W Club golf
Lou Points '17 (far left) at the Wine Valley Golf Club in September 2016 with women's golf teammates (from left) Shiyang Fan '19, Phoebe Nguyen '18 and Alyssa Maine '16.

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Photography by Matt Banderas '04

Last year, 753 W Club members contributed $459,000 to support Whitman's 15 varsity athletics teams and sports initiatives—one of the best fundraising years in the club's 10-year history. One source of that generosity was Whitman's annual golf tournament. What will the numbers be for the upcoming 8th annual W Club Golf Tournament? It tees off at the Walla Walla Country Club on Sept. 22 and is among several events that mark the decade of success of the W Club.

One participant in both the W Club tournament and other golf reunion events over the course of the same weekend is Lou Points '17, who played on the women's golf team all four years and majored in politics-environmental studies.

"I loved the idea of being able to do it all in college—play a sport, be a student and be active in other organizations on campus," said Points, who is from Star, Idaho. "I wouldn't have had the experience on the golf team and at Whitman if it weren't for the alumni, and I want to support the athletic department like they did for me."

Another Whittie to swing the clubs at the reunion is Walla Walla local and overseer emeritus Jim McCarthy '63. Senior vice president at E. K. Riley Investments, he grew up playing golf, so the varsity team was a natural fit.

"Giving back to Whitman is easy as it gave so much to me," said the W Club member and history major. "I love to compete and made many friends during our matches. Whitman was the first place I had lived for four years in a row and a great place to learn and mature."

Attendees—including alumni from multiple generations—will also hit the links at the Wine Valley Golf Club and the Veterans Memorial Golf Course and enjoy a reunion dinner at Reid Campus Center. The golfing events are jointly organized by the Whitman College Alumni Association, the W Club and golf coaches Skip Molitor and Peter McClure '93, who head the women's and men's teams, respectively. The banquet will feature presentations on the history of the W Club.

Here are other "by the numbers" about Whitman sports from 2016-17:

  • 60 student-athletes made Northwest Conference (NWC) All-Conference teams
  • 7 assistant coaches were added as part of the W Club-backed Assistant Coach Initiative to provide more mentors and support for student-athletes
  • 6 varsity teams won an NWC championship or NWC tournament championship
  • 5 student-athletes won NWC Freshman of the Year awards
  • 5 teams scored spots on national rankings lists, including men's and women's basketball, men's and women's tennis, and women's golf 
  • 4 swimmers competed at the NCAA national championships 
  • 4 student-athletes were named NWC Players of the Year