September 28, 2009

Volume 4, issue 6
September 28, 2009
The Fountain

To catch a (would-be) thief

What did it take to catch a would-be bike thief? Paying attention to suspicious behavior, in broad daylight no less, and calling the police. That’s exactly what Rudy Ortega (right), security officer, did last Wednesday. Although he was off duty (he works nights), he was on campus and noticed a man outside the Reid Campus Center who appeared to be very interested in the bike racks. Sure enough, according to a report from Terry Thompson, director of security, the man took an unlocked bicycle from the rack and seemed to be checking it out prior to riding off on it. A student exited the building at that time, and the man put the bicycle back in the rack and walked away.

At Thompson’s direction, Ortega called the police to request that an officer stop and identify the man so a trespass order could be issued. While waiting for the police Ortega continued to observe the man, who began checking out the interior of vehicles parked near by. When the police arrived and checked the man’s identification, they found he had a felony warrant under an alias. He was arrested, trespassed from Whitman College property and transported to jail.

“This is a great ending to an otherwise unpleasant story,” says Chuck Cleveland, dean of students. “It is the dedication and alertness of employees like Rudy that make the campus not only a safe place to work, but also a great place to work. I’m sure the campus community joins me in thanking and congratulating Rudy for his outstanding effort on our behalf.”

Better flu news for Washington, but diligence remains in order

According to a report last week from The American College Health Association, “The highest rates of activity remain in the state of Washington, though rates are now clearly decreasing.”

Click to view full size (PDF)

“While the decrease in state rates is certainly good news,” says Tracee Anderson, chair of Whitman’s Pandemic Team, “it doesn’t mean that we should relax our efforts to help limit the spread of disease. Whitman is just experiencing its first cases of flu-like symptoms. We’re still hoping that Whitman does not experience widespread illness, and we still need to be diligent and mindful, particularly with regard to self-isolation.”

Curious about the outbreaks at other campuses? The ACHA article includes those data: Weekly College Case Data [ICD-CM Diagnosis 487.1]

ALSO – while recent reports in the media question the effectiveness of hand-washing to help stem the spread of the H1N1 virus, it remains a viable tool for limiting the spread of any number of illnesses and is just good practice for a close-knit community like a college campus. Self-isolation – staying home from school or work if you have flu-like symptoms – is critical, as is covering coughs and sneezes with your arm.

Proactive steps the college is taking to help prevent the spread of illnesses include:

  • Distributing hand-sanitizer around campus
  • Increasing the disinfection of commonly touched surfaces in residence halls, the fitness center, computer labs and dining halls.

Fall Reunion Weekend begins Friday

Whitman’s population will expand this weekend with the arrival of about 500 alumni and family members/guests as classes of 1984, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1999 gather for Fall Reunion Weekend 2009. Activities begin Friday afternoon with registration at the Alumni House and continue through Sunday. Options for the weekend include student favorites such as Frisbee golf as well as cycling, an alumni-student baseball game and a conversation with President Bridges. Click here for the schedule of events.

Staff and Faculty Accomplishments

Malcolm Dunn, head cross country coach, was named chair of the NCAA Rules Committee for track and field and cross country. This national committee oversees the rule updates, adoptions and interpretations for all three NCAA divisions. He has been a member of the Div. III Track and Field and Cross Country Committee for the past three years, the last of which he was the D-III representative to the Rules Committee for the sport.

Author visits quietly with library staff about research, books, libraries

Thomas Mullen, author of this year’s summer reading assignment “Last Town on Earth,” visited campus last Monday (Sept. 21) to present an author’s talk, but before speaking in Cordiner Hall in the evening, he generously shared his time with various small groups on campus. His visit with the library staff in the Allen Reading Room, said Dalia Corkrum, director of Penrose Library, was a rare and delightful opportunity. “The irony is that we spend our professional lives in libraries working with texts and information, and yet find so little time to discuss our personal reaction to what we read. Being able to spend an hour listening, learning and discussing with Mr. Mullen his research process, his motivation and his love for libraries was a gift to us all.”

Want some plants? Check out the Biology Department sale

The Department of Biology is holding a plant sale, Friday, Oct. 2, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Science Building Atrium. A variety of plants from the greenhouse are available at great prices. Questions? Contact Martha Holt, biology lab coordinator, at or x5306.

Welcome to the Whitman Family!

John Porchowsky, physical plant project engineer, and his wife, Emily, announce the birth of daughter Brooklyn Bell Porchowsky, born Sept. 17 at 10:30 p.m.; 8 pounds, 10 ounces and 21 inches long.

Coming Events
All free unless otherwise noted

Monday, Sept. 28
Lecture: The seventh Matthew Shepard Lecture at Whitman, “Beyond Legal Equity,” will be presented by Dean Spade, attorney and assistant professor of law at Seattle University. Spade is founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, which provides legal services to transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming people who are low-income and/or people of color. 7:30 p.m., Olin Hall 130. x5156.

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 (http://www/ will present “Sowing the Seeds of Change: Imagery and Social Transformation” at 7:30 p.m. in Maxey Auditorium. Borges, who currently has a show at Willow Loft Gallery, primarily photographs people of indigenous cultures around the world. His work has inspired a collaboration between Whitman College (art department and Intercultural Center), Willow, 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 the project will be a fund-raising event Oct. 16 at the Intercultural Center, on the second floor of Reid Campus Center, where the student art from the Adventure Club program will be sold to support the YWCA. x5596

Friday, Oct. 2
Fridays at Four: The Dave Glenn Quartet will present “A Few of Our Favorites.” Musicians: Dave Glenn, trombone; Jonas Myers, piano; Marshall Baker, bass; Robbie Seager, drums. 4 p.m., Kimball Theatre, Hunter Conservatory. x5232

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

Saturday, Oct. 3
Voice Recital: The Whitman Department of Music will present a voice recital by Alex Schiremann. 7:30 p.m., Chism Recital Hall, Hall of Music. x5232.

Save the date!

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 U.S. business, politics, energy, foreign affairs and creating the problems of tomorrow today. 7:30-9 p.m., Maxey Auditorium.

Thursday, Oct. 8
Concert: Whitman music department presents a composer’s concert. 7:30 p.m., Chism Recital Hall, Hall of Music. x5232

Thursday, Oct. 15, Friday, Oct. 16, and Saturday, Oct. 17
Symposium: Alinsky at 100: Community organizing in the 21st century – a symposium, workshop and training in honor of the centennial of Saul Alinsky's birth. Whitman will host this special event combining historical reflections about Alinsky, current discussions about community organizing and practical training sessions in Alinsky's organizing techniques. This symposium is part of a national series of events at colleges and universities throughout 2009 to remember Alinsky and learn from his work and legacy. For more information, see the symposium schedule.

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

The fishing was lousy on the lawn near HJT, but the practice under sunny skies was wonderful for Ben Serrurier ’11 and his Beginning Fly-fishing classmates.   Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
To Catch A Thief
H1N1 Flu News
Fall Reunion Weekend
Faculty Accomplishments
Author Speaks to Library Staff
Plant Sale
New Baby
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: