student
Hasan Ali ’16

Meet Hasan Ali ’16, the first student from Iraq to come to Whitman.  

Whitman's student newspaper, The Pioneer, recently interviewed Ali for a story that appeared in the Sept. 20 issue. Excerpts are reprinted here with permission; story by Daniel Kim ’16, photo by Ben Woletz ’16.

When applying to colleges and universities in the U.S. through an education non-profit program, Hasan Ali said Whitman stood out.

 “I looked at other schools, and I didn’t see anything like Whitman. Whitman is engaged with the student body and everyone is involved with nature. Everyone knows everyone here and is friendly. That was what attracted me to Whitman.”

Due to his significant geographical distance from Walla Walla, Ali researched American schools on the internet. He applied to four altogether, but liked Whitman the best.

“I actually tried the hardest on Whitman’s application because when I googled which colleges change the lives of students, I found that everybody at Whitman was happy, and it was indeed a college that changed the lives of its students,” he said.

Ali originally intended to pursue a degree in computer engineering, but now believes a liberal arts education is best suited to his goal of improving the lives of Iraqis.

“After my life has been changed at Whitman, I need to change the lives of other people,” he said.

“I am thinking of majoring in politics because the politics in Iraq have been really bad for the past 50 years. I am also thinking of majoring in psychology because before the war, there was oppression, and after the war, there was even more oppression, where the people were seeing things people shouldn’t be seeing.”

To read the full story, visit The Pioneer website