Carlstrom celebration: (from left) Connie Carlstrom, Ron Takemoto, Chad Frisk, Roger Carlstrom
Carlstrom celebration: (from left) Connie Carlstrom, Ron Takemoto, Chad Frisk, Roger Carlstrom

Chad Frisk ’08, whose love of baseball is exceeded only by his passion for Japanese language and culture, is this year’s recipient of Whitman’s annual Connie Jill Carlstrom Award for Japanese Studies. The award is given each spring to one or more outstanding Whitman undergrads in Japanese studies.

Frisk was honored at a public ceremony earlier this month at Tekisuijuku (Japanese House) on campus. Ron Takemoto, assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures (Japanese), announced the award to an audience that included Connie and Roger Carlstrom, parents of the late Connie Jill Carlstrom ’93.

“Chad joins a strong group of Carlstrom Award winners who, like Jill, have expressed an amazing enthusiasm for all things Japanese,” said Takemoto. “I join the Carlstrom family in congratulating him for his achievements and his dedication to Japanese studies.”

“I feel honored to fit a little bit into Jill’s footsteps,” said Frisk. “And I’m honored to have met her parents.”

Connie Jill Carlstrom was a National Merit Scholar from Yakima, Wash. In her four years at Whitman, she majored in English and minored in Japanese, enjoyed a leadership role in the Delta Delta Delta sorority and served as a resident assistant for Tekisuijuku, one of 11 Interest Houses on campus.

After graduating from Whitman, Carlstrom traveled to Japan to teach English. She died in her sleep on Sept. 6, 1993, in Tamamura. Her family and friends established the Connie Jill Carlstrom Award in her honor in 1994.

Frisk is from Forest Park, Wash. He attended Shorecrest High School, where he played several sports, including baseball, and began to study Japanese. Like Carlstrom, he was an English major at Whitman but studied Japanese in earnest, enrolling in every Japanese class that the college offered. “I think my choice points to a genuine appreciation of languages in general,” he said.

Frisk spent the fall semester of his junior year in Osaka, Japan, where he studied Japanese at Kansai Gaidai University. He will soon return to Japan to teach English through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme administered by local governments in cooperation with the Ministry of Education. Established in 1987, JET is one of the largest exchange programs in the world.

“From his first years at Whitman, it was clear that Chad wanted to study Japanese and English literature,” said Takemoto. “His interest in literature, his uncompromising desire to study Japanese and his wish to teach English in Japan all reminded me very much of the way Jill was during her senior year at Whitman.”


Keith Raether
Office of Communications
Whitman College