June 25, 2012

Volume 6, Issue 44 June 25, 2012
The Fountain

Moody’s affirms Whitman’s Aa3 credit rating

Moody’s Investors Service has affirmed Whitman’s Aa3 rating on 2004 and 2008 bonds, declaring the college’s long-term financial outlook to be stable. An investment grade of Aa3 is categorized as high quality, with very low credit risk.
Moody’s also identifies the following strengths for Whitman:

  • Low debt burden with no plans for future debt in the next 24 months
  • Established market niche as a private liberal arts college
  • Sufficient monthly liquidity

Challenges include:

  • Decline in operating performance in 2011
  • Highly competitive market in the Pacific Northwest
  • Increased reliance on tuition revenue in recent years

“The college is proud of the continuation of this strong rating, especially considering the challenging economic climate since our last rating in 2008,” says Peter Harvey, Treasurer and CFO.

Click here to download the full report (PDF).

HHMI Summer Institute celebrates last workshop

HHMI Group photo
Photo courtesy of Mary Burt

The HHMI Summer Institute, sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, recently concluded its last workshop on campus in the allotted three-year period. Fifteen local middle school science teachers participated this year, and faculty who led workshops in previous years joined in for a group lunch to commemorate the program’s success.

“The goal of these summer workshops was to provide professional development opportunities for local science teachers in key areas of their curriculum, while also supporting collaboration and collegiality between teachers and Whitman faculty and staff,” says Mary Burt, science outreach coordinator.

This year’s focus was “Our Green World: The Biology of Producers,” and was led by Heidi Dobson, Nancy Forsthoefel, Dan Vernon and Jim Russo. Presenters from previous years include Michelle Shafer, Mark Juhasz, Andrea Dobson, Frank Dunnivant, Nick Bader, Mark Beck, Kendra Golden, Moira Gresham, Kurt Hoffman, Doug Juers, Kirsten Nicolaysen, Tim Parker, Chris Wallace, and Ginger Withers. Rachna Sinnot and student assistant Ashley Ehlers ’13 also attended the celebration.

Ginni Delavan retires after 27 years of service

Ginni Delavan

Ginni Delevan, assistant custodial supervisor, has retired after 27 years of dedicated service to the college. Due to an error, her retirement was not announced at Staff Appreciation Day. Delevan joined the staff at Whitman in April of 1985. Nancy Tavelli, associate dean of students and director of residence life and housing, says, “Ginni positively touched the lives of all she worked with and mentored generations of Prentiss Hall residents and Residence Life staff. She truly loved Prentiss and was able to see it totally renovated during her time here.”

Delavan wants her colleagues to know “I truly loved working at Whitman, sincerely appreciate all of the opportunities and education I received, and that I miss it every day.” For those wishing to contact Delavan, her email address is bellaragazza62@charter.net.

July issue of Whitman Magazine is “green”

Whitman Magazine July Cover image

Due out next month, the July 2012 edition of Whitman Magazine is a “green issue,” focusing on environmental themes. The cover story follows Kate Jackson, assistant professor of biology, as she forays into the Congolese jungle to research rare snakes for an online database, which she hopes will help prevent mining companies from destroying their habitat. The issue also features an interview with 2012 Commencement Speaker Eric Schlosser about food politics, a look at the increasingly popular environmental humanities major and a list of 25 ways in which the Whitman community keeps its commitment to sustainability. The back cover includes printing details about the magazine itself.

Upgrade of “myWhitman” portal tool complete

The upgrade of the new myWhitman portal is now complete and the site is back online and improved, reports Mike Osterman ’96, IT security officer/deputy director of enterprise technology. To find out more about myWhitman, read the Q&A in last week's Fountain. With questions, email portal@whitman.edu.

Call for participation: Fall Reunion Weekend

Today is the sign-up deadline for campus groups interested in being part of Fall Reunion Weekend. The classes of 1987, 1991-93 and 2002 will return to campus Sept. 28-30 and the alumni office is interested in featuring groups who haven’t been a part of the celebration before. The current schedule is available HERE. Contact Jason Arp ’94, assistant director of alumni relations, at arpjs@whitman.edu to discuss time, location and program.  

Kids welcome at “Whitman Reads” program at the library

“Whitman Reads,” a summer enrichment program for kids at the Walla Walla Public Library, is now in session, and staff and faculty with children are invited to stop by. Running through mid-August, the program features Whitman staff and faculty sharing favorite stories and fun activities most Thursdays at 2 p.m. Contact Mary Burt, HHMI Science Outreach Coordinator, at burtmb@whitman.edu with questions.

schedule for Whitman Reads
Click to view larger schedule

Photography reception this Thursday at Stevens Gallery

Stevens Gallery

The Whitman community is invited to attend a reception this Thursday at the Stevens Gallery in Reid Campus Center. The gallery is exhibiting a number of canvas prints by Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer, and 20 percent of the proceeds from any sales throughout the summer will benefit Embracing Orphans, a local charity group that works with orphaned children in Jamaica.

The reception takes place this Thursday, June 28 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres provided by Bon Appetit. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the artist.

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

parting shot

Men's Tennis coach Jeff Northam participates in a cheer at the start of this year's opening Tennis and Wine Camp last week on campus. The three yearly sessions are big fundraisers for the Whitman men's and women's teams. Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Moody's Rating
HHMI Summer Institute
Ginni Delavan Retirement
July Magazine
myWhitman Upgrade
Fall Reunion
Whitman Reads
Photography Reception
Parting Shot

Past issues
The Fountain

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: Gillian Frew. Managing Editor: Ruth Wardwell. Online: www.whitman.edu/fountain