September 7, 2010

Volume 5, issue 3
September 7, 2010
The Fountain

Surprise announcement about inaugural George Ball Chair in the Humanities
Jon Walters and George Ball

A surprise announcement at last week’s faculty meeting brought smiles and cheers for Jon Walters, professor of religion. President Bridges shared the news that Walters has been recommended as the inaugural holder of the George Hudson Ball Endowed Chair in the Humanities, established over the past year thanks to the generous support of many alumni donors. The recommendation will be presented to the Board of Trustees at the November meeting.

Jon Walters

When asked if he was truly surprised, Walters responded “Yes, very. You can’t fake the color my face turned!” He added, “A named professorship or chair is always a great honor, but this one is especially meaningful to me because it is named for George Ball, the founder of my department and a living legend at Whitman. The great outpouring of alumni support for the chair is indicative of how beloved George is, which is a daunting legacy.”

Dr. Ball himself was present for the announcement and later shared his thoughts: “I’m still not sure I deserved this, but I am impressed with the selection of Jon Walters. I wish him well.”

“Jon exemplifies the model of teacher-scholar that we revere at Whitman,” President Bridges said. He has an impressive record of great teaching that combines with his prolific writing, publications, peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on Buddhism and religious movements in Asia.”

Walters has been a member of the Whitman faculty since 1992, joining the college as a visiting assistant professor. He achieved the rank of professor in 2007 and is a four-time Perry Award recipient. He also has received the Thomas D. Howells Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Humanities, a Paul Garrett Fellowship, the Adam Dublin Award for Global Multiculturalism and the Arnold and Lois Graves Award in the Humanities.

Science faculty awarded $549,446 NSF grant

  Ginger Withers Ginger Withers

The Hall of Science soon will be home to a new laser scanning confocal microscope – used for state-of-the-art, high resolution fluorescence imaging of biological specimens – thanks to a three-year, $549,446 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Under the direction of Ginger Withers and Christopher Wallace, Dr. Robert F. Welty associate professors of biology, Daniel M. Vernon, professor of biology, Doug Juers, associate professor of physics and Garrett Fellow, and Leena Knight, assistant professor of biology, the grant greatly expands the college’s imaging capabilities – providing new research possibilities and offering additional opportunities to integrate research into Whitman courses.

“Whitman’s student/faculty research programs continue to garner respect and attention from major granting agencies such as NSF,” said Rachna Sinnott, director of foundation and corporate relations. “The proposal for this grant was extremely well written, and created a compelling case for the impact this funding will have on the college and surrounding area.”

The new instrumentation will enhance a wide range of Whitman student/faculty research in biology, physics, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology. The only accessible instrument of its kind in the area, the confocal microscope will also have a broad regional impact – available for use by regional institutions and for demonstrations in existing Whitman outreach programs for middle school teachers, middle school and Latino high school students.

This is the third major NSF instrumentation grant awarded to Whitman in the last two years. Since 2006, the college has earned more than $1.3 million in NSF research and instrumentation funding.

National Science Foundation list reflects credit on Whitman College

National Science Foundation

A list of the top 50 schools that produce engineering and science PhDs, compiled by the National Science Foundation, continues to shine a favorable light on Whitman College. The list is based on undergraduate institutions that educate the greatest numbers of students per capita who go on to earn engineering and science PhDs. Recently the list was featured in an article on from CBS News.

Faculty Accomplishments

Deborah Du Nann Winter

Deborah Du Nann Winter, professor of psychology, has been quoted recently in a number of print and online media outlets about the mental health effects of the Gulf oil spill. Among them, a San Francisco Chronicle article that references an interview published in Ecopsychology, a peer-reviewed journal focused on the relationship between environmental issues and mental health and well-being.

Calling all faculty and staff actors HJT logo

The Theatre Department is seeking faculty and staff actors who would like to participate in the third installment of the widely popular Instant Play Festival, in which 14 plays will be written, produced, and performed in 48 hours. The time commitment is minimal. The 10-minute plays will be rehearsed and performed the same day. The plays will be written by student writers as the culmination of a workshop series in which the students will be working with professional playwrights. The festival takes place Sept. 25 and 26.

