July 20, 2009

Volume 3, issue 47
July 20, 2009
The Fountain

Sweet onion story comes with a few layers

Walla Walla Sweet Onions and their connection to Whitman drew quite a bit of interest last week when Tracy Dahl ’01, a copy editor for the Washington Post, wrote a tribute to the tasty orbs. Complete with recipes for the Post’s food section, Tracy’s story described her joy at receiving a shipment of onions the summer before she entered Whitman.

The tradition is often talked about and remembered by students and alumni, but tracking down the precise circumstances of the birth of this tradition required a bit of sleuthing, since no written record of its beginnings can be found. Here’s what The Fountain dug up:

In the mid-to-late 1980s, banker/entrepreneur Carl Schmitt ’56, beloved trustee and community member, shared with Whitman’s marketing committee a promotion that had been very successful for him in business. Every year he gave a bag of the Sweets to his bank customers, and they loved it. So he suggested that Whitman adopt the idea and send a box to incoming students. The marketing committee agreed, and the rest is history.

Schmitt’s recommendation was carried out the first year by the late Rob Gardner, vice president for college relations, and his lieutenant Ron Urban, current registrar and former director of institutional research.

“We went to a farm west of town and collected about 200 pounds of onions,” Urban recalls. “I thought it was a very clever and imaginative idea, and it was square-on in terms of marketing. It reflected a distinctive, positive attribute of the community, and it made a splash that resonated well with students and campus community members.”

He still remembers wrapping individual onions, placing them in boxes – today, Locati Farms has that responsibility - and tucking in a short note of welcome from then-President Robert Skotheim. For more of the story, click here.

Fringe Benefits Committee announces new chair, Web site

The Fringe Benefits Committee has elected Jeff Donahue, construction project manager, as the chair, replacing founding chair Gary D’Agostino, who served in the role since the committee was formed about 2 1/2 years ago and will stay on as a member. Other members are: Sonja Aikens (intercultural center), Jason Arp (alumni relations), Jennifer McNeil (registrar’s office), Marilyn Ponti (financial aid services) and David Sprunger (multimedia services).

Also, staff members are encouraged to check out the Fringe Benefits Committee Web site, which includes a form for offering suggestions and comments. The committee is also planning a survey for the fall to learn about additional ways it can serve the staff.

Want a new photo for the online directory? Greg’s shooting!

In response to the recent e-mails requesting campus directory information updates, a number of you have raised the issue of your photo – some don’t have one, some want a new one, etc. So, Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer, will take care of you.

He will be available at the following times to shoot your photo:

  • Wednesday, July 22 - 1-2 p.m. and 4-5 p.m.
  • Friday, July 24 - 10-11 a.m.

The shoots will take place in Mem 313. Choose the time slot that works best for you and send Greg an e-mail at lehmangc@whitman.edu to let him know which slot you’ve selected, then just show up for your shoot. You can show up any time within that hour; you don’t have to select an exact time. If you can’t make any of these times, you are welcome to schedule an individual appointment with him.

TIP: Avoid wearing white; it tends to wash out in photos. Bright colors are best.

Know that you are welcome to use the shots for other purposes, such as to accompany newspaper guest opinions or journal submissions or conference programs, among others. You do not need permission to use and submit them. The college will use these photos only for the People Search online directory; they will not be published in a printed directory.

Olin and Science getting some work done

As the Sherwood renovation nears completion and the Maxey addition revs up, Olin Hall and the Hall of Science are having a little work done, too. Neither building, however, will have any additional area added, said Dan Park, director of the physical plant. In Olin Hall three classrooms are being remodeled, and in Science two labs that were not included in the 2002 renovation are being updated and enhanced. All the work in Olin and Science will be completed by the time students return in the fall.

New baseball coach arrives on campus

Jared Holowaty, new head baseball coach, arrived on campus Wednesday, July 15. Holowaty, who was previously an assistant coach at the University of Maine, shared in an NCAA Division III national championship as a senior captain at Eastern Connecticut State University. “We are thrilled to have Jared join our coaching staff,” said Dean Snider, athletics director. “He is a young man of outstanding character with a drive and passion for the game of baseball.” For more on Holowaty, click here.

This week on campus…

Through July 24: The Summer Dance Lab’s five-week course ends Friday with a performance of “Dancing in the Night” (see below).

Through Aug. 7: Debate camp continues.

“Dancing in the Night,” SDL’s season finale Friday

John Passafiume, director of the Summer Dance Lab, said the dance concert will include choreography from talented Northwest dance professionals. “Corelli Concerto,” by Toni Pimble, artistic director for the Eugene Ballet; and original choreography by Anne Mueller, principal dancer with the Oregon Ballet Theater, will be featured. Also, pre-eminent Broadway luminary Tinka Dailey will stage classic repertoire on the Summer Dance Lab pre-professional students. Ed Dixon, associate professor of music and member of the Walla Walla Symphony, will be a guest performer.

Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. They are available at the Summer Dance Lab Office, x5796, or at the door. For more information, visit the Summer Dance Lab on the Web.

What do you think…

…is the most interesting, but untold story about Whitman? If you notice or can think of a person, place or thing that might tell part of the Whitman story and make a good “news tip,” please let us know. E-mail Lenel Parish at parishlj@whitman.edu; x5156.

Comings and goings

Whitman extends a warm welcome to Sherri Priore, financial aid counselor, and Alana S. Kaholokula, admission officer; and notes that the former Leann White, assistant director of student activities, is now Leann Adams.

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

Whiskers McTailfuzz, chillin’ on a bench near Prentiss, and a lone paparazzo had the campus virtually to themselves one day last weekend. Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Sweet Onion Story
Fringe Benefits Committee
Online Directory Photos
Olin and Science Renovations
New Baseball Coach
This Week on Campus
What Do You Think
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. Director of Communications: Ruth Wardwell. Online: www.whitman.edu/fountain