Whitman Profile Series

Whitman is the premier liberal arts college that combines academic excellence with an unpretentious Northwest culture and an engaging community. Whitman is honored to attract students who represent the Whitman mosaic—down to earth, high achievers with diverse interests.

Academic Excellence

Global Perspectives

Penrose Library

There was a moment, an episode, in Shampa Biswas’ life as a graduate student when the center no longer held and the way she considered the world changed, fundamentally and inexorably. It occurred in the space of 432 pages of a book by Edward Said called “Orientalism.” More…

Combined Interests: Daniel Goltz

Ryan Crocker

Although Daniel Goltz ’09 walked across the stage during Whitman’s Commencement ceremony in May 2009, he has not yet received his diploma. That will come in 2011, after he finishes his studies at Columbia University. He then will receive two undergraduate diplomas, a B.A. in natural and mathematical sciences from Whitman and a B.S. in chemical engineering from Columbia. Goltz is a member of the engineering and computer science combined plan, which requires three years at Whitman and another two off campus. More…

Encounters: A Life of the Mind

Encounters

Homer, Sappho, Plato, Shakespeare, Darwin, Nietzsche, Toni Morrison: The Encounters class, a two-semester course requirement for Whitman freshmen called Antiquity and Modernity, is a rigorous, interdisciplinary intellectual exploration of Western philosophy, religion, history, and literature that provides critical thinking and communication skills and a broad intellectual foundation. More…

Fulbright research abroad leads Bridget Kustin ’05 to advisory work in D.C.

Bridget Kustin

When Bridget Kustin ’05 enrolled at Whitman College in the fall of 2001, her chief goal was “to move beyond my suburban Los Angeles upbringing.” Since then, the Whitman English major and debate champion has journeyed all the way to Bangladesh as a Fulbright research fellow and recipient of the Fulbright Islamic Civilizations Award. More…

The world’s a stage: Whitman professor documents ancient theaters

Theater at Delphi

“Imagine a lost city, high in the Colorado Mountains, with cool breezes, the smell of pine forests, and spectacular views of the valley below,” writes  Associate Professor of Theatre Thomas Hines. “And if you search long enough, you will find the most spectacularly positioned and well preserved theater I have come across in all my travels.” More…

Musical Adventures

Peter Crawford

Walk into Whitman College’s music building and invariably the expected sounds of pianos and other classical instruments in hard use greet you. Classical pieces ripping along at hurricane levels, notes crashing and flying, a swirl of music reaching flood stage behind the dam of a closed practice-room door. More…

This Is Rocket Science

Rob Manning ’80, chief engineer with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena: “I didn’t believe that I could really become an engineer until I got to Whitman,” says Manning. But the possibility of completing the Whitman-Caltech 3-2 program (which enabled him to earn a bachelor of arts degree from Whitman and a bachelor of science degree from Caltech in five years) inspired him. More…

Formula for Success

Thuy Dao

As a youngster growing up in Ho Chi Minh City, Thuy Dao ’07 talked so much and argued so well that her parents thought she ought to be a lawyer. But Dao felt a different chemistry. Now 22, she is a 12-hour-a-day researcher and self-confessed “lab rat” at Whitman College. More…

He digs it: Anthropology Professor Gary Rollefson talks archaeology

Jordan scene

It was those faces, eyes lined in black, crumbling like dried pie crust in the sun — statues uncovered accidentally during a construction project in Jordan — that would put a spotlight on a young archaeologist. More…

Free Spirit

Professor Susan Pickett

Professor Susan Pickett: “I have freedom to conduct my classes as I see fit, which means they are usually highly interactive. I also have the freedom to teach innovative courses, like my course on Women Composers, which is rare for a college of this size.” More…

Unpretentious Northwest culture

A 12,000-Mile Journey of Discovery

Semester in the West

As they travel from the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona to the grasslands of Hell’s Canyon, Semester in the West students read and write about and discuss the histories and cultures of the communities they encounter. “The program taught me to experience places and people, nature and wildlife like never before. To understand issues like water rights, border security, and logging, through the multiple perspectives and raw opinions of the real people who live in the region.” More…

Intramural Community

Whitties are active. More than 25 percent participate in varsity athletic programs. And more than 70 percent of them regularly gather on Ankeny field to participate in one or more IM events – as independents or as members of teams hosted by fraternities, sororities, and residence halls. More…

An ever-greener Whitman

windmills

Visitors to Whitman College unfailingly notice the beauty of the campus, remembering it as a cool green oasis of trees, lawns, flowers and natural wild grasses. It’s behind the scenes, however, that Whitman grows greener every year, thanks to efforts of students, faculty and staff. More

Scrambles: Scaling New Heights

scrambles

Scrambles bring together new classmates in weeklong canoeing, backpacking, or climbing adventures, giving them the opportunity to make friends even before their first semester. More….

blue moon — Gold Medal

blue moon

For the second straight year, Whitman College's annual art and literary magazine, blue moon, has been awarded the Columbia Scholastic Press Association's Gold Medal. Published every spring, blue moon features the visual art, poetry, and prose of members of the Whitman community, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni. More…

Living in Walla Walla

Walla Walla sunset

My homeland is at 64 degrees north latitude, and I hail from the interior Alaskan town of Fairbanks. I’ll be the first to admit that when I transplanted myself to Walla Walla to be a student, I never imagined  my wild and unruly Alaskan roots could ever take hold here. More…

Sisterhood is Powerful

Akili Dada

For Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg ’01, the road to Akili Dada by way of Whitman College had many signposts, all with the same directions. Kamau-Rutenberg founded Akili Dada, an international organization that provides competitive and comprehensive secondary-school scholarships and career mentoring for young Kenyan women. More…

Mr. Ambassador, times five: Ryan Crocker ’71

Ryan Crocker

Ryan Crocker ’71 had barely started his new post in 2007 as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq when, with heavy military protection, he toured a destroyed southwest suburb of Baghdad. It looked more like Berlin in 1945, he said. He remembers seeing shell-shocked people who were unwilling to get medical care for fear of potential dangers at checkpoint. And he remembers returning to his office, putting his head on his desk, and thinking to himself, “How did I get into this and how am I going to get out?” More…

Global Citizens

Lindsey Gehrig

Lindsey Gehrig ’05 describes her Whitman experience as a “series of doors opening in a sort of domino effect.” More…

Finding Humor: John Moe

John Moe

The hound dog that singer Elvis Presley refers to, the one that’s “cryin’ all the time,” was pretty miffed at the singer’s negative portrayal and wrote a snarling letter to Elvis giving the valid reasons why he cries (severe clinical depression), and why he has never been able to catch a rabbit, (“…while dark thoughts echo to my very core. I can’t catch a rabbit when I’m crying all the time. It’s a cycle.”) More…

Engaging Community

First Person: Josh Duckworth

Duckworth

“The best thing and the most challenging thing about being a student athlete is our busy schedule. I enjoy the fact that I have something to do, so my focus stays in two main areas, school and basketball.” More…

The (Harper) Joy of Theatre

Nancy Simon

Nancy Simon’s gestures say as much as her words. They tell us, in so many motions, that she has lived 50 years of her life in the theater. Ask Simon about the humor in Samuel Beckett’s plays or the layers of dramatic meaning in “The Merchant of Venice,” and her arms will rise and fan out like the wings of an Andean condor about to ride a high-mountain thermal. They suggest something not only about Simon’s temperament but also her approach to life. More…

Black Student Union events create dialogue

Walla Walla sunset

Sarah Deming ’10 says it wasn’t until she came to Whitman that she really started learning about her own heritage. “It is nice to have strong black women in my life other than my mom,” she said. “They were always there for me. I’d like to return the favor.” In part, she’s doing that by being active in BSU. More…

Snakes, science and survival: a day in the life of Kate Jackson

Standing on quiet ground, in a peaceful desert, who would even have a clue that below ground an animal had been trapped for weeks and was weakening. A female rattlesnake’s nose was scraped and bleeding from trying to dig her way out for many weeks. The opening of the burrow she had hibernated in had been trampled shut by cattle during winter rains in the Sonoran Desert and then the sun had baked it dry, impenetrable. More…

First person: Emilie Gilbert

Gilbert

“Whitman, being such a small community, helps ensure student athletes are incorporated into the rest of the campus and students and faculty do a great job of supporting us... The best part of being a student athlete is getting to be a part of a tight-knit group, which is really like your family on campus. The most challenging aspect is missing class when we go on the road. ” More…

Penrose Library: an educational partner

Penrose Library

“We work to ensure that students can retrieve, evaluate and synthesize information, here at Whitman and in their future academic endeavors,” says Dalia Corkrum, library director. “Whitman students and faculty often are equal partners in research endeavors, and the library caters to that core emphasis. We focus on anticipating faculty and student needs.” More…

Land and See

Karlis Rokpelnis

Karlis Rokpelnis ’09 says it was wanderlust that compelled him to leave his family’s farm in Latvia to study acting in Denmark, volunteer in the Arctic and learn six languages before arriving at Whitman as an international student. He has since taken on a leadership role in environmental projects on campus and off. More…

Fridays at Five

Jacqueline Kamm

On many Fridays, members of Whitman’s Hillel-Shalom group gather at 5 p.m. in the campus’ spirituality room, mostly bare except for a wooden table upon which sit candle sticks, Dixie cups and, Manischewitz, the sweet traditional wine. More…

“At the end, it rains” — Dena Popova

Whitman student filmmaker Dena Popova ’10 found her inspiration far from Hollywood, 6,600 miles away in the Bulgarian countryside. There, at a folklore festival, she first witnessed the vaydudulka, a traditional rain prayer dance. More…

Walking the Talk

Matt Schisler

Meet Matt Schisler from Bellingham, Washington. He’s an athlete, a member of Whitman’s fly fishing club, and a DJ for KWCW 90.5, the college radio station. He’s a serious scholar – a politics and rhetoric and film studies major with a GPA that hovers between 3.8 and 3.9. He’s also a recipient of a President’s Scholarship for debate and a team leader of Whitman’s nationally renowned debate team. More…

Artistic Vision

Kaliswa Brewster

Kaliswa Brewster ’05: “Whitman expects you to soak in all you can and then come up with your own ideas, your own take on things.” More…

Unexpected opportunities: Jacqueline Kamm ’10 embraces Walla Walla’s Jewish community on campus and off

Jacqueline Kamm

Jacqueline Kamm's high school history teacher in Sammamish, Wash., urged her a few years ago to look at Whitman College because it ‘turns out really good thinkers.” That was the big draw for her. More…