In every construction project, there are those who work to provide the foundation, and those who provide bricks and mortar. In building Whitworth, C. Davis Weyerhaeuser provided both, and more.
The Weyerhaeuser-Whitworth connection began in 1940, when new president Frank Warren asked Weyerhaeuser, then a 31-year-old executive with his family’s timber company, to join a dynamic group of trustees charged with elevating Whitworth as a vital institution of Christian higher learning. These board members answered the call whenever Whitworth needed assistance. When Warren wooed two brilliant professors – the iconic Clarence Simpson and Fenton Duvall – from other institutions, he called upon Weyerhaeuser, who complied immediately, to pay the professors’ moving expenses. The new hires soon proved to be an incredible return on investment.
Dave and his wife, Annette, conducted their considerable philanthropy in a quiet and unassuming way. More than 200 organizations benefited from their generosity, but much of the $80 million disbursed through their foundation was given anonymously. The one Whitworth project they allowed to bear their name during their lifetimes was the C. Davis and Annette Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith & Learning. The center, for which they were involved in a decade of planning, was designed to promote Christian scholarship, effective faith-learning integration, spiritual growth in students, education for laity, and the renewal of clergy.
In 2004, five years after Dave’s death, Annette gave her blessing to Whitworth to name its new academic building Weyerhaeuser Hall, allowing the campus community to honor her husband’s unparalleled dedication to providing for Whitworth’s critical needs.
In an era when many church-founded colleges turned away from their Christian roots and missions, trustees like Dave Weyerhaeuser helped Whitworth weather the cultural storm. President Bill Robinson, speaking at Weyerhaeuser’s funeral, said, “For 50-plus years, Dave quietly kept Whitworth from drifting, leading it to places where it could stand firmly on its mission. That was the life-giving hand Dave gave this college. With unmatched generosity and faithfulness, Dave watched over Whitworth.”