March 29, 2010

Volume 4, issue 31
March 29, 2010
The Fountain

Spring breakfast recap

In this “odyssey of an academic year,” as he called it, 207 days into it, President George Bridges at the annual staff spring breakfast Thursday recalled some of the “astonishing accomplishments and generous acts of kindness” that have occurred so far at Whitman.

He also thanked the 250 staff and faculty in attendance for their ongoing diligence, dedication and commitment to Whitman and its educational mission. And he reiterated that, “We are Whitman College, not the buildings, not the grounds, not the books in the Penrose Library. Each one of us is part of this stunning mosaic of connections to students and their families, and each one of us contributes mightily in our own way.”

He shared 10 of the many significant images that came to mind – images he said reflected the Whitman community’s work so far this year:

One of the images he’ll always remember: how when astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger ’97 in Houston last October received the 2008 Pete Reid Award for Young Alumni, she never said a word, not a word, about her accomplishments. Instead, Metcalf-Lindenburger focused on one of her students who had inspired her by overcoming “overwhelming personal obstacles to get to college and Whitman,” Bridges related.

Other stand-out images from the President, in no particular order:

  • The tremendous effort and hours of preparation as the H1N1 threat loomed.
  • The crowd of Professor Bob Withycombe’s enthusiastic former students celebrating in Washington, D.C., after he received the monumental honor of being named Professor of the Year for Washington State.
  • The dazzling difference of standing in bright sunshine-filled space during the opening of the Sherwood Athletic Center in what once had been a dark hallway, and thinking about the symbolism of that – how it was a reflection of the bright future ahead for the college.
  • Witnessing Ryan Crocker ’71 give an analytically deep treatment of the complexities of the Middle East conflict and how when challenged by an audience member to “walk his talk” about the need to know the culture in which one works, the Whitman alumnus switched seamlessly, giving his presentation for the next five minutes in Arabic.
  • The Wall Street Journal coverage of two Whitman students.
  • The enormous pride Bridges felt when seeing how the Whitman community responded to tragedy – selflessly helping families, friends and colleagues through the grief.
  • The “spectacular” community service efforts of students on Martin Luther King’s birthday and the same-day opening of the Glover Alston Center, a facility that advances the college’s commitment to diversity.
  • “Contagion,” the second annual Global Studies Symposium, which included not only impressive speakers and scholars but displayed the intellectual firepower of the Whitman faculty members and students who critiqued the speakers’ positions.
  • A comment by a speaker this month, journalist Bethany McLean, who helped break the Enron scandal: She spoke about the value of her liberal arts education, which stressed “questioning answers over answering questions.”

“Thanks to all of you for so effectively advancing the compelling legacy of Whitman,” he said at the breakfast. “Because of your efforts and those of our alumni and friends, our college’s future is very, very bright.”

Chef Christian Chemin nourishes, teaches staff at PAC-organized workshops

Having an executive chef who has cooked around the world cook for you – while he also teaches you his art – was how 53 staff members got to spend a recent lunch hour, during the March stop on the PAC (Personnel Advisory Committee) tour series. This one featured Executive Chef Christian Chemin and offered healthy eating/cooking demos.

But that wasn’t all. Chef Chemin, who now oversees the college’s student dining halls and creates the recipes, threw in a pinch of culinary history, funny career anecdotes, surprising first-aid tips and memories of homeland France. The finale: He then invited participants to dig in to his creations – Vegetables Provençal and sautéed medallions of pork with warm cabbage salad and straw potato cake. Participants were able to watch the whole process from nearby dining tables as he created dishes using a portable gas stove and other equipment.

  Click here for video highlights from the workshop.
  Click here for recipes from Chef Chemin.

He said he loves to teach and says his goal is to share culinary knowledge so people will pass it on to their children and it won’t be lost to future generations.

“Entertaining, informative, fabulous and innovative” were among the words some attendees used to describe the experience. Overheard: PAC’s idea to offer the free classes and lunch was “brilliant.” Judy Arbanas, manager of student accounts, attended the Tuesday session and said, “He did an excellent job. He sure knows what he’s doing and was a very entertaining presenter. I particularly loved his idea of using Indian pepper, for its extra flavor.”

In one hour, a few of the things learned from the chef:

  • Put black pepper in cuts to immediately stop bleeding.
  • For a burn, the starch in raw potato will stop pain and prevent scars.
  • Start with cold water when cooking dried beans or they won’t cook properly.
  • Cooking with cheap wine brings out the tannin and makes sauces bitter.
  • Port wine and ketchup take bitterness out of sauces.
  • A mushroom’s flavor is in its skin, so chefs often peel mushrooms and just use the skin in sauces.

Professor Knight receives M.J. Murdock Grant

If in the future a Whitman student is spotted walking nonchalantly through campus while sporting a helmet of metal and lenses that looks like something found in a high-tech optometrist’s office, no worries – the student is probably on research duty with Whitman’s Tom Knight, assistant professor of biology.

Knight wants to find out, among other things, exactly how the brain manages the incredibly complex task of enabling eyes to adequately focus while a person looks left and right before crossing a street – a physiological process that requires precise coordination by brain circuits. And Knight – whose research involves trying to discover the underlying mechanisms that help the brain do those types of rapid head/eye movements – recently found out the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust wants to help that work with the award of a $46,500 grant.

The grant will enable Knight, now restricted to using mice in experiments, to buy specialized equipment for humans.

“The innovative EyeSeeCam developed at the University of Munich is cutting edge and makes difficult work accessible to undergraduate student researchers,” he said.

He said the project is exciting because the more investigation and increased understanding on how human movements work, “the more we can help prevent or rehabilitate from dysfunction.” The grant, along with $19,500 from Whitman, will fully fund two research students for summer 2010 and two for summer 2011.

Rachna Sinnott, Whitman’s director of foundation and corporate relations, said this is the first Murdock faculty research grant the college has received in many years.

Staff Profile: Leann Adams ’03
Assistant Director of Student Activities

  • Birthplace: Richland, Wash.
  • Education: B.A. in mathematics – Whitman, 2003. M.S. in Education (college student services administration), Oregon State University, 2008
  • Years at Whitman: Four as a student (1999-2003), three as a resident director (2003-2006), and two in current position
  • Favorite…
    • Film: “Under the Tuscan Sun.” It always gets me dreaming about traveling.
    • Book: “Memoirs of a Geisha.” It’s my go-to book when I just need to disappear into another world
  • Favorite sculpture on campus: Not really a sculpture, but I get endless hours of entertainment in the spring and summer watching the “Birdbath” fountain in front of Hunter. I have a great view from my office in Reid, and you truly NEVER know what you’re going to see in that fountain…dogs, kids, students, bubbles…
  • Best travel experience: Last summer my husband and I traveled to Italy, stayed in Rome for a few days, then took a Mediterranean cruise, stopping in northern Italy; Nice, France; Barcelona, Spain; Mallorca, Spain; and Sardinia, Italy. The trip of a lifetime to be sure.
  • Interests/pleasures: I love to play with my dogs (a 2-year-old lab and a 7-year-old pit bull mix. Plus we’re fostering a 1-year-old pit bull who’s up for adoption. I’m working on our yard this spring – I guess it’s not always a “pleasure” with the amount of weeds I find myself pulling, but it’s very satisfying to see it starting to get cleaned up. I intend to have a great time this summer checking out the new Walla Walla Sweets – you can’t beat summer evenings at a baseball field!
  • What people don’t know about me: That I was a math major and I still get a little geeky when it comes to projects that involve numbers and logic (okay, some of my co-workers might say I get REALLY geeky). Math is not often an integral part of my work, but deep down I still consider myself a mathematician and love finding opportunities to use the skills I learned in the math department at work or in other aspects of my life.
  • A day in the life/on the job: Rarely are two days in my job ever the same, which is just the way I like it! I serve as the adviser for ASWC and the Whitman Events Board, and work on various other student activities projects. I meet with students to help them plan campus events, run ASWC, work with their student club or get more involved on campus. I might find myself doing random things like reviewing a contract for a performer who’s coming to Whitman, helping sort out ASWC finance issues, setting up stage or sound equipment, or helping students shop for event supplies. I’m usually focused on how I can facilitate leadership development opportunities and help students cultivate their passions while they are here at Whitman – I love it!
  • Favorite aspect of Whitman: The opportunity to work with our students. I’m always energized to see the passion they have for their ideas and projects, and watching them grow and learn about themselves as they make their way through Whitman is really neat for me.
  • What I’ve learned here: Being an alumna, I have WAY too many answers for this question, but most generally speaking, Whitman is where I learned who I am and who I want be. Gosh, that’s kind of corny, but it’s true!
  • Quote: “Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” — Mary Anne Radmacher

Bunnies, eggs and more at the Bookstore

The Whitman College Bookstore is stocked for Easter, including a wide variety of Lindt chocolate bunnies, bugs, spring Jelly Belly candies and new graphic novels. Also available: artisan glass rings and an assortment of tiny and hysterical flip-books. A variety of Earth Diva bags just arrived; they are made by women’s co-ops and small cottage industry producers in Nepal. The bags are gorgeous, colorful, fair trade, handmade and priced from $18.95 - $38.95.

Coming Events
All free unless otherwise noted

Tuesday, March 30
Lecture: “Condemning the Innocent: The Death Penalty and Wrongful Convictions" by Margaret Vandiver, Ph.D., Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at University of Memphis. 7 p.m., Olin Hall 130.

Thursday, April 1
Visiting Writers Series: Reading by David Biespiel. 7 p.m., Kimball Theatre, Hunter Conservatory.

Friday, April 2
Music: Junior piano recital by Marla Nelson, playing four movements from Partita, five by J.S. Bach, Etude in E, Op 10, No. 3 by Chopin, and Sonata No. 15 in D Major, "Pastorale" by Beethoven. 7:30 p.m., Chism Recital Hall, Hall of Music.

Saturday, April 3
Music: Senior voice recital by Kaley Eaton, performing Renaissance and Baroque soprano repertoire and with an early music ensemble including harpsichord, organ, cello and lute. 7:30 p.m., Chism Hall, Hall of Music.

Tuesday, April 6
Undergraduate Conference: About 175 students present the original work they produced in courses, senior theses, summer internships or study abroad, or perform musically. This is the 12th annual Whitman Undergraduate Conference. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at venues across campus. Click here for the schedule.

Wednesday, April 7
Lecture: Dr. Everette Penn, associate professor of criminology at the University of Houston, will speak to the faculty at 4 p.m. Olin 157. Contact Pat Spencer, x5222.

Wednesday, April 7
Lecture: “Holocaust Survival: A Grandmother’s Story” by Lilly Black, grandmother of Ryan Smith ’12. 7 p.m., Maxey Auditorium.

Wednesday, April 7
Music: Whitman Jazz II Spring Concert directed by David Glenn. The group will play a collection of jazz standards, including pieces composed by Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. Drummer Gary Hobbs, formerly with the Stan Kenton Jazz Orchestra, will be featured as a guest artist. 7:30 p.m., Chism Hall, Hall of Music.

Thursday, April 8
Climate Change Series Lecture: “What’s the Best Way to Handle Climate Change?” by Ronald Bailey, science correspondent for Reason magazine. 5 p.m., Olin 130.

Thursday, April 8
Music: Whitman Jazz I Spring Concert directed by David Glenn. This concert will feature three recent works by jazz composer Dan Gailey, two very recent works by Whitman senior composition student Marshall Baker and classic pieces from the libraries of the great Stan Kenton and Duke Ellington bands. Drummer Gary Hobbs, formerly with the Stan Kenton Jazz Orchestra, will be featured as a guest artist. 7:30 p.m., Chism Recital Hall, Hall of Music.

Friday, April 9
Music: Senior saxophone recital by Hilary White, playing the “Rossini Variations” on soprano sax with Nathan Shiu, piano; “Prelude et Saltarelle” by Robert Planal, featuring a long and virtuoso cadenza on the alto saxophone; Alec Wilder “Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano” with Lee D. Thompson, piano; and “Tableaux de Provence” by Paule Maurice, a woman composer. 7:30 p.m., Chism Recital Hall, Hall of Music.

Saturday, April 10
Music: Chamber Singers and Chorale Spring Concert. 7:30 p.m., Chism Recital Hall, Hall of Music.

Wednesday, April 14
Music: Wind Ensemble Spring Concert, directed by Pete Crawford. 7:30 p.m., Cordiner Hall.

Thursday, April 22
Lecture: “Earth Day at Forty: New Conservation Challenges for the 21st Century” by Graham Chisholm. 7:30 p.m., Olin 103.


Click here for events posted on the Whitman Web site.

Athletic Events

Baseball (Borleske Stadium)
Friday, April 2 – noon vs. Pacific Lutheran University (doubleheader)
Saturday, April 3 – noon vs. Pacific Lutheran University

Men’s Tennis (Outdoor courts - Bratton Tennis Center if rain)
Friday, April 2 – 4 p.m. vs. Pacific University
Saturday, April 3 – 1 p.m. vs. Linfield College

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

Every now and then there is spring in the air, but it's clearly visible in most of the trees around campus.   Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Spring Breakfast Recap
PAC Workshop with Chef Chemin
Murdock Grant
Staff Profile:
Leann Adams ’03
Spring Supplies at the Bookstore
Coming Events
Athletic Events
Parting Shot

Past issues

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