I am delighted to have moved in and begun to get to know the wonderful Whitman community. These first few weeks have held the tremendous pleasure of meeting staff, faculty, alumni, and students who are on campus for the summer. In every encounter, a deep dedication and care for this place—and for our mission—shone brightly.

I am often asked why I chose to come to Whitman. The answer is simple: Whitman is a great college with a mission that matters. From the first conversations I had with members of the Whitman community, it has been clear that our college makes a difference, providing exceptional opportunities for learning and growth to terrific students from across the country and around the world. The experiences students have here are transformational—impacting their lives and inspiring their work for decades after graduation. And, through the lives of our graduates, Whitman contributes to the world in ways that are profoundly needed.

This issue of Whitman Magazine shows just a few of the outcomes of our mission. Academic excellence recognized through national fellowships and awards. An entrepreneur bringing a cultural staple to new audiences. Documentary filmmaking that tells the earth’s story. Athletic records broken. