September 27, 2010

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Volume 5, issue 6
September 27, 2010
The Fountain

Staff coffee recap – and links to a replay of the photos


Before President Bridges began the meeting, staff were treated to the artistry of Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer. He compiled shots of the Mem clock tower reconstruction and “Bow Tie Day,” which honors the president on his birthday. Click on the links above for replays of the slide presentations.


The president opened by describing the enthusiasm of prospective students and parents at an admission event in Portland he attended earlier in the week. “The energy was palpable and students introduced themselves to me two times. They want to get into Whitman College.” He recalled five years ago when 50 or 60 people turned out for such events. Today the number is upward of 160.

Before introducing Treasurer and CFO Peter Harvey ’84 to give a budget update, the president reminded staff that the continued uncertain economic times require the college to remain cautious with the budget.

Harvey assured staff that the college is on very solid financial ground. “Whitman’s in very good shape compared to many, if not most, of the private liberal arts colleges out there. We made some tough decisions a few years ago to lower our endowment income a bit and strategized to reduce expenses.” Staff and faculty, he said, did “a phenomenal job” of conserving expenses this past year, and he urges the same caution in the coming year.

A few notes about the college budget:

  • Faculty and staff salaries and benefits represent about 60 percent of the operational budget. Also in 2009-10, about $10 million of the college’s $54 million operations budget went to fringe benefits.
  • Tuition only pays about 60 percent of actual costs. This year the college budgeted $21 million in financial aid compared to about $16 or $17 million a few years ago. “It’s an unusual business model to price our product to cost less than it costs us to provide the services. That is part of the great mission of education in our society. We’re fortunate that we have a society that values it. We have so many people giving to us: alumni, current employees, parents giving on top of tuition. It is a mission to keep in mind how fortunate we are to be able to provide the quality of education we provide.”
  • Private gifts and grants are a bright light on the revenue side. The college raised more than $12 million last year, and of that, $1,150,000 will support current operations.

Other announcements:

  • The final tally on the annual Physical Plant Services yard sale was $3,000 raised for scholarships for nontraditional students.
  • Coming soon: The Baker Ferguson Fitness Challenge. (See article in this issue.)

Call for nominations: Pete and Hedda Reid Service to Walla Walla Award
The Reids

Since 1961, Whitman College and the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce have honored Whitman faculty and staff for their service to the local community with the annual "Town-Gown Award.” Last year, this award was renamed the “Pete and Hedda Reid Service to Walla Walla Award,” honoring the couple’s more than 60 years of service to the college and the town.

Last year, Peter Harvey ’84, treasurer/CFO was the inaugural recipient of the renamed award. Now is the time to submit nominations for the 2010 award. All campus community members may nominate a Whitman faculty or staff member who is an exemplary volunteer and community servant.

Nominees must have worked at Whitman for at least three years. Past nominees may be re-nominated. All nominations are due by Oct. 1, 2010 and must include your name, the nominee’s name, a brief description of service and a list of his or her activities in the community. Submit your nomination(s) online here.

The recipient of the award will be honored at the Chamber’s Annual Banquet on Nov. 10, 2010 at the Marcus Whitman hotel. Questions? Contact Jennifer Casper in the President’s Office at x5132 or e-mail

Alumni reunite on campus

More than 350 members of the classes of 1985, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 2000 and their family members and friends returned to campus over the weekend to celebrate reunions. Reunions offer a wide range of activities and events, and the faculty lectures are among the most popular. Featured faculty this year were Provost Tim Kaufman-Osborn, who addressed “Whither the Whitman Curriculum,” a presentation about Whitman’s mission and process from the early days through the present; Delbert Hutchison, associate professor of biology, who presented “Burn it and They Will Come,” about the effects of fire in the Ozark Mountains; and Bruce Magnusson, associate professor of politics and director of the Global Studies Initiative, who discussed how the changing world is changing the face of education.

Other activities and events on campus included classroom visits, career networking, a coffee with President Bridges, academic department gatherings and the Whitman Athletic Hall of Fame Reception.

For a recap of the entire schedule, click here. To see lists of reunion attendees, visit these links: 1985, 1994-1996 and 2000.

Welty Health Center offers vaccination clinic to help prevent the winter flu

Again this year the Welty Health Center will offer flu vaccinations. The clinic takes place Tuesday, Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Cordiner Hall foyer. The flu vaccine is free for all Whitman staff and faculty; family members over the age of 12 can also receive the vaccine at this time for a charge of $25 per person. Several nurses will provide the immunizations, to help shorten the wait time.

If you plan on attending the clinic, please first read the influenza information sheet. Next, print the flu vaccine consent form, and bring the completed form with you to your visit: 2010 Influenza Information Document and 2010 Flu Vaccine Consent Form.

If you are unable to attend the Flu Clinic, you may stop by the Welty Student Health Center after Oct. 6, preferably in the afternoon, to receive a flu vaccine.

Whitman to host region’s physics conference
APSNW Conference

The 12th Annual Meeting of the Northwest Section of the American Physical Society comes to Whitman Sept. 30 – Oct. 2. Approximately 150 physicists and students from the northwestern United States and western Canada will attend, and several Whitman faculty and students will participate.

