May 13, 2013

Volume 7, Issue 38 May 13, 2013
The Fountain

2013 Faculty Awards recognize excellence in teaching, scholarship and advising

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From left: Albert Schueller, Matthew Prull, Nicole Simek, Bruce Magnusson, Clare Carson, Elizabeth Vandiver and Delbert Hutchison received Distinguished Faculty Awards at last week's reception.

Staff and faculty gathered in Cordiner Hall Foyer last Tuesday, May 7, for the annual end of the year faculty reception and awards presentation. In his opening remarks, President Bridges thanked the faculty for their many contributions to the intellectual life of the college. Tim Kaufman-Osborn, provost and dean of the faculty, commended award recipients for their commitment and expressed his appreciation for the caliber of the Whitman faculty as a whole.

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Sally Hooker, retiring associate to the provost and dean of faculty, thanks Whitman staff and faculty for their readiness to "give assistance when needed and compassion when called upon."

“At this ceremony, we recognize specific faculty members for their sustained records of excellence in their contributions to Whitman,” he said. “I would ask, though, that we also think of this event as a celebration of the Whitman College faculty in its entirety. And I would ask that we consider the virtues of those we recognize today as emblematic of the virtues of the Whitman faculty as a whole.”

Also honored at the reception were retiring faculty members Irvin Hashimoto, associate professor of English, and Nancy Simon, Garrett Professor of Dramatic Arts; Roberta Davidson, professor of English, was recognized for her 25 years of service. In addition, special tribute was paid to beloved long-time staffers Sally Hooker, associate to the provost and dean of faculty, and Ron Urban, registrar, who will both retire at the end of this academic year.

The Distinguished Faculty Award recipients include:

Matthew Prull, associate professor of psychology – Robert Y. Fluno Award for Distinguished Teaching in Social Sciences
Nicole Simek, associate professor of foreign languages and literatures, French – Thomas D. Howells Award for Distinguished Teaching in Humanities and Arts
Albert Schueller, associate professor of mathematics – A.E. Lange Award for Distinguished Science Teaching
Elizabeth Vandiver, associate professor of classics – G. Thomas Edwards Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship
Bruce Magnusson, associate professor of politics – George Ball Award for Excellence in Advising
Clare Carson, associate dean of students: academic support services – Suzanne L. Martin Award for Excellence in Mentoring
Delbert Hutchison, associate professor of biology – Award for Distinguished Service to the Alumni Association

Staff coffee recap

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In opening the staff coffee, President Bridges expressed excitement for the end of the academic year and the anticipation of Commencement, stating that the campus is “sparkling.” He also remarked about the passage of time, holding up the current edition of Rolling Stone, which features a cover photo of the aging Rolling Stones.

He shared that a primary topic of discussion at the May governing board meetings was new technology in teaching and learning. Trustees, overseers and administrators discussed such questions as what do MOOCs and other forms of distance learning offer colleges like Whitman. “Technology that allows for online learning is a valuable resource, much like the library. It’s there to support and enhance the intellectual experience, but nothing can replace the deepest kind of learning that takes place through human interaction in small settings. For the kind of students we have, we are the gold standard in inspiring deep learning,” he said.

The president also mentioned the longitudinal study for which he received a Mellon Grant. Neal Christopherson, director of institutional research, is executing the study, which in part seeks to identify how students’ lives are positively transformed by their Whitman experiences. (Editor’s note – see the president’s letter in Whitman Magazine to learn more.)

He also saluted retiring Registrar Ron Urban for his “135 years of service to the college! He’s been like an air traffic controller, managing the flow of everything through the registrar’s office.”

Other reports and updates:

Alumni Relations – Nancy Mitchell, director of alumni relations, announced that this year’s recipient of the Faculty Award for Service to the Alumni Association is Delbert Hutchison, associate professor of biology. Also, beginning in 2014 there will be one alumni reunion (as opposed to several smaller gatherings through the year) with the exception of the 50th reunion. Mitchell and her staff thank all staff and faculty for your involvement and support in helping make reunions successful and welcoming alumni back to campus, keeping them connected and engaged.

The Now Is the Time CampaignJohn Bogley, vice president for development and college relations, reported that campaign success and impact continues. Gifts and pledges now total more than $122 million. He remarked that members of the Class of 2013 have been generous in their support of the Senior Fund this year. With gifts directed to the Senior Fund Scholarship Endowment, 71 percent of the seniors have contributed gifts that now total more than $19,000.

Entering Class – Tony Cabasco, dean of admission and financial aid, reported that to date there are 413 students for fall 2013, yet some fluctuation over the summer is expected. He acknowledged the great work of the admission and financial aid staff and also thanked all members of the campus community who in various ways help influence prospective students and families.

Summer Construction – All projects will begin shortly after Commencement. They include: tennis courts demolition, renovation and expansion to six courts, Memorial 3rd floor remodel to accommodate Student Affairs offices and departments, Baker Faculty Center remodel to accommodate move of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, Boyer House remodel to accommodate the Communications staff. Also, Memorial will undergo a third phase of seismic retrofitting, and there will be renovation of the lobby areas on the second and third floors. Dan Park reported that much of the seismic work will happen on weekends, but there will be some disruption. The work on both Memorial and BFC will enhance and preserve the iconic and historic character of the facilities while enhancing their functionality and appearance.

Save the Date: Staff Appreciation Brunch is Friday, May 31

All staff are invited to participate in the annual Staff Appreciation Brunch at Reid Campus Center on Friday, May 31. Buffet lines open at 9:15 (please bring your own mug). In addition to brunch, the event will include the presentation of the Janice Abraham Awards, which recognize staff members who have made significant contributions and provided outstanding service to the college, and Years of Service honors. Brian Griffith will also reprise his role as emcee.

Faculty news brief

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Michelle Janning, assistant dean of faculty and associate professor of sociology, was recently interviewed by The Mother Company, a Los Angeles-based producer of preschool education consumer products and parenting resources focused on social emotional learning. Titled “From Madmen to Modern Motherhood” and published just in time for Mother’s Day, the interview explores parenting differences between older generations of mothers and today’s. To read the full article, click HERE.

Whitman president emeritus publishes memoir

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Robert Allen Skotheim, who served as Whitman’s president from 1975 to 1988, has published an autobiography titled Robert Allen Skotheim: A Memoir. It includes chapters on his time at Whitman as well as his formative years, early career, tenure as president of the Huntington Library and interim presidency of Occidental College. The book is currently available for purchase at the Whitman College Bookstore.

Class of 1963 reunion this weekend; Baker Faculty Center driveway closed May 17-18

A Whitman tradition continues with the arrival of the Class of 1963 on Thursday, May 16.  More than 50 members of the class will be on campus this weekend celebrating 50 years since their graduation.  Activities for the group culminate with marching in the Commencement processional behind graduating seniors.  To view the schedule of events and list of attendees, go to

Due to events being held on the lawn of Baker Faculty Center, the driveway will be closed Friday and Saturday, May 17 and 18.  The Alumni Office staff apologizes in advance for any inconvenience.

Reminder: GiveBIG is this Wednesday, May 15

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Click here to view GiveBig video »

Whitman is participating in a one-day online charitable event organized by The Seattle Foundation called GiveBIG. The fundraising effort is designed to inspire people to give generously to nonprofit organizations like Whitman that contribute to our region in positive ways. GiveBIG takes place for one day ONLY, starting at midnight this Wednesday, May 15, and ending at 11:59 p.m. PST that day (Pacific Daylight Time). For more information, visit or go to the online giving form.

Campus Events
All free unless otherwise noted

Music: See all upcoming music events here.

Thursday 5/16 to Saturday 5/18 
Theatre: “Floyd Collins (The Musical).” Based on true events, HJT presents the spellbinding musical that tells the story of Collins, a man who becomes trapped while exploring a cave in Kentucky in 1925 and sets off a media circus. For tickets and information, call x5180 or click here.

Saturday 5/18
Music: "Lux Aeterna.” Honorary degree recipient and composer Morten Lauridsen ’65 discusses his highly acclaimed choral work, composed of five movements set to various Latin texts about light. Performance to follow by the Whitman College Chorale, conducted by Jeremy Mims, with organist Melissa Loehnig ’05. 11 a.m. in Cordiner Hall.

Saturday 5/18
Baccalaureate: Welcome by President Bridges; remarks by Adam KirtleyRon Urban and Kendra Golden as well as student speakers and musicians. 2:30 p.m. in Cordiner Hall. For details, visit the Commencement website.

Saturday 5/18
Lecture: "From Monty Python to Spamalot: A Discussion with Eric Idle.” English comedian, actor, author, singer, writer, composer and 2013 Whitman College Commencement Speaker Eric Idle discusses his career and takes questions from the audience. 4 p.m. in Cordiner Hall, immediately following Baccalaureate.

Sunday, 5/19
Commencement: Featuring commencement speaker Eric Idle, playwright of the Broadway musical “Spamalot,” and senior class speaker Cornelis Adrianu T. Knook ’13. 11 a.m. on Memorial Building South Lawn. Light luncheon to follow. For details, visit the Commencement website.

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

parting shot

With the academic year almost at a close, spring blooms are starting to fading around campus, but we can still appreciate them while they're here. Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Faculty Awards
Staff Coffee Recap
Staff Appreciation Day
Faculty News Brief
President Emeritus Publishes Memoir
Class of 1963
Campus Events
Parting Shot

Past issues
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