July 19, 2010

Volume 4, issue 47
July 19, 2010
The Fountain

A Sweet night for Whitman Whitman Night with the Sweets Just before the first pitch, President Bridges visits with Whitman baseball head coach Jared Holowaty (right) and Whitman assistant coach/Sweets pitching coach Mark Michaud.

Last week, Whitman took nearly 200 staff, faculty and family members “out to the ball game,” to “Whitman Night with the Walla Walla Sweets.” Only a 9th-inning rally by the visiting team to defeat the Sweets marred an otherwise idyllic evening.

  TKO at the Sweets game Photo Gallery
President throws out the ball Video: President Bridges throws out the first pitch – an onion, not a ball.

President Bridges threw out the ceremonial first pitch, which, in Sweets tradition, is an onion, not a baseball. His catcher was Mark Michaud, Whitman’s assistant baseball coach who also serves the Sweets as pitching coach. In addition to loving the opportunity in and of itself, Michaud also appreciates what it affords in terms of Whitman baseball: “Combining coaching the Sweets and coaching at Whitman is a natural fit for me,” he said. “Everywhere I have coached, I have looked for ways to get our school more involved with the community. I was honored when Coach Biagi asked me to be the pitching coach for the Sweets, because it gave me a chance to represent the town of Walla Walla and Whitman College, and I’m extremely passionate about both!”

Lively spirit for both the baseball team and the college filled the stands. “It was really a lot of fun to go to an event with so many Whitman people, and it was so nice of the president’s office to do this for us,” said Travis Congleton, publications designer, who brought his brother as his guest. “It was his birthday, so it was a fun way to celebrate.”

“I’m delighted with the turnout,” said President Bridges. “Based on the response, I believe we’ll do more Whitman nights at the Sweets events. It’s a great way for us to enjoy a summer evening together and to support the connections between the college and the Walla Walla community.”

Michaud added: “To do what I love in front of so many of my friends, co-workers and community members has made each moment on the baseball field a priceless memory.”

Whitman in Top-20 for Teach For America placements

Teach for America

Good news last week from Teach For America, the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in expanding educational opportunity.

In its annual ranking of the schools contributing the greatest number of graduating seniors to its teaching corps, Whitman College is among the Top 20 small colleges and universities, ranking 13th with 10 graduates preparing to teach this fall in underserved schools. Also, this year nearly 10 percent of Whitman's seniors applied to Teach For America, which recruits individuals from all academic majors and backgrounds who have demonstrated outstanding achievement, perseverance, and leadership.

“Whitman has a reputation for strong academics, and many of our students also assume leadership roles while in college,” said Susan Buchanan, director of Whitman’s Student Engagement Center which helps students through the Teach For America application process. “The college also embraces diversity among its students, and Teach For America appreciates candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences.”

See the ranking list here. Click here for more information.

Faculty Accomplishments

Paul Apostolidis, associate professor of politics, and Aaron Bobrow-Strain, assistant professor of politics, last month were among a group of writers, scholars and labor activists who gathered in Portland for a panel discussion on labor, food and immigration policy. Other panelists were Larry Kleinman, secretary-treasurer for PCUN, and Mary Mendez, deputy director of Enlace. Excerpting from the blog titled Slow Food Portland: “While the evening began with the panelists praising Slow Food for convening around these issues of food and labor, they each quickly dispensed with the formalities, and began to lance many of the common precepts and comfortable foundations of our movement.” Read the full story at Slow Food Portland.

Food Network Show visits Prentiss Dining Hall Whitman Night with the Sweets “Glutton for Punishment” host Bob Blumer, right, explains his latest challenge to the cameras and crew as violinist Jonathan Spatola-Knoll ’11, center, plays mocking tribute to the tears caused by so many raw onions. Click to enlarge.

The Food Network Canada TV show “Glutton for Punishment” converted the Prentiss Dining Hall kitchen into a make-shift television studio last week – casting Bon Appétit executive chef Christian Chemin in the perfect supporting role. As part of his “15 minutes of fame,” Chef Chemin, an award-winning French-born chef, spent several days teaching the finer points of onion peeling to the show’s host, Bob Blumer, as cameras and crew documented the intense training sessions.

  stopwatchChef Christian Chemin times Bob Blumer with a stopwatch.

Known as a “culinary adventurer,” Blumer was in town to attempt to break two onion-related Guinness World records – onion peeling and hot onion eating – at the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival. With the previous record of 50 pounds of onions peeled in less than three and a half minutes set by Alan St. Jean in 1980, Blumer recruited Chef Chemin to help coach him into the famous record book in just five days.

By Friday afternoon, Blumer was 20 seconds shy of the original record. “The record is three minutes and 18 seconds, and that’s what I’ve got to beat,” he said. “It’s all about speed right now.”

With sheer determination, and a few close calls with his razor-sharp Japanese knife, Blumer headed to Sunday’s competition with bridled confidence. “I think I’ve got a chance, but this is a really tough one. The Guinness record has stood for 30 years for a reason,” he said.

In the end, Blumer undeniably benefited from Chef Chemin’s coaching, smashing the previous record by nearly 40 seconds before a cheering crowd of spectators and an official Guinness World Records representative. The new record to beat: 50 pounds of onions in an astonishing two minutes, 39 seconds.

Chef Chemin’s “Glutton for Punishment” appearance will be part of the show’s fifth season, which will begin airing early next year. For more information on the show, click here.

Whitman Night with the Sweets Bob Blumer lets out a mighty roar after setting the new world record for fastest onion peeling at Sunday’s Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival.

Summer Dance Lab presents 40th anniversary production


The Summer Dance Lab celebrates 40 years of dance with a production of the fairy tale wonder “Scheherazade.” The performance takes place Friday, July 23 at 7 p.m. in Cordiner Hall. It is an evening of dance featuring the Eugene Ballet Company and advanced dancers from the Summer Dance Lab, with music by Rimsky-Korsakov. General admission is $15; $10 for seniors and students. Tickets are available at the Whitman College Bookstore and Earthlight Books. For further information, call 527-5796.


In last week’s Fountain we incorrectly reported the name of Visiting Assistant Professor of Astronomy Nathaniel Paust’s wife. Her name is Kirsten; we reported Kristen. We apologize for this error and congratulate the Pausts again on their new baby girl, Anna Katherine.

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

Lakyn Connor

A group of youngsters cool off in the sprinklers on Ankeny during a recent hot July afternoon.   Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Whitman Night
with the Sweets
Teach for America
Faculty Accomplishments
Chef Chemin on the Food Network
SDL 40th Anniversary Production
Parting Shot

Past issues

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