2013 Summer Read Program book selection is “Whistling Vivaldi”

Whitman’s annual Summer Read Program offers new students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the college’s academic culture during Orientation. They are asked to read the book in advance of their arrival to Whitman and be prepared to discuss it with faculty and fellow students during their first week on campus.

This year’s selection is “Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do,” by Claude Steele, an internationally recognized social psychologist and dean of the I. James Quillen Dean for the School of Education at Stanford University.

The book chronicles Steele’s scientific journey in studying stereotypes and his pioneering discovery of “stereotype threat” – the profound impact that stereotypes have on those who are subjected to them.

In addition to reading the book, all are invited to participate in Summer Read Program activities over the course of the next academic year. On Aug. 31, a faculty panel presentation will explore key themes and issues from Steele’s book. On Oct. 10, the author visits campus to deliver a lecture.

Whitman Undergraduate Conference showcases student scholarship

During the annual Whitman Undergraduate Conference held April 9, 2013, students from every academic discipline became the teachers, and the rest of the campus community members were avid pupils in a day dedicated to scholarship and creativity.

“Listening to scientists, sociologists, activists and environmentalists pushing at the boundaries of their respective disciplines, I was reminded of the common goals we are working toward and the tremendous value of an education that encourages the sharing of ideas,” said Ben Lerchin ’13, an art major.

This year, there were 215 presenters, 39 musicians, 27 posters and 13 podcasts at the conference. Students’ research topics this year included the Affordable Health Care Act, lava flows, coral reef, mental health services in Walla Walla and the mining industry in Thailand.

$800,000 grant from Mellon Foundation to support faculty

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has approved a grant of $800,000 to support Whitman’s ongoing efforts to upgrade long-term adjunct faculty positions to tenure-track appointments and to strengthen library holdings in the fields in which these faculty members teach.

The first two of the four Mellon positions for which the college will search next year will be in history, with an emphasis on environmental studies, and English, with an emphasis on creative non-fiction. This continues the successful work made possible by a Mellon grant awarded in 2011, which allowed the college to convert eight faculty positions to tenure-track positions.

“This grant, when combined with college resources, builds on the commitment made in the Now Is the Time Campaign to strengthen the academic program through the expansion of our tenure track faculty,” said John Bogley ’85, vice president for development and college relations.

Hosokawa Journalism Contest winners announced

Terry Tang, deputy editorial page editor for The New York Times, helped President George Bridges present awards to the winners of the 2013 Hosokawa Journalism Contest. The awards recognize outstanding achievement and journalistic excellence as demonstrated by staff members of The Pioneer. The winners in all five categories are as follows:

Opinion/Editorial: Blair Hanley Frank ’13

Photography: Halley McCormick ’15

Feature: Rachel Alexander ’13

Sports: Quin Nelson ’16

News: Tristan Gavin ’14 and Shelly Le ’14 (tie)

Sherwood grant expands internship endowment for Whitman students

Whitman received a grant from the Donald and Virginia Sherwood Trust to further strengthen its bond with the Walla Walla community. The $235,000 grant is a continuation of last year’s grant, which established the Sherwood Trust Internship Endowment and made possible the Community Fellows program.

Sherwood-funded internships are designated for local non-profit organizations, governmental agencies or schools, and they serve to complement Whitman’s existing internship programs by providing valuable experiential learning and leadership opportunities to students.

This year’s grant will also allow for the expansion of the Community Fellows program, which provides funding for a cohort of Whitman juniors and seniors to fill positions at local public agencies and nonprofits.

Number of graduates who earn Ph.D.s in science and engineering increases

Aisha Fukushima
Aisha Fukushima ’09 blew the crowd away with her performance lecture at Whitman’s first TEDx event. The singer, public speaker and self-proclaimed RAPtivist builds connections between hip-hop and social justice and has engaged audiences around the world.

A report by the National Science Foundation reveals that more Whitman graduates are earning doctorates in science and engineering now than in 2008, when the last report was released.

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics report ranks the top 50 colleges by baccalaureate origins of science and engineering doctorate recipients. Whitman ranks 20th among national liberal arts colleges, up from 27th in 2008, and 36th overall, up from 47th.

Also, three Whitman graduates were awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships. The fellowship provides $45,000 per year for three years of research-based graduate study.

Inaugural TEDxWhitmanCollege draws capacity crowds

The inaugural TEDxWhitmanCollege event on April 27, 2013, brought together seven speakers representing both the Whitman and Walla Walla communities. Presented in Kimball Theatre before a sold-out audience, the talks were also live streamed to capacity crowds in two other campus venues.

TEDx is a series of independently organized, community-based conferences modeled on the internationally acclaimed TED Talks format. The theme of TEDxWhitmanCollege was “Walla Walla and Beyond,” a concept speakers were encouraged to interpret creatively in their talks.

Presenters included Theo Ciszewski ’15, Aisha Fukushima ’09, Jordan Benjamin ’13, Assistant Professor of Art Justin Lincoln, Amy Davis-Bruner, Jeffrey Townsend and Emily Muthersbaugh.

Construction projects improve facilities; offices relocated

Memorial Building construction
The east end of the third floor of Memorial Building underwent significant demolition prior to its conversion to Student Affairs offices. When Memorial was built in 1899, the chapel was located in this area.

Construction crews got to work soon after the 2013 Commencement. When students come back to campus in August, they’ll notice quite a few changes.

First, the interior of Memorial Building will have been remodeled. The third floor will now be home to Student Services, and the Office of Communications will be located in the upstairs of a remodeled Boyer House. Also, Memorial underwent a third phase of seismic retrofitting, and lobbies on the second and third floors were renovated.

Baker Faculty Center was remodeled and will be home to Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. The work on both Memorial and Baker preserved the iconic and historic character of the facilities while enhancing their functionality and appearance.

Meanwhile, the number of outdoor tennis courts east of Memorial was increased from four to six.

Construction crews from Leone & Keeble, Inc., of Spokane, Wash., performed all of the work. The same contractor built the Fouts Center for Visual Arts and the east addition to Maxey Hall.

Tennis courts demolition