The Faculty


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Jim Hanson, Director of Forensics


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Bob Withycombe, Department Chair




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Geof Brodak, Parliamentary-IE Assistant


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Abby St. Lawrence, Student Assistant and Intramural Debate Coordinator


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J.P. Lacy, Policy Assistant



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The team’s 2000 picture.

At left Nicholas Thomas and Jim Hanson

On the stairs (left to right beginning with the front row)

Keola Whittaker, Brian Simmonds, Jessica Clarke

Charles Olney, Emily Cordo, Scott Daniel

J.P. Lacy, Mario Cava, Natalie Havlina

Lauren Ritter, Denice Kelley, Bona Sherifi

Todd Borden, Thad Blank, Brian Danielson

Brian Ward, Geof Brodak




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J.P.: Good morning!


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Denice, Thad, Emily, Todd, and Keola


Whitman News

·        Tom Cronin, College President
·        Jim Hanson Director of Forensics and Debate Coach.
·        Abby St. Lawrence, Whitman Forensics Assistant
·        Geof Brodak, Assistant Parliamentary and IE Coach
·        J.P. Lacy, Policy Assistant Coach

·        Jennifer Burgess is the student body president.

·        Professor Shampa Biswass is hired as a tenure-track professor within the Politics department.

·        Jochen Wierich joins the art department as a visiting professor.

·        Penrose Library is under construction.

·        Planning for a new student center is under way.

·        The Pio is running adds on Starbucks and Coffee Perks, Little Ceasers, cell phones.

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Policy team photo near the creek.

Rhetoric Courses

CHANGE: The 210 course, advanced public address, is dropped due to low enrollment. 121 is renamed “practicum” and given a different description to avoid confusion that it is a prerequisite to 221 and 222. Argument in the Law and Politics is the new name for the argument course and it is now cross-listed in Politics. Rhetoric 370 is divided into Rhetoric 371 Classical and Rhetoric 372 Contemporary. 371 is cross-listed in the Classics department. All course descriptions were slightly revised to fit with a campus wide rewording of the catalog. Independent Study is now split with 401 for Bob and 402 for Jim. Rhetoric 240 is now cross listed with American Ethnic studies.

Courses treat Rhetoric and Public Address as a liberal art, proposing that such communication is not a skill learned by rule but an exercise of judgment that can be no better than the communicator's understanding of the nature of the communicative acts.


The Rhetoric or Public Address minor: A minimum of twenty credits in Rhetoric and Public Address that consists of course work in two areas of study: (A) a four credit Performance requirement to be satisfied through Rhetoric 110, 210, or four credits of Rhetoric 221 or 222; (B) a sixteen credit Theory, Criticism, and Case Study requirement to be satisfied through Rhetoric 240, 270, 370, 379, and 380. Up to four credits of departmentally approved Rhetoric 401 and 402 may be taken to satisfy the Theory, Criticism, and Case Study requirement. Minor modifications in this program may be made with the approval of the department.


RHETORIC 110. Fundamentals of Public Address, 4 hours.

RHETORIC 121, Intercollegiate Forensics Practicum, 1 hour

RHETORIC 221, Public Address in Intercollegiate Forensics, 2 hours

RHETORIC 222, Debating in Intercollegiate Forensics, 2 hours

RHETORIC 240, Rhetorical Explorations: Gender, Class and Race, 4 hours

RHETORIC 270. Persuasion, Agitation and Social Movements, 4 hours.

RHETORIC 371. Classical Western Rhetorical Theory, 4 hours.

RHETORIC 372. Contemporary Western Rhetorical Theory, 4 hours.

RHETORIC 379, 380. Special Topics Courses. Rhetorical Criticism, Freedom of Rhetoric, Background of African American Protest Rhetoric, Argument in the Law and Politics, Rhetorical Study of Kenneth Burke, Political Campaign Rhetoric: Persuading America

RHETORIC 401, 402. Independent Study.


World News

·        January 13 - After 13 years of playing NBA basketball, superstar Michael Jordan announces his second retirement from basketball.

·        February 2 - Hugo Chávez becomes President of Venezuela.

·        March 24 - NATO launches air strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which refused to sign a peace treaty. This marks the first time NATO attacked a sovereign country.

·        April 5 - In Laramie, Wyoming, Russell Henderson pleads guilty to kidnapping and felony murder, in order to avoid a possible death penalty conviction for the apparent hate crime killing of Matthew Shepard.

·        April 20 - Columbine High School massacre: Two Littleton, Colorado teenagers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, open fire on their teachers and classmates, killing 12 students and 1 teacher, and then themselves.

·        May 17 - Ehud Barak is elected prime minister of Israel.

·        August 9 - Russian President Boris Yeltsin fires his Prime Minister, Sergei Stepashin, and for the fourth time fires his entire cabinet.

·        September 7 - Viacom-CBS merger

·        October 13 - The United States Senate rejects ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

·        November 30 - Exxonmobil Corporation merger was completed, and formed the largest company in the world.



Team Awards

For the 27th year Whitman College hosts the high school tournament. 54 high schools will participate.

The team is made of 26 regular traveling members and 11 newcomers. 90% of the team is made of sophomores or first year students. This year’s team is the largest so far.

Last year’s squad finished 6th in CEDA, 11th in NDT and 19th in NPDA rankings. The team of Clarke and Symonds took first place in CEDA national championship.

This year Jessica Clarke is partnered with freshmen Charles Olney. The top policy team of Olney and Clarke captured first place in senior policy debate at University of Oregon. Thomas and Daniel closed out the junior division with the duo of junior Keola Whittaker and first year student Brian Ward, giving Whitman top two teams in the tournament. Sophomore Mark Lanning and Freshman Denice Kelly took frist place in novice parliamentary debate, while first year student Ian Danforth was the top speaker in junior parliamentary debate. Burgess and Olson broke in the elimination rounds.