“To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that Whitman has hosted such a large meeting of a professional society. It gives the college a platform to show itself off to a large number of faculty and students from the region. It also gives Whitman students the chance to present their research and to see presentations on research being conducted throughout the Northwest,” said Mark Beck, associate professor of physics and Garrett Fellow, who chairs the local organizing committee.

The conference begins with the Brattain Lecture, which is free and open to the public. Barry Barish, Cal Tech physics professor emeritus, presents "Einstein’s Legacy: General Relativity, Our Best Description of the Universe," Thursday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. in Maxey Auditorium. See the full schedule here. For additional conference information, click here.

New staff/faculty health and fitness challenge – get fit, win prizes

Faculty and staff can get fit and win prizes, too, when the Baker Ferguson Fitness Challenge kicks off on Oct. 11. This all-new fitness challenge offers opportunity and encouragement to utilize the Baker Ferguson Fitness Center facilities, including the Harvey Pool, and to take advantage of wellness programs offered through the Welty Health Center.

The challenge runs Oct. 11 through Dec. 10. The Grand Prize, a Jamis Commuter Bike, will be awarded at the holiday party in December. Other prizes available: two pedometers, two heart-rate monitor watches and 20 Whitman College logo-imprinted stainless steel water bottles.

Here’s how it works: For every work-out at BFFC, you receive one punch (actually an initial by the desk staff) on an index card. It takes five punches to complete a card. Every completed card goes into a drawing for the prizes, so the more times you work out at BFFC, and the more cards you complete, the more chances you have to win. First-time users get two punches for going through the orientation program.

In addition to incorporating the BFFC, the Welty Health Center is involved – you can receive punches there, too, for:

  • Taking an online health questionnaire (Premera blue cross)
  • Starting an online food log, workout log or acombination of the two
  • Getting your blood pressure checked
  • Having an annual exam (prostate, mammogram, vision, hearing, yearly exam, etc.)
  • Getting your annual flu shot
  • Completing one of the Health Center options through another health-care provider, just let the Health Center know, and they’ll punch your card.

For more information on the program, contact Michele Hanford, BFFC director, at

Penrose Library celebrates freedom to read

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, (this year Sept. 25 – Oct. 2) Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States. Thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community, however, in a majority of cases the books were not completely banned, according to Dona LaFran, administrative assistant for Penrose Library who is participating in the coordination of the event.

Penrose Library invites students, faculty, staff, and community members to stop by and see the BBW display that features the top 100 banned books of 2000-2009, selected from its collection. For the complete list, click here.

Harper Joy Theatre renovation featured in the U-B


The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin has been tracking the progress of the renovation of Harper Joy Theatre, an important campus and community asset. Last week’s Marquee cover story was titled, “Harper Joy Theatre builds upon its reputation.” The article chronicled the construction project and HJT’s history.

View the online article here or read a PDF version.

Coming Events
All free unless otherwise noted

Monday, 9/27
William O. Douglas Lecture: Adam Sowards, Ph.D., associate professor of history at the University of Idaho, presents his new book, “The Environmental Justice: William O. Douglas and American Conservation.” 7:30 p.m., Maxey Auditorium.

Tuesday, 9/28
Summer Read: Author Dave Eggers presents, “Zeitoun.” Book subjects Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun also will be present. 7:30 p.m., Cordiner Hall.

Wednesday, 9/29
Lecture: George Packer, award-winning journalist and author, presents, “An American Dilemma, Afghanistan and Iraq.” 7:30 p.m., Maxey Auditorium.

Thursday, 9/30
Brattain Endowed Lecture: Dr. Barry Barish presents, "Einstein’s Legacy: General Relativity, Our Best Description of the Universe." 7:30 p.m., Maxey Auditorium.

Friday, 10/1
Music: Fridays at Four Recital Series presents The Inland Northwest Trombone Quintet, featuring Dave Glenn. See all Department of Music events here. 4 p.m., Kimball Theatre.

Through 10/1
Art: The Sheehan Gallery presents “Spectra, Stream, Strata” by artist Neil Meitzler, whose work includes paintings, drawings and digital. The Sheehan Gallery is located in Olin Hall. For details contact Gallery Director Dawn Forbes at

Monday, 10/4
Presentation: "Comedy, Economics, and Climate Change,” presented by stand-up economist and former Whitman professor, Yoram Bauman. Cookies and punch reception to follow. 7 p.m., Kimball Auditorium.

Tuesday, 10/5
Lecture: O’Donnell Visiting Educator, Magnus Isacsson, an independent documentary filmmaker presents “Granny Power, the film.” 7:30 p.m., Maxey Auditorium.

Click here for a listing of all events.

Athletic Events – Home Games

Women’s Tennis ITA Pacific Northwest Tournament (Outdoor courts and Bratton Tennis Center)
Sept. 25 – 27, singles and doubles champions advance to ITA’s national fall tournament

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer


Senior astronomy/physics major Diane Feuillet ’11 lines up Jupiter and its 4 moons in one of the telescopes atop the Science Building during Friday night’s open house. Visible above the front of the telescope is the nearly full moon.   Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Staff Coffee Recap
Reid Award Nominations
Alumni Reunions
Flu Clinic
Physics Conference
Baker Ferguson
Fitness Challenge
Banned Books Week
U-B Features HJT
Coming Events
Athletic 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: