WALLA WALLA – Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Main Welty and Robert “Bob” W. Young have been named co-chairs of Whitman’s prestigious Stephen B.L. Penrose Society, established in 2008 to recognize donors who have given to the college cumulative gifts of $1 million or more.

As co-chairs they will provide leadership for this significant group of donors, promoting membership and assisting with stewardship of new members.

Young is a Tri-Cities civic leader and longtime president of Robert Young & Associates, a real estate and development firm. Welty, of Spokane, is a retired physician.

Well-known for his philanthropy in the Tri-Cities area and at Whitman, Young served as a college overseer from 1976 to 1991. He has provided support for many significant Whitman projects, including leadership gifts to the Reid Campus Center that made possible the Young Ballroom and the Stevens Gallery, which President Bridges calls “wonderful gathering and celebration spaces for the college and the community.”

Young and his wife, Jackie, have made some of the largest gifts of real estate in the history of the college. One of these gifts goes to a professorship in honor of the 50th reunion of the Class of 1955, resulting in a record-achieving 50th reunion fund in 2005. Young received an honorary doctor of public service degree from Whitman in 2006.

“The leadership and commitment of alumni such as Bob Young have helped transform Whitman from a small college of Western renown to a top-tier liberal arts institution of national prominence,” said Bridges.

Welty was inspired to serve the college by her late husband, Dr. Robert “Bob” Ford Welty, a 1935 Whitman alumnus. The couple made a variety of planned gifts and created a scholarship. Libby Welty served the college as an overseer and then trustee for nearly 20 years, during which time she expanded their generous support through major gifts to the library, science building and the Welty Health Center, which is named in honor of both Drs. Welty. Libby received an honorary doctor of science degree from Whitman in 1994.

“Libby’s leadership and philanthropy have benefited Whitman in myriad ways,” said Bridges, who applauded her significant and enduring commitment to the college.

Stephen B.L. Penrose, for whom the society was named, was Whitman’s longest serving president, at its helm from 1894-1934.


Contact: Ruth Wardwell, director of communications