February 11, 2007

Volume 2, issue 24
February 11, 2008
The Fountain

Keith Boykin to present Whitman’s Fifth Matthew Shepard Lecture

Keith Boykin, author, television personality and former special assistant to President Bill Clinton, will present Whitman’s Fifth Matthew Shepard Lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Maxey Auditorium. He will discuss “Sexuality, Human Rights, and the Media,” a dialogue that will be facilitated by Alberto Galindo, associate professor of Spanish, and Robert Tobin, Cushing Eells Professor of Humanities.

Boykin is a host of the BET show My Two Cents, a frequent commentator on CNN, and the New York Times best-selling author of “One More River to Cross”, “Respecting the Soul”, and “Beyond the Down Low: Sex Lies and Denial in Black America.” He is a veteran of six political campaigns, including two presidential campaigns.

The disappearing water bottle — it’s happening on campus

While the water inside a plastic bottle hydrates and quenches thirst, serving important human health needs, the container itself is proving to be poison to the environment. Countless reports in the media recently have illustrated just how damaging and costly the vessels are, from the disposal of non-recycled bottles to the carbon impact of transporting cases of bottled water.

The Conservation Committee, Campus Greens, the Whitman Campus Climate Challenge and the Office of the President all have taken note of the situation, and President Bridges has expressed the desire to stop using water bottles on campus. For example, pitchers of water are being offered instead of individual bottles at various catered meetings and events, not only conserving but also taking advantage of the wonderful quality of Walla Walla tap water. In addition, for gatherings of campus community members, students, staff and faculty are asked to bring their own cup or container to help cut down on waste from disposable cups. Some vending machines will continue to include bottled water, largely to serve campus visitors.

Hand-made Valentines spread the love

This and 175 other hand-made valentines hung on display last week in Olin. The display included Prof. Blocker’s printed valentines and a one-of-a-kind book.

Valentine cards hand-made by students, including residents of the Fine Arts House (FAH), and Mare Blocker, visiting assistant professor of art, spread love as they were displayed in Olin Hall and went a step further — proceeds from sales of the cards benefited the Walla Walla YWCA Women and Families Shelters, supporting local women and children who are escaping domestic violence. The sale generated more than $315 (at press time), and the project may kick off an annual tradition, according to Blocker. “I met with FAH residents and we discussed ways we could do a philanthropic event for the community, and this is what we came up with,” said Blocker, who is the FAH adviser. “We chose this as a way to send the local women and children who are displaced by domestic violence a valentine and let them know other people do care about them. The FAH is excited to make this an annual event. It was a fun project to do, and it seems to be well received by the campus. And the YWCA is thrilled.”

Staff Profile: Paul Dennis
Administrative Assistant, Reid Campus Center

  • Birthplace: Longview, Wash.
  • Education: Bachelor of Music, Education, University of Puget Sound
  • Years at Whitman: Eight
  • Favorite book/film/music/play/art/etc: Music — Renaissance a cappella choral music; Art — Impressionism; Latest film favorite — Atonement; Favorite sculpture on campus: “Students Playing 4D Tic Tac Toe.” Best travel experience: A week on Kauai with my wife, Karyl.
  • Interests/pleasures: Travel, choral singing. Editor’s note: Paul is the conductor of the Whitmanaires, Whitman’s popular staff vocal ensemble.
  • What people don’t know about me: In my first life, I taught high school choral music for 32 years. If I were 25 years younger, I’d do it again in a heartbeat!
  • A day in the life/on the job: No two days are the same, constant interruptions, semi-controlled chaos, fun.
  • Favorite aspect of Whitman: The students!
  • What I’ve learned here: Old dogs can learn new tricks!

Faculty Accomplishments

Kate Jackson, assistant professor of biology, is a herpetologist who specializes in the evolutionary biology of venomous snakes. In the course of her work, she has gone where no other herpetologist has ventured — into the swamp forests of the Republic of Congo. Her forthcoming book, “Mean and Lowly Things: Snakes, Science, and Survival in the Congo” (to be released by the Harvard University Press, April 2008), is her story of fieldwork carried under very harsh conditions, collecting the undocumented snakes, lizards and toads of the region.

Leading snake biologist Harry Greene, Professor at Cornell University, reviewed the book. He comments,

“This is what exploratory natural history in a remote place, embedded in a very different culture, is really like — frustrating, confusing, scary, and fraught with prospects for failure. Jackson tells the truth even when it doesn’t necessarily reflect well on her, and did I mention she’s a small woman working in places where, I’m not kidding, most male herpetologists wouldn’t dare to go? “Mean and Lowly Things” is genuine adventure, without the swashbuckling!”

For more information on Jackson’s work, visit her Web site

Coming Events
All events are free unless otherwise noted.

Monday, Feb. 11
Lecture: “Islamic Science: Beyond Ritual Formulations.” 7:30 p.m., Olin 130. Presented by Jamil Ragap, Canada Research Chair, McGill University.

Tuesday, Feb. 12
Lecture: Keith Boykin, host of BET's “My Two Cents,” will present Whitman’s Fifth Matthew Shepard Lecture in Maxey Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. The presentation, “Sexuality, Human Rights, and the Media,” will feature a dialogue facilitated by Alberto Galindo, assistant professor of Foreign Languages & Literatures-Spanish, and Robert Tobin, Cushing Eells Professor of Humanities. This presentation is sponsored by the Matthew Shepard Lecture Series and GLBTQ.

Wednesday, Feb. 13
Lecture: "The Conservative Soul: How We Lost It and How to Get It Back and the Conservative Case for Gay Marriage," by columnist Andrew Sullivan. 7:30 p.m., Cordiner Hall.

Looking ahead…

Wednesday, Feb. 20
Lecture: O’Donnell Lecture — From Annapolis to Jerusalem: A View From Damascus. The Prospects for Peace in the Middle East following the Annapolis Conference. By Dr. Ahmed Rhazaoui ’68, Officer in Charge, United Nations Development Program in Damascus, Syria. 7:30 p.m., Maxey Auditorium.

Comings and Goings

The college looks forward to welcoming Katherine “Kate” A. Richard, major gift officer, on March 12… and bids farewell to Richard Olney, outdoor rental shop assistant.

Parting Shot

The “Parting Shot” column will appear occasionally in The Fountain and will feature interesting, compelling photos shot on campus by Sarah Abdurrahman, communications officer/photographer. This one is proof that in spite of the ugly weather of late, there is natural beauty to be found in advance of spring, such as these flowers bursting through in front of the Memorial Building.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Matthew Shepard talk
Bottled Water
Valentine's Day
Staff Profile:
Paul Dennis
Faculty Accomplishments
Coming Events
Comings and Goings
Parting Shot

Past issues

The Fountain is published by the Office of Communications. Send news to Editor Lenel Parish at thefountain@whitman.edu. Photos are accepted. Submissions are due by Tuesday at 5 p.m. for the following week's issue. Editorial Assistant: Marcy Manker ’10. Managing editor: Lana Brown. Director of Communications: Ruth Wardwell. Online: www.whitman.edu/fountain