Alumni Board Bios
Whitman College Alumni Board
J Preston Frederickson ‘02, President, Walla Walla, WA is an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Walla Walla representing the city on various land-use, contract, municipal law and other civil matters. A politics major and studio art minor at Whitman, Frederickson attended Gonzaga University School of Law receiving his Juris Doctor degree in 2005. Before returning to Walla Walla in 2006, Frederickson practiced law in downtown Seattle, WA, focusing on construction defect litigation. He is involved at Whitman as an Associate Class Representative, a career mentor and an admissions office volunteer. He is married to Doretha. They are proud parents of 3 boys and 2 girls. Frederickson's interests include biking, camping, mechanicing and renovating his turn of the century craftsman bungalow.
Kirsten Adams Gable ‘01, Vice President, graduated from Whitman College in 2001. She majored in Biology, minored in Environmental Studies and received her MBA at Gonzaga in 2010. Kirsten has worked as a Management Consultant at Sapere Consultant for the past ten years. Their areas of expertise include business process improvement, organizational strategy, project planning and management, product strategy and development, and regulatory and policy analysis. Her work supports clients in the energy and natural resources sector. Clients range from large government entities to smaller local utilities. In addition, she heads Sapere’s Recruiting Committee.
Kirsten is married to Brent Gable (University of Idaho). They have one daughter.
Kirsten and Brent support the First Harvest Food Bank and the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery. They also take advantage of the many outdoor activities the Spokane area has to offer (hiking, beautiful city parks, skiing, camping). Prior to moving to Spokane, she was a volunteer for Share Vancouver, a non-profit that provides shelter, food, and emergency services, in addition to annual summer camps for disadvantaged youth. She also enjoys participating in Bloomsday and other local charity runs.
Kirsten said that it is hard to define one Whitman memory as a favorite, but rather the entire experience was fulfilling. The excellent professors (Professors Drabek and Carson in particular) taught her to always be intellectually curious and to actively seek out learning opportunities. The many late nights spent in the library taught her about the value of time management, thought hanging out in the library late at night often lead to great conversations with friends. Winning blue shirts for intramural flag football was a highlight (go Kappa!). Kirsten thinks mostly what she thinks of fondly when she reminisces about Whitman, was that it was a time in her life when she was surrounded by good friends who were always more than willing to embark on adventures together, whether it was a drive into the wheat fields or a decision to study abroad for the semester. The feeling of community at Whitman was strong and she is happy to be a member.
Kirsten's time at Whitman helped to shape her into the person she is today and she will always be grateful for the wonderful experiences she was able to enjoy. Volunteering for Whitman as a member of the Portland and Spokane Alumni Clubs and now as an Alumni Association Board member presents her with the opportunity to give back to the College and to the Whitman community. It also allows Kirsten to continue her Whitman experience, which she finds invaluable.
She is excited to begin her term on the Alumni Association Board and is looking forward to working with alumni to ensure their thoughts and opinions are heard and communicated to the College.
John Blackmon '79 is a banking consultant specializing in opening small community banks. Blackmon received a master's degree in business administration from the University of Washington and a graduate degree in banking from Pacific Coast Banking School. Blackmon's community service includes work as president of First Tee of Southern Nevada; chairman of the board of Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada; and president of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, (UNLV) Rebel Football Foundation. He was a Whitman class representative from 1993 to 2006. Blackmon and his wife, Susan, have six children and two grandchildren. He enjoys golfing, reading and collecting foreign coins.
A 30-year veteran of public relations, Mary Deming Barber '78 is president and CEO of The Barber Group, a strategic communications and public relations firm in Anchorage, a firm she founded in June of 2000. Most recently, Mary worked with the Alaska Community Foundation help create a strategic communications plan and establish guidelines for the organization's branding and communications. She was instrumental in the creation of Anchorage's July 4th Celebration. She is adept at communicating with Alaska's unique population groups, especially Alaska Native peoples and has extensive experience in food public relations. Mary spent her professional career in Portland, Denver and San Francisco before moving to Anchorage in 1991. She received a Silver Anvil award for work with the Beef Industry Council at Ketchum Public Relations in San Francisco. Between 1978 and 1991, Mary worked with a variety of food groups representing beef, sheep, seafood, raisins, potatoes and prunes. Taking a break from food public relations and keeping a promise made to a US Senator, Mary also coordinated the volunteer efforts for his successful statewide political campaign.
Barber is currently the secretary/treasurer of the Public Relations Society of America College of Fellows. She recently completed a four-year term on the Society's Board of Directors, including service as the 2008 secretary and member of the PRSA Foundation's Board of Trustees. She is accredited in public relations and was inducted into the prestigious College of Fellows in 2003. In 2000, PRSA's Alaska Chapter named Mary its Communicator of the Year. She's been president of both the Ad2 Division of the American Advertising Federation and the International Foodservice Editorial Council.
An avid community volunteer, Mary served on the board of directors for the United Way of Anchorage for nine years. During her tenure, she established communication tools so the Board of Directors was aware of staff activities, and served as leader of a community-wide committee to identify Anchorage's strengths and weaknesses with a goal of building a better city in the long run. Mary also served as chair of the marketing and communications committee for several years where she spearheaded a re-branding effort for the organization.
