November 16, 2009

Volume 4, issue 13
November 16, 2009
The Fountain

Recap: staff coffee with the president

In his opening at last week’s staff coffee, President Bridges reported on the status of the four students injured in the accident, and shared comments from some of the parents who enthusiastically expressed how much their students love Whitman. Also, he reported that in addition to the campus community members who have helped the families and sent wishes, a trustee and other Whitman parents who live in Portland have offered assistance to the families of the two students hospitalized there.

President Bridges also discussed the budget and process and how the cuts that were made last year have been effective, especially since the college has increased the amount of financial aid awarded this year. Salary increases is one of many budget decisions that will be made at the February trustee meetings.

Among other agenda items:

“There will be a holiday party,” he exclaimed. It’s Dec. 19; desserts will be provided, there will be a cash bar, and Jon Loney, IMS manager, will be the DJ. Watch campus e-mail for further details.

Construction update: The Glover Alston Center project is nearing completion; paint colors that reflect a theme of global diversity have been selected. College officials have met with architects to move forward with renovation plans for Harper Joy Theatre that will include expanding the Black Box, creating a new main entry, upgrading seating in the Main stage and enhancing faculty offices.

Although the college is in session on Veterans Day, the president spoke of honoring those who serve our country on our behalf.

Former ambassador discusses issues, answers questions and climbs the wall

Metaphoric of the diplomatic challenges he faced during a 28-year career in the Foreign Service, Ryan Crocker ’71 focused on the goal and found ways to get there as he took on the new climbing wall during his campus visit last week. Crocker conducted seminars with students, staff and faculty and gave a public lecture.

The discussion specifically for faculty and staff was titled “The U.S. Role in the World,” focusing on ways in which the U.S. might employ various instruments of power in dealing with challenges in the Middle East.

One staff attendee, Becci Moore, development administrative assistant, was very appreciative of the opportunity and found Crocker to be “gracious, thoughtful and witty.” She particularly valued the opportunity to “pepper him with questions for two hours. His comments about good governance stood out in my mind. He said he borrowed the phrase, but it adequately describes the types of goals the U.S. should be seeking in Afghanistan — stable enough versus perfection.”

Moore further reports: “Crocker was firm in the idea that it is not reasonable to think the U.S. can just turn its back on Afghanistan and leave things as they are. He spoke of the immediate need of the president to make a firm decision, soon. His comments about the state of international journalism were both interesting but disconcerting as well. Apparently, we only have 15 percent of the number of U.S. journalists abroad that we did 25 years ago. The consequences of an uninformed or poorly informed American populace are evident and increasingly worrisome.”

Responding to Moore’s question about long-term U.S. thinking and a military that has been taxed with multiple and long tours for soldiers, “Crocker indicated that any sort of surge in Afghanistan would be a mere fraction of what occurred in Iraq, deployments have been reduced from 15 to 12 months, and that many of the soldiers in Iraq would be coming back to the U.S. by the end of this year or the beginning of next.”

In meeting with students, he titled the discussion “Welcome to Public Policy and Personal Conviction 101,” and he shared experiences in which he wrestled with his own conscience while fulfilling his duty to the U.S. government.

Of the climbing wall, Crocker said: “The designers are evil geniuses. When you most need a handhold with a crevice, it’s not there.”

Learn about Flex Spending Benefit at info session

Did you know that Whitman’s Flex Spending program offers important tax-savings benefits? The Staff Fringe Benefits Committee is holding an information session to explain the program and address such questions as: What is it? How does it work? And most importantly, would it save me money? The session will take place at noon Tuesday, Nov. 17, in Olin 157. A program representative will be available to take your specific questions.

Faculty Accomplishments

John Hein, head women’s tennis coach, and his players have received a grant from the Pacific Northwest Division of the USTA (United States Tennis Association) in an effort to promote and develop the growth of youth tennis in the Walla Walla community. Thanks to the grant, Sharpstein Elementary School will be used as a pilot for Quickstart tennis, which uses shorter rackets, lighter and bigger balls, and a small court that can be set up with a portable net and court markers in any gym, multipurpose room or playground. This project will use coach Hein’s experience teaching mini-tennis in England and capitalize on the enthusiasm and potential of Whitman students to be positive role models and teachers. “Tennis is so great for kids, especially 5- to 10-year-olds, but historically it is not very accessible to many of them due to cost, stigma, and only having adult-sized facilities and equipment,” said Hein, who hopes to expand the program to all Walla Walla grade schools. Read more about the grant and program here.

Flu Update – number of ILI cases declined last week

There were 14 new ILI (influenza-like illness) cases last week – as opposed to 27 new cases the previous week – for a total of 152.

Patient care and attention to needs extends beyond the Welty Health Center. Director Claudia Ness has called upon the SHAC (Student Health Advisory Council) sponsored "flu squad" to help with call-back follow-ups and vaccine-related paper work. “They are doing a great job and helping with vital tasks,” she reports.

190 students have been vaccinated. Whitman’s supply is depleted, and while it is anticipated that the college will receive more, it is not known when the next shipment will arrive.

Bookstore announces Holiday Open House

The Bookstore is having a holiday open house from 9 a.m. – 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19. All campus community members are invited to check out the new winter merchandise and meet the Bookstore staff. Refreshments will be served from 4-7:30 p.m., and kids are invited to participate in the supervised 4-6 p.m. holiday crafts program. For more information contact Zoey Smith, Bookstore administrative assistant.

