July 29, 2013

Volume 7, Issue 49 July 29, 2013
The Fountain

Whitman Lands Nationally Prominent Debate Coach

The Fountain

Whitman College is pleased to announce the appointment of Kevin Kuswa as Director of Debate to lead its national championship-level debate team.

Kuswa had been the Director of Forensics at California State University, Fresno since 2011. Under Kuswa’s leadership, the college’s debate team took first place in the 2013 Western Championships. Kuswa also was named the 2013 Regional Debate Critic of the Year in the Pacific Region. While at CSU, Fresno, Kuswa taught communications, and in 2013, he earned the provost’s Promising New Faculty Award.

Kuswa also was a standout debater as an undergraduate at Georgetown University. In 1992, he earned first place in the National Debate Tournament.

“I’m extremely excited to come to Whitman and continue the strong tradition of championship-level debate that has been cultivated at the college. I bring national competition experience and the energy to maintain Whitman’s record of excellence,” Kuswa said.

Joining Kuswa to continue the tradition of success at Whitman College are three talented and accomplished assistant debate coaches: Andrew Larson ’13, Joseph Hykan and Matt Gander.

Kuswa and his assistants will lead Whitman’s nationally recognized program that since 1890 has consistently produced high-achieving debaters, accomplished remarkable results against the best debate teams in the country, and has attracted top high school talent. In the past year, Whitman's Parliamentary Debate Team won its fourth consecutive NPDA School National Championship Sweepstakes. The Sweepstakes award is given to the debate team that scores more total points and wins more pairings than any other school in the nation.

Read the full story HERE.

Whitman group travels to China to mark 30 years of the Whitman in China program

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Provost Timothy Kaufman-Osborn presents certificate of appreciation for 30 years of international educational exchange to Northwestern Polytechnical University.

Provost and Dean of the Faculty Timothy Kaufman-Osborn, Welty Health Center Counselor Sharon Kaufman-Osborn and Director of Off-Campus Studies Susan Holme Brick traveled to Yunnan University in Kunming, China, to attend a reunion banquet in honor of the anniversary of the founding of the WIC program.

Other banquet guests included Professor Chas McKhann ’79 and Wencui Zhao, the current leaders of the Whitman Summer Studies in China language program. The group from Whitman visited three partner universities to meet with administrators and faculty and to discuss the future of the program.

“I thoroughly enjoyed meeting my counterparts at the Chinese universities with which we are affiliated,” Timothy Kaufman-Osborn said. “I found the talks highly productive in terms of affirming the value of the principal elements of the Whitman in China program, but also in terms of thinking about how our exchanges might be improved and possibly expanded in scope.”

Over the past 30 years, more than 170 Whitman alumni have had the opportunity to teach English for one year at one of four Chinese partner universities: Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi’an, Shantou University in Guangdong Province, Sichuan International Studies University in Congqing and Yunnan University in Kunming. In addition, 60 English instructors and some students from these Chinese universities have attended Whitman for one year as part of the exchange.

Prof. David Deal established the WIC program in 1982 after taking a trip to China to study local agricultural practices. He saw the mutual benefits of cultural exchange between China and the United States. WIC is one of the first exchange programs established between a U.S. college and Chinese universities since the implementation of China’s Open Door Policy in the late 1970s.

Whitman College rises in 2013 Forbes rankings

The Fountain

Among liberal arts colleges in the West, Whitman rose from No. 4 to No. 3 in the annual Forbes America’s Top Colleges list, behind only Pomona and Harvey Mudd.

Whitman ranked No. 27 among all liberal arts colleges in the nation, up from No. 29 in 2012. Among the 650 schools in the list, Whitman ranked No. 36 in terms of the number of students who go on to receive Ph.Ds.

The rankings were compiled exclusively for Forbes by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity in Washington, D.C.

According to Forbes, the rankings are not focused heavily on what gets students into college, but on factors that directly concern incoming students and their families, like how interesting classes are, the likelihood a student will graduate in four years, the amount of debt a student will incur and the likelihood a student will get a good job and be a leader in a chosen profession.
Find the full list of rankings HERE.

Dead, diseased trees to be removed on campus

Some of you may have noticed that one of the big elm trees in front of Memorial did not bloom this spring and had naked branches this summer. The sad news is that it has died from Dutch Elm Disease, which has killed many of the other elm trees on campus over the years.

This week, Trees, Inc., a tree removal service, will begin to remove the limbs that are near the power lines. If the wood in the trunk is salvageable, the service will save it for milling. The wood would then be stacked to air dry for about a year before it is ready to use.

A black walnut tree on the east side of the library and due north of the tennis courts has succumbed to Thousand Cankers Disease, a deadly pathogen that has killed many Black Walnut trees around the nation. We will soon begin removal of this tree, and hopefully it will yield some useable mill-worthy lumber as well.

Last but not least, the big arborvitae that we transplanted to allow room for the tennis court expansion has died. It is also scheduled for removal. This remarkable tree has been moved numerous times over the past two decades due to campus construction, but this current hot spell was just too much for this old friend to handle.

Faculty and staff members of the Trees and Landscape Committee will put their heads together to find good replacement trees to fill in the vacated spaces.

If you have any questions, please email Landscape Supervisor Bob Biles at bilesrd@whitman.edu or call him at x5945.

Student Activities Office seeks Life Skills volunteers

The Fountain

The Student Activities Office is currently looking for volunteers to teach Life Skills courses in the fall. The Life Skills series, which began in 2011, aims to partner students with Whitman staff members who are willing to teach students skills that aren’t taught in the classroom. Thus far, the program has offered 40 different courses, including bird-watching, sewing, cake-decorating, grilling, repairing cars and compiling first aid kits.

Teachers are welcome to sign up for course topics that have been offered in the past, as well as for new topics. Students have requested courses in photography, doing taxes, setting tables, baking, vegan cooking and grocery shopping.

Life Skills courses are open to all Whitman students on a first-come registration basis. The Student Activities Office takes care of advertising, reserves a course location, coordinates student registration and offers assistance to any teacher who needs it. All teachers must bring is their passion and expertise.

If you are interested in teaching a Life Skills course, please contact Katharine Curles at curleske@whitman.edu.

Save the date for Whitman night with the Walla Walla Sweets

The Fountain

Tickets are still available for Whitman Night at the Walla Walla Sweets baseball game this Friday, Aug. 2. Each staff or faculty member can pick up two free tickets at the President's Office between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays. Tickets must be picked up in person. This is your last chance to let Whitman treat you to a night out!

The Sweets will play against the Victoria HarbourCats, a new Canadian team in the West Coast League. The game begins at 7:05 p.m., and pre-game “Happy Hour” festivities take place from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.  Arrive early to enjoy live music by a local band in the main concourse area of Borleske Stadium with fellow Whitties and to purchase menu and drink items at discount prices.

Staff Profile: Kim Rolfe
Director for Business Engagement

The Fountain

Birthplace: Center, Colo.

Education: Colorado State University, BS in Merchandising and Design

Years at Whitman: 3 weeks


Film: “Out of Africa” – I love the romanticism!
Book: Too many to pick just one
Play: I'm a sucker for a good musical. “The King and I” by Rogers and Hammerstein is a favorite.

Favorite sculpture on campus: Yet to see them all…

Best travel experience: I love to road trip with our family – we have a steadfast rule to avoid any roads with more than two lanes… you see some amazing sights when you travel the back roads!

Interests/pleasures: Outdoor activity – hiking, skiing, reading on the riverbank while my husband fishes, gardening, bike rides and a hammock in the back yard

Recent accomplishment: Negotiating a successful departure from Adidas, finding a great position at Whitman, and moving our family to Walla Walla.

What people don’t know about me: I'm a pretty open book.

A day in the life/on the job: At this point… still training! Networking, advising and advocacy for why Whitman students are well suited for work in the private sector will be the focus.

Favorite aspect of Whitman: I love the drive and enterprising spirit of the students – it's invigorating!

What I’ve learned here: I am learning every single day – too much to detail!

Favorite quote: “You can either get through life or you can live it. If you want to live it, there's only two things you need… an inquisitive mind and a fearless heart.” –Steve Earle (singer/songwriter)

Parting Shot
By Matt Banderas, photographer/communications officer

parting shot

A summer breeze ripples College Creek passing beneath Keiko Hara's Topophilia Gates. Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
New Debate Coach
Whitman in China
2013 Forbes Rankings
Dead Tree Removal
Life Skills Classes
Walla Walla Sweets
Staff Profile
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: Karah Kemmerly
Web Content Specialists:
Carlos Virgen, Michael Cox
Managing Editor: David Brauhn 

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