In February Whitman’s debaters were spread throughout the country in 3 different tournaments. The majority of the team traveled to Western Washington University in Bellingham. 6 members went to San Diego to participate at the Point Loma Nazarene University and 2 members went to Chicago to participate in Northwestern’s debate. Kelley and Havlina took 5th place in junior parliamentary debate. Kelley also took 2nd place in persuasive and extemporaneous speaking. Simmonds and Ward took third place in the Senior Policy division, while Thad Blank and Emily Cordo took first.

2 teams that attended Point Loma, Borden and his partner Gabe McGuire took 17th in the Parliamentary division, while Senior Brandt Olson placed 6th in the Lincoln Douglas event. Senior Jessika Clarke and first year Charles Olney placed 9th in the very prestigious Northwestern tournament in Chicago.

The Whitman debate team ended the season impressively, placing in the top 20 in 3 nationwide debate tournaments during the spring break. The team finished 10th overall in the Parliamentary National Debate tournament in Omaha, Nebraska. Junior Brian Danielson and his partner first year student Denice Kelley, and Keola Whittaker and Brant Olson finished tied for thirty-third in the competition. In the CEDA National Debate Tournament in Kansas City, Missouri, Clarke and Olney finished 5th, Blank and Cordo finished 17th. Clarke was named the 6th best speaker at the whole tournament


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Denice Kelley did very well during the 1999-2000 year as a frosh.

Policy Awards

Overall 1st, Western Scrimmage; 2nd, Lewis and Clark; 1st, U. Oregon; 1st, U. So. Cal; 1st, Baylor; 1st, WWU; 1st, NFC-Whitman; 1st, NW CEDA Champs; 3rd, CEDA Nationals

Jessica Clarke and Charles Olney: 1st, Western Scrimmage; 2nd, Lewis & Clark; 1st, U. Oregon; 17th, Wake Forest; 9th, Univ. So. Cal.; 5th, Long Beach; 5th, West Georgia, 9th, Baylor; 9th, Northwestern; 1st, NFC-Whitman; 3rd, NW CEDA Champs; 5th, CEDA Nationals; 17th, NDT

Courtney Gardner and Emily Cordo: 5th, Lewis and Clark; 5th, U. Oregon

Thad Blank and Emily Cordo: 5th, Long Beach; 17th, Baylor; 1st, WWU; 1st, NFC-Whitman; 3rd, NW CEDA Champs; 17th, CEDA Nationals; NDT Qualifiers

Brian Simmonds and Thad Blank: 5th, Western Scrimmage, 5th, U. Oregon

Brian Simmonds and BrianWard: 3rd, WWU; 1st, NFC-Whitman; 5th, CEDA Champs

Keola Whittaker and Brian Ward: 5th, Lewis and Clark; 1st, U Oregon; 1st, USC; 2nd, Baylor

Nicholas Thomas and Scott Daniel: 1st, U. Oregon; 1st, USC; 5th, Baylor; 1st, NFC-Whitman

Lauren Ritter and Mario Cava: 3rd, NFC-Whitman


Parli Awards

Overall 2nd, Lewis & Clark; 3rd, NFC-Whitman; 10th, NPDA Nationals

Brant Olson and Jenni Burgess: 9th, Lewis & Clark; 9th, U. Oregon

Brant Olson and Keola Whittaker: 1st, PLU; 33rd, Parli Nationals

Gary VanDenBerg and Brian Danielson: 9th, U. Oregon

Brian Danielson and Denice Kelly: 9th, NW Parli Champs; 33rd, NPDA Nationals

Todd Borden and Gabe McGuire: 2nd, Lewis and Clark; 17th, Pt. Loma; 2nd, NFC-Whitman

Denice Kelley and Mark Lanning: 1st, U. Oregon

Denice Kelley and Natalie Havlina: 5th, WWU

Brant Olson and Maggie Malone: 9th, Air Force

Individual Events Awards

Brian Danielson: Junior Impromptu: Finalist, Lewis and Clark, 2nd, U. Oregon; Junior Extemp: Finalist, PLU; Finalist, NFC-Whitman;

Brian Simmonds: NFA LD, 2nd, Air Force; Extemp-LD, 2nd, NFC-Whitman

Brant Olson: NFA LD, 5th, Air Force; Extemp-LD, 3rd, NFC-Whitman

Courtney Gardner: Novice Extemp, 2nd, Lewis and Clark

Gabe McGuire: Junior Extemp, 3rd, Lewis and Clark; Finalist, NFC-Whitman; Junior Impromptu: 1st, Lewis and Clark

Gary VanDenBerg: Junior Extemp: 1st, Lewis & Clark; Finalist, U. Oregon

Ian Danforth: Junior Impromptu, 3rd, U. Oregon

Jenni Burgess: Senior Impromptu, 1st, U. Oregon and Lewis and Clark, and Senior Extemp, Finalist, Lewis and Clark; 1st, U. Oregon

Mark Lanning: Novice Impromptu, 1st, Lewis and Clark; 3rd, U. Oregon

Meredith Johnson: Novice Extemp, 1st, Lewis and Clark

Natalie Havlina: Novice Extemp, Finalist, U. Oregon

Denice Kelly: Junior Impromptu, Finalist, PLU; 1st, NFC-Whitman; Junior Persuasion, 2nd, WWU; Junior Extemp, 2nd, WWU; Senior Persuasion, 3rd, NFC-Whitman;

Mario Cava: Junior Extemp, 2nd, NFC-Whitman

Brian Ward: Junior Extemp-LD, 1st, NFC-Whitman

Scott Daniel: Junior Extemp-LD, 1st, NFC-Whitman