Faculty Award for Service
The Whitman College Alumni Association Faculty Award for Service is given yearly to a faculty member who has distinguished themselves in service to the Alumni Association.
The 2018 Faculty Award for Service winner is Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages & Literatures in Japanese, Akira Takemoto
Akira Takemoto has been involved in nearly 20 alumni programs since 1985. His warmth, encouragement and gentle humor have made him a favorite with students and alumni alike.
In 1992, Takemoto had several Japanese artists scheduled to be on campus on the same weekend as spring reunion events. He suggested combining the two, then organized lectures and demonstrations for a full weekend of learning for alumni.
Takemoto has traveled to Portland on several occasions to introduce alumni to a variety of Japanese art, including The Floating World Revisited, In Winter, Silk Linings: The Kimono in Print, and A Wearable Art: An Introduction to the World of the Kimono.
Takemoto is a devoted tennis player and for many years, organized the Bob Burgess Tennis Tournament for both spring and fall reunions. When former coach Bob Burgess and former Dean of Faculty (and fellow tennis enthusiast) David Deal both passed away, Takemoto organized the Bob Burgess and David Deal Memorial Tennis event and invited alumni close to both of them.
On multiple occasions, he has demonstrated The Art of Serving a Bowl of Tea for alumni and hosted numerous open houses in the chikurakken (tea room) in Olin Hall. The ceremony is not about drinking tea, but is about aesthetics, preparing a bowl of tea from one's heart. The essence of the Japanese tea ceremony is reflected in its four main principles: harmony, respect, purity and tranquility. Takemoto exemplifies these principles in all his interaction with alumni, and it is a pleasure to present this award to him.