May 18, 2009

Volume 3, issue 37
May 18, 2009
The Fountain

Staff coffee with the president: May 19

The next staff coffee is Tuesday, May 19, at 8:30 a.m. in Olin 130. President Bridges will talk about the recent governing board meetings, ongoing budgeting, Commencement and summer plans. Tracee Anderson, counselor, will give a brief overview of Whitman’s Pandemic Response Plan. No RSVP needed, but please bring your own coffee mug or glass.

Faculty excellence, service honored

Pictured (l-r) Prof. Amy Molitor, Prof. Kurt Hoffman, Prof. David Carey, Prof. Lynn Sharp, Prof. Zahi Zalloua, Prof. Rebecca Hanrahan.

Staff and faculty assembled May 12 at a reception honoring faculty excellence and service.

Distinguished Faculty Awards were presented to:

  • Amy Molitor, adjunct assistant professor of environmental studies and sport studies, and academic assistant for environmental studies — Suzanne L. Martin Award for Excellence in Mentoring
  • David H. Carey, professor of philosophy — George Ball Award for Excellence in Advising
  • Lynn L. Sharp, associate professor of history — Robert Y. Fluno Award for Distinguished Teaching in the Social Sciences
  • Rebecca R. Hanrahan, assistant professor of philosophy — Thomas D. Howells Award for Distinguished Teaching in Humanities and Arts
  • Kurt R. Hoffman, professor of physics — A.E. Lange award for Distinguished Science Teaching
  • Zahi Zalloua, assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures, French — G. Thomas Edwards award for excellence in teaching and scholarship

Other awards and recognition:

  • Robert M. Withycombe, professor of rhetoric and film studies — 2009 Alumni Association Award for Faculty Service
  • Patrick K. Spencer, professor of geology, was recognized for his 25 years of service to the college.

Faculty retiring from teaching were honored, toasted, teased and in some cases compelled to watch “this is your life” slide shows of themselves as precocious children passing through many stages of life — and even more stages of hairstyles: David Carey; Robert Fontenot, professor of mathematics; Jean Carwile Masteller, professor of English; Richard N. Masteller, professor of English; Mary Anne O’Neil, professor of foreign languages and literatures, French; and Shu-chu Wei-Peng, John and Jean Henkels Endowed Chair of Chinese languages and literatures.

Andrea Dobson ’82 elected faculty chair; Kendra Golden new Div. III chair

The new chair of the faculty effective July 1 is Andrea Dobson ’82, associate professor of astronomy and Division III chair (left). The chair of the faculty is elected for a three-year term and is responsible for listening to the faculty as a whole and conveying faculty concerns to the president, budget officers and trustees as well as conducting meetings of the faculty.

Looking ahead to challenges and opportunities Dobson says: “the question of what, exactly, it means to be liberally educated and how we as a faculty ought to ‘arrange the courses of study’ so as to provide our students with the best possible access to that education, requires ongoing discussion. And, in a time of economic trouble, in particular, it requires hard choices about allocation of resources. My personal challenge as chair will be to take an active role as the faculty engage in those discussions.”

Succeeding Dobson as Division III chair will be Kendra Golden, associate professor of biology.

New trustees, overseers and multi-cultural hub named

Among the numerous items of business at the May meeting of trustees and overseers was to formally appoint new members to these important governing boards.

The new trustees are:

Megan Salzman Medica ’81, The Plains, Va. — She is farm/property/animal manager of an animal rescue operation located on the Medica family farm. She served as president of the Salzman-Medica Foundation (now retired) and previously was a technical writer and manager. She is a member emeritus of the board of directors for Therapy Pet Pals of Texas, Inc.

David Nierenberg, Camas, Wash. — He is president of Nierenberg Investment Manager Company. His community involvement includes serving on the Yale University Development Board and Capital Campaign Committee; he also is a member of the Washington State Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers and the Washington State Investment Board.

Nancy B. Serrurier of Menlo Park, CA, earned an AB from Brown and an MBA from Stanford. She does extensive volunteer work, including serving a term as trustee for Colgate University, where her daughter attended. She is a Whitman parent (Ben 11) and has served on the Whitman Parents Leadership Committee. She is the current vice chair of the board of Menlo School and a former trustee of the Menlo Park City School District.

The new overseers are:

Danielle Garbe ’97, Bethesda, Md. — She is a career foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State, since 2001. Garbe has served in Jakarta, Indonesia, and several assignments in Washington, D.C., including as a special assistant to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She is currently the Turkey desk officer and will begin a one-year State Department Pearson Fellowship with the U.S. Congress this summer.

Steve Hammond ’79, Potomac Falls, Va. — He works for the U.S. Geological Survey, a bureau within the Department of the Interior, most recently as director of the Science Information and Education Office, and currently as the acting director of the National Geospatial Programs Emergency Operations Office. His community involvement includes serving as president of the Dominion High School Parent-Teacher Organization as well as on the Fort Valley State University, Ga., Cooperative Developmental Energy Consortium.

