August 27, 2012

Volume 7, Issue 2 August 27, 2012
The Fountain

More rankings/guidebooks: Washington Monthly and Colleges that Change Lives

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Whitman is No. 30 in the Washington Monthly college guide, which focuses on measures related to social mobility, research and service.

Also, Whitman is included in the newest edition of Colleges That Change Lives – 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges, by Loren Pope, revised by Hilary Masell Oswald. Among topics considered in this distinguished guidebook: The look and feel of the campus, quality of dining hall food, percentage of students who study abroad, percentage of students who go to grad school, average SAT/ACT scores and what professors have to say about their schools.

Watch The Fountain and other campus news for more rankings updates.

Convocation sets tone for new academic year

staff breakfast

Last week, more than 400 excited new students arrived at Whitman to start their college careers. On Friday, President Bridges officially opened the 2012-2013 academic year, the college’s 130th, at Convocation. Students, families, friends, faculty and staff filled Cordiner Hall to hear speeches by the president, Kayvon Behroozian ’14, Tony Cabasco, Timothy Kaufman-Osborn and Professor Roberta Davidson, as well as a musical interlude.

In her speech, “Taking the Adventure,” Davidson connected the successful landing of the Mars Rover Curiosity with lessons from the medieval epic “Le Morte d'Arthur.” Just as the team who helped launch Curiosity needed “an exceptionally high tolerance for failure,” she advised students not to try to be perfect and not to refuse help: “It’s easy to forget how much we learn on the journey to our desired end by taking all those less successful steps along the way.”

“Your intellectual journey is about to start,” she said. “Be curious, ask questions, find answers, find other answers, be brave – because curiosity requires courage – and, above all, have faith in the learning process. Who knows what you might discover, or what paths you may follow that you can’t yet foresee? And remember, just like that dedicated group of scientists and professionals behind the rover, the staff and faculty of Whitman are here to help you experience as soft a landing as possible. So take your adventure – we’ll be rooting for you.”

Staff Breakfast celebrates start of the year, new staff

staff breakfast

At last week’s End of the Summer Staff Breakfast, President Bridges welcomed the staff to the new academic year and congratulated departments for their hard work during the summer. “You have all worked very hard these past few weeks to prepare for this week. This transition from summer to fall is always one of the most exciting times of the year. The campus looks fantastic and continues to be an exemplar of beauty and organization. Your accomplishments are simply remarkable and greatly deserving of our recognition and praise.”

President Bridges recognized the admission and financial aid staff for ushering in “A class of exceptional students while also managing our financial aid budget in a manner that gives us an extraordinary amount of financial flexibility this year.” He commended the development staff for “the largest fundraising year in Whitman’s history” and thanked communications for work on the website. He also congratulated varsity athletics for achieving new levels of excellence in conference and national rankings.

“The secret to Whitman’s success – the secret to any institution’s success – is its people – in all of us,” he said. “And not just in us but in our dedication and commitment to one another and to a noble mission like ours. Each of us is an educator who contributes to the development of our students. Whether it is in the advice we offer, in the support we provide, or in the behavior we model, they learn from all of us, regardless of our jobs or positions. Each of us contributes to the quality of our workplace by how well we support one another, by the quality of work we do and by the respect we afford each other and all of the people who visit. It is my hope that by our commitment to our students and their families, Whitman will always be the college of first choice in the Northwest, the employer of first choice among colleges in the Northwest and the philanthropic priority of first choice for our alumni and friends.  

As budget officers introduced new staff members in their departments, Brian Griffith, WCTS system administrator, again shared a some of the nicknames WCTS staff have given them. Among them: “Socks” for Timothy Kaufman-Osborn, “Cash” for Peter Harvey and “The Admiral” for John Bogley.

In closing, the staff joined President Bridges in a cheer of “Go Whitman!”

Class of 2016 Beloit “Mindset List” targets 1994

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Annually, Beloit College releases its wildly popular “Mindset List,” which reflects news, events, trends and more from 18 years prior – the year in which most traditional students entering college in the fall were born. Among highlights of the Class of 2016 list:

  • They have never seen an airplane “ticket.”
  • They can’t picture people actually carrying luggage through airports rather than rolling it.

  • There has always been football in Jacksonville but never in Los Angeles.
  • Having grown up with MP3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all.
  • Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker’s long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.
  • For most of their lives, maintaining relations between the U.S. and the rest of the world has been a woman’s job in the State Department.
  • Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles.
  • Their folks have never gazed with pride on a new set of bound encyclopedias on the bookshelf.
  • Before they purchase an assigned textbook, they will investigate whether it is available for rent or purchase as an e-book.
  • Lou Gehrig's record for most consecutive baseball games played has never stood in their lifetimes.

© 2012 Beloit College

Click here for the full, 75-item list.

Staff coffee with the president next week

Coffee with the President

All staff members are invited to attend a meeting with President Bridges, Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 8:30 a.m. in Olin 130. The president will speak about the State of the College and take questions. Light refreshments provided. Please bring your own cup/mug to help support campus sustainability efforts.

Staff transitions and changes

Alexandra Jordan

Effective June 1 – Alexandra Jordan is the new development officer responsible for fundraising for the Now is the Time Campaign.  Her duties include reaching out and inviting alumni, parents, staff, faculty and friends of the college locally and throughout the country to give to Whitman.  She also supports the fundraising efforts of each year’s 25th reunion class. She formerly served as the director of development at California State University Dominguez Hills. Contact her at or x5096; her office is Memorial 200.

If you are new to Whitman and would like to be “introduced” to the campus community via The Fountain, send an email.

Walla Walla Public Library thanks staff and faculty for “Whitman Reads” series

Whitman Reads

“Whitman Reads,” a weekly summer enrichment program for kids at the Walla Walla Public Library, has concluded a successful season thanks to the support of Whitman staff and faculty. The program featured stories, science projects and other fun activities led by staff and faculty volunteers. Liz George, the children’s services librarian, says:

“Whitman Reads is a great opportunity to share the wealth of knowledge and talent at Whitman College with young people in our community. The library is pleased to have hosted the Whitman Reads series this summer and hopes to build on this new program, hosting more events in the future."

Faculty and staff from a variety of areas of campus were presenters: Elyse Semerdjian gave a lesson in Arabic, Michelle Schafer and Martha Holt taught kids how to use microscopes, Mara Sorkin read a story called “Bread and Jam for Frances” and helped kids make their own snack, Jennifer Mouat shared some favorite folktales, Mary Burt showed the kids how to make liquid nitrogen ice cream, Hitomi Johnson read two stories set in Japan during WWII and taught kids how to use chopsticks, Kate Jackson read her book “Katie of the Sonoran Desert” and Abby Juhasz read some favorite poems. Eleanor Ellis ’13, who served as an intern at the library this summer, coordinated the program.

Campus Events
All free unless otherwise noted

Tuesday 8/28
Presentation: The Outdoor Program Slideshow. The OP shares some of the best nearby wilderness aread, including the Wallowas, Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness Area, Eagle Cap Wilderness Area and the Salmon River. 7:30 p.m. in Reid G02.

Friday 8/31
Music: The Fridays at Four Recital Series presents The Whitman Summer Music Consortium, playing an assortment of classical and jazz to welcome everyone back to Walla Walla. Works by JS Bach, Schumann, Szymanowski, and others. Performers: Josh Melander, violin; Kristi Von Handorf, flute/piano; Alissa Becerril, oboe; Ethan Maier, piano. 4 p.m. in Hunter Conservatory.

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

parting shot

Incoming first-year Katie Steen ’16, right, from Colorado was thrilled to have some Phi Delta muscle help her with moving in to Anderson Hall Thursday morning. Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Washington Monthly
Convocation 2012
Staff Breakfast
Beloit Mindset List
Staff Coffee
Staff Transitions and Changes
Whitman Reads
Campus Events
Parting Shot

Past issues
The Fountain

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