September 2, 2008

Volume 3, Issue 2
September 2, 2008
The Fountain

Budget Advisory, Fringe Benefits committee members announced

Thank you to all the staff volunteers who expressed an interest in serving on the Budget Advisory and Staff Fringe Benefits Committees. Please congratulate and thank the new and returning members:

Staff and Faculty Budget Advisory Committee Members

  • Bill Bogard, The Deburgh Professor of Social Sciences, Division I chair (returning member)
  • Andrea Dobson, associate professor of astronomy and general studies, Division III chair (returning member)
  • Tim Kaufman-Osborn, Baker Ferguson Chair of Politics and Leadership, chair of the faculty (new member)
  • Larry Malott, landscape specialist (new member)
  • Keith Raether, interim director of post-baccalaureate fellowships, scholarships and grants (new member)
  • Nancy Tavelli, associate dean of students: campus life (returning member)
  • Maureen Vollendorff, administrative assistant, admission (returning member)
  • Jonathon Walters, professor of religion, Division II chair (new member)

Staff Fringe Benefits Committee

  • Sonja Aikens, administrative assistant for the Intercultural Center (new member)
  • Jason Arp, assistant director of alumni relations (new member)
  • J. 'Dag' D'Agostino, boiler technician/plumber (returning member)
  • Ginni Delavan, assistant custodial supervisor (returning member)
  • Jeff Donahue, construction project manager (new member)
  • Jennifer McNeil, records and documents technologist (new member)
  • Marilyn Ponti, assistant director of financial aid services (returning member)
  • David Sprunger, assistant director of multimedia development and services (new member)

FYI: While the Staff Committee is entering its second year, the Faculty Fringe Benefits Committee has been serving the college for many years. Current members are:

  • Sarah Hurlburt, chair and assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures - French
  • Richard Masteller, professor of English
  • Nohemy Solórzano-Thompson, assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures - Spanish
  • David Schmitz, Robert Allen Skotheim chair of history
  • James Russo, associate professor of chemistry
  • Daniel Vernon, associate professor of biology

Opening Day another huge success

“Opening Day was a huge success,” said Barbara Maxwell, associate dean of students, student programs and activities. About 25 staff members officially volunteered to help, she said, and many others just showed up to help informally. “I would like to thank everyone on the staff. Whether someone volunteered to work the front line meeting and greeting arriving cars or simply performed their daily job responsibilities, everyone played a role in making opening day a success,” said Maxwell. “The mood was positive, welcoming, friendly and optimistic.”

A photo gallery is available here.

Convocation ceremony officially opens 2008-2009 academic year

President George Bridges officially opened the 2008-2009 academic year at Convocation in Cordiner Hall Friday, Aug. 29, welcoming a standing-room-only crowd of first-year students, transfers, family members and friends.

At 431, this is the second-largest first-year class in the college’s history, seven shy of the record-setting 438-member entering class of 1978, said Tony Cabasco, dean of admission and financial aid, in his welcome to the Class of 2012. “You were selected from the largest applicant pool in the college’s history. About 3,300 students from almost all 50 states and more than 70 countries completed applications that were carefully considered by the admission committee,” he added.

The class of 2012, he continued, can be described as academically talented and diverse — 1/4 are students of color or international students and one in 10 are the first in their family to attend college. “You bring perspectives from different parts of the world, from Ecuador to China; Alaska to Alabama; Bangkok to Boston; and Sofia to Seattle...and social networking is a lifestyle for you. As of last night 332 of you were part of the Class of 2012 Face book group.”

The students were also welcomed by Elliott N. Okantey ’09, president of the Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC); and Patrick K. Spencer, professor of geology, delivered the Convocation address, “Lessons in Stone.” Spencer was introduced by Lori Bettison-Varga, provost and dean of the faculty.

Convocation addresses can be read online here.

