March 2, 2009

Volume 3, issue 27
March 2, 2009
The Fountain

National magazine features alumni football reunion

The March 2009 issue of Currents, the magazine of CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education), features an article about the first reunion for former Whitman football players, held on campus in October 2008 and organized by the alumni relations staff. Written by Virginia Grantier, communications office writer, as reported by Nancy Mitchell, associate director of alumni relations, the article, titled “Victory Sidelined for 30 years,” traces the story of Whitman’s decision to end its football program. Read the story online here (PDF).

Call for proposals: 2009-10 Innovation in Teaching and Learning grants

Last year, in its inaugural year, Whitman’s Innovation in Teaching and Learning grant funded nine proposals, from a joint performance project between students at Whitman and the University of Damascus, Syria, to a new chemistry instrumentation course. Provost and Dean of the Faculty Lori Bettison-Varga has issued the call for proposals for the 2009-10 academic year. For details and instructions about the application process, see the official announcement here.

This page includes a list of last year’s funded projects.

Forum on paper and printing Thursday, March 5

All staff and faculty are invited to a campuswide Paper and Printing Forum, hosted by the Conservation and Recycling Committee and WCTS. It will take place Thursday, March 5, in the Young Ballroom at noon. It will be the first of two opportunities to get an update on the new free printing program for students and to give feedback. An overview of the project will be presented with year-to-date data on printing and paper use. A second forum on paper and printing will be held toward the end of the semester.

Rebates offer huge savings for college, home projects

If you want to insulate your home paying little more than the sales tax, there’s a way, says Jeff Donahue, construction project manager.

Rebates from utility companies have been covering much of the cost for recent campus projects. Since there are similar rebates for residential customers, Donohue is spreading the news to campus community members. For information about residential insulation rebate projects and much more, including rebates for energy-saving appliances and select ceiling fans, he suggests visiting the following utilities’ Web sites:

  • For the Pacific Power rebate program, go to and then click on “Save Energy & Money” and “Home Energy Savings.”
  • For the Cascade Natural Gas program, go to and click on “residential” and then on “Washington.”

By the way — after rebates, it cost the college only $36 to insulate the MECCA House. “We’ll make that back in a month with energy savings,” Donohue said, adding that he is happy to answer your questions about energy-savings rebate programs in person or at

Staff and faculty accomplishments

Lori Bettison-Varga, provost and dean of the faculty, has been invited to be a discussant at The Conference on Liberal Education and Effective Practice, scheduled for March 12-13 at Clark University. The conference will focus on the question: How can undergraduate programs in the arts and sciences be enhanced to empower students to be not only sophisticated, well-informed thinkers but also effective doers? She will discuss a paper written by Miami University (Ohio) faculty (including the president, who was the primary author) that explores the link between students' intellectual and personal development, and their capacity for scholarly work and effective action. For more information, visit the conference Web site.

Cynthia Croot, assistant professor of theatre, returned recently from a trip to Iran, where she delivered a paper at the Fajr International Theatre Festival. Also, she is currently staging Harper Joy Theatre’s production of "Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith," having written the stage adaptation of Gina Nahai's novel set in the Jewish ghettos of Tehran. For details, see the event listing here.

Nancy Mitchell, associate director of alumni relations, has been appointed to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of Tourism Walla Walla. According to its mission statement, Tourism Walla Walla promotes and supports the continuing economic growth and quality of life of the Walla Walla Valley through the development and execution of leisure and business travel sales and marketing strategies; promotes the development of tourism products toward the growth of tourism to the Walla Walla Valley; and provides services to both visitors and group planners. Learn more about Tourism Walla Walla at

Kirsten Nicolaysen, assistant professor of geology, contributed two essays to the recently published "The Aleutian Islands: Living on the Edge,” edited by Ken Wilson, University of Alaska Press, Jan. 15, 2009. The book contains essays from native Unangan (Aleut) inhabitants of the Aleutians and some non-native researchers and inhabitants. The beautiful color photographs document the cultural life of the Unangan against the canvas of WWII history, the challenging weather conditions and the volcanism that has been active for more than five million years. Proceeds from the book benefit the Camp Qunaayux language and culture camp held every summer on the island of Unalaska.

Pioneer invites staff and faculty to drop in, share ideas

If you’ve ever considered sharing an idea or pitching a story to the Pioneer but weren’t sure how to go about it, here’s your chance. Pioneer Editors-in-Chief Kim Sommers and Jamie Soukup invite staff, faculty and students to drop into the newspaper office to “suggest ideas, offer feedback or chit chat.” Drop-in hours are Mondays from 4-5 p.m. The Pioneer office location is Reid 239. To view the Pioneer online, visit

Coming Events
All free unless otherwise stated

Wednesday, March 4
Lecture: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author, atheist, politician, will present a lecture at 7 p.m. For ticket information, e-mail Ali, author of “Infidel” and “The Caged Virgin,” is a prominent critic of Islam, which she has criticized for its treatment of women. Her screenplay for Theo Van Gogh’s film “Submission” resulted in death threats. No food, drink or back packs/bags will be allowed in Cordiner for her presentation. A Q+A and book signing will follow her talk. 7 p.m., Cordiner Hall.

Thursday, March 5
Career Seminar: “Making a Successful Transition,” presented by Dr. Phil Gardner, director of Michigan State University's Collegiate Employment Research Institute and a nationally recognized researcher on employment trends. 4 p.m., Reid Campus Center, Young Ballroom. For more information, contact Susan Buchanan, director of the Career Center, at

Thursday, March 5
Visiting Writers Series: Award-winning author Terry Tempest Williams, a naturalist and advocate for environmental issues, will give a lecture and read from her newest book, “Finding Beauty in a Broken World.” 7 p.m. Cordiner Hall. More information is online here.

Thursday, March 5
Lecture: “The Social Archaeology of Bronze Age China,” presented by Lothar von Falkenhausen of UCLA. Sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America. 7:30 p.m., Olin 130.

Thursday, March 5 to Sunday, March 8
Theatre: Harper Joy Theatre presents “Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith.”
Best-selling author Gina Nelson traces the journey of an Iranian Jewish family from the Teheran ghetto to Los Angeles, beginning with Roxanna the Angel. When her mother pushes this “bad luck daughter” from the rooftop, Roxanna discovers she can fly. Alexander Stage, Harper Joy Theatre. Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m. For tickets, reservations or information, contact the Box Office at 527-5180.

Sunday, March 8
Music: Divertimento Chamber Orchestra spring concert, Lee Mills, conductor "featuring Beethoven's Symphony No. 5; the premiere of 'Khaos' by senior Composition major Wesley Price; and Poulenc's Concerto for Two Pianos with faculty members Lee Thompson and Jackie Wood. 7:30 p.m., Chism Recital Hall.

Save the date

Monday, March 9
Hosokawa Lecture: William Murray ’92 delivers the 2009 Hosokawa Lecture, titled “The Problem with Today’s Media (Or Why News Coverage of Iraq was so Poor) And What We Can do About It.” Murray spent three months in Iraq as an embedded journalist. 7 p.m.; Reid Campus Center, Young Ballroom.

Tuesday, March 10
Arnold Lecture: "Performing the Private Body," by Gill Wright Miller, visiting Arnold professor of dance. 7:30 p.m., Olin 130.

Wednesday, March 11
Lecture: Dr. Noël Sturgeon presents “Penguin Family Values: The Nature of Environmental Reproductive Justice.” 7 p.m., Kimball Theatre.

Tuesday, March 31
Rempel Lecture: Dr. Harry Greene of Cornell will discuss "Pleistocene Rewilding." 7:30 p.m., Maxey Auditorium.

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

This week’s “Parting Shot” literally is…

After a career spanning more than 16 years and at least a half dozen back-and-forth building assignments, custodian Jim French is retiring from the job he has loved and the building he has loved most of all — the Hall of Science. Pictured here at his surprise retirement party, on Friday, Feb. 27, he said what he’ll miss most is “the people and the excitement of the students,” and what he won’t miss is “the 4 a.m. shift!”

In retirement, he’s looking forward to “not doing anything I don’t want to” and playing lots of golf. The science faculty and staff pitched in to give Jim retirement gifts that will support his passion for the game. “We really care about him and will miss him,” said Andrea Dobson, associate professor of astronomy and Division III chair. Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Football Reunion in the News
Call for Proposals
Paper and Printing Forum
Rebates Offer Savings
Staff and Faculty Accomplishments
Pioneer Invitation
Coming Events
Parting Shot

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: