Ellsworth Wilton Whitney

1906 - 1999 

Ellsworth Whitney was one of the first piano teachers at Southern California Junior College, now La Sierra University, teaching there from 1936-1939. A graduate of the music conservatory course at Pacific Union College, he had taught for three years at Fresno Academy and for five at Loma Linda Academy before accepting the invitation to teach at SCJC. During those years of academy teaching he had pursued graduate study at Fresno State Teachers College and Redlands University.

Ellsworth was born in St. Helena, California, the second of five children of Leon Arthur and Maude Marie Burden Whitney. He married Martha Florence Colton in August 1928 and they would have three daughters and a son.

During Whitney's first year at SCJC, Hole Auditorium, which included music facilities and two auditoriums, was completed. Whitney was enthusiastic about the new facility, observing at the time of its completion that it "will at once mark an era of achievement and a milestone in the cultural accomplishments of SCJC."

He was even more pleased when the students before the end of that school year raised enough money to buy five new grand pianos, a remarkable achievement. During his last year, the students again rallied to raise money for the installation of an Estey theater-type pipe organ in HMA, a gift from the Walt Disney Studio. Whitney praised this accomplishment by stating that "it [the organ] will touch all phases of student activity, all assemblies, and devotional services . . . it will be impossible to find the student, teacher, or resident who will not have benefited by its being installed."

At the end of that year, Whitney left the college to attend Redlands University, hoping to prepare for admission into medical school.


Sources: Pacific Union Recorder, 28 May 1924, 2 and September 27, 1928, 3. Southern California Junior College The College Criterion: 8 October 1936; 28 January 1937; several issues in 1937 about the new music building; 22 December1938, 1; 6 April 1939, 3; and the 1939 Meteor (SCJC school yearbook); 1920, 1930, 1940 U.S. Federal Census Records, Social Security Death Index, and Taylor Beeman Family Tree, Ancestory .com. Obituary for Maude Burden Whitney, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, 13 February 1975, 23;