Temporary Staff/Faculty Directory available online via portals

The temporary Fall 2008 Staff and Faculty Directory is posted on the Whitman Web site in PDF format, available on the Staff, Faculty and Current Students portals — or bookmark this link. The comprehensive, bound directory will be published later this fall. Please take a minute to check your listing in the temporary directory. If you find errors, please e-mail corrections to Mary Luckstead at That will help the comprehensive directory be as accurate and up to date as possible.


Faculty Accomplishments

The NACCS Joto Caucus, represented by Daniel Enrique Perez and Eddie Alvarez, recognize Chicano scholars Dionne Espinoza, Nohemy Solórzano-Thompson, Manuel de Jesus Hernández-Gutiérrez, and Louis Mendoza for their contribution to Queer Chicano Studies at the Joto Caucus Quinceañera Celebration in Austin, Texas.

Nohemy Solórzano-Thompson, assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures (Spanish), was elected chair-elect of the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) at its annual conference held last spring. During her three-year term, Solórzano-Thompson will serve as chair-elect and 2009 NACCS conference planner, chair for 2009-2010 and past-chair for 2010-2011. The 2009 conference will be held at Rutgers University and built around Solórzano-Thompson’s theme “El Movimiento Sigue! Forty Years of Scholarship and Community Activism in Chicana and Chicano Studies, 1969-2009,” which will explore the legacy and the future of Chicana/o studies.

In addition, Solórzano-Thompson was recognized at the 2008 conference as one of the NACCS Joto Caucus Madrinas during the group’s Quinceañera celebration. The celebration of Joto Caucus’ 15-year history honored those NACCS members who have significantly contributed to Queer Chicana/o scholarship and to the inclusion of Queer Raza in the organization. "This is one of the greatest professional honors I have ever received; to be recognized by the members of the Joto Caucus for my contributions to Queer Studies and Queer Activism means a lot to me as a Chicana scholar," she said.

Another successful Scrambles program — the 31st

Lish Riley and Brien Sheedy on the White Salmon River.

The 2008 Scrambles program is the 31st edition of this outdoor adventure and community-building opportunity, and Brien Sheedy, director of the Outdoor Program, reports on another successful effort. Among highlights:

  • 16 trips with 46 leaders and 138 first-year students.
  • Average trip length was 8 days.
  • This was the 6th year of a four-day back-country Scramble leader training, at the Wallowas, Smith Rocks, and in the San Juans.

“The Scrambles program is amazing and a big part of the Whitman experience. We hope to see many of this year’s Scramblers return to become leaders in the years to come,” Sheedy says. He also extends thanks to many campus community members whose varied efforts helped contribute to the program’s success. They include: Lish Riley, Rental Shop manager; Sam Stroich, assistant Outdoor Program director, Paul Dennis, administrative assistant for the Reid Campus Center; Summer Singer and Becky O’Connell, Conferences and Events Office; Travis Congleton, graphic designer; Aubrey Stone, printing assistant; Kathy Rogers, safety coordinator, Barbara Maxwell, associate dean of students, Chuck Cleveland, dean of students, and mail room staff Marge Jesee, Sue Washington and Rudy Ortega.

Welcome to the Whitman Family

Helen Kim, assistant professor of sociology, and her husband, Noah Leavitt, announce the birth of their first child, a son named Aryeh Zakkai Kim-Leavitt — Ari for short — born Aug. 12. The name was announced at a ceremony reflective of Jewish tradition, at which the proud father explained: “Aryeh is Hebrew for lion, which fits well with our son’s Leo-season birthday. Like a lion, little Aryeh sizes up a situation, thinks deeply about it, then acts decisively (especially when it comes to yelling for his dinner).

