June 6, 2011

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Volume 5, issue 41
June 6, 2011
The Fountain

Mellon Foundation grant supports academic excellence through faculty positions

As the campus slowly emptied of staff Friday afternoon, members of the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty might not have noticed, due to the fantastic news that arrived: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Whitman a grant of $644,000, which will enable the college to convert eight positions in the humanities and social sciences from contingent to tenure-track status over the next two years.

Mellon Foundation logo

"I was simply overjoyed to receive the news," said Tim Kaufman-Osborn, provost and dean of the faculty. "The grant proposal has been several years in the making, and the new tenure lines will enhance the overall quality of our academic program and the education we provide to our students. For their key roles in crafting and refining this proposal, in addition to President Bridges, I especially wish to thank Rachna Sinnott, director of foundation and corporate relations; Sally Hooker, associate to the provost; Karen Zollman, executive assistant to the provost; John Bogley, vice president for development and college relations; and Peter Harvey, CFO/treasurer. On behalf of the entire college, I express deep gratitude to the Mellon Foundation."

Watch Headline News later this week for an expanded story on the grant, including details on the positions and more campus reaction.

Staff appreciated, honors and awards announced, Griffith’s humor steals the show

Abraham Award winners
(l-r) 2011 Janice Abraham Award winners Kynde Kiefel, Eugenio Rojas and Carol Harris

In serving as emcee for Staff Appreciation Day, Brian Griffith, WCTS system administrator/ developer, had the packed house in stitches as he shared his appreciation for the staff, poked fun at Whitman’s “unpretentious” brand and revealed the nicknames WCTS staff have for budget officers. See his hilarity here.

Keynote speaker Tim Kaufman-Osborn, provost and dean of the faculty, acknowledged the distinctions between faculty and staff, but used a video clip of Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches to illustrate “when this distinction encourages us to forget what joins us together, it is no more helpful than the distinction between those who have stars on their bellies and those who do not…”

He also expressed his deep appreciation: “The staff of Whitman College represents the oil that keeps this college running and, to mix my metaphors, the glue that keeps it from breaking apart. We are members of a larger community, the community that is Whitman College, a community whose history extends over 130 years, a history that is ultimately all about educating the young women and men who will lead us into an uncertain future. On behalf of the entire college, and in the name of those students, I would like to express my deep appreciation for what each and every one of you does, day in and day out, to ensure that Whitman remains the great liberal arts college that it is. It truly is my privilege to honor you, my colleagues.” Read his speech here.

The annual Janice Abraham Award is presented to Whitman College staff (non-faculty) members who have made significant contributions and provided outstanding service to the college. It honors and celebrates staff members who go above and beyond job expectations, bring forward creative and innovative ideas, promote the philosophy of customer service and contribute to the excellence found at Whitman. The 2011 recipients are: Carol Harris, manager of human resources; Kynde Kiefel, Sheehan Gallery exhibitions and collections manager; and Eugenio Rojas, Hall of Science custodian.

Nominations for Carol Harris included these comments: “She is always trying to think of some way that she can help someone on campus in need. She absolutely cares about each individual on this campus and is willing to do whatever she can do to help solve problems, find solutions and more than anything give individuals peace of mind when they have deep concerns.”

About Kynde Kiefel, who filled in as director for a lengthy period of time, nominators wrote: “In addition to her tasks related to Sheehan Gallery, Kynde also devoted a significant amount of time to assisting in the opening of the Fouts Center for Visual Arts. She has given tours of campus art for development and various community groups. Whatever the challenge, she moves forward with grace and good humor.” “Kynde Kiefel oozes creativity, innovation and customer service.” “She is a positive presence on the Whitman campus.”

About Eugenio Rojas, one nomination included these comments: “It is a pleasure to have him in our building. He is extraordinarily efficient, always friendly, and respectful/careful in lab spaces where equipment is very delicate and extremely expensive. He is a real asset to Whitman, and I’d love to see him recognized as such. He works hard and does it all with a smile and with no complaints or expectations of rewards.”

Click here for a list of past Janice Abraham Award recipients.

Also recognized at the event were this year’s retirees and years of service:


  • Karen Kinder, administrative assistant, Office of Fellowships and Grants
  • Margaret Hoglund, administrative assistant, alumni relations
  • Andrea Thorson, administrative assistant, Office of Development
  • Douglas Carlsen, director of the bookstore
  • Frank Garcia, plumber
  • Gary Brown, landscape supervisor
  • Susan Roberts, receptionist
  • Denise Mann, associate controller
  • Shannon Callister, WCTS senior analyst
  • Keiko Pitter, CIO

30 years of service:

  • Ken Paine, WCTS programmer/analyst (comments by Michael Quiner, director of enterprise technology)
  • Martha Jantz, nurse (comments by Rich Jacks, associate dean of students: health and wellness)
  • Julianne Hoppen, library assistant (comments by Dalia Corkrum director of Penrose Library)

We already know, but look what’s being said about Whitman’s campus

Best Colleges logo

Yet another ranking is shining a well-deserved positive light on Whitman College. TheBestColleges.org lists Whitman as one of the top-50 “Most Amazing College Campuses,” ranking us at No. 36. To see more, click here then scroll to No. 36.

Faculty news briefs

Timothy Kaufman-Osborn

Tim Kaufman-Osborn, provost and dean of the faculty, last week delivered an invited presentation at the 2011 Symposium on Leadership, held in conjunction with the annual meeting of NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, on the topic of "Re-imagining Organizational Models for Internationalization." In the letter of invitation, he was asked to address his “perspective from a liberal arts college on the institutional structures for advancing internationalization." His presentation included a discussion of Whitman’s Global Studies Initiative and the ways in which is it designed to advance the goals that are unique to a liberal arts college. You can find out more about the session on the NAFSA conference website.

David Schmitz

David Schmitz, Robert Allen Skotheim chair of history and Whitman lacrosse coach, has been selected as the winner of the Sam Sadtler Service Award, presented by the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association/United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA/USILA). This award recognizes an individual who has displayed outstanding service to the MCLA/USLIA community. He also was named 2011 Pacific Northwest Collegiate Lacrosse League (PNCLL) Division 2 Coach of the Year. About Schmitz’s accomplishments, PNCLL League President Jason Stockton said, "Dr. Schmitz is the founder of the PNCLL and has been the model of coaching success in our conference. His teams have advanced to the playoffs every year since 1995, when the playoff format was established under his leadership. I’ve always admired the way he seems to get the most out of his players, and I know his teams’ successes over the years are a direct result of his sideline prowess."

Alumni Summer College seeks a global perspective

Summer College

This week, June 8-11, more than 30 alumni and their guests representing five decades return to campus to continue their education through the this year’s Summer College, which offers participants intellectual stimulation and camaraderie while exploring a theme from the liberal arts perspective. The 2011 theme is Seeking a Global Perspective. Summer College is organized by the alumni relations staff, and numerous staff, faculty and alumni serve as speakers and instructors. They will lead participants in discussions that explore the theme from a variety of disciplines. Starting from the notion that the world is closely connected, through travel, technology and conflict, sessions will serve to address such questions as: How do we effectively partner in our world community? And, how can we better understand one another. Click here to see the list of presenters and sessions and the Summer College brochure.

Got news? Send it to the Communications Office

The Office of Communications is looking for news stories to post on Headline News and in the Fountain. If you know of a special event on campus, an extraordinary student or alumnus or have exciting summer plans please send the details to Ashley Coetzee, interim media relations officer, at coetzeal@whitman.edu or x4917.


Check out the plant sale

The Biology Department is holding a plant sale on Tuesday, June 7 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Science Building Atrium. A variety of plants from the greenhouse will be available at great prices. Questions? Contact Martha Holt, biology lab coordinator, at holdma@whitman.edu or x5306.

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

parting shot

I took advantage of one of our recent clear days and headed up to Bennington Lake on the scooter after work and drove away with this serene panoramic of summer on its way.   Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Mellon Foundation Grant
Staff Appreciation Recap
Amazing Campus
Faculty News Briefs
Summer College
Got News?
Plant Sale
Parting Shot

Past issues

The Fountain is published by the Office of Communications. Send news to thefountain@whitman.edu. 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: www.whitman.edu/fountain