Sally Rodgers Award for Lifelong Achievement The Sally Rodgers Award for Lifelong Achievement was created in 1999 to honor Sally Rodgers, long time director of alumni relations. This award is given every other year by the Alumni Association to "an individual/or individuals who graduated from Whitman College over 50 years ago and whose life exemplifies the qualities of a liberal arts education." This award is presented at the 50-Plus Reunion.
Lifelong Achievement Recipient
Margaret Charters Thrailkill '37, was the first woman board member at Washington Water Power in Spokane, Washington. After she joined the board at WWP, she was appointed to an internal audit committee that investigated allegations of misconduct by company officials. She retired in 1988 after serving on the board for 10 years. Thrailkill also served on the board of directors for the North Idaho College Foundation from 1977-2002. Her career included teaching business and fashion courses at Spokane Falls Community College where she retired in 1987.
Earlier in her life, she operated a family-owned general store at Spirit Lake, Idaho, and also worked as a corporate buyer for a Chicago department store. A woman with a philanthropic nature and "zany" sense of humor, she shops at garage sales for clothes to donate to local charities, donates free airplane rides to children at John Tyler's Boys Ranch and provides free ski equipment and lift tickets to disadvantaged boys who earn required points. More recently she is seen delivering flowers local florists are going to discard to women's shelters, the YWCA and places that feed the hungry. In 1995 she was named Woman of the Year by the YWCA of Spokane.
Lifelong Achievement Recipient
Bill Harris '33, has been an active volunteer for Whitman College and the community for many years. Pete Reid, '49, who nominated Bill, said, "Bill has been available to help whenever asked whether it be on buildings and grounds, with development assignments or fraternity affairs. He was especially helpful to the Sigma Chis where he served as a financial advisor for many years. He has always been a strong Whitman booster in the community." From 1955-1975 Bill was Senior Vice President at Baker Boyer Bank, from 1975-1990 he served as Vice President at Pioneer Investment Co., and from 1990-1998 he served as a trustee of the Sherwood Trust.
After retiring, he was looking for something to keep him busy and found that the local school district needed his help. Four days a week, the 92-year-old pedals his bicycle four miles to his volunteer job with the Walla Walla Public School District where he works as the district's inventory coordinator for the Science Materials Center. For the past 6 years he has volunteered 20 hours per week. Duties include taking inventory of materials, repairing kits and prepackaging kits which are then sent to teachers in the district. Over 2,000 elementary school children are served by his efforts and another 1,400 middle school students are beginning to use the materials. In April 2002, Bill was a recipient of the Art Regier Volunteer of the Year Award for the Walla Walla School District. The staff at Green Park Elementary nominated Harris for the award because "they were so impressed by his commitment and by his abilities."