The Gordon Scribner Award was created to honor Gordon Scribner '42, former dean of students and director of alumni, upon his retirement. The award is given by the Alumni Association to persons who have made a major contribution of volunteer time and effort to Whitman College over an extended period of time and possess the ability to inspire. Any alumnus/alumna or friend of the College is eligible for this award. There are no restrictions regarding board involvement.
Recipients for 2015 are Wilber ’55 and Karen Elder Pribilsky ’58
Upon consulting a dictionary, it would not be surprising to find a picture of Wilber and Karen Elder Pribilsky under the definition of “Pillars of the Community.” Owners of Bur-Bee Co., a Walla Walla-based wholesale candy, tobacco and institutional foods business for 35 years, Wilber and Karen worked together to grow the company to 15 employees to 85, at one point spreading west to Tri-Cities and north to Spokane. While running their business and raising four children they also found time to volunteer for their community, including United Way, Junior Club, PEO, Blue Mountain Community Foundation, Chamber of Commerce, YMCA, Exchange Club and the Elks. Wilber also served on state and national boards in his field, and on the board of directors for First Federal Savings Bank, now Banner Bank, for over 20 years.
While running a successful business, raising a family and giving back to the Walla Walla community, the Pribilskys never neglected Whitman. Karen has served on the Planned Giving Committee and the Walla Walla Alumni Association Steering Committee, been a class representative for Annual Giving, and served as chair of the 45th reunion of the Class of 1958. Wilber has been a class representative, a committee member for the Class of 1955’s 50th Reunion Fund and served for 14 years on the Board of Overseers. Additionally, Karen and Wilber have opened their home for gatherings any time the Classes of 1955 and 1958 were on campus.
Married for 57 years, Wilber and Karen’s life together has been a true partnership. This has proven true again in their retirement as they, along with their children, served as chairs for the Walla Walla United Way 2011-12 “Live United” campaign. And Wilber and Karen just finished their service on the Eastern Washington Campaign Committee for the successful Now Is The Time Campaign. The Alumni Association is proud to present the Pribilskys with the 2015 Gordon Scribner Award for Distinguished Service.