There’s a certain feeling one gets when walking across Whitworth’s campus for the first time. The stately trees and brick buildings, the glint of dusty sunlight bursting through the pines: these key elements create that ever-important first impression. Alumni still remember their first glimpses of campus from their prospective-student tours, which led to a “love-at-first-sight” memory for many.
From the Whitworth entrance to the heart of The Loop, architect Edwin Molander was a pivotal figure in building that first impression and in providing the space needed for a growing college in the 1950s and 1960s. Following the initial campus building boom after World War II, when army barracks were repurposed for temporary dorms and classrooms, President Frank Warren hired Molander to design six new campus buildings, including Dixon and McEachran halls and Cowles Auditorium. While these buildings have since been remodeled a time or two, their exteriors continue to unify the campus look and prompt strong memories for returning alumni. The campanile was Molander’s donation to the college, as was the updated brick campus entrance. Molander’s architecture firm, Funk, Molander & Johnson, was responsible for other key mid-century buildings in Spokane, including the Garland Theater, a favorite destination for Whitworth students since 1988, when the theater lowered its ticket price to $1.