished your introduction. Your love of Whitworth, and love FOR the students, has always been so apparent. You have been an inspiration and a comfort to so many students AND parents, especially me. I want to thank you for the counsel and encouragement you have provided both me and Jonathan over the years. I am sure you have no idea the impact you have had on both our lives. I know none of us is irreplaceable, but you sure come close!

    I pray your future will be as filled with blessings as your tenure at Whitworth has been. You will be missed.

    Gina Emory

  43. Congratulations for these 17 wonderful years of leadership at my beloved Whitworth...I have often prayed for you, and you may, or may not, remember all the personal notes I've sent you over the years...It was a thrill to meet you in person and share during the class of 1944's 50th reunion...and when Ish Smith was inaugurated as Greenville College president I was your Whitworth rep there...May the blessings of the Father be on you as you move on to other fields of service in these next years...special regards from Florence Reynolds Sayre

  44. Dear Bill and Bonnie,
    I have been so blessed to have had the past two years under your amazing leadership at Whitworth. It truly has been a wonderful experience, and I can't express how grateful I am for both of you. I'll never forget Christmas caroling at your house or dropping by on Halloween for some Emergen-C :)
    You are both so personal and welcoming to everyone who crosses your path, and that is truly a special gift. The summer before I came to Whitworth, I heard that Bill prayed for every single incoming freshman by name. Because of that, I felt welcomed into this community even before I set foot on campus as a student, and that feeling has never gone away. I'll never ever forget Valentine's Day my freshman year, when you both took time out of your busy schedules to have lunch with all of us Fungeon girls! That was so incredibly special; thank you.
    Thank you both for being so lovingly dedicated to Whitworth and everything it stands for; it wouldn't have been the same place without you! God has blessed my life through you both, and I know that he will continue to richly bless yours in the years to come.
    Thanks for everything!
    Annie Aeschbacher

  45. Bill,

    There are many, many things about your leadership that I have admired and appreciated in the decade plus I have had the good fortune to work with you, but three stand out:

    1. Your advice to "fill in the gap with good." Whitworth is a stronger, more grace-filled community because you have encouraged us to assume the best about what we generally don't know about other people's intentions and motivations.

    2. Your vivid example of a Christ-centered life that is never judgmental, dogmatic, dour, safe or bitter. Quite the opposite.

    3. Your beautiful command of language and the wonderful ways you used it to clarify and communicate Whitworth's distinctive mission. That is, in my opinion, your most important legacy.

    One regret: You retired from noonball before I figured out how to stop your baseline pull-up jumper.

    Blessings to you and Bonnie as you embark on the next chapter in your lives.

    Greg Orwig

  46. Bill,
    You always knew something specific about me, making me feel as though I had a part to play in the community at Whitworth and in the world. Thank you for that thoughtfulness and intentionality that helped shape a university, and a young man's heart and mind.

    With great respect,

    Josh Rodland

  47. Lindy Van Marter EdwardsJuly 8, 2010 at 7:48 PM

    When I think of Whitworth I think of you first, even though I wasn't there during your tenure. I have enjoyed your "Of Mind and Heart" muses immensely and have nothing but admiration for the way you have presided over the college and presented it to the world. There is so much more I want to say, but I resolved not to go on and on. I join the others in wishing you and Bonnie a beautiful new chapter, 17 years at Whitworth being a springboard to who knows what.
    So, when I think of Whitworth, I think of you. Well, and Dr. Simpson who was a wonderful interim pres. while I was there. And Dr. Lindaman came along when Whitworth desperately needed a man like him. And I love Howard and Pat Stien. They weren't presidents of course, but...

    Lindy Van Marter Edwards, '70

  48. Bill,

    Thanks for making me feel very special your entire presidency. You were one of the busiest guys on the planet but you still took time to call or visit when you came to Las Vegas.

    I hope your retirement gives you time to relax and serve God in new and creative ways you never thought possible.

    May time be your friend and may you embrace it with all the energy and enthusiasm with which you embraced your time at Whitworth.

    Lori (Kolbet) Temple, '80

  49. Dear Bill,
    Like many other Whitworth graduates, you were such an important part in shaping my time at Whitworth into one of growth and confidence, faith and friendship. I will never forget a conversation we had over dinner about what you believed was the best time of your life. You said that each new decade has been better than the last - that your favorite time of your life is the moment you're in. I loved that, really I did, and I cannot tell you how many people I've shared that with have been inspired by you. Thank you for everything, and enjoy this new chapter in your life!

    Caitlin Himmel
    Whitworth 2009