September 19, 2011

Volume 6, issue 5
September 19, 2011
The Fountain

Staff coffee recap: fundraising and gift of new art fuel excitement

At last week’s Staff Coffee, President Bridges spoke with enthusiasm about fundraising efforts that led to a new record for Whitman last year – donors gave almost $15.3 million. He credited the Development staff for their work and emphasized that the current fundraising effort is designed to focus momentum in giving to three primary areas: academic excellence reflected by increasing the number of tenured faculty lines, scholarship support and endowment growth.

Fundraising in this period has shifted from buildings to people, and it’s “about future generations of Whitman students, faculty and staff,” the president said. “People are very excited about the direction of the college, which inspires them to give in many ways.”

In particular, he shared the news that a non-Whitman graduate who deeply believes in the liberal arts mission has “adopted” the college and is showing her support through a $6-million estate gift. He also announced a gift of another kind – a custom Chihuly art glass piece, thanks to the efforts and generosity of alumnus Mark Anderson ’78, who established the Walla Walla Foundry. The glass will be installed over the main entrance doors to Cordiner Hall. Later, a bronze sculpture is planned. Watch for campus news and The Fountain for details in the coming weeks.

Discussion of college finances focused on the plan to build the 2012-13 budget. While he spoke of the college being in a better position than has been the case for the past few years, economic and financial volatility still warrant thoughtful caution in building the budget.

There is still discussion on possible changes to health care benefits that were raised last year. This year, however, the college will have significantly more time to explore the options, as the data needed from the broker will be available to the treasurer’s office much earlier than it was last year. The president re-emphasized the college’s position, which is to find balance in offering benefit packages that are as generous as possible AND are financially sound and sustainable for the college. Peter Harvey, CFO, has been collecting input about ideas for possibly creating a new tuition exchange program. Watch campus email for fringe benefits announcements.

Among other announcements:

  • Campus community members are encouraged to spread the word about the special Alaska Air inbound flight promotion.
  • The annual flu shot clinic will take place Sept. 20.
  • It’s time to submit nominations of staff or faculty for the annual Pete and Hedda Reid Service to Walla Walla Award.

See stories about these announcements in this edition of The Fountain.

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

Do you know of a Whitman staff or faculty member who shows outstanding service to the Walla Walla community? Nominations are now open for the Pete and Hedda Reid Service to Walla Walla Award (formerly the Town/Gown Award), which annually recognizes an individual from Whitman for their exceptional volunteer service to the community. Since 1961, Whitman and the Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce have honored Whitman faculty and staff for local community service. Candidates must have worked at Whitman for three years; past nominees may be re-nominated. The recipient of the Pete and Hedda Reid Award will be honored at the Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet, held at the Marcus Whitman Hotel, Wednesday, Nov. 30, and will receive a prize of $1,000. Submit nominations online; the deadline is Thursday, Sept. 29 at 5 p.m.

The first two recipients of the renamed award are Peter Harvey, CFO (2009), and Melissa Clearfield, associate professor of psychology (2010).

Alaska Air offers discount program for inbound flights

Alaska Air logo

If you have friends, family or professional associates who are planning a trip to Walla Walla, they might appreciate knowing about a short-time, promotional 20 percent discount program being offered by Alaska Air. This program is available to any individual who buys a round-trip ticket to Walla Walla (originating elsewhere) by Sept. 30. The ticket can be used any time up to Jan. 31, 2012, but the ticket must be purchased by Sept. 30. Click here for details.

Get your flu shot on campus Sept. 20

Flu shots

Through the Welty Health Center, the college again is providing FREE flu shots for campus community members. The vaccination also is available to family members over the age of 13 for $25 each. A flu shot clinic will take place Sept. 20, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Cordiner Hall foyer. Prior to the clinic, visit the flu vaccine web page to complete a consent form. Questions? Contact Claudia Ness, director of the health center, at

Faculty news briefs

  lightning Lightning strikes a telescope at the observatory. Photo credit: Nathaniel Paust

Nathaniel Paust, assistant professor of astronomy, recently returned from the Kitt Peak National Observatory outside Tucson, Ariz. He and two students, Sam Schonfeld ‘12 and Becky Nevin ‘13, were granted access to a 2.4-meter telescope to observe globular clusters at the edge of the Milky Way. Despite some bad weather, the team was able to collect data that both students hope to publish in peer-reviewed journals.

Underdog cover shot Roberts Katrina Roberts, Mina Schwabacher Professor in English and the Humanities and director of the Visiting Writers Reading Series, has received widespread acclaim for her book of poems, “Underdog” (The University of Washington Press, 2011). Published in June, the book has so far been nominated for the National Book Award for Poetry, the Pulitzer Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and the American Book Award. In July, one of the poems was featured on Verse Daily, an online anthology of poetry.

Welcome to the Family, Emile and Gracie!

  baby Emile
Emile Dean Maroon-Beechey
baby Gracie
Gracie Josephine Crawford

Susanne Beechey, assistant professor of politics, and Everett Maroon announce the birth of their son, born Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 1:48 a.m. Emile Dean Maroon-Beechey is “seven pounds, 14 ounces of pure joy,” the new mom reports.

Cristie Crawford, campus visit coordinator, and her husband, Simon, announce the birth of daughter Gracie Josephine Crawford, born Sept. 8, weighing seven pounds and measuring 19 inches. The proud parents are "overjoyed and doing well."

Test of emergency notification system is Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 3:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 3:30 p.m. Whitman will conduct a TEST of the campus emergency notification system.

The Blackboard Connect system will send messages via e-mail and contact primary phone numbers as well as cell phone numbers that have been entered into the emergency notification system.

If you do not receive any messages via any of these vehicles, it’s likely that your information is not current in the campus data base. It is important to keep this data current. To do so go to and click on the link for Quack and then “Emergency Numbers.”

The Informacast broadcasting system also will be tested. It will deliver a recorded message via the speakers of all Cisco VoIP phones on campus, including classroom phones. The recorded message will include a 10-second alert pre-tone and then the recorded message. The message will be repeated two times with a 30-second pause between each broadcast.

Coming Events
All free unless otherwise noted

Wednesday, 9/21
Whitman Internship Celebration. The Student Engagement Center invites faculty and staff to celebrate the accomplishments of the 30 students who completed summer internships supported by the Whitman Internship Grant Program. Students will share their learning adventures, which include a range of experiences such as working with killer whales, Asian immigrants, members of Congress, Australian lungfish genes, indie record labels, free range hens, and more. Check out more information about the Whitman Internship Grant Program. 4:30 p.m. in the Reid Campus Center, Young Ballroom.

Wednesday, 9/21
Film: “Harmony and Me.” Writer/director Bob Byington screens his acclaimed film “Harmony and Me,” the only American film selected to screen at the 2009 Museum of Modern Art’s New Directors/New Films program in New York City. The film follows an eccentric young man in Austin, Texas, who can’t seem to get past a break up with his girlfriend. Q&A to follow. 7:30 p.m. in Kimball Theatre.

Thursday, 9/22
Lecture: “The Puzzle of Queen Himiko and her Country of Yamatai: Japan in the 3rd Century A.D.” Professor Richard Pearson of the University of British Columbia gives a talk on a queen and priestess named Himiko, who ruled the country of Wa in Japan around 240 A.D. What do archaeological discoveries tell us about the ancient society of Japan? The lecture focuses on finds from sites such as Yoshinogari, Kurozuka, and Makimuku. 7:30 p.m. in Olin 157.

Saturday, 9/24
Theatre: Harper Joy Theatre presents the Instant Play Festival, with seven plays presented each day, Sept. 24 and 25. Students write, produce, and perform 14 plays in 48 hours. The plays are the culmination of a workshop series in which students work with professional playwrights. For more details about this all-day event, check out the event listing. Alexander Stage, Harper Joy Theatre. Tickets available Sept. 9.

Thursday, 9/29
Visiting Writers Reading Series: Visiting Assistant Professor Juan Martinez is the first writer in the 2011-2012 VWRS. His work has appeared in Conjunctions, Glimmer Train, McSweeney’s, The Santa Monica Review and two anthologies: Norton’s “Sudden Fiction Latino” and “The Perpetual Engine of Hope.” 7 p.m. in Kimball Theatre.

Athletic Events – Home Games

Men’s Tennis
ITA Northwest Regional Championships (Outdoor courts and Bratton Tennis Center)
Sept. 24-26, times to be announced.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Staff Coffee Highlights
Reid Award Nominations
Alaska Air Discount
Flu Shots
Faculty News Briefs
Baby Announcements
Emergency Message Test
Coming Events
Athletic Events

Past issues

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