The grant will support academic excellence by funding eight tenure-track faculty positions

WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Supporting Whitman’s long tradition of academic excellence built on the strength of its faculty, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the college a grant of $644,000.

The grant will enable Whitman to convert eight faculty positions in the humanities and social sciences from temporary to permanent tenure-track status over the next two years.

“I was simply overjoyed to receive the news, and on behalf of the college I express deep appreciation to the Mellon Foundation,” said Tim Kaufman-Osborn, provost and dean of the faculty. “The faculty is the core strength of Whitman’s academic program, and tenure-track positions are the center of that core. They have an ongoing commitment to Whitman’s academic program as well as our community, and that advances our commitment to provide a truly excellent liberal arts education to our students.”

“Whitman’s reputation for academic excellence is well-deserved,” said college President George Bridges. “Our faculty combine significant scholarship and achievement with a deeply meaningful level of relationship-based teaching to provide a liberal arts academic experience characterized by rigor and support. This extraordinary grant from the Mellon Foundation helps continue a generations-old tradition that is a hallmark of Whitman College.”

Kaufman-Osborn will implement the grant by launching a total of eight searches over two years. The first set of four will be conducted in 2011-12 in the areas of studio art, art history and visual culture studies, politics, and psychology. The second set of four will take place in 2012-13, and the specific areas will be determined in fall 2011.

“The grant proposal has been several years in the making, and the new tenure lines will enhance the overall quality of our academic program and the education we provide to our students. For their key roles in crafting and refining this proposal, in addition to President Bridges, I especially wish to thank Rachna Sinnott, director of foundation and corporate relations; Sally Hooker, associate to the provost; Karen Zollman, executive assistant to the provost; John Bogley, vice president for development and college relations; and Peter Harvey, CFO/treasurer.”

Contact: Ruth Wardwell, assistant vice president for communications

Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash., is honored to attract students who represent the Whitman mosaic – down to earth, high achievers with diverse interests. Whitman is the premier liberal arts college that combines academic excellence with an unpretentious Northwest culture and an engaging community. An independent, non-sectarian residential college, Whitman fosters intellectual vitality, confidence and leadership in its 1,450 students. Also noted for its commitment to environmental principles, Whitman is characterized by intellect, down-to-earth sensibilities, collaboration over competition and active lifestyle.