August 30, 2010

Volume 5, issue 2
August 30, 2010
The Fountain

UB profiles Summer Read program

U-B Logo

In case you missed it, the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin featured Whitman’s Summer Read program in its Aug. 27 edition. The story, written by Maria Gonzalez, covered the 2010 selection, “Zeitoun,” and provided some background on the program, including the role of student academic advisers and RAs in the discussion groups. The article quoted Nancy Tavelli, associate dean of students-campus life: “The idea is to have students talking to one another with some guidance from a peer,” Tavelli said. “We hope that continues on throughout their years here.” Read the article here.

Whitman earns “A-List” status in national weekly magazine


The annual college ranking season continues with Parade’s release of its “College A-List,” which ranks Whitman as a top college in a number of categories, including “Small Private Schools,” “Art Programs” and “Pre-Med.” The publication highlights the unique Whitman experience, reporting that “Whitman has excellent academics and a strong sense of community on campus – students are collaborative not competitive. Faculty are easily accessible and so is the president, who is extremely personable.” The round-up also makes special mention of Penrose Library, adding, “This is a college for and about students. The library, for example, is always open. Always.”

The “A-List,” which appeared in the Aug. 22 issue of Parade, is based on the recommendations of 43 top high school guidance counselors across the country. See the article online here.

Convocation 2010 Convocation

Cordiner Hall was packed full of students, families, staff and faculty for Convocation last friday, getting the 2010-2011 academic year off to a rousing start. Delbert W. Hutchison, chair of biology, delivered the convocation address, which he titled “The Odyssey to Becoming.” He spoke of the journey of Telemachus in “The Odyssey” and of Whitman’s encouragement to “think widely,” a thought, he mused, that can allow a biology professor to expound on Greek mythology. He also said that in delivering the address he was following the advice of his daughter, who suggested he just be comfortable and himself on stage. So he exchanged his academic headgear for a baseball cap.

He also spoke of the entering class: “We can appreciate that the presence of learners from many different backgrounds provides a vast array of experiences and perspectives, which if harnessed and shared, provides for a much richer and more robust learning environment for us all,” said Hutchison. This has never rung more true than now, as Whitman welcomes the 441 members of class of 2014, who join us from 35 states, 14 countries and speak about 20 languages.

Click here to read texts of the Convocation speeches.

Be mindful of phishing; several victims last week

Phishing is the process of attempting to secure passwords, user names and other sensitive information from unsuspecting e-mail users. The start of the academic year is prime “phishing season,” and all campus community members should be mindful that scammers will go to great lengths to make an e-mail look “official.” Such is the case with an e-mail phishing expedition last week (see graphic).

  Phishing image Click to enlarge

While the graphic is indeed the official Whitman logo, here are clues as to the “phishiness” of this e-mail:

The opening, “Welcome to Whitman College,” is the first clue. If you are not new to Whitman, why would the college send you a welcome note?

The signature is listed as the Whitman College Security Team. When Whitman sends any e-mails about online security issues, the signature is WCTS (Whitman College Technology Services).

The e-mail asks you to update your account. WCTS NEVER, EVER asks you to do this, at least not in a mass e-mail. If you need to change your account, it would happen ONLY if a WCTS staff member works with you one on one.

It also uses the term Whitman College Webmail. Since most faculty and staff now use Zimbra, the term Webmail is outdated in language that would come from WCTS.

The link actually points to a completely different web address, ending in “” While the crafters of these messages can make it appear on the surface that you’re accessing a Whitman site, hovering over the link without clicking it will disclose where it would actually take you.

Unfortunately, several members of the Whitman community did not recognize last this phishing expedition as a scam. They clicked on the link and followed the instructions. It didn’t take long for scammers to sign in and start sending Spam, according to WCTS staff. But the good news is that no real damage was done.

”Phishing scams have been increasing in frequency and complexity, making it even harder for people to identify the genuine article,” said Mike Osterman, IT security officer. “The same rules still apply: never respond to an e-mail asking you for sensitive information, and don’t visit links from suspicious e-mail sources. When in doubt, call or e-mail the Help Desk or forward it to WCTS.”

FYI – it’s very common to receive phishing e-mails that look as if they come from retailers, Amazon, eBay and your bank, or even banks you don’t use. You are advised to ignore and delete these, but feel free to contact WCTS if you have questions or even the slightest suspicion.

O Canada – thanks for the grants!

Canadian Flag

Last week Whitman received two grants from the Canadian Government that will support Canadian studies at the college, reports Rachna Sinnott ’93, director of foundation and corporate relations. The first a $5,000 (Canadian) Program Enhancement Grant that will support a variety of curricular and co-curricular programming involving Canada. The second is a $700 Library Matching Grant to enable the Penrose Library to purchase a variety of materials and resources related to Canada.

Jack Iverson, assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures (French) is the current director of the Canadian Studies Association and the PI for the Program Enhancement Grant. Roger Stelk, head of collection for Penrose Library, led the effort for the library grant.

"The members of Whitman’s Canadian Studies Association have taken it upon themselves to ensure that the study of Canada is a part of Whitman’s liberal arts curriculum, alongside that of other international cultures," the grant proposal reported.

"With the help of these Program Enhancement Grants, Whitman has been able to create and sustain an impressive program of Canadian Studies that fits well with our institutional interest in promoting global awareness on our campus. The Canadian Studies program reflects the overall mission of our Global Studies Initiative – to infuse global awareness throughout all aspects of our curriculum and co-curriculum," Sinnott said.

Staff breakfast recap – spirit as tasty as the bacon Breakfast

Beautiful morning weather added to the spirit of the annual Opening Week Staff Breakfast, held last week. As always, the bacon was very popular! The budget officers introduced Whitman’s newest staff members, and President Bridges shared thoughts about recent staff accomplishments, saying, “With each additional year at Whitman, I am increasingly appreciative of and grateful for you and the role that each of you plays at our college.” He also asked for affirmations of “our commitment to values that have guided Whitman College since it opened its doors nearly 130 years ago.” Read the full text of his speech here.

Faculty Accomplishments Science Conference

Leena Knight and Tom Knight, both assistant professors of biology, have been coordinating Whitman’s involvement in the Murdock Trust College Science Research Conference since 2007. The conference is designed exclusively for private four-year liberal arts colleges in the trust’s grant-making region. According to the trust Web site: “The goal of the program is to strengthen faculty and undergraduate student research efforts in the natural sciences in these colleges. Grants are given to institutions with the capacity for developing division-wide, faculty-student research programs that can be sustained with institutional resources and external funding.” Professors Marc Juhasz and Tim Machonkin (chemistry) and Amy Groth (biology, visiting) and 25 students joined Tom Knight at last year’s conference (pictured above.) The 2010 conference will be hosted by Linfield College Nov. 12-13. Science faculty interested in participating and/or coordinating the 2010 trip should contact him at


Timothy Machonkin, assistant professor of chemistry, is the recipient of the 2011 Visiting Scientist Award. The $10,000 grant awarded will help fund his sabbatical at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Starting in October, he will spend 10 months working in the UBC microbiology department. Machonkin’s work there will encompass a continuation of his current research as well as one of the ongoing projects in UBC’s lab that will provide him with new learning in biology. He will deliver a seminar at UBC at the end of the award period.

Conferences and Events Office announces new tables-and-chairs process


Among the newest Whitman staff members is Curtis Reid ’10, who joins the office as the conferences and events assistant. He is responsible for delivery of all tables, chairs and any other type of equipment needed for events on campus. Previously, these duties were handled by Kevin Wright and his crew from the Physical Plant. In addition to deliveries, Reid will provide stage assistance to Harold Holm in Cordiner Hall. Reid is no stranger to any of these duties as he worked as a stage-hand for three years while he was a student and a Summer Conference Aide last summer.

If you are hosting an event, simply e-mail or call Reid at x4716 or Summer Singer at x5366 to request tables, chairs and equipment.

Coming Events
All free unless otherwise noted

Tuesday, Aug. 31
First day of classes.

Wednesday, Sept. 1
Season Tickets go on sale at HJT, look here to see the season schedule.

Monday, Sept. 13
O’Donnell Lecture: 7:30 p.m., Kimball Theatre: O’Donnell Visiting Educator John MacAloon, professor and associate dean of the Graduate Division of the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago, will address "No More U.S. Olympic Games?: America in the World Today."

Friday, Sept. 17
Music: Fridays at Four Recital Series Presents the Whitman Jazz Combo. Hunter Conservatory, Kimball Theatre; 4–5 p.m. See all Department of Music events here.

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

Profiles of the Future: incoming first-year students listen during President Bridges’ opening remarks at Friday afternoon’s Convocation in Cordiner Hall.   Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Summer Reading in the News
Whitman “A-Listed”
Convocation 2010
Canada grant
Staff breakfast
Faculty Accomplishments
Tables and Chairs
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. Editor: Ashley Coetzee. Managing Editor: Ruth Wardwell. Online: