Search Committee


SerrurierNancy B. Serrurier
Vice Chair, Whitman College Board of Trustees

Nancy has been involved in education for many years, first as a parent volunteer and fundraiser, then as a twice elected school board member of the local public schools in Menlo Park, CA. Nancy currently serves as the vice chair of the board of East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring, an after school academic and enrichment program run on the campus of Stanford University, and as an advisory board member of Akili Dada, a leadership incubator for young African women founded by Whitman alumna Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg '01 and as a board member of KQED, the public media provider in the San Francisco Bay area.

Previously, Nancy served as a trustee of Colgate University, in Hamilton, NY, and as a trustee and vice-chair of Menlo School in Atherton, CA, an independent middle and high school. Prior to this fascination with schools, Nancy was a new food product development consultant, founded San Francisco Provisions, a food mail order catalog, and worked in Washington, DC as the legislative director for US Senator John Chafee (RI). Nancy graduated magna cum laude with an AB from Brown University and holds a MBA from Stanford University. Nancy and her husband Greg (a Whitman Overseer and Investment committee member) have two children: Ben '11 and Kate. Nancy joined the Whitman College Board of Trustees in 2009. 

AbrahamJanice M. Abraham
Trustee, Whitman College Board of Trustees

Janice Menke Abraham joined United Educators Insurance, a Reciprocal Risk Retention Group, as president and CEO in 1998. In leading United Educators (UE), she is responsible for developing and executing business strategy and operational plans for the risk management and insurance company. Prior to joining UE, Abraham served the higher education community through her work as chief financial officer/treasurer at Whitman College, various senior positions at Cornell University, and the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) where she served as staff associate. Abraham also served as an international banker for J. P. Morgan.

Abraham was appointed the first woman to chair the board of governors of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America from 2009-2010. She currently serves on the association’s Executive and Investment Committees. Abraham also serves on the board of directors of United Educators. Additionally, she serves as a Trustee of The Griffith Foundation and The Institutes Board and as a member of American University’s School of International Service Dean’s Advisory Council, and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges’ Editorial Board. She is a former president of the Western Association of College and University Business Officers (WACUBO) and a past member of the board of directors of NACUBO and the National Risk Retention Association. She is the author of "Risk Management: An Accountability Guide for University and College Boards", published by AGB 2013. Abraham earned an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in international service from American University. Abraham lives in Maryland with her husband Kim Abraham, an artist.

Brad McMurchieBradley M. McMurchie ‘84
Chair, Whitman College Board of Trustees

Brad graduated from Whitman in 1984 with a degree in History and a minor in Political Science. Brad has worked for Tumac, Inc., a global wholesaler of forest, food, and agricultural products, since 1985. He became a partner in the company in 1990 and was elected president in 2001. He currently serves as the company's CEO and Chairman of the board of directors. Prior to joining the Board of Trustees in 2007, Brad served as an Overseer from 2002 until 2007. Brad formally served as chair of the Budget Review committee. Brad and his wife Julie are the parents of three children including two current Whitman students.


Peter van Oppen '74
Trustee, Whitman College Board of Trustees

Peter graduated with honors in political science from Whitman College. He participated in ASWC and the Order of Waiilatpu, was president of Jewett Hall, and was editor-in chief of The Pioneer. He served as an intern to US Senator Henry M. Jackson. Peter earned an MBA from Harvard University, where he was a Baker Scholar. Peter was a Whitman Overseer from 1986 to 2001 and has been a Trustee since 2001. He currently serves as Chair of the Whitman College Board of Trustees and was formerly Chair of the Investment Committee.

Peter is a Partner at Trilogy Partnership, a venture capital and private investment firm in Bellevue. He served as Chairman and CEO of Advanced Digital Information Corporation (ADIC) and its predecessor companies from 1989 to 2006. Previously, he worked in medical electronics and as a consultant at Price Waterhouse & Company and Bain & Company in New York, Boston and London. A data storage company, ADIC grew from sales and valuation levels of below $10 million to annual revenue of nearly $500 million. In addition to ADIC, he has served as a director of multiple public companies including Isilon Systems, Western Wireless, Spacelabs Medical, Interpoint, Receptech and Key Technology. He is currently a director of Level 3 Communications, Inc. and continues as a director of numerous private entities. He was formerly an Advisory Board member and director of the Seattle Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants on inactive status. Peter lives in Seattle with his wife, Shannon, and has five children, including John ’05.

Read Peter's letter to the Whitman community regarding the presidential search here »

Bill Way ‘80
Trustee, Whitman College Board of Trustees

Bill graduated from Whitman College with a Bsc in Economics and minor in Art History in 1980. Bill then obtained an Msc in Economics from the London School of Economics. Bill’s 26 year career with Accenture has been spread across US, UK and Japan. Since retiring from Accenture, Bill has focused on business driven solutions to global poverty. Bill is actively involved in the microcredit industry. He is a part time pro bono executive and board member with MicroCredit Enterprises. In addition to microcredit, Bill is involved in several organizations as a funder, board member and mentor in identifying and implementing business driven solutions to global poverty.

Bill is active in the community and is a current/recent board member of MicroCredit Enterprises, Phoenix Art Museum (Currently serving as Chairman), Whitman College Board of Trustees, Akili Dada, Marriot School of Business, ASU Gammage Theatre, School of Life Project, the Asian Arts Council, and the Tesseract School (Treasurer). He also serves on the advisory board of two medium sized private equity funds as a board member of Smead Capital, a money manager and mutual fund. Bill is a passionate weekend warrior, completing many triathlons and marathons, including the Boston Marathon and Arizona Ironman.

Sarah Wang '89
Trustee, Whitman College Board of Trustees

Sarah has a BA in Political Science from Whitman and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law. She returned to her home state of Hawaii in 1995 and since 2001 has been a partner with Marr Jones & Wang, which specializes in management-side labor and employment law.  Sarah represents management in a wide range of labor and employment matters and has considerable experience providing training and advice to employers to better manage their workforce. 

Before becoming a Trustee, Sarah served on the Board of Overseers since 2006, including as its vice chair and chair.  She also served several terms on the Alumni Board and is currently an associate class representative and admissions representative.  Sarah is the chair of the Student Life Committee.

David Nierenberg
Trustee, Whitman College Board of Trustees

David is Founder and President of Nierenberg Investment Management Company in Camas, Washington, which manages The D3 Family Funds, a family of private investment partnerships which seek long term capital gain through active investment in undervalued micro-cap domestic public equities. The fund has $315 million under management. Before founding Nierenberg Investment Management, David was General Partner of Trinity Ventures’ first four venture capital partnerships. He invested in turnarounds, financial services, and healthcare, often serving as a corporate director. Prior to 1985, David was a Partner with Bain & Company, in San Francisco, Boston, and London. He sold and managed strategy, acquisition, and cost reduction projects for CEO clients. Internal responsibilities included recruiting and personnel. He also managed Bain’s Western U.S. healthcare and banking practices.

David is married to Patricia Nierenberg and father of Elodie, Jacob, and Albanie. David is a Member of the Yale University Development Board, and served as 20th Reunion Chair for Yale Law School. He is retired from the Massachusetts Bar. He is currently board chair for PSA Healthcare and on the Advisory Board of the Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance at Columbia Law School. He serves on the board of Electro Scientific Industries, the Washington State Investment Board, Radisys, and MBAC Fertilizer Corp. David was the Chairman of the Capital Campaign for Southwest Washington Medical Center, 2005-2007. David served as National Finance Co-Chair at the Romney for President Campaign from 2007-2012.

Denise Garvey Tabbutt '87
Chair, Whitman College Board of Overseers

Denise graduated from Whitman College with a major in Psychology and a minor in French and completed Finance for Senior Executives, an executive education program at Harvard Business School. She is currently the Chair of the Board of Overseers, where she has been a member since 2001. She also served as Co-Chair and Chair of the Annual Fund and has been an Associate Class Representative since 1987. In addition to raising three sons, she has served in a variety of capacities with her family business, Saltchuk Resources, and on education- and youth-focused non-profit boards.

