July 13, 2009

Volume 3, issue 46
July 13, 2009
The Fountain

Marilyn Ponti works to make financial aid process “stress-free”

Marilyn Ponti stepped into the role of director of financial aid services on July 1 with confidence, energy and the kind of compassion that earned her a 2008 Janice Abraham Award, which is given annually to staff members who go above and beyond job expectations. She was cited for the patience and kindness with which she helped parents navigate the financial aid process.

Marilyn still maintains that the troubled economy and the complex financial aid regulations are her concerns, and she doesn’t want students and their families to stress over the details. “It’s the students’ job to go to school. My job is to take care of the financial aid process in a way that makes the process seamless. The financial aid staff can make it easier for them, and our goal is to work in cooperation with students and families to make the process as stress-free as possible.”

Since coming to Whitman 14 years ago, Marilyn has served as financial aid assistant, financial aid counselor and assistant director before accepting the position of director. “It’s an honor” to fill the position vacated when former director Varga Fox retired, she said. Marilyn, who worked in banking before embarking on her career in financial aid, says she hopes to continue her education sometime in the near future. She and her husband, Gary, have two sons, Bryan ’08 and Mark, who both graduated from college in 2008.

Pictured: Whitman’s financial aid services team – Marilyn Ponti, director; Tyson Harlow, assistant director; Sherri Priore, counselor (as of July 6) and Judy Veighey, clerk.

Are you planning an event for the 2009-10 academic year?

Although it seems as if summer has only just begun, the communications office has already received media requests for a list of 2009-10 events for back-to-school issues. So, if you are planning an event and have the who, what, when and where of it all, please send the information and a contact phone number or e-mail address to Lenel Parish, parishlj@whitman.edu; x5156. Questions? Check with Lenel!

“Sponge jousting” raises funds for Ugandan school

Ken Paine, WCTS programmer/analyst, and owner of the local Pedi-Power business, took his fundraising efforts to help a Ugandan elementary school to new heights recently. Participating in Walla Walla’s 4th of July festivities in Pioneer Park, he sold rides on his rickshaw-type vehicles - powered by Whitman students – that came with the opportunity to throw wet sponges at competitors, patterned after a jousting format. He raised nearly $100 with the event. But through his church and other events, he’s been able to raise more than $5,000 to fix a broken well and help support the school, at which his daughter teaches. Paine reports that the microscopes, periodic tables, molecule models and other items donated by Whitman’s science department have been delivered to the school. “Impola impola (’little by little’)!" he says.

Read the UB story here.

Photo by Matthew B. Zimmerman ’04, courtesy of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

Dancers, debaters and admission counselors on campus

While most Whitman students and many faculty members are off campus working and/or enjoying time off, a steady stream of visitors is attending meetings and programs here. You might see visitors to campus participating in the following events:

July 13-14: Members of the Pacific Northwest Association for College Admission Counseling will visit Whitman on a tour of Northwest colleges.

Through Aug. 7: The Whitman National Debate Institute, designed specifically for high school debaters and coaches, and run by Jim Hanson, professor of forensics, will bring hundreds of students to campus for three programs.

Through July 25: The Summer Dance Lab (SDL) began on June 21 and will run through July 25 with two-week, three-week and five-week dance programs for young dancers. The program is directed by successful New York dancer and choreographer John Passafiume and taught by professional dancers from around the country. The program will conclude with a presentation of “Dance for a Summer’s Eve,” Friday, July 24, at 7 p.m. in Cordiner Hall.


“How I spent my summer vacation” – share your story!

Again this summer The Fountain offers staff and faculty the opportunity to share summer vacation and travel stories. Is this summer your turn for an exciting adventure? Or maybe a fascinating learning opportunity, whether to an exotic locale or to a scholarly or professional conference? Maybe you’ll participate in a service-oriented trip, lead a tour or just spend a relaxing vacation on a beach somewhere. And on your travels, maybe you’ll run into fellow Whitman folks or meet someone who knows about the college. Feel free to share you “summer vacation” stories; photos are encouraged! E-mail your story and shots to thefountain@whitman.edu.

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

A simple photo of a ballet exercise with a little help from Photoshop makes for a delicate image of a group of Summer Dance Lab participants preparing for the final performance on July 24 in Cordiner Hall. Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
“Stress-free” financial aid
2009-10 events?
Sponge jousting
Campus visitors
Summer vacation stories
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. Director of Communications: Ruth Wardwell. Online: www.whitman.edu/fountain