Timothy Frits van Oppen ’70, Hillsborough, Calif. — He is a partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP. His community involvement includes service on the executive board of the Center for Financial Reporting and Management, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, and treasurer for the Hillsborough AYSO Soccer League. He is a former member of the Whitman Alumni Association Board.

Also — the trustees approved the naming of the Glover Alston Center. It’s the house located at 26 Boyer, which had been selected to serve the campus as a multi-cultural hub. The naming recognizes Trustee Kari Glover ’72 and her husband, Thaddas L. Alston, for their interest and involvement in and support of advancing and promoting Whitman’s diversity and helping the campus to embrace and serve the ideals of a multi-cultural community.

Gift enables new Written and Oral Communication Initiative for faculty

A generous gift to the college by Trustee Emerita Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Welty (right) has made possible the creation of the Written and Oral Communication Initiative (WOCI), a program for the support of faculty members’ instruction in writing and speaking. The Center for Teaching and Learning will administer the initiative, which is designed to focus on pedagogy for the classroom, the one-on-one teaching of the senior thesis and student-faculty research projects as well as for oral presentations such those of the Undergraduate Conference.

Among elements of the initiative, being coordinated by Dana Burgess, professor of classics, will be workshops, the first of which will take place in August. Professor Clyde Moneyhun, director of Stanford University’s Hume Writing Center, will visit Whitman to present "Supervising the Senior Thesis and Conducting the Oral Defense of Thesis.”

Though not a graduate of Whitman, Libby Welty is among the college’s most loyal and beloved friends and benefactors. She has long-supported faculty, and she funded the Robert Allen Skotheim Chair of History. Her love for the college grew through that of her late husband, Robert Welty ’35. Both were physicians and are the namesakes of the Welty Center, which houses campus health and counseling services. Whitman awarded her an honorary degree in 1994.

Intramural debate program concludes another successful year

The Whitman intramural depate program, administered by Jim Hanson, professor of forensics, has concluded another winning season. The topic argued was: “A United States Federal Government (USFG) cap and trade system is superior to a USFG carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gases.” For more information and photos click here.

Next PAC staff tour: outer space (well, sort of)

The next PAC (Personnel Advisory Committee) staff tour is a visit to Whitman’s Planetarium, set for Thursday, May 28, at noon. The tour will be led by Andrea Dobson, associate professor of astronomy. The Planetarium, located in the Hall of Science, has a limited seating capacity, so it is important to RSVP if you wish to attend. Food and drink are not allowed in the room, so please arrange to eat lunch before or after the tour. This will be one of the most popular tours of the year, so book your space now!

Staff Profile: Teresa Maddess
Director of Catering, Bon Appetit Management Company

  • Birthplace: Walla Walla
  • Education: Central Washington University (education)
  • Years at Whitman: 17 years
  • Favorite book/film/music/play/art/etc: Cook books, of course, and anything that is a mystery.
  • Favorite sculpture on campus: the bronze horse.
  • Best travel experience: I don’t have much opportunity to travel, raising four children. But look forward to it in the future.
  • Interests/pleasures: I love to play golf, garden and anything outdoors.
  • Recent accomplishment: Bon Appetit was voted best caterer of the year.
  • A day in the life/on the job: Very busy, and never ending.
  • Favorite aspect of Whitman: Being part of a great community of people.
  • What I’ve learned here: Wow. What haven’t I learned?
  • Quote: Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying "I will try again tomorrow."

New Faculty Grants Newsletter available

The current Faculty Grants Newsletter is now posted on the Foundation and Corporate Relations Web page, said Rachna Sinnott ’93, director of foundation and corporate relations, and can be read here.

50 years later — Class of 1959 to reunite

The Class of 1959 will celebrate its 50th reunion during Commencement weekend. At least half of the original class is expected to return to campus and celebrate “Turning Dreams into Reality.” For more information, click here.

The Main Event

Although this space is usually dedicated to a list of coming events, today we look forward to the grand finale of events: Commencement Weekend.

Baccalaureate is Saturday, May 23, 3:30 p.m. in Cordiner Hall. Commencement is Sunday, May 24, at 11 a.m., on Memorial’s south lawn. Speaker Ryan Crocker ’71, former ambassador to Iraq, will present “Lessons from a Long War.”

Enjoy the Commencement festivities and the Monday holiday!

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

Cashing in some free miles on “Larry Mallot Aerial Transport” (more commonly known as a cherry picker) afforded me this birds-eye view of our beloved iconic building last week. The panoramic view is the amalgamation of five images stitched together in Photoshop.   Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Staff Coffee
Faculty Awards
New Posts for Dobson, Golden
New Trustees, Overseers
Welty Gift
Debate Team Top 3
Planetarium Tour
Staff Profile:
Teresa Maddess
Faculty Grants Newsletter
Class of ’59
The Main Event
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: