May 10, 2010

Volume 4, issue 37
May 10, 2010
The Fountain

Whitman welcomes GEAR UP students

Students arrive on campus with obvious anticipation.

About 320 local seventh-graders attended college May 4 as part of the federally sponsored program GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs). A day of activities gave a sense of post-secondary education to students from Walla Walla, College Place, Prescott and Touchet, including a presentation on goal-setting by Brien Sheedy that featured photos and video of his 2004 ascent of Mt. Everest.

Other activities included:

  • Science experiments in chemistry, biology and physics
  • An exploration of the new scanning electron microscope
  • Theatre, music and studio art workshops
  • Environmental education and team building with the Youth Adventure Program
  • Workshops with members of the Writing House and the blue moon literary magazine
  • Cultural activities with Club Latino and La Casa Hispana

Emma Jenkins, left, and Liya Senter, Walla Walla seventh-graders from Garrison Middle School, share a laugh during a cartooning/comics workshop with Mare Blocker, visiting assistant professor of art, at the Fouts Center for Visual Arts.

Clock tower construction to commence soon

Work on a seismic upgrade of the Memorial Building Clock Tower will begin shortly after Commencement and continue into mid-September. DCI Engineers performed an analysis of several unreinforced masonry buildings on campus and identified the clock tower as the top priority for a seismic upgrade, Jeff Donahue, construction project manager, told Mem staffers at a May 5 information meeting. The process will involve drilling about 1,000 holes and reinforcing the tower, grid by grid, with concrete and dowels. “Basically, we’re building a new building inside the clock tower and then pinning the clock tower back to it,” Donahue said.

What the campus community can expect during construction:

  • The south entrances of the building facing Boyer Avenue will be closed, and the lawn from Mem to Boyer will be fenced in. Alternative wheelchair sidewalk access will be addressed.
  • Several fire drills will be held in advance to ensure everyone knows alternate exits.
  • Noise will be a factor for Mem staff at times. However, most of the drilling and roto hammer use will be scheduled from 6-9 a.m.
  • Dust should not be a factor since the work area, focused on the tower itself, will be enclosed.
  • Air conditioning in the building will be operational.
  • Material Safety Data Sheets, which contain details about chemicals and materials to be used, will be available once construction begins. (See Nancy Jungmann, Mem 216.) Contractors will use environmentally and user-friendly products.
  • The clock face will be removed and transported to St. Louis, Mo., to be refinished. When reinstalled, it will operate on an electronic clock linked to a satellite, so the time will always be correct. The bell will be removed for construction and then returned to its home, so the campus community will hear the same bell, tolling at the half-hour and hour.
  • In addition to extensive reinforcement work to the tower, the footings of the tower and its connection to the building also will be reinforced.
  • The front steps will be removed.
  • The tower will undergo a chemical cleaning.

What we’ll see when it’s done:

  • New front steps, vestibule and doors that are period-correct, including mosaic tile in the vestibule. “We have been mindful of the restoration process,” Donahue said.
  • Sandstone will replace sandstone and brick will replace brick, so the finished tower will look the same, except cleaner.
  • A new card-lock entry system on the front door.

Other unreinforced masonry buildings on campus scheduled to be upgraded in the next five years: Prentiss Hall and Lyman House. Hunter Conservatory was upgraded during its 1998 renovation.

At the meeting, contractor Opp & Seibold’s representative Dan Reid described his special attachment to the tower project. Dan, son of Pete ’49 and Hedda Jorgenson Reid ’49, remembers the joy of ringing the bell after a winning football game (which didn’t happen too often, he said); a long rope hung from the bell and once pulled, it would lift him about 12 feet into the air.

Donahue requested that any questions about the project be directed to him at the physical plant, 526-4784.

Nader visit to classroom an “incredible” opportunity

Ralph Nader’s visit to campus last week offered yet another example of how the Whitman experience is made special not only by illustrious faculty and dedicated staff, but because of the students who are enrolled here.

It was a Whitman sophomore’s idea and hard work that brought Nader here not only to speak at length to a packed house at Cordiner Hall, but also to visit with environmental studies students in their classroom the next day.

Charlie Weems said his idea evolved into a challenging coordination and event-planning effort. “But it turned out great; I’m really happy people seemed to enjoy it,” said Weems, lectures director of the student-run Whitman Events Board, which sponsored the event.

Don Snow, senior lecturer of environmental humanities and general studies, said it was an “incredible” opportunity to have a former presidential candidate in the classroom.

“He’s the hero of the consumer safety movement and a major figure in instigating ‘Sunshine’ legislation,” Snow said. “I often stress to students that one of the greatest accomplishments of the environmental movement is freedom of information — laws that guarantee our right to know about arrangements our government enters into with private industry. Ralph Nader did maybe more than anyone to open the processes of government to inspection.”

Weems said he will take to heart Nader’s message to “keep the passion up and get involved.”

It appears the Whitman sophomore already has quite a good start.

Science Outreach Newsletter available online

The Spring 2010 issue of the Science Outreach Newsletter is available online. It reports on the various activities of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute-funded science outreach program, coordinated by Mary Burt. Learn more about the program here.

Greenhouse Gas Audit is online

The Greenhouse Gas Audit Team has posted the GHG Report for the Fiscal Year 2009 on the Sustainability Wiki, which can be accessed through CLEo or reached through the Wiki homepage here.

Science division leads Green Commute Challenge

Sean Gehrke, assistant director of residence life and housing, reports that the Division III: Science team is leading the Green Commute Challenge after Week 1 (April 26-30).

Others in the top five: Technology Services, second place; Development/Alumni Relations/Communications/President’s Office, third; Student Services, fourth; Bon Appétit, fifth.

“Sixteen percent of employees participated at least once during the first week of the challenge but we can do much better,” said Gehrke

Week 1 prize winners are:

  • Free coffee drink from Bon Appétit Espresso Cart: Bob Carson, Becky Kennedy, Julie Carter, Richard Shepard, Rich Dicus, Anjuli Martin, Douglas Carlsen, Sean Shanks, Lee Keene and Craig Gunsul.
  • Whitman College jump rope: Lynn Lunden, Sarah Hogan, Jim Russo, Dean Thomas Call and Kathy Davis.
  • Deluxe Whitman College paper weight: John Hein.

Winners can collect their prizes in the residence life office (Mem 113).

Week 2 (May 3-7) winners will be announced in the next Fountain. In Week 3 (May 10-14), biking to work counts for double points.

Faculty reception

Whitman faculty and staff are invited to the annual end-of-the-year faculty reception on Tuesday, May 11, from 4-6 p.m. in the Cordiner Hall Foyer. The 2010 faculty awards and the Alumni Association Faculty Award for Service will be announced. Ed Dixon, associate professor of music, will be honored as he retires. Honorees for 25 years of service will be Jan Crouter, associate professor of economics; David Guichard, professor of mathematics; and David Schmitz, professor of history.

Faculty accomplishments

Aaron Bobrow-Strain, assistant professor of politics, delivered a talk on April 30 titled “Killer Carbs? The Biopolitics of Amylophobia from Graham to Gluten-Free” at the University of California, Berkeley’s European Union Center of Excellence Symposium, “Food: History and Culture in the West.” The talk examined the recent explosion of self-diagnosed gluten intolerance in the United States, placing it in the context of a larger history of scientific and social debates about the effects of wheat consumption on individual health and national vitality.

Whitman folks go “Into the Woods”

The 10 Whitman faculty, staff, students and alumni performers in The Little Theatre of Walla Walla’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Into the Woods” invite campus community members to attend.

“Into the Woods” weaves together four of the Grimm Brothers’ best-known fairytales (Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel) to tell an original story of a childless baker and his wife trying to find their happily-ever-after. Unfortunately, happily-ever-after seldom comes true, and Act Two of this musical tells the story of what happens when happily-ever-after may be the biggest fairytale of all for some.

The Whitman folks bringing this fairytale to life include current and former staff and faculty members Richele Loney (Bakers Wife); Genevieve Baglio (Witch), Richard Sackett (Steward), Summer Singer (Snow White), Paul Dennis (vocal director), Nato Shiu (accompanist) and Phyllis Bonds (Jack’s Mother). Also see students Zachary Simonson (Jack), Alexandra Schireman (Cinderella) and Chris Reid (narrator).

Show times: May 14, 15, 16 (matinée), 21 and 22. Evening shows start at 8 p.m.; matinées start at 2 p.m. For ticket information visit or call (509) 529-3683.