Unable to say "no" to a cause in which she believes, Mary offers assistance to a number of other organizations. Most recently, she joined the Whitman College Alumni Board, continuing more than 30 years of service to her alma mater. She is well known in Anchorage for her flower garden so it's no wonder she also offers public relations advice to the fledgling Alaska Botanical Garden.
Mary's husband (Alan) completed 30 years of service in the Alaska Air National Guard and retired as commander of the Maintenance Group. He now works in business development for an Alaska Native corporation. They have two active teenage sons meaning Mary is intimately involved in all the boys' activities.
Jim Dow ’71 started his 40th year in the classroom this fall. He teaches chemistry and advanced-placement chemistry at Bainbridge High School, where he also has coached football and girls’ basketball. After earning his bachelor’s degree in psychology, he went on to get his master’s degree in education counseling. A volunteer firefighter/EMT in his Bainbridge community for 27 years, Dow holds the rank of lieutenant. He developed a computerized map of Bainbridge Island for emergency response, and has served as a member of the state Licensing and Certification and Emergency Medical Services committees. “Who has spare time?” he asks, although the veteran of alumni white water rafting trips has made time for Whitman: He attends Commencement when his former Bainbridge students graduate, and he has served as an alumni admission volunteer since the mid-1970s. He enjoys playing golf, and he and his significant other, Natalie, enjoy visiting their home on the Oregon Coast.
Minda McLaughlin Merrow ’62, a retired elementary school teacher, lives in San Diego with her husband, Charlie Merrow ’62. Minda Merrow earned a bachelor’s degree in education-psychology, but her focus in recent years has shifted to traveling with Charlie, “loving and caring for four wonderful grandchildren, “ and spending time with their children, Sharon and Michael, and spouses. Merrow also volunteers as a hospital surgical liaison representative, is a Stephen minister and sings in the choir at church, serves as an active member and past president of her P.E.O. chapter, and belongs to Women’s Political Organization. She is a longtime representative for her Whitman class and a San Diego alumni admission representative. “This is another opportunity to serve Whitman and to learn more about the college of which I am very happy to be an alumna! My associations with Whitman over many years have been most rewarding, and I am looking forward to working in this new capacity.”
Dr. Nick Paslidis ’82, chief medical officer of an Arizona hospital, earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Whitman, then a medical degree and a doctorate before beginning his career as a physician in a rural health-care setting in Little Rock, Arkansas. Paslidis became medical director of 18 rural health clinics in 2001 and added a master’s degree in health-care management from Harvard University to his r'esum'e. In 2006, he became CEO/president of the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, and this year moved his family to Arizona for his current position. Paslidis volunteers with an agency that provides free health care to the uninsured and underinsured, and is involved with the sports activities of his and wife Sarah’s three children, Alexandra, 16, Abigail, 13, and Yiannis, 8. His hobbies include playing tennis and racquetball, traveling and reading. “My studies at Whitman prepared me for life and helped to form my career goals. I am pleased to be able to volunteer my time to assist the college with new projects and with innovative ideas for the students and alumni in order for them to continue their cohesive relationship with Whitman.”
Beth Long Salaguinto ’88, a human resources expert in recruitment, performance management and employee relations, lives in Bothell, Wash., with her husband, David Salaguinto ’87, and children, Taylor, 14, and Grayce, 10. Beth Salaguinto has worked in the human resources field for high-tech, aerospace and health-care companies for the past 15 years. A politics major at Whitman, she earned her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington in 1995, and later a certification in human resources. Salaguinto serves on the board of the Snohomish County Human Resources Association, for which she teaches certification courses. The governor appointed her to the Snohomish County Boundary Review Board. This past year, she co-chaired The Links Inc./Junior League Mother’s Day Project, which supplied more than 1,500 baskets of personal items to women’s shelters in the Greater Seattle area. Salaguinto has served Whitman as a class representative, reunion chair and alumni admission representative. She enjoys spending time with her family, scrapbooking and travel, and looks forward to serving on the alumni board and sharing enthusiasm for Whitman with other alumni and prospective students. “I get a chill when I see any Whitman alumnus or a Whitman sticker on someone’s car. The connection provides endless conversation because we have so much in common.”
Kieta Mall Skoglund ’89 is a 16-year veteran of the events management and hospitality industry and operates her own event consulting, photography and web design business. She has worked on numerous high-profile events, including the Presidential Inauguration. After earning her bachelor’s degree in history, she attended George Washington University for her certificate in event management. Skoglund lives in Alexandria, Va., with her husband, Randy Skoglund. Her hobbies include photography, travel, gardening and volunteering for Dog World Rescue, through which she adopted her dog, Wrigley.
Skoglund also has served as a Whitman alumni admission representative for 19 years and has organized numerous alumni events in Washington, D.C. Her goal as an Alumni Association Board member is “to give back to an institution that was so instrumental in shaping who I am today.”
Ari van Schilfgaarde ’07 earned his bachelor’s degree in physics and environmental studies and currently works for a global consulting company designing more sustainable ways for businesses to operate. He lives in Seattle.
A supporter of the Spanish-language King County Bar Association’s free legal services, he also assists Spanish-speaking immigrants preparing to take their U.S. citizenship tests as a citizenship instructor for El Centro de la Raza. Van Schilfgaarde said Semester in the West was his favorite Whitman experience, recalling that he learned valuable lessons about collaborative conservation that he still applies to his work today.
“I’m excited to be able to support the college and support current students to have the type of life-changing experiences that Whitman provided me,” he said.