August 4, 2008

Volume 2, issue 48
August 4, 2008
The Fountain

Stats, rankings reflect Whitman’s excellence

According to a Web report issued last week, Whitman ranks in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) top 50 academic institutions for producing bachelor’s degrees that lead to Ph.D.s in science and engineering. Whitman ranks 27th among national liberal arts colleges. The report also reveals that baccalaureate colleges produce about 13 percent of all science and engineering bachelor’s degrees and that they are considered “important contributors to producing future S&E Ph.D.s.” Read more about it here.

Also, the 2009 edition of The Princeton Review’s “Best 368 Colleges” places Whitman on 11 of its widely read Top-20 lists, including such categories as Best Classroom Experience, Best College Library, Best College Theater, Best Quality of Life, Professors Get High Marks and Happiest Students. These rankings reflect the comments of students, who, in addition to valuing professors, appreciate the work of staff as Whitman again is listed in the Top-20 in the category of School Runs Like Butter. According to Princeton Review editor Rob Franek, the book is not about ranking the best schools; it’s designed to help prospective students find the best school for their individual needs and desires.

And The Princeton Review has launched a new element — a “Green Rating.” Whitman’s Score: 91. Using a numerical scale from 60-99, the rating is “a measure of how environmentally friendly the institutions are,” based on information provided by 538 colleges and universities. From the news release: “The criteria for the rating cover three broad areas: 1) whether the school’s students have a campus quality of life that is healthy and sustainable, 2) how well the school is preparing its students for employment and citizenship in a world defined by environmental challenges, and 3) the school’s overall commitment to environmental issues. The institutional survey for the rating included questions on everything from energy use, recycling, food, buildings, and transportation to academic offerings (availability of environmental studies degrees and courses) and action plans and goals concerning greenhouse gas emission reductions.” Read more at the Princeton Review Web site.

Help wanted: staff prepares for Opening Day

Opening Day 2008 at Whitman — move-in day for new students — is Thursday, Aug. 28, and Associate Dean of Students (Student Programs and Activities) Barbara Maxwell wants a few good staff. Last year many campus community members turned out to help. Director of Human Resources Cindy Matern met students at the Walla Walla Airport and provided them with curbside delivery to their residence halls. Reid Campus Center Custodian Joan Walter assisted Security Director Terry Thompson with the making of student ID cards. Summer Dance Lab Coordinator Karyl Dennis greeted students and provided them with mailbox numbers and combinations.

"I love Opening Day," said Maxwell. "The air is charged with excitement, energy and possibility." The cause of the volunteer effort is clear: to help new students and their families settle into campus. And the "rules," Maxwell notes, are simple: The invitation to help is for staff, and the work is voluntary, not a command performance.

Move-in will start at 8 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. "Staff who volunteer will be asked to help with tasks such as meeting and greeting at the street barricades behind Lyman and Jewett, assisting with the photo ID process, providing post office numbers and combinations, and assisting with package pickups," Maxwell said.

And the rewards? For Maxwell, there are three above all. "I love the excitement on the faces of the new students as they begin this new chapter in their lives," she said. "I love assuring parents that Whitman will be an excellent place for their son or daughter to grow and develop. I love knowing that the staff will go above and beyond to make this the first of many wonderful experiences for both our new students and their parents."

To volunteer, please contact Maxwell at x 5208 or

Whitman team creates onion art for downtown display

“Entwined,” pictured above, was created by Whitman students Meghan Urback ’09, Mia Huth ’10, Elizabeth Otto ’09, and Rebecca Jensen ’07 for inclusion in Walla Walla’s inaugural downtown “Sweet Onions on Display” sculpture show. The entry was made possible by Whitman parents (not of the artists) who read about the event in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin and offered to underwrite the costs for a Whitman-affiliated artist or team to participate. The parents, who acted anonymously, noted that the Whitman team “did a beautiful job,” said Lynn Lunden, associate vice president for development-major gifts. A Union-Bulletin article with more details about the entire display is available here.

Stage being set on Reid Lawn

Compared to the massive Sherwood renovation project and the remaining detail work for the Fouts Center for Visual Arts, another construction project may pale in comparison size-wise, but certainly stacks up in meaning. A new outdoor stage is being built on the Reid Lawn, thanks to a gift from the students and parents of the Class of 2007. The stage, scheduled to be completed by mid-August, is situated in the center of the lawn and will be available for students to use for impromptu as well as planned events. In addition, it will expand Reid Campus Center’s programming space to outside the building, said Barbara Maxwell, associate dean of students (student programs and activities), and is anticipated to be used extensively in the fall and late spring.

Comings and goings

Whitman extends a warm welcome to: Kevin S. Walker, technical director/lighting designer, Harper Joy Theatre; Philip "P.J." C. Petrone, assistant director of admission, California Regional Office; Wayne R. Gascon, general maintenance technician; Brian W. Griffith, consultant, IT services; Patrick F. Herman, resident director, interest house community; Phillip A. Lundquist, resident director, Prentiss Hall; Eric C. Wehlitz, resident director, Douglas Hall/College House/Marcus House; Amber E. Broel, administrative assistant, Fouts Visual Arts Center; Jay W. Heath, technical manager, Semester in the West; Season L. Martin, field manager, Semester in the West; William "Will" R. Davidson, geology technician; Eugenio I. Rojas, custodian, academic and administrative buildings; Michael A. Baird, technical specialist, development.

The college announces the following changes: Laura Cummings, from administrative assistant for study abroad to senior assistant for study abroad; Brenda Sanchez, from administrative assistant for development to annual fund officer; Carol Carr, from systems/catalog librarian to integrated systems/metadata librarian; Maxine Darrow, from cataloging assistant to library assistant (cataloging); Karla Hall, from library serials assistant to library assistant (serials); Julianne Hoppen, from cataloging assistant to library assistant (cataloging); Rich Pengra, from collection development assistant to library assistant (acquisitions); Roger Stelk, from collection development librarian to head of collection management. In addition, Michelle Gisi, lab and imaging coordinator for cell and molecular biology courses, is now Michelle Shafer; Rebecca Miller, assistant director of study abroad, is now Rebecca Wyrwas.

The college bids farewell to: Evan Carman, resident director, interest house community; Elana Stone, resident director, Douglas Hall/College House/Marcus House; Mariah Weston, resident director, Prentiss Hall; Amy Kunkel-Patterson, planned giving and foundations assistant; Lloann Ball, nurse; Sara Gasparich, geology technician.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Stats and Rankings
Help Wanted
Onion Art
Reid Stage
Comings and Goings

Past issues

The Fountain is published by the Office of Communications. Send news to Editor Lenel Parish at Photos are accepted. Submissions are due by Tuesday at 5 p.m. for the following week's issue. Director of Communications: Ruth Wardwell. Online: