May 12, 2008

Volume 2, issue 37
May 12, 2008
The Fountain

Everything you need to know about Commencement is right here

This link is also on the Whitman home page, bottom left. See you there!

Faculty honored for service to college, alumni

Kevin R. Pogue, professor of geology, and Akira Ronald Takemoto, assistant professor of Japanese, were honored at the annual End-of-the-Year Faculty Reception on May 6.

Takemoto was honored for 25 years of service to Whitman College. Since joining the faculty in 1983, he has taught courses in Japanese language, literature, art and religion; instructed students in the tea ceremony; headed up the Japanese Language house; and given talks on Buddhism around the region. “He has been a real force in keeping Asian Studies alive in the Northwest,” said Mary Anne O’Neil, professor of French and division chair. “You enter another culture when you go into his classroom.” He has received both a Sears Roebuck Foundation Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award and a Thomas D. Howells Award for Distinguished Humanities Teaching, and was instrumental in the college’s participation in the Associated Kyoto Program, a consortium of liberal arts colleges that sends students to study at Japan’s Doshisha University.

Pogue, who received the 2008 Alumni Association Faculty Award for Service, joined the faculty in 1990, and first presented a program to alumni at Summer College in 1994. Pogue, who won the A.E. Lange Award for Distinguished Science Teaching in 1997, was cited by the Alumni Association for “the generous spirit with which you share your passion for the geology of the earth, and for guiding us in the classroom and in the field.” Director of Alumni Polly Schmitz ’83, who presented the award to Pogue, said that alumni events involving Whitman faculty like Pogue are among those most requested. “I want to thank those (faculty members) who have spoken to alumni groups on the road and on campus,” she said. Pogue has spoken in many places on numerous topics, including the San Andreas Fault, the challenges of climbing the Himalayas, and the relationship of wine and terroir, especially in the Walla Walla valley. In addition, he led a nine-day tour to the wine regions of France, and discussed geology and wine in 2006.

Faculty accomplishments

Three video works by Goatsilk, the artist duo consisting of Ben Bloch, visiting assistant professor of art, and Caroline Peters, have been accepted for inclusion in the upcoming DVD issue of ASPECT: The Chronicle of New Media Art. Goatsilk’s "Pressing The Vessel," "Liberation of The Paranoid World," and "Gargoyling" will be in the issue with the theme of Vital. ASPECT is a biannual nationally distributed compilation of some of the best contemporary new media works today, said Bloch, and it is curated in part by the director of MIT's List gallery, Bill Arning (formerly of PS1 in NYC). Each ASPECT production is accompanied by a voiceover commentary provided by a contemporary critic, and Goatsilk's works will feature the remarks of Brazilian scholar Ricardo de Mambro Santos, who was a visiting art history professor at Whitman last year and is now at Willamette University. Goatsilk's projects and more can be seen at,, and

Gaurav Majumdar, assistant professor of English, and Nani Gilkerson ’08 are this year’s recipients of the Adam Dublin Award, which rewards scholarly or creative work that addresses multiculturalism. His contributions included 3 a.m. e-mail notes about Derrida to his fourth-year collaborator. Her work took aim on the ethics of reading literature, in particular the ways in which Jean Rhys’ “Wide Sargasso Sea,” J.M. Coetzee’s “Foe” and Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” make ethical demands on the reader in the context of multiculturalism. “Gaurav was overwhelmingly committed to this project,” said Gilkerson. “Nani did her work with intense concentration and curiosity,” said Majumdar. “Her project is an elegant, alert and scrupulously researched argument.” Majumdar and Gilkerson recently presented the results of their collaboration to a gathering of faculty, students and staff at Olin Hall. The Dublin Award was established in honor of the late Adam Dublin ’96 by Kari Glover ’72, a member of the Board of Trustees, and her husband, Thaddas L. Alston.

Christopher Thoms, adjunct assistant professor of environmental studies and sociology, wrote a piece titled “Community Control of Resources and the Challenge of Improving Local Livelihoods: A Critical Examination of Community Forestry in Nepal” that was published in the May 2008 issue of the journal Geoforum. An abstract is online at ScienceDirect.

