Dear incoming first-year students:

By now, you should have received an email from Whitman President Kathy Murray announcing that all fall classes will be remote, and that students will be, with very few exceptions, expected to live at home this fall. 

I know this decision is incredibly disappointing for many of you, and indeed for our staff who have been getting ready to welcome you to Whitman’s campus in just a few weeks. Still, our faculty and staff have been planning for the possibility of remote learning, and I believe you will receive the best of a Whitman education, even though it may not be exactly what you were planning or hoping for.

So, for the majority of you who will move forward and fully join the Whitman community in a remote fashion in just a few weeks, welcome again to Whitman. We will continue to move forward with your online orientation, and will be adding and adapting that virtual experience as the beginning of the semester approaches.

I think you’ll find that even remotely, your first semester will be fulfilling, rigorous and full of many of the new experiences that you would expect from your first year at Whitman. But for those of you who don’t believe an online first semester is the right choice for you at this time, I understand that as well. For that reason, Whitman continues to live our philosophy of being flexible and presenting options that will best meet your needs. To that end, we are still offering gap semester and gap year options for those who wish to go in that direction. 

I’m also pleased to announce a new option, single-course start, that will allow students to take just one course, your first-year seminar, on a pay-by-credit basis. This will allow you to pursue gap-semester experiences alongside one Whitman course, keeping you connected to the Whitman community. This will also give you full access to all of Whitman’s resources available to students, including completing orientation with your classmates. Through our hands-on advising process, we will then work with you over the next four years to help you catch up with your classmates and very likely graduate with the rest of your class. 

While I believe this semester will be a great, if non-traditional way to start your Whitman education, I hope having these options softens a tough decision, and gives every family a choice that works for them. If you do wish to consider a gap program or our single-course option, please reach out to Adam Miller, our director of admission, at to discuss the details.

My best,

Josh Jensen, Ph.D.
Vice President for Enrollment and Communications