Alumni explore treasures in the Whitman College and Northwest Archives during a Spring Reunion Weekend open house. At center, (l-r) are Mary Parsell Walker ’81, Eric Walker, Bruce Boyington ’79 and Juli Boyington.
To donate materials
Contact archives staff at:
Whitman College and Northwest Archives
345 Boyer Avenue
Walla Walla, WA 99362
The Whitman website lists 92 student clubs: green groups and Greek groups, organizations in support of everything from feminism to fly-fishing. But there’s a 93rd group, made up of alumni, working to preserve the history of these student organizations: the Alumni Association Documenting the Past Committee.
Formed in 2005, the committee works to ensure that the diverse achievements of the student body are recorded and remembered.
This April, Jim Dow ’71, John Blackmon ’79, Minda McLaughlin Merrow ’62 and Nancy Mitchell, associate director for alumni relations, met with representatives from eight student campus groups. The committee encouraged the students to save student life materials, including bylaws, meeting minutes and newsletters. The committee will contact student organizations at the end of each academic year to remind leaders to send materials documenting the year’s efforts to the archives.
The spring 2011 initiative contributes to a long-standing tradition of documenting the history of the college. The Whitman College and Northwest Archives has curated both collegiate and community history since the 1930s. Previous collaborations between the archives and Alumni Association have included the preservation of oral histories and the celebration of Founder’s Day.
"The work of the Alumni Association enhances and augments that of the archives," said Michael Paulus, archivist and special collections librarian.
As campus clubs gather histories, Paulus hopes alumni also will contribute to this effort to document the Whitman experience.
In particular, the archives is seeking "unique materials" from alumni, "the types of materials that were not regularly transferred to the archives from offices and groups on campus but reveal much about student life that is not documented elsewhere," Paulus said, including personal photographs, scrapbooks, journals or letters.
— Eleanor Ellis ’13
Editor’s note: Shortly before press time, Paulus accepted a position at another college. However the contact information shown for the archives is still accurate.