Reid Campus Center Yard Sale features unclaimed items

Between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Tuesday, May 11, Reid Campus Center will hold its annual "Yard Sale" of unclaimed items that have been in the Lost & Found for the past year. Campus community members are invited to drop by the RCC foyer for great bargains on clothing, water bottles, electronics, jewelry and more. As always, proceeds from this sale go to RCC’s participation in the annual "Adopt-a-Family" project next December.

PAC walking tour bumped to a new date — Thursday, May 13

A perfect example of how busy and stressful this time of year can be — a scheduling conflict has moved the next PAC (Personnel Advisory Committee) Tour from May 12 to Thursday, May 13. Michele Hanford, Baker Ferguson Fitness Center director, will still lead the walk. Meet in front of BFFC on Thursday, and the tour will depart at 12:10 p.m. Comfortable, easy-fitting clothes and walking shoes recommended. No need to RSVP.

Friends Breakfast

  Eric Bridgeland Brian Griffith

Whitman College was well represented at the seventh annual "Breakfast with Friends," which raised funds for Friends, a local nonprofit that pairs adult mentors with Walla Walla children. As part of the program, men’s basketball coach Eric Bridgeland and WCTS system administrator/developer Brian Griffith shared their experiences as mentors with the 400 supporters gathered at the Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center on Wednesday, May 5. Members of Bridgeland’s team — Ryan Gilkey, Justin Artis and Drew Raher — were introduced as mentors. Not present at the breakfast, but also Friends’ mentors are players Brandon Shaw and J.P. Alvarez. The Friends Board of Directors includes Chuck Cleveland, dean of students; Pete Reid, retired assistant to the president; and Juli Dunn, director of academic resources. More information about the organization is available here.

Coming Events
All free unless otherwise noted

Monday, May 10
Music: Joanna Swan Senior Piano Recital. Assisted by Rachel Wishkowski, piano. 7:30 p.m., Chism Recital Hall, Hall of Music.

Monday, May 10
Retirement Party for Tom Frazier: Please join us as we celebrate the retirement of Tom Frazier, residence hall custodian, who has served Whitman for 25 years. Refreshments will be served. 3-4 p.m., Prentiss Great Hall.

Tuesday, May 11
Reception: Annual end-of-the-year faculty awards, 4-6 p.m., Cordiner Hall Foyer.

Wednesday, May 12
Retirement Party for Edward Dixon: Please join us to celebrate Edward Dixon’s retirement. After 20 years Ed is retiring from the Department of Music. If you have memories and pictures you would like to share with Ed, please send or e-mail them to Betty Waggoner at Whitman College Department of Music; 345 Boyer Ave.; Walla Walla, WA 99362 or Refreshments will be served. 3-5 p.m. (open house), Hall of Music Foyer.

Sunday, May 16
Music: Music Faculty Recital of Music by Women Composers. Susan Pickett, violin; Edward Dixon, cello; Jackie Wood, piano; and Kristin Vining-Stauffer, piano. 7:30 p.m., Chism Recital Hall, Hall of Music.

Sunday, May 16
Dance Recital: “Danza Classica” directed and choreographed by Idalee Hutson-Fish, with the Michael Anderson School of Tap. One hundred fifty students from age 4-24 will participate in the recital, dancing to Tchaikovsky’s beautiful “Swan Lake” as well as other pieces of music from composers around the world. Dancers from Whitman ballet classes will perform selections from “Les Sylphides.” 3 p.m., Cordiner Hall. Tickets: $15 Reserve, $12 General, $10 Student/Senior. Available at Earthlight Books or at the door.

Saturday, May 22
Baccalaureate: 3:30 p.m., Cordiner Hall.

Sunday, May 23
Commencement: 11 a.m., Memorial Building South Lawn. Visit the Commencement Web site for details and information.

Friday, June 4
Staff Appreciation Brunch: 9:30 a.m., Reid Campus Center, Young Ballroom. Watch campus e-mail and The Fountain for details.

Click here for more event information.

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

A truism in the world of photojournalism is that most often the best, most intriguing photos come before, after and away from the “main attraction.” This was true of Ralph Nader’s visit to Whitman as he reviews his notes backstage as student Charlie Weems introduces him at Cordiner Hall.   Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Clock Tower Construction
Ralph Nader
Science Outreach Newsletter
Greenhouse Gas Audit
Green Commute Challenge
Faculty Reception
Faculty Accomplishments
“Into the Woods”
Reid Yard Sale
PAC Walking Tour
Friends Breakfast
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. Director of Communications: Ruth Wardwell. Online: