George Ball (right) congratulates Jon Walters (left).
WALLA WALLA – A surprise announcement at the Sept. 1 faculty meeting brought the smiles and cheers for Jon Walters, professor of religion. President Bridges shared the news that Walters has been recommended as the inaugural holder of the George Hudson Ball Endowed Chair in the Humanities, established over the past year thanks to the generous support of many alumni donors. The recommendation will be presented to the Board of Trustees at the November meeting.
When asked if he was truly surprised, Walters responded “Yes, very. You can't fake the color my face turned!” He added, “A named professorship or chair is always a great honor, but this one is especially meaningful to me because it is named for George Ball, the founder of my department and a living legend at Whitman. The great outpouring of alumni support for the chair is indicative of how beloved George is, which is a daunting legacy.”
Dr. Ball himself was present for the announcement and later shared his thoughts: “I’m still not sure I deserved this, but I am impressed with the selection of Jon Walters. I wish him well.”
“Jon exemplifies the model of teacher-scholar that we revere at Whitman,” President Bridges said. He has an impressive record of great teaching that combines with his prolific writing, publications, peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on Buddhism and religious movements in Asia.”
Walters has been a member of the Whitman faculty since 1992, joining the college as a visiting assistant professor. He achieved the rank of professor in 2007 and is a four-time Perry Award recipient. He also has received the Thomas D. Howells Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Humanities, a Paul Garrett Fellowship, the Adam Dublin Award for Global Multiculturalism and the Arnold and Lois Graves Award in the Humanities.