In the 1950s, Professor Homer Alder set a solid foundation for the Whitworth Science Department, which would grow in scope and graduates over the next six decades. Alder arrived at Whitworth in 1946, a year after the science department moved out of a dorm basement and into its own building – a repurposed ward building from Baxter General Hospital. The building, no longer needed after World War II, was remodeled and encased in brick for $140,000.
As head of the biology department, Alder taught a number of courses in that discipline. But he particularly enjoyed teaching courses in geology and exploring the Pacific Northwest on associated field trips. He also published guides to the wildflowers of the region.
In 1956, Alder was named head of the science department. In addition to his teaching and administrative responsibilities, he advised pre-med students. Under Alder’s leadership, Whitworth’s pre-med program built a strong reputation, and a remarkable number of his students gained admittance into medical schools in the West.
He also had a great golf swing. A lover of the game who shot in the low 70s and earned victories in local tournaments, Alder coached golf at Whitworth and led students to compete in the Evergreen Conference and throughout the Inland Empire.