December 3, 2012

December 3, 2012

Volume 7, Issue 16 December 3, 2012
The Fountain

Staff Coffee recap: budget picture and priorities, admission and campaign updates

Whitman College logo

At last week’s Staff Coffee, President Bridges reported that the college is in solid financial shape, having rebounded well from the economic downturn. He credited the combined work of trustees, budget officers, staff and the Budget Advisory Committee for creating a financial path forward that has left the college in a much stronger position than many of our comparison schools. Among specific areas of campus playing significant roles in contributing to the college’s financial strength are Admission, for keeping the discount rate steady, and Off-Campus Studies, for transitioning to a revenue-producing model.

The president shared that his top priorities for the budget are strategic investments in faculty and staff salaries, critical faculty and staff lines, recruiting prospective students, strengthening communications programs and assisting students in their post-Whitman career and professional planning. The Board of Trustees will review the 2013-14 budget proposal at its February 2013 meeting.

He also shared that at the November board meeting, the trustees were highly engaged and appreciated the opportunity to talk directly with a group of faculty. One topic of discussion was the future composition of Whitman’s faculty, in which women in younger age brackets are projected to be the majority.

They also discussed converting more adjunct positions to tenure track, which “distinguishes esteemed liberal arts colleges. The board members want to know what’s going on. They seek this kind of discussion and engagement with campus community members, and we are hoping to set up discussions with staff at the February meeting,” President Bridges said.

Other topics mentioned:

The Winter Holidays Party – Dec. 14, more details to come.

Admission – Tony Cabasco, dean of admission and financial aid, thanked staff for the roles they play in helping make Whitman such a welcoming environment for visitors. He also reported:

  • Director of admission candidates will be interviewed in January.
  • Admission has re-established the Seattle office and John Loranger ’11 is now based there.
  • Strategies for increasing applicants include purchasing more names, working with more high school counselors, more outreach through digital vehicles and publications.
  • The early decision pool numbers look good and are very close to last year’s. “We’re in the second inning of a nine-inning game,” Cabasco said.

Campaign – John Bogley, vice president for development and college relations, reported that the campaign total has reached $114.5 million. He also highlighted just a few of the real-time impacts on campus:

  • More endowment income generated thanks to gifts to the endowment.
  • An increase from fewer than 30 to 100 funded student internships.
  • The addition of multiple new professorships.
  • The possibility of new outdoor tennis courts.

Tennis Courts – Peter Harvey, CFO, reported that there will be a campus community forum on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 4 p.m. in Maxey Auditorium to discuss several options for the tennis courts project. (See details later in this edition of The Fountain.)

Open Enrollment for health benefits – Telara McCullough, manager of compensation and benefits, reminded staff that if you are not making changes AND are not using the flex plan, you do not need to do anything. If you are making changes OR using flex, you do need to take action. Click here for open enrollment information and resources. Also, Harvey reported that while health insurance rates for the college have gone up, Whitman is not passing the increase on to employees because the reserve budget grew more than expected.

Deferred maintenance budget – Dan Park, director of facilities, said the budget that supports ongoing maintenance of campus facilities has been decreased but still is adequate for keeping the campus well-maintained, and it reflects the replacement value of the campus. Jeff Donahue, construction project manager, stated that it is no longer accurate to call it “deferred. It’s planned maintenance!” he said.

Content Management System – Ruth Wardwell, assistant vice president for communications, expressed appreciation for the patience and cooperation shown by staff through the transition, which is expected to continue through the end of January. She urged staff to send questions and issues to

Brian Dohe honored with Pete and Hedda Reid Service Award

Brian Dohe

Brian Dohe, director of annual giving, is the 2012 recipient of the Pete and Hedda Reid Service to Walla Walla Award, presented last week at the Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet.

Formerly called the Town-Gown Award, it recognizes Whitman staff and faculty who have made significant contributions to the community. The award is presented jointly by Whitman and the Chamber and comes with a $1,000 stipend.

Multiple members of the Whitman community contributed to nominating Dohe. Among comments written on his behalf:

“Always a quick smile and positive attitude makes being a colleague of Brian’s a privilege. Because he does not talk about what he does for others, one would never know the difference he has made in our community.”

“Brian is highly invested in the Walla Walla community and spends personal time and energy in making this a better place to live. His involvement in community service is genuine and heartfelt, and Brian enjoys connecting with people and making a difference.”

Dohe has worked at Whitman for 21 years, in which time he has served on the fundraising committee for Friends and on the boards of the Blue Mountain Arts Alliance and Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce. Described in his nomination as the “consummate volunteer,” Dohe currently serves as president of Exchange Club and chairman of the Financial Development Committee and secretary of the board for the WW Community Council.

Per Whitman tradition, this award is presented in memory of a college staff or faculty member who has passed away – in this case, Dr. George Ball.

“I counted Dr. Ball as a colleague and mentor from the moment I arrived in Housing and Residence Life in 1991 and through my time in Annual Giving when we were in adjacent offices,” Dohe says. “It deepens the significance of this award to receive it in the year that it’s given in memory of Dr. Ball.”

Campus forum set to discuss future of outdoor tennis courts – Dec. 6

Tennis Courts

All campus community members are invited to a forum to discuss the future of Whitman’s outdoor tennis courts. They are about 25 years old and have reached the end of their useful lives. Also, the foundation beneath the courts is beginning to fail, as evidenced by the significant cracks in the courts.

The central issues of discussion at the forum include a possible expansion from four to six courts and whether or not the courts should remain where they are or be relocated.

The forum is set for Thursday, Dec. 6 at 4 p.m. in Maxey Auditorium. Peter Harvey, CFO, will share more background, present potential layouts for each of the locations and provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of each site. He then will open the floor to comments, questions and suggestions.

“This is an important long-term planning issue for the college, and I believe getting broad input from campus community members is critical to the decision-making process,” Harvey said.

Donate to YWCA Women’s Shelter at Winter Holidays Party

save the date

Staff and faculty are encouraged to bring an item for the Winter Holidays Warm-Up Drive with them to next Friday’s Winter Holidays Party. Donations of gloves, hats, scarves, socks and mittens will benefit the YWCA Women’s Shelter.

The party is Friday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Reid Campus Center Ballroom. Festive attire is encouraged.

Annual arts and crafts fair today

snowman craft

Staff and faculty, along with students and family members, are invited to do some holiday shopping today at the annual arts and crafts fair, hosted by the Student Activities Office and Reid Campus Center. Twenty-three Whitman community members will sell their handcrafted and homemade goods just in time for the holidays.

The fair is today, Dec. 3, from 4-6 p.m. in the Reid Campus Center, Young Ballroom.

Campus Events
All free unless otherwise noted

Wednesday 12/5
Lecture: “The Paradoxical Waste from Efficiency.” O’Donnell Visiting Educator Jamie Workman presents the third in a three-part series of lectures called “Three Things Your Parents Didn’t Tell You About Water Conservation.” Here he explores how titans of industry like GE, Google and Microsoft have failed to conserve the global water supply. 7:30 p.m. in Olin 130.

Thursday 12/6 - Sunday 12/9
Theatre: “Camino Real.” HJT presents Tennessee William's carnival of desperation and desire. When Kilroy, an American traveler and former boxer, accidently lands on the Camino Real, a surreal netherworld populated by famous figures from literature and history, he begins his struggle to flee its confines and change his destiny. For more information, click here.

Friday 12/7 - Saturday 12/8
Dance: “The Common Truth.” Five dancers take the stage for a single hour of continuous performance in this work of dance theatre/performance art. Audience members are advised that the piece contains psychological content which may be disturbing to some. 8 p.m. in Cordiner Hall.

Saturday 12/8
Theatre: “The 39 Steps: A Live Radio Play.” HJT presents a single performance of this funny and romantic thriller, which places the audience in the studio of a radio broadcast inspired by Hitchcock’s classic film. Price of admission is one non-perishable food item or $1 donation to the local food bank. 2 p.m. at the Freimann Studio Theatre.

Friday, 12/14
Holiday Party: All Whitman staff and faculty, along with a guest, are invited to attend the Whitman Winter Holidays Party. Refreshments and beverages will be served, and festive attire is encouraged. Please bring a donation to benefit the YWCA Women’s Shelter. 7:30 p.m. in Reid Campus Center, Young Ballroom.

For more campus events, click here.

Athletic Events – Home Games

Men’s Basketball (Sherwood Athletic Center)
Friday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. vs. University of Puget Sound
Saturday, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. vs. Pacific Lutheran University

Women’s Basketball (Sherwood Athletic Center)
Friday, Dec. 7 at 6p.m. vs. University of Puget Sound (Kim Evanger-Raney Classic)
Saturday, Dec. 8 at 4 p.m. vs. Corban College (Kim Evanger-Raney Classic)

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

parting shot

Hailey Ann Maeda ’15 (#24) had her own rooting section during Friday night's 71-51 victory over PLU in the NWC opener at Sherwood Center. Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Staff Coffee Recap
Pete and Hedda Reid Service Award
New Tennis Courts
Winter Holidays Party Donations
Annual Arts and Crafts Fair
Campus Events
Athletic Events
Parting Shot

Past issues
The Fountain

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: Gillian Frew. Managing Editor: Ruth Wardwell. Online: