Whitman College’s $150 million Now Is the Time campaign will enable the college to add depth and breadth to the academic program, improve access through endowed scholarships, and build a stronger financial base by growing the endowment and increasing annual giving.

Since launching the initial “quiet phase” of the ambitious campaign, commitments to the college have surpassed $97 million.

“The individuals who made these commitments deeply believe in the mission and future of Whitman College,” said John Bogley, vice president for development and college relations. “Gifts to our endowment-focused campaign leave a permanent legacy that will help ensure Whitman continues to make a difference in the lives of its students for years to come.”

A short summation of just five of the many campaign commitments made in the last few months dramatically illustrates the impact of the campaign and how the it will continue to advance Whitman, enabling the college to strengthen its faculty, provide experiential learning opportunities and further globalize its curriculum.

A new faculty member with expertise in rhetoric will be hired thanks to a multi-year gift from Whitman Trustee Megan Salzmann Medica ’81 and her husband, John. Their $1.65 million gift will create the Neilen-Anderson Professorship of Rhetoric and provide funding for a visiting faculty member during the 2012-2013 school year as the search for a tenure-track hire is conducted. Their generous gift will strengthen Whitman’s commitment to graduating critical thinkers, people who can conceive and articulate ideas.

A commitment to a $6 million bequest by an anonymous overseer will establish an endowment of $3.6 million to provide scholarship support for students studying abroad and $2.4 million to support acquisitions for the Penrose Library. When realized, this remarkable commitment will both enable the college to continue to offer talented students the assistance they require to attain a Whitman education, while also investing significantly in ensuring that Penrose Library can provide students, faculty, staff, and community members the resources they need to pursue their studies.

One Whitman alumnus and his spouse chose to perpetuate improvements in the quality of the student-athlete experience by establishing four endowments: the L.W. “Scotty” Cummins Baseball Endowment, named in honor of the legendary catcher for Whitman’s baseball team in the mid-1930s who went on to become a prominent local business owner; the Max Johnson Men’s Basketball Endowment, recognizing Max Johnson ’59 for his on-court accomplishments and subsequent service as a member of the Whitman Board of Trustees; the Kim Evanger Raney Women’s Basketball Endowment, in memory of Kim Evanger ’02, whose life was tragically cut short in a cycling accident in 2007; and, finally, an addition to the Varsity Athletics Endowment that provides general support for all varsity athletic teams. This significant gift totals $3.1 million.

Harriett Miller ’41, a former superintendent of Montana Public Schools and former mayor of Santa Barbara, passed away in 2010. In her estate, Miller left a bequest of more than $700,000 to endow faculty development and faculty recognition efforts. Miller was a lifelong supporter of Whitman and chose to recognize the importance of faculty to the Whitman experience in her bequest.

Whitman’s educational experience provides students with opportunities to explore and to try to solve current problems facing the world. Barbara and Andy Ferrari have provided $300,000 for a sustaining fund to support environmental studies internships over the next 10 years. These internships will build on the strength of the environmental studies program and provide on-the-job experiences, which allow students to work on pressing environmental issues while in school and better equip them for making career choices in the future.

Taken together, these substantial gifts will help the next generation of Whitman graduates become creative catalysts of change, responsible citizens and community leaders.

“Thousands of individuals and organizations have already cast their vote in favor of building a stronger Whitman College that will prepare our Whitman students to become leaders in their professions and communities,” said President George Bridges. “All gifts to the College count in the Now Is the Time campaign and all will perpetuate what has made Whitman such a vital institution for the last 130 years.”