September 10, 2012

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Volume 7, Issue 4 September 10, 2012
The Fountain

Staff Coffee recap: standing ovation, great speakers, first choices, health benefits forum

To open the meeting, President Bridges shared the pride he felt when, at Convocation, the parents gave a standing ovation signaling their delight with the college and the orientation/move-in process. “It was a tribute to the work we all did as a community,” he said.

In talking about the exciting year ahead, he shared his enthusiasm for the upcoming Harper Joy Theatre season and plugged some important lectures that are on tap this semester, several of which will provide varying political perspectives during this critical election season. Among the marquee speakers:

  • Isabel Wilkerson – Author of The Warmth of Other Suns, the 2012 Summer Read Program selection.
  • David BrooksThe New York Times political commentator, who will address “What it Means - The 2012 Election and the Future of America.”
  • Ray Suarez – Veteran broadcast journalist, including The NewsHour on PBS and “Talk of the Nation” on NPR.

He also reported that the ongoing discussion with trustees centers on striking the balance between top priority aspirations and being financially judicious. “We are in an enviable position, yet we still must make tough choices. We need to be both aspirational and cautious,” the president said.

“We will ensure that the character of this college remains strong and vital. I want Whitman to be the first-choice school for students in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. I want it to be the first-choice place of employment for job seekers, and I want it to be the first choice for donors looking to invest their philanthropy.”

The president acknowledged the success of the campaign, which ended the 2011-12 fiscal year with a record $18.5 million. “The campaign is thriving, and I am confident we will meet our goals,” he said. John Bogley, vice president for development and college relations, will provide a campaign update at the next Staff Coffee meeting.

Other announcements:
Dalia Corkrum, library director, invited staff to see “The Warmth of Other Suns” display in the library.

Fall Alumni Reunion takes place Sept. 28-30 and includes alumni from 1987, 1991-93, 2002 and Whitman in China. Also, there will be a celebration honoring Nancy Simon, professor of theatre, who will retire from teaching this year.

Kudos to Deb Wright and Michele Hanford for their work on the Movement that Matters program.

Whitman has been approached by Washington’s gubernatorial candidates to speak here. But not all of them are willing to participate in a debate, which could be the preferred format on campus.

Whitman ranks among Top 20 contributors to Teach For America

Teach for America logo

Whitman has again been named one of the Top 20 small colleges and universities to contribute graduating seniors to Teach For America, a selective corps of recent college graduates who commit to teaching at underserved public schools in low-income areas. This is the third time in the last five years that Whitman has ranked among top contributors to the program.

Teach For America recruits graduates who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and leadership. Only about 14 percent of applicants nationwide are accepted into the program. Nine percent of Whitman graduating seniors applied last year, and 12 are currently teaching in schools across the country. Throughout the program’s 22-year history, 52 Whitman alumni have served as corps members.

To view all current rankings, click HERE.

Proceeds from annual yard sale benefit student scholarship fund

Yard Sale

Last Friday, the Physical Plant hosted its annual “yard sale” to benefit scholarships for non-traditional students. The sale offered a wide variety of items including furniture, electronics and appliances – even washers and dryers. Gayle Worthington, physical plant administrative assistant, reports that this year’s sale raised about $4,530.

The Physical Plant Non-Traditional Student Scholarship Endowment was established in 1995 to assist students coming to Whitman under special circumstances. Past recipients have been older students who may be married and/or have children. The endowment has grown to more than $208,000 as of this fiscal year, not counting the proceeds from last week’s sale.

“We thank everybody for their support both in donating items to the sale and coming by and purchasing things,” says Worthington. “It was an extremely successful sale this year.”

Meeting on staff/faculty health benefits set for Sept. 19

The Staff Fringe Benefits Committee (chaired by Jeff Donahue) and the Faculty Committee on Compensation (chaired by Prof. Albert Schueller) will hold a community meeting to discuss health care coverage Wednesday, Sept. 19, 4-5:30 p.m., in Maxey Auditorium. It is open to all staff and faculty.

The agenda will include:

  • The current and projected effects on Whitman of the recently enacted Health Care Reform Act.
  • Health care cost-sharing by Whitman staff and faculty.
  • A report on the employee share of total health care costs at Whitman over the past four years.
  • Whitman’s year-to-date health care costs and the implications for premium costs and plan changes for next year and beyond.
  • General comments/questions.

Staff changes and transitions

Laura Cummings

Effective July 1 – Laura Cummings has been promoted to off-campus studies coordinator. Previously she was senior assistant for off-campus studies for 12 years. Her responsibilities now include focusing on the off-campus studies website, faculty-led programs, special events and program budgets and invoices. Contact her at or x5255; her office is Memorial 201.

Natasha Blake

Effective Aug. 1 – Natasha Blake is the new senior assistant for off-campus studies. Her responsibilities include collecting student off-campus studies applications, scheduling appointments and maintaining the off-campus studies database. She hails from southern California and England, and has worked in higher education at UCLA and Walla Walla Community College as well as in the entertainment industry in London. Contact her at or x4992; her office is Memorial 204.

Staff and faculty invited to artist reception for new exhibition in Memorial

Kathy Wildermuth painting

The exhibition Bird Watching: The Art of Kathy Wildermuth will be on display in Memorial Building starting Friday, Sept. 14 through Dec. 7. All campus community members are invited to a reception sponsored by the Office of the President this Friday at 4 p.m. on the third floor.

Kathy Wildermuth started painting seriously after she retired from teaching art in 2001. Her search for subject matter led her to travel to Mexico, Spain, Guatemala and Costa Rica, where she was inspired by the warm climates, bright colors and striking customs. The religious iconography of Mexico, specifically the Virgin of Guadalupe, has especially informed her work. After living and working in Seattle, Wildermuth and her husband moved to Walla Walla in 2003.

Questions about the exhibit? Contact Kynde Kiefel, exhibitions and collections manager, at

Campus Events
All free unless otherwise noted

Wednesday 9/12
Music: Paul Poovathingal, the world famous "Singing Priest of India," leads a special workshop on Carnatic (South Indian) Music. 4 p.m. in Chism Recital Hall. For more information, click here.

Wednesday 9/12
Music: "South Indian Music Concert." Guest artist Paul Poovathingal performs along with fellow musicians T.M. Abdul Hazeez, violin, Guruvayoor P.S. Sanoj, mridangam, and Vellattanjoor A.S. Sreejith, ghatam. 7:30 p.m. in Chism Recital Hall.

Friday 9/14
Music: The Fridays at Four Recital Series presents The Rhapsody Trio, with Laura Curtis, piano, Roger Garcia, clarinet, and Tim Brown, cello. 4 p.m. in Kimball Theatre.

Friday 9/14
Artist reception: Bird Watching: The Art of Kathy Wildermuth. 4 p.m. on the third floor of Memorial Building.

Friday 9/14
Lecture: "A Pioneer in Cultural Exchange: Arthur Waley’s Translation of Chinese Literature." Professor Cheng Zhangcan of Nanjing University discusses the works of Arthur Waley (1889-1966), one of the earliest English translators of Chinese texts. Noon in Olin 157. Lunch will be provided.

Tuesday 9/18
Lecture: "Injustice at Every Turn: Findings from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey." A talk by visiting lecturer Jody Herman, manager of transgender research at the Williams Institute. 7 p.m. in Olin 157.

Thursday 9/20
Lecture: "Closets, Combat and Coming Out." A lecture by U.S. army veteran and activist Rob Smith, who will share his perspective as a gay soldier and person of color. His visit to campus marks the one year anniversary of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. 7 p.m. in Maxey Auditorium.

Friday 9/21
Music: The Fridays at Four Recital Series presents a faculty recital with Doug Scarborough, Gary Hemenway and a special guest. 4 p.m. in Kimball Theatre.

Friday 9/21
Art: Richard Martinez, assistant professor of art, presents an artist talk about his painting series "Dynamic Convergence." Noon in the Sheehan Gallery. For more information, click here.

Saturday 9/22 - Sunday 9/23
Theatre: The Instant Play Festival. HJT presents seven plays presented each day Saturday and Sunday. Students write, produce and perform 14 plays in in 48 hours. Tickets available Sept. 7. For more information, click here.

Tuesday 9/25
Storyteller: Latina storyteller, performance artist, writer and teacher Olga Loya shares traditional tales from Latin America as well as stories from her own life growing up in East Los Angeles. 7 p.m. in Maxey Auditorium.

Thursday 9/27
Lecture: "In Plain Sight: Muslim Tibetans and Conceptualizations of Tibet." David Atwill ’89, associate professor of history and Asian studies at Pennsylvania State University, discusses his research on Tibetan Muslims. 7 p.m. in Olin 130.

Thursday 9/27
VWRS: The Visiting Writers Reading Series presents a reading by visiting educator, poet and editor Rob Schlegel. 7 p.m. in Kimball Theatre.

Saturday 9/29
Lecture: “The Impact of Global Environmental Challenges on U.S.-China Relations.” China expert and award-winning journalist Orville Schell explores China’s current environmental crisis and what it means for the U.S. and the rest of the world. 4 p.m. in Maxey Auditorium. For more information, click here.

To see more campus events, click here

Athletic Events – Home Games

Women’s Soccer – Whitman athletic fields
Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 1:30 p.m. vs. Whitworth University
Saturday, Sept. 15 at noon vs. Willamette University
Sunday, Sept. 16 at noon vs. Lewis and Clark College

Men’s Soccer – Whitman athletic fields
Saturday, Sept. 15 at 2:30 p.m. vs. Willamette University (Whitman athletic fields)
Sunday, Sept. 16 at 2:30 p.m. vs. Linfield College

Club Golf – Walla Walla Country Club
Friday, Sept. 14 at 11:30 a.m. Shotgun start at 1 p.m.

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

parting shot

His mouth full of candy claimed along the way, a student climber nears the top of the wall during Friday's Burgers and Climbing open house event. Yes, I climbed the wall to get the shot. Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Staff Coffee Recap
Teach for America
Physical Plant
Yard Sale
Health Benefits Meeting
Staff Changes and Transitions
Artist Reception
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: