WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Award-winning Alaskan communicator Mary Deming Barber, president of The Barber Group and avid community volunteer, has been appointed to a two-year term on the Whitman College Alumni Board, which advises the alumni office on programming and acts as its quality assurance team.

Barber, a 1978 Whitman alumna, is a 30-year veteran of public relations who formed her own firm in 2000. In addition to serving as president and CEO of The Barber Group, a strategic communications and public relations firm in Anchorage, she is involved in her community and in her professional field. Her awards include a Silver Anvil award from the Public Relations Society of America and a communicator of the year award from the Alaska Chapter of the PRSA. She was selected this spring as a member of the Anchorage Chapter of the Athena Society, which recognizes women for their professional excellence, commitment to community and encouragement of the leadership potential of women. This prestigious award, said Barber, recognizes her “commitment to improving our community.”

Barber knew from a young age that she wanted to be a writer and communicator, and when she graduated from Whitman, she was fortunate enough to find an employer in the public relations field who appreciated the value of her liberal arts degree. “I’m happy that more employers understand the benefits of a liberal arts education today than they did in 1978,” she said.

However, she added, “I don’t know that it would have mattered what my career choice was, because the listening and analysis skills learned at Whitman are invaluable in any career. Whitman taught me to look at the world differently; in public relations we are regularly asked to look at things differently, listen to what is said and create a program or plan to transform views.”

Barber said she is looking forward to applying her communications skills in a strategic and thoughtful way to advance the already strong sense of community held by Whitman students, parents and alumni.

She will visit the college in October for her first alumni board meeting and can be contacted via Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.


Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156