September 21, 2009

Volume 4, issue 5
September 21, 2009
The Fountain

Remodeled Sherwood Athletic Center draws a crowd

Whitman celebrated the newly remodeled Sherwood Athletic Center with a Sept. 16 open house that drew more than 100 staff, faculty, students and Walla Walla community members to view what President Bridges described in opening comments as glorious work of art and engineering. Click here for photo gallery of the Open House.

Tours of the building unveiled to guests the 7,000-square foot climbing wall, the shining upgraded main gym, the new multi-purpose gym, additional classrooms, offices, exercise rooms, a foyer dedicated to the Athletics Hall of Fame, and more. Introduced by the president as “the happiest guy in the room,” Dean Snider, athletics director, shared that he still pinches himself every time he comes to work. Click here to see video of his remarks.

Bridges noted that “nearly 40 years ago there was a dedication ceremony for the newly constructed Sherwood Athletic Center. The campus community is again filled with pride. This beautiful and functional upgrade gives our students, faculty and staff a marvelous place to learn, train, play and enjoy sports.” The new facility, added Snider, marks a commitment to achieving a level of excellence in athletics that matches Whitman’s level of excellence in academics.

Among the many caring people and organizations who made possible the renovation are Virginia and Donald Sherwood ’22 and the Sherwood Trust; the Joseph L. Stubblefield and Clifford Braden trusts; Teresa Gillespie and John Stanton ’77. These and the many others visionary and generous donors will be honored at the official dedication of Sherwood in early November.

Delicate balance – providing information without generating panic

Finding the balance between providing useful information and causing fear has been a tightrope walk for Whitman’s Pandemic Response Team as well as health services and communications officers at organizations and educational institutions around the world.

When the news about the H1N1 virus first broke, then called only swine flu, it became a perfect storm for generating fear: inaccurate initial case fatality rate data from Mexico (where the outbreak originated), urgent responses/recommendations from WHO and CDC based on that information, the media stampede to be the first to report whatever came out, and highly sensationalized reporting. That has led to perceptions of over-reaction and a relative “boy who cried wolf” impact, leaving some to think this is no big deal compared to the usual seasonal flu outbreaks.

While the H1N1 virus can result in a flu illness that typically does not make people as sick as seasonal flu, it spreads more quickly and has the capacity to make greater numbers of people ill at the same time. That, says Tracee Anderson, chair of Whitman’s pandemic team, is the fundamental concern.

“The plan is designed to minimize the possibility of having several hundred members of the campus community ill at once. There is no way of predicting how many, if any, of us will catch the virus and become ill. However, we can say with certainty that if there is widespread illness on campus, or in Walla Walla for that matter, it will create hardships and challenges for many of us. With that in mind, the pandemic team is continuing to pursue its charge, and I’m happy to answer your questions and address your concerns.”

Quoting a report from Inside Higher Ed:

“Eighty-three percent of campuses in a sample being used to track the spread of H1N1 reported new cases of flu-like illnesses in the last week, according to the American College Health Association. The association is tracking 253 colleges and universities, and the percentage reporting new cases was up from 72 percent the prior week. At the colleges in the sample, 6,432 new cases were reported, 16 of them requiring hospitalization.”

Vaccination update – Seasonal flu vaccination is underway, and the health center is awaiting word from the Walla Walla Health Department about the H1N1 vaccination. Watch campus e-mail and The Fountain for future updates.

Information about the virus and Whitman’s plans is available here. Reach Tracee Anderson at

Faculty accomplishments

Michelle Acuff, assistant professor of art, recently installed a piece at the Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA) in Seattle for the exhibition “Across the Divide: Contemporary Art from the Scablands and Beyond,” which runs through Oct. 10.

Melissa Wilcox, associate professor of religion and gender studies, recently published a new book, “Queer Women and Religious Individualism.” It explores the complex spiritual lives of queer women in the Los Angeles area with “original research into areas that have not been much investigated or written about,” said reviewer Leonard Primiano, Cabrini College. “A rather masterful user of [theory], Wilcox is especially interested in taking the idea of 'intersectionality' . . . and using it as a theoretical reminder that one must represent women in their clearest life contexts of race, gender, community, economics, physical and emotional resources, etc., as well as the individual power they muster to create their own religious lives." Learn more about the book here. View Table of Contents

Tonight: “An Evening with Thomas Mullen,” author of “Last Town on Earth’

Thomas Mullen, author of “Last Town on Earth,” the 2009 summer reading assignment for first-years (and other interested community members), will present a lecture in Cordiner Hall at 7:30 p.m. A book signing will follow.

Bon Appétit and you

The Staff Fringe Benefits committee invites faculty and staff to learn more about Bon Appétit, including its philosophy behind campus food choices, catering and other services and how Flex Dollars can save you money. The presentation will be held Thursday, Sept. 24, at noon in Olin 130. No actual food will be provided, so it’s a bring-your-own-lunch event, said Sonja Aikens, committee member and administrative assistant, Intercultural Center.

Coming Events
All free unless otherwise noted

Tuesday, Sept. 22
O’Donnell lecture: “What in the world is so funny?" – a look at global issues through the eyes of Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Joel Pett, an O’Donnell visiting professor. 7 p.m., Maxey Auditorium.

Saturday, Sept. 26, and Sunday, Sept. 27
Theater: Harper Joy Theatre presents “The Instant Play Festival,” Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. on the Alexander Stage. The festival consists of seven plays on Saturday and six plays on Sunday. After three weeks of workshops with professional playwrights Adam Rapp, Sheri Wilner and Kristen Kosmas, students will receive a theme in the evening from which they will write a play that will be rehearsed the following afternoon and performed that evening. For information and tickets call the Box Office, x5180.

Monday, Sept. 28
Lecture: Seventh Matthew Shepard Lecture will be presented by Dean Spade, JD, assistant professor of law, Seattle University. 7:30 p.m., Olin 130. x5134.

Save the dates

Tuesday, Sept. 29
Interfaith forum: All campus community members are invited to the Walla Walla Interfaith Forgiveness Forum, hosted by Congregation Beth Israel. Audience participation is encouraged during a Q & A session that will follow a panel discussion. Panelists include Patrick Henry, event organizer and retired Whitman professor; Richard Middleton-Kaplan, event co-organizer and worship leader at Congregation Beth Israel; Darold Bigger, professor at Walla Walla University; Paul Crowther, bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Tim Hays, pastor of Assumption Catholic Church; Yehia Ibrahim, Tri-Cities Islamic Center; Joel Ley, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church; and Hassan Ziada, Tri-Cities Islamic Center. 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Congregation Beth Israel, 1202 E. Alder Street (corner of Alder and Roosevelt).

Thursday, Oct. 1
Lecture: Artist/photographer Phil Borges ( will present “Sowing the Seeds of Change: Imagery and Social Transformation,” 7:30 p.m., Maxey Auditorium. Borges primarily photographs people of indigenous cultures around the world. His work inspired a collaboration among Whitman, Willow Loft Gallery, 2 East Rose St., and the YWCA’s after-school “Adventure Club” program to promote appreciation of cultural diversity among Walla Walla’s youth through a photography and verbal interview story-telling project. The culmination of this project will be a fund-raising event Oct. 16 in the Intercultural Center, Reid Campus Center 216, where the Adventure Club students’ art will be sold. x5596.

Saturday, Oct. 3
Dedication: The college will officially dedicate the photovoltaic array recently installed on Bratton Tennis Center roof. 3:30 p.m., Kimball Theatre, Hunter Conservatory.

Tuesday, Oct. 6
O’Donnell Lecture: "The Georgian Energy Pipeline Cocktail” by Jenik Radon, visiting O’Donnell professor. He will discuss “The Georgian Energy Pipeline Cocktail: USA, Russia and Western business locked in ‘lethal’ embrace.” This lecture combines US business, politics, energy, foreign affairs and creating the problems of tomorrow today. 7:30-9 p.m., Maxey Auditorium.

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

Elliot Broze wasn’t just hanging around during last week’s Open House festivities for the remodeled Sherwood Athletics Center – he was hanging AND scrambling and clinging and skittering and, well, you get it.   Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Sherwood Center Opening
H1N1 Update
Faculty Accomplishments
Evening with Thomas Mullen
Bon Appétit and You
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: