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Whittie News

Whittie News is Whitman College’s alumni newsletter, designed to keep our alumni community connected and engaged. From alumni successes and campus updates to special events, this newsletter serves as a link between the college and you.


Whittie News Updates

Dear Alumni and Friends:

I am delighted to share news that Upward Together is Whitman’s largest-ever philanthropic campaign!  With gifts from more than 14,000 members of the Whitman community, The Upward Together total reached $169 million in investments for Whitman students following a $5 million gift to name Stegner Hall in honor of John ‘77 and Laurie Elgee Stegner ‘80.  My tremendous thanks to all of you who have been part of making this possible for Whitman, and for our students!

This exciting news for Whitman comes at a time of crisis and unrest on many college campuses nationwide.  I want to share with you my related May 5 message to students, faculty and staff, which reiterates our support for freedom of speech while also setting boundaries based on our shared values and policies. 

As we look to work through and beyond this challenging moment for Whitman and colleges throughout the nation, I am proud to join College Presidents for Civic Preparedness, a broad association of national higher education leaders working to advance critical inquiry, free expression, and civil discourse on campus.

I believe deeply in our community and in the good work we will continue to do together to change the lives of young people and prepare them to be the thinkers and leaders our communities and the world need.  Thank you for all that you do in this shared work, which is so important for students now and for generations to come.

Sarah R. Bolton

Dear Alumni and Friends,

Greetings from Whitman and Walla Walla in this beautiful spring season.

I’m delighted to share news from campus, including a bold new initiative to expand access and affordability. Through the Upward Together campaign, the College is now matching major gifts to build merit and need-based scholarship endowments to ensure that all talented students can obtain a life-changing Whitman education. More information follows below.

We also continue to invest in a vibrant campus community, including with the planned groundbreaking of our new junior-senior residential village on May 2. This past weekend, we dedicated the Edwards-Moore Clubhouse at Borleske Stadium. Made possible by the generosity of alumni and families, the baseball clubhouse named in honor of emeritus trustees and baseball alumni Jock Edwards ’66 and Jim Moore ’66 provides a new home for the Blues and Walla Walla Sweets.

Everything we do at Whitman is in service of current and future generations of students. This past Saturday, we welcomed 327 prospective students and family members for a Spring into Whitman open house. We are so grateful to alumni for recommending many of these talented students to become members of the Whitman family.

Thank you for all that you continue to do for Whitman students in preparing them to be the leaders and thinkers our communities and the world need.

Sarah R. Bolton

Dear Alumni and Families:

I write with exciting news from campus: the Board of Trustees approved our moving ahead with groundbreaking for a new junior-senior residential village. Work is now underway on the site!

Alumni and families’ $18 million in Upward Together campaign gifts are crucial to making the village possible. In this newsletter, read more about how this addition to our campus will strengthen community and connection for student thriving when it opens in August 2025.  

With these historic investments in student life, the Upward Together campaign has now reached $163 million in gifts for current and future Whitman students. We are deeply grateful for nearly 14,000 donors, like Ahn Lee Horn ‘91 featured below, who are co-investing to help prepare Whitties to be the leaders and thinkers the world needs.

As students depart campus for spring break, I want to thank you for all that you do to make their Whitman experiences transformative.  

Sarah Bolton

Dear Alumni and Friends:

As we begin the new year, I’m deeply grateful for the support of so many alumni and families. Your dedication makes Whitman ever stronger, advancing the ways that Whitman prepares students to be the thinkers and leaders our world needs.

I’m delighted to announce the appointment of an important partner in these efforts, our new Provost and Dean of the Faculty Dr. Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak. Dr. Mermann-Jozwiak brings extensive academic leadership experience to Whitman, most recently from Bucknell University, and is a champion for the liberal arts.

Of further importance to our academic program, I’m pleased to share news of a high-impact gift to the Upward Together campaign from the Lawrence Parke Murphy Trust to support our new Human-Centered Design concentration with a designer-in-residence who will collaborate with students and faculty.

Earlier this week I was delighted to be with alumni and families in New York and Washington, DC for events celebrating the launch of our Upward Together campaign. We are deeply grateful for the campaign gifts of alumni and families that now total $157 million toward our $200 million goal!

I also want to thank so many of you who turned out this week for Whitties Helping Whitties in Bellevue, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. These networking events are so important in helping students and young alumni launch their careers on the highest trajectory.

Thanks to you, we have much to look forward to in 2024 and beyond. I appreciate all that you do for Whitman students!

Sarah R. Bolton

Dear Alumni and Friends:

It’s finals week at Whitman, and all will soon be quiet as many of our students return home for holiday break.  

The end of the semester is a good time to reflect on some amazing community events that occurred in the past month. We celebrated our Seattle Upward Together launch at T-Mobile Park and announced the naming of Robart Hall in honor of Judge Jim Robart ‘69. And Whitman partnered with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) to host the inaugural Pášx̣apa Powwow.

With gratitude for all donors of gifts of all sizes, we’re recognizing a secure listing of alumni donors by class to accompany a link to the recently mailed Donor Annual Report.

We’re also gearing up for a big start to 2024 with Upward Together events in New York and Washington, DC and Whitties Helping Whitties throughout the West Coast.

Read all about this and more below. Thank you for all that you continue to do for Whitman. Best wishes for the holiday season!


Dear Alumni and Friends:

What a joy it has been to launch Upward Together over the past three weeks. Following amazing celebrations on Ankeny Field and in key cities, anticipation is building for our November 8 Seattle T-Mobile Park event, featuring a conversation with Mariners Chairman John Stanton ‘77 and serial entrepreneur Jonathan Sposato ‘89.  

We are bowled over by magical moments capturing the collective spirit of the Whitman community.  Have you seen the video highlights of Drew Shoals ‘05, Amazon corporate counsel and former drummer of the rock band Train, leading students, alumni, and faculty in an “Upward Together Band” rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough?” You’ve gotta see it below.  

And of course, we are inspired by the generosity of Whitties.  Just in the past week, 1,534 donors stepped up to support students through All In for Whitman, and we announced a $1.5 million investment in scholarships & aid from Gordon ‘68 and Kathy Britt Keane ‘67.  

We are leading Upward Together out of love for Whitman College, our community, the life-changing student experience we offer, and for how our graduates achieve success and impact throughout the world.  But we envision an even better Whitman of the future.  Realizing it will require climbing some high mountains. We’ll get there, together.

Nancy Serrurier P’11 and Aaron Perrine ’99
Chair and Vice Chair, Upward Together

Dear Alumni & Friends:

Happy Fall everyone! I hope you are enjoying the changing weather and colors.

I was one of six members of the Alumni Association Board who enjoyed a wonderful time in Walla Walla for Reunion Weekend, September 21-24. We had the opportunity to assist the hardworking Alumni Relations team in hosting over 600 alumni and friends, spanning the class years from 1958 to 2019.

Thirteen classes attended 35 events over four days. We had the pleasure to engage with alumni from all those classes; learn more about what is currently happening on campus from staff, faculty, and students; get an update on the College’s initiatives from President Bolton; and even got to guest-DJ one of the class parties on Saturday night.

One of the best-attended events of the weekend was our student-alumni networking event, Whitties Helping Whitties. More than 100 alumni met with 56 students for career conversation and connection on the Cordiner Hall patio, taking the first steps in building an alumni network to help ensure a strong graduate launch.

Reunion Convocation was another highlight, where we welcomed alumni from all classes and our 10th, 25th and 40th reunion committee members presented their fundraising results. It was poignant to hear their reasons why supporting Whitman is so important to them, and gratifying to see the way our reunion classes supported our current and future students.

Thanks to the alumni who were able to attend the reunion weekend, and thanks to the Alumni Relations Office for their tireless efforts to create such a successful event.


Evan Jones

Dear Alumni & Friends:

This is always an exciting time for the Admission team and for the Whitman community as we welcome a new entering class of Whitties to campus. To lead off the September Whittie News, it’s my pleasure to tell you about the talented class of 2027 that just moved in to begin their lifelong Whitman journey.

The class of 2027 comprises 455 first-year students handpicked from a record 6,238 applicants for admission. They averaged a 3.77 unweighted high school grade point average and 29 had a perfect 4.0. Whitman was also a popular destination for transfer students – we welcomed 26 transfer students from a wide variety of colleges, ranging from community colleges (Walla Walla CC, Bellevue College, Pasadena City College ) to liberal arts colleges (Reed, Macalester, Smith) to large universities (WSU, UC Davis, McGill).

By many measures, this class is the most diverse in the College’s history. 32% of the class identifies as students of color. As I write to you today from a recruiting trip in China, I can report that international students representing 43 countries make up 14% of the class. We drew students from 34 states and two sovereign tribal nations, and welcomed 20 students from the Walla Walla valley (the highest total in recent memory).

With special thanks to alumni and friends for your generous support of scholarships and financial aid to make a life-changing Whitman education accessible to students of all economic backgrounds, I’m proud to share we are opening Whitman’s doors to record numbers of low-income students and students in the first generation of their families to attend a four-year college. 23% of the incoming class are first generation college students, and 112 incoming students have received Pell Grants due to their significant financial need.

Of course, these statistics don’t begin to describe the talent and promise of these young people. I wish I could introduce you to some of them, including the founder of a nonprofit organization for protecting the Salmon River, a member of the Washington State Air National Guard, a leader of a high school Black Student Union, a competitive bagpiper, an entrepreneur who started a cake baking company, and the builder of a 400-gallon koi pond.

We are deeply grateful for alumni giving and volunteer efforts that help us inspire these amazing students to join the Whitman family. Our team hopes to see you on campus or at a high school near you soon.

Adam Miller
Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid

Dear Alumni & Friends:

Greetings from the Whitman campus! Fall semester begins in just a few weeks, and we can’t wait to welcome 463 terrific students from across the country and around the world to the class of 2027. This promises to be an extraordinary year for the Whitman family, as we see the power of a Whitman liberal arts education and the difference our graduates make, and continue to advance our mission for the future in a rapidly changing world.

This fall we will publicly launch the most ambitious campaign in the history of the college. I invite you to join me and members of the Board of Trustees to mark the launch at events on campus starting October 12 and in key cities in the following weeks. You can find more information about the program in this newsletter. The priorities the board plans to announce at these events reflect a bold vision for the future of our College and our students.

Whitman is a college that changes lives, and Whitties continue to make us proud through their accomplishments and the impact they make in their communities and in the world. This month we’re celebrating our three National Science Foundation (NSF) Fellows and our 55th Fulbright Scholar in the past 15 years. I am also excited to share news of a partnership with the Posse Foundation to bring 10 outstanding students from Chicago to Whitman each year. We expect the Posse scholars to make a tremendous positive impact in building student leadership, diversity and inclusion in our community.

This edition of Whittie News also shares the story of a wonderful alumna gift of real estate to help meet critical housing needs for Whitman community members. Through such care and generosity of alumni, parents, and friends we can build on the excellence of a Whitman education and prepare young people to thrive and meet the increasingly complex challenges of our time.

Our aspirations for the College and our students are high. We’ll fulfill them together. Thank you for all that you continue to do for Whitman!


Sarah R. Bolton

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