January 14, 2013

Volume 7, Issue 21 January 14, 2013
The Fountain

New retirement plan contribution and benefit limits for 2013

The Internal Revenue Service has announced cost-of-living adjustments affecting dollar limitations on 403(b) retirement-related plans for tax year 2013.

For Defined Contribution Plans, such as those offered at Whitman:

  • The elective deferral (contribution) limit for employees who participate in 403(b) plans increases to $17,500 from $17,000.
  • The catch-up contribution limit for individuals age 50 and older remains unchanged at $5,500. The catch-up contribution may be made beginning Jan. 1, 2013, by participants who will reach age 50 at any time during the year.

Telara McCullough, manager of compensation and benefits, suggests that staff and faculty may want to consider this to be a good time “to re-evaluate your personal retirement savings plan.”

If you already contribute to TIAA-CREF, a good way to start this evaluation is contact a TIAA-CREF consultant directly at 800-842-2273, for more information, advice, or to make changes to your allocations. To open an account or change your rate of contribution, contact Whitman Human Resources.

TIAA-CREF consultants are available in person and by phone to meet for specific portfolio recommendations, guidance on past plans, and a retirement strategy review. If you are interested in scheduling an in-person appointment at a later date with Michael Williamson, TIAA-CREF consultant, please create an e-mail with TIAA-CREF in the subject line and send to Mary Lucksteadluckstd@whitman.edu – in Human Resources.

TEDx comes to Whitman – call for speakers announced

TEDx Whitman College logo

Whitman will host a TEDx event – a day of prepared talks, demonstrations and performances on a wide range of subjects – on Saturday, April 27. An offshoot of the internationally acclaimed TEDTalks, TEDx is a series of independently organized, community-based events dedicated to furthering TED’s mission of “ideas worth spreading.” TED, a nonprofit group that hosts conferences around the world, introduced TEDx as a way for local communities to share in a TED-like experience through a combination of TEDTalks video, live speakers and small group discussion. The theme of TEDxWhitmanCollege is “Walla Walla and Beyond.”

“Our theme is purposeful in connecting Whitman and Walla Walla to the world beyond in terms of time, place, space, or however presenters might creatively interpret ‘beyond,’” says Juli Dunn, director of academic resources and head of the TEDx organizing committee.

In addition to Dunn, faculty and staff involved with TEDxWhitmanCollege as committee chairs include Noah Leavitt, assistant dean for student engagement (organizing); Cate Lyon, WCTS consultant (sponsorship); Jon Loney, manager of instructional multimedia services (technology); Dalia Corkrum, director of Penrose Library, Leena Knight (speaker selection), assistant professor of biology (speaker selection); and Kyle Scott, technology and marketing fellow for the Student Engagement Center (social media and marketing).

The call for applications to present at Walla Walla’s first TEDx event is now open. The deadline is Feb. 1. Applications will be considered based on criteria of originality and creativity of work, applicability of the presentation to a general audience and quality of video audition submitted. According to Dunn, speakers should be passionate about their topic and ready to engage with the audience. Presentations, which must be a maximum of 15 minutes long, should provide inspiration, generate conversation and/or present a unique point of view.

Interested in learning more about TED and TEDx? Visit the TEDxWhitman College website. To apply, submit an application online. With questions, contact Juli Dunn at dunnjl@whitman.edu.

Reminder about 2013 YMCA membership deadline – Jan. 21

As announced via campus email last week, the deadline for enrollment in the YMCA membership program that grants Whitman employees a discounted rate is Monday, Jan, 21. Membership fees can be paid by payroll deduction either annually in January, or monthly.  Completed forms must be submitted to the HR office by the end of the day. The membership application and a listing of 2013 rates are available on the HR benefits web page at the bottom of the page under Membership.  Questions? Contact Telara McCullough in Human resources at x5941 or mcculltl@whitman.edu.

Faculty and staff news briefs

Kristen Kosmas

Kristen Kosmas, assistant professor of theatre, has garnered critical acclaim for her play “There There,” which just completed a successful run in New York City. Kosmas wrote and performed in the offbeat production, which The New York Times calls a “language-drenched, resonant knock-out.” Co-commissioned and presented by The Chocolate Factory and Performance Space 122, the show opens with a famous actor on tour in Russia, performing a monologue inspired by the character Solyony from Chekhov’s “Three Sisters.” When this actor falls from a ladder, his unprepared understudy, Karen (Kosmas), is forced to replace him, with the help of her Russian interpreter, Leo. Click HERE to read The New York Times review.

Ed Weinman The Ring Road cover

Edward Weinman, writer in the Office of Communications, has written his debut novel. Titled The Ring Road, it is published by The Rogue Reader and has been named as a Nook First Pick. Described as a “blend of crime and dark fantasy” and likened to the works of Stieg Larsson, The Ring Road takes place after a glacial volcano awakens with a series of eruptions, stranding ex-cop Hobson at 66 degrees north where human behavior is as unpredictable as the weather. Hobson is quickly ensnared in a bizarre murder investigation involving Gummi, a road-weary homicide detective; Jon Kari, an amoral entrepreneur; Snorri, a brutal pimp; and Ulfar, a homicidal sheep farmer. As Hobson falls in with a group of enigmatic tourists trying to survive the volcanic aftermath, the chase for a killer pushes them all to the edge of the inhabitable world. The book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or at www.theroguereader.com. In writing the novel, which he began three years ago, Weinman’s was inspired by his eight years as a writer in Iceland. Read more about Weinman HERE.

ALSO – Weinman will be guest on Jim Bock’s morning show on KUJ radio. Tune is Friday, Jan. 18, at 7:30 a.m.

Staff Profile: Cate Lyon
WCTS Support Services Consultant

Cate Lyon

Birthplace:  Walla Walla

Education: BA in Communications

Years at Whitman: Almost two

Favorite book: Anything by Dr. Seuss – I’m a big fan of The Lorax

Favorite sculpture on campus: The fish – I love that it spends its days with a pot and a lemon balanced on it. 

Best travel experience:  How do you pick one?  I love to travel.  The most interesting was probably installing computers in a supermarket in Haiti.  Hands down the best food was lobster in Nova Scotia.  The most memorable had to be renting a cottage in the Bahamas that you could only get to by boat, fishing and diving for meals and ending up in the middle of a hurricane.  

Interests/pleasures: My pugs.  I love to be outdoors and physically active - recently I’ve taken up hula hooping, which is great fun. 

Recent accomplishment: Ask me again in April after TEDxWhitmanCollege is a success!

What people don’t know about me: Most people don’t know that I grew up in Walla Walla, left for 25 years and came back after being offered the position here at Whitman.

Favorite aspect of Whitman:  We work with the best people, and our students are phenomenal.  There’s such a great energy here.   

What I’ve learned here: Work/life balance.

Favorite quote:  Eat the elephant one bite at a time.

Campus Events
All free unless otherwise noted

MUSIC: See all upcoming music events here.

Tuesday 1/15
Lecture: “Innocent on Death Row.” A lecture by human rights activist Victoria Thorpe, sister of death row inmate Kerry Lyn Dalton and author of “Cages.” 7 p.m. in Olin 130.

Thursday 1/17
Lecture: “Harassing the Harassers: Police Surveillance in Birmingham, 1961-63.” A presentation by Professor Bob Withycombe. 7 p.m. in Cordiner Hall Foyer.

Monday 1/21
Candlelight March: Join the annual peace march in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., as Whitman commemorates the holiday with a week of campus activities. March departs at 4 p.m. from Reid Campus Center foyer and continues downtown where a brief ceremony will be held before returning to campus for a post-march reception in Reid Coffeehouse. Warm beverages and refreshments will be provided.

Tuesday 1/22
Film: The 2013 Banff Mountain Film Festival. Tickets available at the door or for advance purchase starting Jan. 15 at the Whitman Bookstore and Outdoor Program Rental Shop. Tickets free for Whitman faculty, staff and students; for visitors, the cost is $10 for adults and $5 for kids age 17 and under. 7 p.m. in Cordiner Hall.

Tuesday 1/22
Faculty Panel: “What Does It Mean to Teach Civil Rights in Walla Walla in 2013?” Professors Lisa UddinCatherine Veninga and Erin Pahlke discuss the implications of this question for Whitman Teaches the Movement through the lens of faculty research. Moderated by Walla Walla Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Linda Boggs. 7 p.m. in Reid Campus Center, Young Ballroom B.

Wednesday 1/23
Lecture: “The Legacy of Dr. King.” Writer, feminist and intellectual Rebecca Walker speaks on issues of race, gender, sexuality and power. Daughter of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker ("The Color Purple"), and esteemed civil rights attorney Mel Leventhal, her memoirs include The New York Times Bestseller "Black, White and Jewish" and the critically acclaimed "Baby Love." 7 p.m. in Cordiner Hall.

Thursday 1/24
BSU Dinner: Whitman’s Black Student Union hosts the annual Soul Food Night in celebration of African American culture and cuisine. 5:30 p.m. in Prentiss Dining Hall. A flash mob/dance routine will encourage audience participation while honoring First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" initiative to combat childhood obesity. Posters of prominent black leaders will also be hung throughout the dining hall.

Friday 1/25
Music: “Impeach the President, Long Live the King.” A hip-hop concert featuring Seattle artist International Mo B. with a guest appearance by Warm Gun. International Mo B. recently released a new album in tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., and his core belief in social justice. Tickets are limited with first priority to students and a select number available to faculty and staff. Tickets available free of charge in Reid Foyer on days prior to event. 8 p.m. in Reid Campus Center, Young Ballroom.

Thursday 1/31
VWRS: The Visiting Writers Reading Series presents a reading by Johanna Stoberock, novelist and adjunct assistant professor of English. 7 p.m. in Kimball Theatre.

Athletic Events – Home Games

Women’s Basketball (Sherwood Athletic Center)
Friday, Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. vs. Linfield College
Saturday, Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. vs. Willamette University

Men’s Basketball (Sherwood Athletic Center)
Friday, Jan. 18 at 8 p.m. vs. Linfield College
Saturday, Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. vs. Willamette University

Parting Shot – Video
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

parting shot

Though the blizzard conditions didn't last more than a few minutes last week, it made for a brief, beautiful winter wonderland on the Whitman campus.
Play Video »

Whitman College
In This Issue
Retirement Plan
Faculty and Staff News Briefs
Staff Profile
Campus Events
Athletic Events
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