Whitworth University’s board of trustees announced on April 16, 2015, it will rename its newest student residence hall, East Hall, to Oliver Hall, in honor of former board chair and longtime board member Walt Oliver, ’67.
Oliver joined Whitworth’s board of trustees in 1996, and served as its chair from 2008-14. Under his leadership, the university transitioned to a new president, launched a 10-year strategic plan, and oversaw major additions to the campus, including Robinson Science Hall, the Hixson Union Building expansion, the University Recreation Center, and the Lied Center for the Visual Arts. The Lied Center’s Bryan Oliver Gallery, one of many gifts made by Oliver, is named in honor of his late son.
In October 2014, Oliver and his wife, Kay, pledged a gift of $3 million to The Campaign for Whitworth.
“Walt Oliver often tells people about how much Whitworth influenced his life as a college student, but Walt has spent every year since his graduation giving back to his alma mater,” says Whitworth President Beck A. Taylor. “His leadership on our board, his generous philanthropy that has affected all parts of our campus, and his faithful support of Whitworth’s mission have fundamentally and positively changed our community for the better. Oliver Hall will stand as a durable testimony of Walt’s love for our students and the importance of Whitworth’s residence-life program. The Whitworth community could not be more thankful and proud of Walt’s leadership, wisdom and support.”
As a student at Whitworth in the 1960s, Oliver was a member of the football team and was a musician in various ensembles. He earned a psychology degree from Whitworth and a master’s of science degree in human resource management from Gonzaga University.
He began his career in 1973 with Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation, in Spokane, and today is senior vice president for human resources of General Dynamics Corporation, headquartered in Falls Church, VA. In addition to his work with General Dynamics, which employs approximately 90,000 people and has annual sales in excess of $10 billion, Oliver has served on the boards of several organizations in the Chicago and Washington, D.C., areas, as well as with firms such as American Family Insurance and Telect, Inc.
East Hall opened its doors to Whitworth students in September 2009. Housing 170 students from all four class levels in single, the striking three-story building features double and triple rooms, unique common areas, large-group and small-group meeting spaces, and study areas. The facility is certified as a LEED Silver building (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).