March 8, 2010

Volume 4, issue 28
March 8, 2010
The Fountain

Mary Hanna – “Her classes were invitations to the imagination!”

So said a colleague of the late Mary Hanna, Miles C. Moore professor of politics, emeritus, who passed away March 3, 2010.

“With Mary’s passing, we have lost someone who made Whitman a better college, and her release from this world leaves it a lesser place,” said Tim Kaufman-Osborn, provost and dean of faculty and one of Mary’s closest friends.

For a small indication of just how much Prof. Hanna was respected, revered and loved, check out the Whitman College Facebook page.

A celebration of life event will take place Saturday, April 17, at 3 p.m. in the foyer of Cordiner Hall. More information will be provided in future editions of The Fountain.

Launch date for alumna astronaut postponed

Whitman Magazine and the Web site have reported on the NASA space shuttle launch originally scheduled for March 18, 2010. Why? Because one of the astronauts is alumna Dorothy Lindenberger-Metcalf ’97, mission specialist. The launch date has been postponed until April 5, 2010. Communications staff have been invited to participate in a NASA news conference this week, and they will post updates on Headline News and in The Fountain.

As Metcalf-Lindenberger is launched into space, so too will Whitman College – in a way. She will wear the Whitman T-shirt presented to her by President Bridges and Vice President John Bogley at an alumni event in Houston.

Read more about Dorothy and the launch in this Whitman Magazine article.

Pictured: Metcalf-Lindenburger; Alan Poindexter (right), STS-131 commander; and James P. Dutton Jr., pilot, train in the shuttle mission simulator at Johnson Space Center.

Award winning wine author to speak

Alice Feiring, James Beard Award-winning author and wine writer for The Wall Street Journal, will visit campus to present “Proud to be a Terroirist: Seeking Authenticity in Wines.” The lecture, sponsored by the Department of Geology, takes place Wednesday, March 10 at 8 p.m. in Maxey Auditorium. Feiring has become widely-known through her essays in The New York Times. Her blog,, has been named by both Food & Wine and Forbes as one of the top wine blogs. Her book, “The Battle for Wine and Love or How I Saved the World From Parkerization,” was published in 2008. She has another book in the works for fall 2011 publication.

Bookstore announces new arrivals

Just in time for spring, more than 450 fresh titles have arrived this week in the Whitman Bookstore. “Browse our new arrivals wall and pick out a refreshing new read,” suggests Rebecca Thorpe, general merchandise buyer for the bookstore. “All trade books are always 20 percent off the cover price to members of the Whitman community. And, there's no shipping! Get a great book and a leave a smaller carbon foot print!”

“Phishing” and a cyber security test

An important part of the work of WCTS is protecting the college and those who use and depend upon Whitman technology from attempts to breach technology firewalls and other threats to campus cyber security. In doing so, WCTS seeks to routinely warn and educate staff, faculty and students about these threats. One such very real threat is what’s known as “phishing.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines phishing as “fraud perpetrated on the Internet; specifically, the impersonation of reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, online.”

Over the last 18 months, phishing has hurt both individuals and the college as a whole. For example:

  • A scammer recently stole $5,000 from an individual’s personal bank account.
  • Nearly 70 campus community members were tricked into giving out their passwords when asked. These hijacked usernames/passwords were used to launch more than 100,000 spam/phishing e-mail messages from Whitman College, completely saturating our e-mail system and resulting in the domain being black-listed by other organizations.

In the past week, the firm that audits the security of our technology systems conducted an industry-standard test designed to assess Whitman’s preparedness to the specific threat of phishing. The test involved mailing thumb drives and a free gift card offer to about 35 staff and faculty. The security firm selected the names from Facebook – all individuals had Facebook accounts that show an association with Whitman. Had this been a real phishing attempt, inserting and accessing the content of the thumb drive could have resulted in a major security breach either to the individual or to college data.

“It was an extreme measure designed to see how well the security procedures are working and to understand better our vulnerability to phishing threats,” said Keiko Pitter, chief technology officer. “On the one hand, the community’s response was excellent because 100 percent of the test group recognized the mailing as a scam. On the other hand, the extreme nature of the exercise raised strong concerns and frustrations among some persons. I regret that the test frustrated some, or at least caused a level of discomfort. Doing so was not our intention.”

Pitter stated, “Ultimately, we want to ensure that all campus community members are as knowledgeable and aware as possible about the ever-increasing ways phishers contact us. The staff and I will need to assess how we can continue to learn about Whitman’s vulnerability to these and other security threats while also recognizing the need for better consultation and communication with faculty and staff about the tests our consultants undertake.”

A timely reminder – NEVER, EVER give out your user name and password

Some campus community members received the following phishing e-mail last night this morning. WCTS takes this opportunity to remind us that no one from Whitman will EVER ask for your password. Also, poor grammar is a tell-tale sign of phishing. See below:

-----Original Message-----
From: Whitman College []
Sent: Sunday, March 07, 2010 8:36 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:

Dear Whitman College Webmail Online Email Account Owner,

Important notice, harmful virus was detected in your account which can be harmful to our subscriber unit. You are to enter your User and password here {____________,_________} to enable us set in an anti virus in your user account to clear up this virus. we do need your co-operation in this, Providing us with this information we enable us insert in your account an anti virus machine for clean up.

You are to forward all Information to:

We are sorry for the inconveniences this might have cost you. Failure to do this, we are sorry to let you know that your account will be deleted immediately to prevent it from harming our subscriber unit.

Thank you for using Whitman College,

We are glad at your service,

Whitman College Webmaster online.

Coming Events
All free unless otherwise noted

Wednesday, March 10
Lecture: “Proud to be a Terroirist” by Alice Feiring, wine writer for The Wall Street Journal. 8 p.m., Maxey Auditorium.

Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28
Performance: “Sleeping Beauty” presented by the Walla Walla Symphony and the Eugene Ballet. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. Cordiner Hall. For information and tickets/prices visit

Click here for additional events posted on the Whitman Web site.

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

When the sun comes out so do the students. The chairs between Fouts Center for Visual Arts and Reid Campus Center became very popular study spots last week!   Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Mary Hanna
Alumna Astronaut
Wine Lecture
New at the Bookstore
Never Give Password
Coming Events
Parting Shot

Past issues

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