Stuart and his son Wren at the beach with surf boards

Stuart Chapin
Whitman College Outdoor Program
Assistant Director
Office: Reid G22 (next to the OP)
509-527-5791 (office)


Stuart has been working in Outdoor Recreation or Education his entire career.  Stuart enjoys all outdoor activities but is especially proficient in the areas of whitewater kayaking, rafting, rock climbing and backcountry travel.

Guiding rafts starting in 1986 on the Ocoee River in Tennessee, Stuart has spent many days enjoying teaching on rivers all across the country.  Upon graduation from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga in 1990 with a business management degree, he began to roam in search of the next perfect season of adventure.  Guiding rafts in the summer on Idaho’s Payette River system followed by guiding on the Gauley River in West Virginia in the fall and then ski resort jobs near Salt Lake City in the winter filled a number of years.  The fall of 1993 arrived with a great opportunity to lead a private trip down the Grand Canyon of the Colorado.  In the winter of 1993-94 he spent 3 months traveling through Southeast Asia searching first for the climbing in Thailand and then searching for something more elusive while traveling through Malaysia and Indonesia.  Returning from the tropics a changed man, he secured a job at the National Outdoor Leadership School where he instructed Backpacking, Mountaineering, Kayaking, Rafting, and Rock Climbing courses as well as coordinated logistics.  Continuing to work for NOLS, he studied Energy, Environmental and Resource Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 

He met his wife to be, Heidi, while working at NOLS. They worked together at NOLS for a number of years.  After the wedding and a long honeymoon road trip, they settled down in Tennessee.

Stuart in front of mountain range

For the last 13 years, Stuart has run the outdoor program at local independent school in Chattanooga. The program grew under Stuart’s leadership and now boasts a wide range of activities for hundreds of students over the course of the year.

Stuart and Heidi have also grown their family and now have two boys, Wren age 12 and Dakota age 6.  He loves to spend time with the family, playing outside whenever possible.  The boys love to camp and Wren is an avid climber and rafter.  The whole family is looking forward to many new adventures in Washington including river trips and snow skiing.

Stuart is an American Canoe Association Level 4 Whitewater Kayak instructor, American Mountain Guide Association Climbing Wall Instructor Trainer, Wilderness First Responder and a Rescue 3 Internation Whitewater Rescue Technician.   He is also an avid outdoor photographer.