Scott McQuilkin didn’t apply to be Whitworth University’s 19th president.
He got the job anyway.
McQuilkin, who has served as interim president since June, has been officially appointed as Whitworth’s full-time president, the university announced Thursday.
Whitworth Board of Trustees Chair Brian Kirkpatrick said in a statement that McQuilkin “was never a candidate,” as he and board officers agreed he should not apply so as to not deter other potential high-quality applicants. More than 60 people applied, he said.
Kirkpatrick said McQuilkin remained outside the process throughout the search.
“When our exhaustive search concluded without a presidential appointment, the board then approached Scott, asking him to consider a permanent appointment,” Kirkpatrick said. “After many in-depth and thoughtful discussions, he enthusiastically agreed to be considered by the board for the presidency.”
McQuilkin, who was unavailable for comment Thursday, is a known commodity within the Whitworth community. A 1984 Whitworth graduate who has worked there since 1985, McQuilkin most recently served 12 years as vice president for institutional advancement. Before that, McQuilkin was the university’s athletic director for 14 years.
He was tapped in March to temporarily replace former president Beck Taylor, who departed last summer after 11 years to serve as president of Samford University in Alabama.
Kirkpatrick was not immediately available for further comment Thursday.
McQuilkin will be officially introduced as president during an event at 10 a.m. Friday in Cowles Auditorium. While the event is limited in person to students and staff, the university will stream it live via Whitworth’s YouTube page.
According to the university, Whitworth’s institutional advancement carried out the department’s most successful fundraising campaign in school history under McQuilkin, raising more than $156 million in gifts and future commitments over 11 years to support more than 600 projects and programs.
McQuilkin earned an undergraduate degree from Whitworth, as well as a master’s degree in education, according to the university. He went on to earn a doctorate in exercise and sport science from Penn State University.
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