The Stephen B.L. Penrose Society recognizes those who have given to Whitman College cumulative gifts of $1 million or more. The leadership and commitment of Penrose Society members has helped to transform the college from a small and committed college of Western renown to a top-tier liberal arts institution of national prominence.
Penrose Society Co-chairs Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Main Welty, trustee emerita, and Robert “Bob” W. Young ’55, overseer emeritus, and the Whitman College community join together to express our deepest gratitude to the new members of the Stephen B.L. Penrose Society:
Lois Dambacher Dusenbery
Lois Dambacher Dusenbery has been an honorary Whittie for more than 50 years. Together with her late husband, Whitman Overseer Emeritus George "Dudley" Dambacher ’41, she supported a major renovation of the outdoor tennis courts, and the construction of the Bratton Tennis Center and the Baker Ferguson Fitness Center. Together, they also created the G. Dudley and Lois Dambacher Scholarship Endowment to benefit students demonstrating above-average academic success and strong leadership and citizenship. Following Dudley’s death in 2003, Lois has continued to build a legacy at Whitman making generous additions to the scholarship endowment and a major commitment to the Harper Joy Theatre renovation, among many gifts. In 2008, Lois was elected to the Board of Overseers and currently serves on its Enrollment Committee. Also in 2008, she married another Whitman overseer emeritus, Earl Dusenbery ’40, who joins her in continued support of Whitman and its students.
Kenneth E. ’29 and Vivian Cochran Garner ’33
Ken and Vivian Garner supported their alma mater for more than 80 years and created a legacy that will benefit Whitman students in perpetuity. Ken majored in political science; Vivian in English. She earned her library credentials at the University of Washington and was a career librarian at the Walla Walla Public Library, while Ken operated the Table Supply grocery for nearly 40 years. Together with Ken’s sister, Mary Garner Esary ’31, they provided generous support for Whitman College and the Walla Walla community. Among their many gifts to Whitman, they established the Charles B. and Anna V. Garner Library Book Endowment to honor Ken’s parents, and the Kenneth E. and Vivian C. Garner Library Book Endowment. They also provided support for the Penrose Library expansion and renovation in 1999. After Vivian’s death in 2006 and Ken’s in 2008, an estate gift came to Whitman to establish the Kenneth E. and Vivian Garner Scholarship Endowment for students from Walla Walla County high schools.
Dean A. ’70 and Carla Ashby Nichols ’69
Last year, Dean and Carla Nichols created the Carla and Dean Nichols First Generation Scholarship Endowment through a charitable remainder unitrust. This scholarship will aid students who might not otherwise be able to attend Whitman due to financial concerns. They add this to a long history of support for the college, including generous gifts for the Baker Ferguson Fitness Center, their reunion funds and more. Carla was a psychology major at Whitman. She went on to earn a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Fisk University and work as a mental-health professional for King County for 10 years before becoming a stay-at-home mom to their children Jeff, Charlie, and Mark Nichols ’07. In 2000, she was appointed mayor of Woodway, Washington, and since has been elected twice. Dean was an economics major at Whitman. He went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Pennsylvania and was a consultant for Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, for 27 years. He served the college as an overseer from 1995 to 2008, when he was elected to the Board of Trustees.