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Beck Taylor

Whitworth University
Beck A. Taylor, Ph.D., became the 18th president of Whitworth University (Spokane, Wash.) in July 2010. He came to Whitworth after serving as dean and professor of economics for the Brock School of Business at Samford University (Birmingham, Ala.) and as associate dean for research and faculty development for the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University (Waco, Texas), where he was also the W.H. Smith Professor of Economics.

In his first year as Whitworth’s president, Taylor led the development of Whitworth’s 10-year vision and strategic plan, Whitworth 2021: Courage at the Crossroads, which details plans to continue to elevate Whitworth among the leading Christian universities in the country. Taylor’s first seven years at Whitworth have been highlighted by a renewed emphasis on community involvement; efforts to enhance academic quality, including the creation of the College of Arts & Sciences and a new honors program; the building of new campus infrastructure to facilitate the university’s academic, athletic and student life programs; the creation of newly endowed faculty positions and centers; spearheading Whitworth’s largest-ever comprehensive fund-raising campaign; and an emphasis on overall institutional effectiveness.

After earning his undergraduate degree from Baylor with majors in economics and finance, Taylor was employed as an analyst for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), in Houston, Texas. He went on to earn his M.S. and Ph.D. in economics from Purdue University (West Lafayette, Ind.). After returning to the Baylor faculty, Taylor received the Young Researcher Award from the Hankamer School of Business in 2000 and subsequently was named the first holder of the W.H. Smith Professorship in Economics. In 2002, he was appointed a visiting scholar by Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass.), where he spent one year in residence at the Harvard Graduate School of Education pursuing research interests. In 2005, Taylor was named a Baylor University Outstanding Professor for his research accomplishments.

As dean of Samford’s Brock School of Business, Taylor helped to lead the rapid transformation of the business school, spearheaded by a commitment from Harry B. Brock, Jr., founder of Compass Bank, to build a $100 million endowment for the school. In addition to his fund-raising efforts, Taylor led the Brock School to establish eight new academic programs, as well as the school’s new honors program. The Brock School’s entrepreneurship program was recognized in 2010 as the nation’s top emerging program by the U.S. Association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship. In an effort to build bridges between students and professionals in the business community, Taylor established the Samford Business Network, with chapters in Birmingham, Atlanta and Nashville, and also established a 45-member advisory board of the region’s top business leaders.

As a scholar, Taylor has published dozens of studies in economics journals such as Review of Economics and Statistics; Journal of Labor Economics; Journal of Human Resources; and Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking. Illustrating his diverse research interests and his connections to the social sciences, Taylor has also published research in public health and child developmental psychology. His research has been cited in testimony given before the U.S. Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, and the California State Assembly, and also has been referenced in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, and Chief Executive Magazine. In 2012, a feature-length documentary on poverty and children in the U.S., for which Taylor was executive producer, premiered at Whitworth’s Leonard A. Oakland Film Festival. His research has also been mentioned by organizations as diverse as the National Center for Children and Poverty at Columbia University, the Center for Law and Social Policy, the Center for the Advancement of Health, the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, and the Heritage Foundation. Taylor is a popular speaker and commentator, and he appears frequently in print media and on television and radio.

Taylor is a member of numerous professional and academic organizations including the American Economic Association, Beta Gamma Sigma (international honor society for business programs), Omicron Delta Epsilon (international economics honors society), Beta Alpha Psi (honors society for financial-information students and professionals), and Association of Christian Economists. Additionally, he served for six years on the editorial board of the Atlantic Economic Journal. Taylor has served as a business consultant for dozens of organizations, and he was a director for the NASDAQ-listed Goldleaf Financial Solutions, Inc. (Norcross, Ga.). He currently serves on the boards of Whitworth University, The Whitworth Foundation, Council of Independent Colleges, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities, Greater Spokane Incorporated, Thrive Washington, Spokane’s University District Public Development Authority, Spokane STEM Network, and the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities.

Taylor and his wife of 24 years, Julie, have three children: Zach, 21, a student at Belmont University (Tenn.); Lauren, 18, who attends Whitworth University; and Chloe, 10, a student at Spokane’s Northwest Christian School.