Dale Penrose Harrell ’59 earns Outstanding Volunteer Award

Dale Penrose HarellDale Penrose Harrell ’59 receives this year’s top honor from the Office of Annual Giving for her work on behalf of the Class of 1959. Serving as a class representative since 1993, Harrell has consistently led her class to terrific fundraising results. This year, the Class of 1959 successfully raised more than $1 million and celebrated more than 60 percent in participation, an increase of nearly 6 percent from 2011-2012.

The Office of Annual Giving’s award for Outstanding Volunteer is based upon several factors, including years of service, total dollars raised, and increase in alumni participation and dollars. Upon learning of her distinction, Dale humbly recognized her classmates as “those who really make a difference with their contributions.”

Coming from a long line of Whitman alumni, Dale is a descendant of Stephen B.L. Penrose, third president of the college, who had three children and five grandchildren – including Dale – attend Whitman. As a student, Dale was a sociology-anthropology major, a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and was involved in choir.

Reflecting on her campus days, Dale said, “I worked my way through Whitman by putting mail in the mailboxes in the student union building (now Reid Campus Center), so I knew everyone at least by their name. I even used to send off many boxes of laundry! It’s one of the reasons that I smile when I work on each class letter.”

After graduation, she earned a master’s degree in sociology from Duke University. Dale later settled in the Chesapeake, Va., area, where she worked for many years as a librarian for Great Bridge High School.

“I have loved being the class representative for all these years, because it’s a way for me to keep in touch with classmates and with Whitman from where I live in Virginia. Every time I write a class letter, I think of each class member looking the same way as when I knew them at Whitman. To say ‘thanks’ is such an understatement. I had a great sense of satisfaction this year when our class total was so unbelievable – that made it all worthwhile.”

The Office of Annual Giving also recognizes Mary Belle Preston Wells ’41 and Dale’s cousin, Penny Penrose Bignold ’56, whose classmates once again reached 100 percent participation. Darrell Allen ’53 and his class earned the highest improvement in participation at more than 10 percent.

The Annual Giving staff offers a sincere thank you and congratulations to each of its 325 volunteers for their dedicated work on behalf of Whitman College. Nationally, and particularly along the West Coast, Whitman’s class representative program has succeeded because of the passion and dedication of its alumni volunteers.