Staff profile: Debbie Conklin
America Reads/Counts Coordinator

  • Birthplace: San Diego, Calif.
  • Education: Two bachelor’s and a master’s degree
  • Years at Whitman: 10
  • Favorite
    • Book: Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series;
    • Films: “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Elizabeth” and the sequel “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”
    • Music: Jimmy Buffet, Bob Seager, Eagles
    • Art: Claude Monet’s “Waterlilies: Green Reflection”
    • Favorite sculpture on campus: I most enjoy the grounds and living landscapes of our beautiful campus.
  • Best travel experience: Trips through Europe and “fun in the sun” in Mexico and Hawaii.
  • Interests/pleasures: I take great pleasure in homemaking, gardening, reading, traveling and attending my children's sports events.
  • Recent accomplishment: Invitation to present at a national conference.
  • What people don’t know about me: I am a counselor and have worked for the court system.
  • A day on the job: The many aspects of coordination of services among approximately 70 students at 13 sites, helping hundreds of children and dozens of teachers: e-mails, phone calls, appointments, more e-mails, trainings, site visits, e-mails, and most importantly, the sheer delight of a child who ‘gets something’ they’ve struggled with and the pride in the eyes of a tutor who helped. It’s the magic of learning.
  • Favorite aspect of Whitman: Meeting students as they enter Whitman and sharing their journey throughout their four years here and often beyond graduation. I thoroughly enjoy observing the development of young adults who make the world a better place.
  • What I’ve learned here: “Education and counseling experience are a good foundation but the management and computer skills I have learned while at Whitman have helped me become a better employee and a more productive human.”
  • Quote: “Do your best and pray about the rest.”

Media interest in State of the State continues

The students of Paul Apostolidis, associate professor of politics and Judge and Mrs. Timothy A. Paul Chair of Political Science, and Gilbert Mireles, assistant professor of sociology, are in the news again. Since first presenting the findings and recommendations of the third (2008) “State of the State for Washington Latinos” report on May 1, in Olin 130, the students’ work has been featured in newspapers and on television and radio stations around the state. For a sample of coverage, see this TV segment.

Comings and goings

Whitman warmly welcomes Amy L. Warinner, administrative assistant for sport studies, recreation and athletics (SSRA); Zoey E. Lemaich, administrative assistant for the Bookstore; Jonathan “Jon” S. Loney, manager of instructional multimedia services; and Leann E. White, assistant director of student activities. The college bids a fond farewell to Carole Hsiao ’85, associate director of academic resources; Sarah Abdurrahman, communications officer/photographer; Alison Holland, acting assistant director of student activities; Alan McEwen, technical director, Harper Joy Theatre; and Richard Sackett, manager of instructional multimedia services.

Coming events
All free unless otherwise noted

Thursday, May 15, through Saturday, May 17
Play: Harper Joy Theatre presents “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare. Music by Mark Nichols; arrangements by Fred Wells. 8 p.m. on HJT’s Alexander Stage. Tickets and information, x5180.

Friday, May 16
Recital: Marianna Symeonides, senior piano recital. 4 p.m., Chism Recital Hall, Hall of Music.

Saturday, May 17
Baccalaureate: Speakers Adam Kirtley, Stuart Coordinator of Religious and Spiritual Life; Elizabeth Vandiver, Clement Penrose Associate Professor of Latin; Nancy Tavelli, Associate Dean of Students: Campus Life; Robert D. Tobin, Cushing Eells Professor of Humanities. 3:30 p.m., Cordiner Auditorium.

Sunday, May 18
Commencement: The Class of 2008 graduates. Commencement speaker is William Gates Sr., co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 11 a.m., Memorial lawn. Complete information is available online.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Faculty Honored
Faculty Accomplishments
Staff Profile:
Debbie Conklin
Media Interest
Comings and Goings
Coming Events

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. Editorial Assistant: Marcy Manker ’10. Director of Communications: Ruth Wardwell. Online: