News release date: February 7, 1996

New Walter A. Bratton Indoor Tennis Center Opens at Whitman

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- The Bratton Tennis Center, named in honor of former Whitman College president Walter A. Bratton, opened for use in early February on the Whitman campus.

The $1.2 million indoor facility was funded in large part by a $410,000 gift from his grandson, Walter A. "Jerry" Bratton, of Olympia. According to Janice Abraham, Whitman treasurer, the balance of the cost was donated specifically for the center primarily by the Bratton family, former students of President Bratton, and former tennis players at Whitman.

Located on Boyer Avenue between Touchet and Tucannon streets, the 28,000-square- foot masonry building houses four indoor courts, dressing rooms, rest rooms and a balcony area where people can observe games in progress. The Bratton Center is being used for intramural tennis competition, physical education courses and recreational tennis as well as for the men's and women's varsity tennis teams.

The new tennis center commemorates the man who between 1895 and 1942 served Whitman in a variety of roles, including tennis coach, mathematics professor, dean and president (1936-42).

Jerry Bratton, a 1960 alumnus who was Northwest Conference singles and doubles champion in 1958 and 1959, also sought to fill a void that has existed at the college. "I think an indoor tennis facility is past due on campus, and the community and the college will get a lot of good out of it," he said, adding that he expects the facility to help in the college's tennis recruiting efforts.

The nearest indoor tennis facility is in the Tri-Cities, and in times of inclement weather Whitman teams have had to dash the 50 miles to finish or play matches, Abraham noted. "An indoor tennis facility has been a priority for a long time, and this generous gift from Jerry Bratton, along with generosity of others, has made it possible," she said.

The Bratton family has a special and long-standing connection with Whitman tennis. President Bratton coached, and members of his family who played tennis for Whitman is a long one -- his son, Robert, a 1924 graduate; his grandsons, Robert, a 1953 graduate, and Jerry, a 1960 graduate; and his great-granddaughter Nancy, a 1986 graduate and Jerry Bratton's daughter.

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When the sun is shining and the weather pleasant, Whitman College varsity tennis teams and other members of the Whitman community have the option of playing on the campus outdoor courts, which were renovated in 1990 through the generosity of two of Whitman's former tennis champions. For that story, click here.

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CONTACT:

Dave Holden, Whitman College Sports Information Director
Telephone: (509) 527-5902
Email Address: holden@whitman.edu