“If you can commit to one of these days and are dying to relive your glorious past as a college or high school actor, or if you have always dreamed of strutting the boards but have never taken the leap, this is your chance,” said Christopher Petit, assistant professor of theatre and festival director. “No experience is necessary. A number of faculty got involved last year, and their performances will be remembered for years to come. We hope to make this a true Whitman community event involving all parts of our community.” If you are interested in participating, e-mail Petit at

Campus community invited to participate in Ramadan activities

Ramadan, a month long celebration of self-purification and restraint, takes place in the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. It began Aug. 11 and continues through Sept. 9. Members of the Whitman community are welcome to participate in events this week, which reflect an expression of Islam on our campus. Ramadan at Whitman is co-sponsored by the Muslim Student Association and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life. Contact Adam Kirtley, Stuart coordinator of religious and spiritual life, at with questions or for more information.

Wednesday, 9/8: Film – "American Ramadan" is a one-hour documentary that follows several Muslim families and how they navigate Ramadan in the United States. 8 p.m., Olin 157.

Thursday, 9/9: Nourish – A weekly lunchtime discussion on issues of faith, religion, and spirituality. This week’s discussion will be lead by Maherin Ahmed ’11. Noon, Prentiss Dining Hall Back Room.

Friday, 9/10: Friday Prayer – This is a weekly prayer gathering in the Muslim Tradition. Non-Muslims are welcome. Appropriate dress includes head covering for women and long pants or a long skirt (no shorts or short skirts please). Noon, Spirituality Room (Prentiss Basement).

Friday, 9/10: Eid Celebration Dinner – Bon Appetit will be serving traditional fare associated with Eid, the holy day immediately following Ramadan. 5:30 p.m., Prentiss Hall Dining Room.

Welcome to the Whitman family!

Karen Zollman with baby

Karen Zollman, executive assistant to the provost and dean of the faculty, is a proud first-time grandma. At 7 lbs., 8 oz. and 20.5" long with “strawberry-blond” hair, grandson Nathan Gene Hind was born Aug. 22 to Zollman’s daughter and son-in-law, Alison and David Hind. The family lives in Omaha, and Grandma Zollman traveled there for the birth and got some extra visiting time as Nathan arrived one week late.

Coming Events
All free unless otherwise noted

Tuesday, 9/8-9/10
See Ramadan at Whitman above

Thursday, 9/9
Off-Campus Studies Fair: Students have a chance to obtain information about off-campus studies programs. It also serves as an opportunity for staff and faculty to meet representatives from nearly all of Whitman’s OCS partner programs. 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Reid Campus Center Ballroom

Friday, 9/10
Music: Fridays at Four Recital Series Presents: The Matt Bachmann Quintet. 4-5 p.m., Chism Recital Hall

Monday, 9/13
O’Donnell Lecture: John MacAloon, professor and associate dean of the Graduate Division of the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago, will address "No More U.S. Olympic Games?: America in the World Today." 7:30 p.m., Kimball Theatre

Thursday, 9/16
Lecture: "Art, Creativity, and Social Change," presented by Milenko Matanovick. 7:30 p.m., Olin 130

Friday, 9/17
Music: Fridays at Four Recital Series Presents: The Whitman Jazz Combo. 4–5 p.m., Kimball Theatre, See all Department of Music events here.

Athletic Events – Home Games

Women’s Soccer (Whitman Athletic Fields)
Sat, Sept. 11, Noon vs. NW Nazarene.

Men’s Soccer (Whitman Athletic Fields)
Sat, Sept. 11, 3 p.m. vs. Warner Pacific.

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

Electron microscope

For those of us who went to college when the original Walkman was the height of technology and stopped traffic on campus, the idea of connecting to the internet in the middle of the forest still has a pretty high “Wow” factor. Here Ellie Matkin ’11 and Max Henkels ’12 get their wireless connection up and running at Whitman’s Johnston Wilderness Campus prior to heading off on Semester in the West.   Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
George Ball Chair
NSF Grants
Science PhDs
Faculty Accomplishments
Instant Play Contest
New Baby
Coming Events
Athletic Events
Parting Shot

Past issues

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