Denise is on the Board of Directors of Saltchuk and a member of the Governance Committee. She has also served on the Board of Directors of SeaBear from 1996 to present. Denise has been extensively involved in the development and success of Westside School, an Independent School in West Seattle, where she has been a Trustee since 2002. Since 2011, Denise has served on the Board of Youth Care, a non-profit organization committed to getting homeless youth off streets; and on the Board of Trustees at Seattle Preparatory School, a Jesuit high school in Seattle.

Aaron Perrine '99
Overseer, Whitman College Board of Overseers

Aaron graduated from Whitman College with a major in Politics and a minor in Spanish. He was the Treasurer of ASWC, an RA in Lyman House, and a recipient of the Paul Garrett Scholarship. He went on to earn a JD from the University of Washington School of Law, where he was a managing editor of the Washington Law Review. He later earned an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Palmer Scholar. He has been a member of the Board of Overseers since 2011, and has served as his Class Representative since 2005. Aaron is an Engagement Manager in the Philadelphia office of McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, where he works with clients in diversified industries including aerospace manufacturing, electric power, and capital productivity. He is also a member of the Truman National Security Project Defense Council. Prior to McKinsey, Aaron served as an infantry officer in the United States Army, and as a Foreign Service Officer with the United States Department of State. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife Paige and their two children.

David Schmitz
Robert Allen Skotheim Chair of History and Chair of the Faculty

David F. Schmitz is the Robert Allen Skotheim Chair of History and is serving as the Whitman College Chair of the Faculty for 2012-2015. He is the author of Brent Scowcroft: Internationalism and Post-Vietnam War American Foreign Policy (2011); The Triumph of Internationalism: Franklin D. Roosevelt and a World in Crisis, 1933-1941 (2007); The United States and Right-Wing Dictatorships, 1965-1989 (2006); The Tet Offensive: Politics, War, and Public Opinion (2005); Henry L. Stimson: The First Wise Man (2001); Thank God They're on Our Side: The United States and Right-Wing Dictatorships, 1921-1965 (1999); The United States and Fascist Italy, 1922-1940 (1988); Architects of the American Century: Individuals and Institutions in Twentieth-Century U.S. Foreign Policymaking (edited with T. Christopher Jespersen, 2000); and Appeasement in Europe: A Reassessment of U.S. Policies (edited with Richard D. Challener, 1990). He is a specialist in 20th century United States history and American foreign policy and teaches courses on United States Foreign Policy, America in Vietnam, Twentieth Century U.S. History, and the History and Sociology of Rock ‘n' Roll, the 1960s. Professor Schmitz has received the Robert A. Fluno Award for Distinguished Teaching in Social Science, the G. Thomas Edwards Award for excellence in Teaching and Scholarship, Paul Garrett Fellowship, Burlington Northern Foundation Faculty Achievement Award, Arnold L. and Lois Graves Award in the Humanities, Pomona College, over a dozen Louis B. Perry Scholar Awards for faculty-student collaborative research, and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Foundation, and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association.

Rachna Sinnott '93
Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations

Rachna Sinnott majored in biology and minored in French; while at Whitman, she served as a resident assistant, volunteered as an admissions tour guide, and studied abroad in Paris. She went on to earn a PhD in neuroscience from Wake Forest University School of Medicine, where she also became a big ACC basketball fan. Rachna then moved to Portland, OR, where she was a postdoctoral research fellow at Oregon Health & Science University and also did some teaching at Portland State University and Linfield College. Also at OHSU, she worked as a science education fellow and summer internship coordinator.

Rachna and her family moved back to Walla Walla in 2006 so she could become the Director of Foundation & Corporate Relations at Whitman. In that varied role, she works with both faculty and staff to prepare grant proposals that advance the academic mission of the College; her work requires a comprehensive knowledge of and involvement in the many facets of Whitman College. She was a staff representative on the President's Budget Advisory Committee from 2010-2013. Currently, she is a member of the Art Advisory Committee, Collections Committee, Science Outreach Committee, and Sustainability Advisory Committee. Rachna is married to Damien Sinnott, '93, and they have two children. She and her family are involved with the local schools and value their active participation in the Walla Walla community.

Mike Osterman '96
IT Security Officer and Deputy Director of Enterprise Technology

Mike is IT Security Officer and Deputy Director, Enterprise Technology, for Whitman College, and has been a member of the Whitman IT team since 2002. As IT Security Officer, he coordinates information security policy and procedures and works to raise awareness of IT security issues and best practices in the campus community. As Deputy Director, he co-leads the Enterprise Technology group, which is responsible for maintaining and enhancing the College enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and its auxiliary services, reporting, and many other campus systems.

Mike graduated from Whitman with a BA in Spanish Language and Literature, and earned his MBA from Portland State University School of Business. He serves as a Class Representative and was a staff representative on the President's Budget Advisory Committee Fall 2011 to Spring 2014. In the higher education community, Mike serves as Co-Chair of the EDUCAUSE Higher Education Information Security Council - Technologies, Operations, and Practices Working Group.

Matthew Reynolds
Associate Professor of Art History and Visual Culture Studies

Associate Professor of Art History and Visual Culture Studies Matt Reynolds teaches courses on modern and contemporary art, experimental film and video, public art, architecture and urban form with a particular emphasis on the role of class, race and gender in shaping the built environment. His research explores the role of art and media in urban renewal projects in Los Angeles and elsewhere. Matt received his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester.

He has published in edited collections and scholarly journals, including most recently the Journal of Urban Design, the Journal of Urban History (forthcoming), and Public: Art/Culture/Ideas. Matt is currently completing a book project on how art facilitates and challenges the city of Hollywood’s ongoing gentrification as a result of urban redevelopment. He is also interested in the intersections between art, film and popular music and the politics of collecting and display.

Marion Götz 
Associate Professor of Chemistry

Associate Professor of Chemistry Marion Götz is one of the two tenure-track faculty members responsible for teaching the organic chemistry sequence. Marion received her Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Jim Powers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta in 2004. Her graduate studies focused on the design of inhibitors for proteolytic enzymes.

Marion's graduate research is published in several peer reviewed journals including Biological Chemistry, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, and Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry. She also has two patents pending for the discovery of novel anti-parasitic agents. Marion continued her research in a postdoctoral position in the Bioorganic Chemistry group lead by Prof. Luis Moroder at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry in Munich, Germany. Her postdoctoral work succeeded in the synthesis of natural product analogs of the fungal metabolite TMC-95 with promising therapeutic potential towards the treatment of cancer. Her research at Whitman College involves drug design and synthesis, with a particular focus on fighting Alzheimer's disease, sleeping sickness, Chagas’ disease and cancer.

Melissa Clearfield
Professor of Psychology

Born and raised in New Jersey – the land of malls, Camaros and big hair – Professor of Psychology Melissa Clearfield attended Middlebury College in Vermont, where she learned that nature is more than just a tree in the middle of a parking lot and that psychology is cool, especially how babies learn about the world. After college, Melissa attended graduate school at Indiana University in Bloomington, where she earned her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology (with minors in Behavioral Neuroscience and Kinesiology) before coming to Whitman in 2001.

Melissa’s research is grounded in Dynamic Systems Theory, which posits that cognition is inextricably linked to perception, action and attention. Her current line of research explores whether socioeconomic status impacts how these factors interact in very young infants. It is well known that school-aged children who grow up in poverty show deficits in executive function (EF), which is a combination of attention, cognitive flexibility and problem-solving. But we don’t know how early these problems begin, since most studies start testing children when they get to school at age five. The studies on infants have focused on more global measures, rather than the details of EF, so Melissa’s research tracks infants across the first year of life to determine whether low SES infants show deficits in any of these areas, with the eventual goal of earlier and more effective interventions.

Gladys Gitau '16

Gladys Gitau is a sophomore Politics major from Lawrence, MA. She is president of the Black Student Union, an intern at the Intercultural Center, and a resident assistant in the Writing Interest House on campus. She is honored to be on the search committee and hopes to do right by the Whitman community with her contributions.

Jack Percival '16

Jack Percival is a sophomore History major from Lake Tahoe, Nevada. He currently serves as the ASWC Vice President and Student Affairs Chair and was an SA in Lyman House in the fall of 2013. He is looking forward to being a part of the Search Committee.