Correction: Tea room story

The Oct. 19 edition of The Fountain failed to identify James Stenkamp, Stenkamp Architecture, as the architect and designer of the space, and Larry Dimino, Opp & Siebold, as the supervising contractor. The integral roles played by these talented professionals have been central to the success of this very special space.

Make a Difference Day really does

By all accounts, Whitman’s participation in Make a Difference Day 2009 was very successful, reports Lina Menard, community service coordinator. The day fell during Family Weekend (Oct. 24), which enabled students to invite their parents to join them in a variety of projects. There were 112 Whitman volunteers, including 15 family members, who helped with six different projects: compact fluorescent light bulb distribution and installation with Ejustice; games and crafts with kids with disabilities during Parents Day Out with Parent to Parent; setting up for Kirkman House Museum & ArtWalla Haunted House; digging, moving gravel and weeding to finish the dog walkers path at Native Plant Society’s Organic Demonstration garden; constructing a willow wall as a stream restoration project with Creating Urban Riparian Buffers (CURB); and building a house with Habitat for Humanity.

Want to join the volunteer effort? The next major service day is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Watch campus e-mail and The Fountain for more information.

Pictured: Student and parent volunteers helped create a dog walking path at the Blue Mountain Humane Society.

KUJ radio interview show welcomes Whitman folks

Jim Bock, morning talk show host at KUJ radio (1420 AM), is interested in telling the stories of the Walla Walla Valley. If you have, for example, an event, a great Whitman story, a book you’ve published or a symposium you think the Walla Walla community would like to know about, e-mail Ruth Wardwell, director of communications, about setting up an interview. BUT — the show is live, and guests need to arrive at the KUJ studio at 7:20 a.m. So if you’re willing to get up and go, the interview can be a great help in promoting your good news and scholarly and professional activities.

Summer baseball team name is Walla Walla Sweets

When summer league baseball returns to Walla Walla, June 8, 2010, it will come bearing the name of what has been described as the most flavorful onion on the planet – the team name is the Walla Walla Sweets, the logo is built on an onion and the mascot will be Sweet Lou. The unveiling took place at Sharpstein School last week, where it was announced that a family of four can enjoy a night at the ballpark (Borleske) – admission and refreshments – for about $30. Learn more about the team at

Coming Events
All free unless otherwise noted

Monday, Nov. 16
Swing into Solar: This special event provides an opportunity to learn about how solar energy works and how the new photovoltaic solar array installed on Bratton Tennis Center’s roof works. The event features an introduction by Gary Wang ’11 and an educational presentation by Dana Brandt of Ecotech Energy Systems. Olin 130, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 17
Workshop: “Celestial Navigation,” by U.S. Merchant Marine Officer Anthony Blow. What astronavigation methods that were used by Phoenicians, Egyptians, Greeks and Vikings are still used by mariners today? How can you navigate vessels in the ocean using the sun, moon, stars and the planets? Presented by the Global Studies Steering Committee; sponsored by the Ashton J. and Virginia Graham O’Donnell Endowment for Global Studies. 7:30-8:30 p.m., Planetarium, Hall of Science. Space is limited; registration required.

Thursday, Dec. 3
Recital: “Thursday at Five” recital with Peter Crawford’s jazz piano studio. 5 p.m. Chism Recital Hall, Hall of Music. x5232.

Thursday, Dec. 3
Visiting Writers Reading Series: A reading by Jeff Encke. 7 p.m. in Kimball Theatre, Hunter Conservatory.

Friday, Dec. 4
Music: Department of Music presents Concerto Aria Competition. 4 p.m., Chism Recital Hall, Hall of Music. x5232.

Thursday, Dec. 3
Art: Winter Art Student Salon, Sheehan Art Gallery, 7 p.m. The exhibit runs through Dec. 18. For more information, call the Sheehan Art Gallery at x5249.

Saturday, Dec. 5
Vocal Concert: Whitman College Hall of Music presents the Whitman Chorale and Chamber Singers fall concert, directed by Robert Bode. This concert will feature Bach’s “Magnificat” and Brittens’s “Rejoice in the Lamb.” 7:30 p.m., Chism Recital Hall, Hall of Music. x5232.

Sunday, Dec. 6
Recital: The Whitman Music Department will present Geneva Faulkner in a junior violin recital with pianist Jackie Wood, at 3 p.m. in Chism Recital Hall, Hall of Music. The recital will feature the Whitman Piano Quintet: Jonathan Spatola-Knoll, piano; Geneva Faulkner, violin; Clare Tochilin, violin; Alixandra Bowman, viola; and Liz Phillips, cello. Works by Bach, Beethoven, Sarasate, Dvorak and Shulamit Ran.

Sunday, Dec. 6
Concert: Annual Feast of Carols, directed by Robert Bode, 7 p.m., Cordiner Hall. Admission free with a donation of canned food.

Thursday, Dec. 10, through Sunday, Dec. 13
Theatre: Harper Joy Theatre presents “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” Otto Nikolai’s delightful comic opera, based on Shakespeare’s play, pits an amorous elderly knight against the two housewives he is simultaneously wooing. It is produced in cooperation with the Department of Music. 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Alexander Stage. For reservations call the Box Office at x5180.

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

A quick trip to Lakum Duckum in the late afternoon turned up this shot of a resident making a splash landing. Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Coffee with the President
Ambassador Tackles Questions, Wall
Flex Spending Benefit
Faculty Accomplishments
Flu Update
Bookstore Open House
Make A Difference Day
Coming Events
Parting Shot

Past issues

The Fountain is published by the Office of Communications. Send news to Photos are accepted. Submissions are due by Tuesday at 5 p.m. for the following week's issue. Director of Communications: Ruth Wardwell. Online: