2011-2012 The Year in Review
The Princeton Review spotlights Whitman’s engaged community with three Top-20 rankings – “Professors Get High Marks” (a perennial inclusion for Whitman), “Lots of Race/Class Interaction” and “Class Discussions Are Encouraged.” It also ranks Whitman No. 2 in the nation for “Best Health Facilities.”
The college launches “Whitman in the Wallowas,” an immersive experience that explores the Wallowa region through an interdisciplinary lens.
U.S. News & World Report spotlights Whitman in its “College Road Trip” feature, characterizing the college as a “hands-on experience” and highlights such aspects of Whitman as Semester in the West, Ankeny Field, Encounters, the senior assessment, residence life, intramurals, Harper Joy Theatre, debate and Greek life.
The $7-million, 14-month renovation of Harper Joy Theatre is celebrated with a ceremonial grand reopening event. Improvements include a new black box theatre, new seats in the Alexander Stage, enhanced costume shop and new faculty offices and rehearsal space.
Thanks to the efforts and generosity of alumnus Mark Anderson ’78, a stunning Chihuly masterpiece, titled Sunfire Persian, is installed in Cordiner Hall.
Biology professor Paul Yancey and his students explore and survey the hadal trench habitats around the Kermadec and Mariana Islands, volcanic arcs located just north of New Zealand and east of the Philippine Sea, respectively. The Mariana Trench is the deepest spot in the world; the project attracts the attention of National Geographic.
At a gala event in Seattle, Whitman College publicly launches the Now Is the Time Campaign, announcing a goal of $150 million to enhance academic excellence, support scholarships and build financial strength.
Whitman is nationally ranked as a “Top Producer” of Fulbright award recipients.
Whitman joins the newly formed Northwest Five Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges, established through an $800,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The consortium is focused on creating collaborative learning, research and development opportunities for faculty and students.
The legendary Dr. George Ball, 96, passes away on New Year’s Day. Local residents join the Whitman community in a jam-packed Cordiner Hall for a Celebration of Life event. Many alumni pay tribute on Facebook and a Whitman tribute Web page.
Whitman partners with the Southern Poverty Law Center and Walla Walla Public Schools on a program called Whitman Teaches the Movement, in which college students teach civil rights lessons to elementary, middle and high school students.
Whitman College is ranked 15th in the Peace Corps list of Top Colleges for 2012. The Peace Corps annually ranks its top volunteer-producing schools according to the size of the student body.
Students participating in State of the State of Washington Latinos release their research findings on five key issues vital to the Latino community and all residents of Washington State: voting rights, immigrant integration, education for English language learners, cultural competency in public schools and access to human services.
The Princeton Review lists Whitman as a “Best Value” college, reflecting such factors as academics, cost of attendance and financial aid.
Whitman College’s weekly, student-run newspaper, The Pioneer, is honored as “Best of Show” at the 28th Annual Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) National Journalism Convention. The Pioneer was recognized in two categories, ranking No. 2 for its website and No. 3 in print. This is the third time in four years that The Pioneer website has been recognized and its first award for a print edition.
Aaron Bobrow-Strain, associate professor of politics, publishes a book titled “White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf,” which draws national media attention.
Men’s tennis team ranking jumps to 8th in the nation.
More than 200 students participate in the 2012 Undergraduate Conference, which showcases the scholarship and creativity of students.
Whitman is named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which recognizes colleges and universities for “exemplary, innovative, and effective community service programs.”
Whitman wins NWC championships in men’s tennis, women’s tennis and women’s golf all on the same day, April 25, marking the first time the women’s golf team competes at the NCAA III Championships.
Basketball standout David Michaels ’12, 2011-2012 NWC Player of the Year, is one of just 64 seniors from the around country invited to the 60th Annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, basketball’s oldest scouting combine. Michaels becomes the first NCAA Division III player in nearly a decade to snare a PIT invitation.
International students host the United World Colleges Davis Scholars Summit, marking the first time the event has been held on the West Coast.
Whitman’s Parliamentary Debate Team wins the 2011-12 “Sweepstakes” award, making it the best team in the nation. The Policy Team finishes second in the nation.
Future Entrepreneurs of Whitman wins first prize at the 2012 Pacific Northwest Economic Region Business Ideas Competition for their product idea, “Chill Chew” – a gum that relaxes consumers.
Through a 2010 grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Assistant Professor of Biology Tom Knight procures a unique research tool called the “EyeSeeCam,” which he and some of his students use for Parkinson’s disease research.
More than 370 students become Whitman’s newest alumni at Commencement 2012. “Fast Food Nation” author Eric Schlosser is the keynote speaker, saying: “Instead of trying to be perfect or pure, we need to be aware. We need to be compassionate. And then we need to take action.” He and alumna Colleen Seidelhuber Willoughby ’55 receive honorary doctorates. Class speaker Matt Dittrich ’12 invites graduates to join him in the “mud-wrestle of our lives.”
The Donald and Virginia Sherwood Trust awards a grant of $235,000 to create the Sherwood Trust Internship Endowment, which will support student internships in the Walla Walla region.
President Bridges receives a $150,000, mid-career discretionary grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to document with empirical evidence how students develop intellectually and personally in a liberal arts college.
A banner year: 36 Whitties earn prestigious fellowships, scholarships and grants; seven receive Fulbright awards. Zach Duffy ’12 receives a Watson Fellowship for his research, titled “Recovering a Lost Generation: How Nations Help Unemployed Youth into the Workforce.” Three members of the junior class receive competitive national scholarships: Gabriella Friedman ’13, Beinecke Scholarship; Hannah Siano ’13, Udall Scholarship; and Dieter Brandner ’13, Goldwater Scholarship.
Whitman announces the appointments of 12 new tenure-track professors from a variety of disciplines to join the faculty for the 2012-13 academic year.