Zakkai honors Yochanan ben Zakkai, a 1st-century A.D. rabbi, scholar, peacemaker and innovator. When the Romans were conquering Jerusalem and destroying the Temple, Zakkai successfully negotiated with soon-to-be emperor Vespasian, to be allowed to set up an academy in the city of Yavneh. This shrewd decision enabled Zakkai to create a radical new and portable approach to Judaism based primarily on following the Torah’s commandments and carrying out acts of loving kindness, rather than on giving sacrifices at the Temple altar. Zakkai was highly learned, forward-thinking, creative, decisive and realistically optimistic — qualities we hope Aryeh will embody in his life. We wanted a specific example of a man with lion-like characteristics and we could think of no one more appropriate than Rabbi Zakkai.”

Physical Plant hosts annual yard sale Friday — $ benefits scholarships

The Physical Plant invites the campus to its annual “Yard Sale,” Friday, Sept. 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 804 Penrose. Up for sale is an eclectic selection of tables, chairs, desks, file cabinets and other bits and pieces of equipment and furniture no longer used by the college, but “not ready for the landfill.” This particular version of recycling dates back to 1995, said Dan Park, director of the physical plant. Sales revenue is put in a scholarship account that is now worth more than $175,000. “Everyone looks forward to seeing how much can be added to the scholarship fund each year,” added Gayle Worthington, administrative assistant for the physical plant. “Until I came to work at the plant, I had no idea how much effort this staff puts forth to be a part of providing in this special way for students.”

Packages a-plenty keep staff busy

In addition to the loads of boxes, computers and other personal possessions that a small army of parents, students and volunteer staff members moved in on move-in day (Thursday, Aug. 28), there were thousands (yes, thousands) of boxes delivered to the Reid Campus Center Post Office in August, said Marge Jessee, post office supervisor. The larger ones (more than 400) were stored in Reid G2; by Monday afternoon only 22 large packages were left in addition to 76 small packages--all of them are now stored in the post office. But Jesse expects approximately 5,000 (including packages for faculty) in the month of September. What are in those boxes? Bikes, computers, fans, furniture, clothes and books represent some of the contents.

“It’s a lot of work preparing for move-in day,” says Jessee. “I’m fortunate to have such a great team with Sue Washington, post office assistant, and Rudy Ortega, campus courier--always willing to go that extra mile. This year went especially smoothly because of the five returning students: Lizzie Porter-Roth, Brian Kearns, Gus O’Malley, Nic McDonald and Nicole Gehring.” Everyone did a fabulous job, said Jesse, who thanked Whitman staffers who volunteered to help out in the post office on opening day: Tom Olson, professor of sport studies, Karyl Dennis summer dance lab coordinator, Devin Yamanaka, admission officer and Mike Garvin, mailing assistant. It’s extra work and extra hours, but “It’s always fun to meet and greet the new students and their families,” Jesse said.

Lost or found?

Many new students have been stopping by Barbara Maxwell’s office in Reid 202 checking for lost items. If you’ve found an ID card, a set of keys, a cell phone, etc., please send it to Paul Dennis as soon as possible. If you have lost anything, Paul is also the lost and found contact for faculty and staff.

Comings and goings

Whitman warmly welcomes Amelia G. Grinstead, nurse, and Angela K. Torretta, assistant director for events for development and alumni relations; and bids a fond farewell to Emali Enriquez, receptionist/office assistant, admission.

Coming Events
All free unless otherwise stated

Friday, Sept. 5
Recital: Fridays at Four Recital Series presents The Brian Barton Quartet featuring Brian Barton, alto and soprano saxophones; John Crigler, piano; Juan Hernandez, bass; and Christopher Newby, drums. 4 p.m., Kimball Theatre, Hunter Conservatory. x5232.

Thursday, Sept. 11-Sunday, Sept. 14
Play: Harper Joy Theatre bonus performance: “My Name is Rachel Corrie,” edited from the writings of Rachel Corrie by Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner. Four performances only; season tickets holders will have first opportunity to make reservation. 8 p.m. x5179; 5180 for ticket information.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Committee Members
Opening Day
Temporary Directory
Faculty Accomplishments
Scrambles 2008
Baby Ari
Physical Plant Yard Sale
Lost or Found?
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. Director of Communications: Ruth Wardwell. Online: