June 16, 2008

Volume 2, issue 42
June 16, 2008
The Fountain

Faculty, students and alumni help stage “Anything Goes”

First row: Joseph Zoline-Black ’09, Alexandra Schireman ’10, Ann Thatcher, Becky Weitzel ’10, Phyllis Bonds, Jackie Wood. Second row: Kurt Hoffman, Paul Apostolidis, Melissa Wilcox, Shauna Lilly Bogley ’83, Julie Jones, Parke Thomas. Third row: Terry McConn ’74, Edward Dixon

A number of Whitman faculty, students and alumni are singing and dancing their way through the summer in “Anything Goes,” this year’s Walla Walla Community College Foundation’s summer musical, staged at the Fort Walla Walla Amphitheater July 10 through July 26.

Director Parke Thomas, formerly of the Whitman theatre faculty, says the play is “a laugh-a-minute, tap-dancing extravaganza at sea.” Whitman players include: Paul Apostolidis, professor of politics, as dyspeptic Wall Street tycoon Elisha J. Whitney; Kurt Hoffman, professor of physics, as the missionary Bishop Henry T. Dobson; Melissa Wilcox, assistant professor of religion, as the Angel Licentia, and Anne Thatcher, assistant director of admission, as a singing, dancing ship's passenger. Edward Dixon, associate professor of music, is conducting the orchestra, and Jackie Wood, lecturer of music, and Kristin Vining-Stauffer ’98, music assistant, are providing musical accompaniment during rehearsals. Information and ticket reservations are available online.

Students Alexandra Schireman ’10 and Becky Weitzel ’10 portray two of the infamous Angels, and Joseph Zoline-Black ’09 is a sailor. Theatre majors Beth Frieden ’08, Peter Richards ’10 and Alex Cassidy ’10 are on the set construction crew, which is building a “massive three-story ship,” and alumna Julie Caton ’02 is the costume shop chief. Alumni Terry McConn ’74 and Shauna Lilly Bogley ’83 portray Sir Evelyn Oakleigh and Bonnie Le Tour, respectively. Kern McGee ’08 is the sound designer, Aaron Blank ’02 is the sound consultant and Burke Gardner ’07 is the technical draftsperson. Faculty and staff children involved in the production include Anna Apostolidis and Kathryn Bogley.

If you’d like to make a last-minute gift to Whitman…

…Please know that the fiscal year ends June 30. Sarah Jones, manager of advancement services, offers the following advice:

  • If you’re donating by credit card, you can call in your credit card information to Sarah at x5003 or use the online giving site.
  • If you prefer to donate by check, you should send it via campus mail to the Whitman Fund (Memorial 210) before June 30.
  • If you plan to mail your gift via the post office, please have it postmarked by June 30.

“To avoid any problems,” says Sarah, “It’s best to get your gift in as soon as possible.”

Staff and Faculty Accomplishments

Lori Bettison-Varga, provost and dean of the faculty, has been selected to serve a three-year term on the American Chemical Society (ACS) Petroleum Research Fund (PRF) Advisory Board Program Committee. The PRF is an endowed fund managed by the ACS, whose vision is to "support innovative fundamental research, advanced scientific education and the careers of scientists, to aid in significantly increasing the world's energy options." The Program Committee is charged with recommending changes and adjustments to funding priorities of the PRF, to monitor program performance, and to guide the allocation of resources to particular scientific and faculty development initiatives funded by ACS PRF. In addition, the committee is responsible for recommending changes to the PRF portfolio, including creation and termination of funding opportunities. Bettison-Varga is one of six committee members, each appointed by Judith Benham, chair of the ACS Board of Directors.

Bruce Jones, assistant director of admission in the New England office, has written a review of the book “Creating A Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites,” by Mitchell L. Stevens. Jones writes that the book “can be read as an insider’s view of selective college admission or as a text for a sociology course on class structure. Sociologist Mitchell Stevens spent 18 months serving as an admission officer at a Northeast liberal arts college, rumored to be Hamilton College, but in reality it could be any of 50 or 100 small competitive colleges throughout the nation.” To read the review in its entirety, click here.

U.J. Sofia, professor of astronomy, has received a $60,000 grant from the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute to support his continued study of the interstellar medium, the gas and dust between stars that is vital to virtually all work done by astronomers. Sofia has recently developed a new method for studying interstellar carbon that can be done by studying data collected by other scientists for other purposes, using archival data from the Hubble Telescope that dates back to the 1990s. This new method is very valuable because of the finite number of Hubble hours available to any one researcher. Against a very competitive field, Sofia’s proposal ranked in the highest quartile, according to the notification letter from the Space Telescope Science Institute. Sofia expects to utilize the grant over the next 18 months, and he has funds to hire students to work with him during the summers of 2009 and 2010.

In addition, Sofia has been invited to give talks at two conferences this summer. He spoke in early June to the American Astronomical Society meeting in St. Louis, where he spoke about the important role of laboratory astrophysics in the solid-state portion of the meeting; this talk related to his work on interstellar dust. He will give a second talk for the Cosmic Odyssey of the Elements conference June 23-27 in Aegina, Greece. This talk is related to interstellar gas. Being invited to speak at conferences is an acknowledgement of important results from the past, said Sofia. “They are for me an honor. I am also proud of the fact that I am the only invited speaker at both meetings that is not from a research institution.”

Welcome to the Whitman Family

Congratulations to Debbi and Jeff Donahue, construction project manager, proud parents of Sean Braydon Donahue, born May 22 at 8:59 a.m., weighing 10.8 pounds. He joins sister Teah, 14, and brother Patrick, 6, who have been able to sleep through night despite Sean disrupting his parents’ sleep patterns. He slept through the night for the first time at three weeks old, said Jeff, and he’s already created his own yard sale table of newborn clothes. “He outgrew them on his first day.”

Congratulations, Betty Linke

The Fountain inadvertently failed to mention that Betty Linke, manager of mailing services, received a citation for 30 years of service to the college during the Staff Appreciation Lunch June 4. Congratulations, Betty!

Whitman College
In This Issue
Anything Goes
Last-Minute Gifts
Staff and Faculty Accomplishments
Baby Donahue

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. Director of Communications: Ruth Wardwell. Online: www.whitman.edu/fountain