It continues to be an absolute joy to welcome students and our entire community back to campus this fall for in-person learning and “closer to normal” life and work at Whitman College. Coming out of remote courses and the isolation of these long months, the high energy and purposefulness we now experience in the classroom and across campus are an affirmation and an inspiration for renewing Whitman’s engaging approach to liberal arts education.
Of course, only with your support do we renew our mission—for uplifting young people and the world they will make better. As I look back on seven years as president, I am proud of the progress we have made and continue to make together in advancing student learning at Whitman.
With your help, we expanded scholarships and financial aid by more than 50% during the past six years. These investments are critical to keeping a Whitman education of the highest quality accessible to current and future generations of students. As a first-generation college student, this work is deeply important to me. Our nation and the world need students of all backgrounds to be prepared in the Whitman tradition to think critically, lead and solve the increasingly complex problems of the 21st century.
Alongside our efforts to expand student access to Whitman, we have also made strides to enhance the diversity of our community. Since 2016, we have grown enrollment among U.S. students of color from 20.6% to 26.1% of the student body. International student representation in our community has nearly doubled during that time frame, from 5.8% to 10.2%. This growth is essential to expand the reach of a Whitman education and to best prepare students for the diverse communities and the interconnected world in which they will live and work.
Our faculty is working to secure innovations in our academic program, including new programs of study that foster interdisciplinary thinking and collaboration across departments. With the support of alumni, we are expanding our computer science department to meet high student interest.
In tandem with these investments in our students and faculty, we enhanced our campus environment to strengthen community and connection throughout Whitman. Again, with the generosity of alumni, we created Cleveland Commons and Stanton Hall to profoundly change how we live and meaningfully encounter people and ideas in support of our academic mission.
And finally, we are working more intentionally than ever to prepare students for careers and life after Whitman. A transformational gift by Nancy and Greg Serrurier enables us to reimagine our Career and Community Engagement Center to make career advisors accessible to every student, especially in students’ first years. We are also expanding the availability of internships to allow students to begin to apply their liberal arts experience to the world of work. These initiatives are essential to educating our students and fulfilling the promise of a Whitman education to prospective students and families.
Throughout this annual report of gifts, we honor and celebrate the generosity of alumni, parents and friends whose investments are making possible the progress of Whitman College in changing the lives of young people. I am deeply grateful to you for your partnership and investment in this meaningful work.
Kathleen M. Murray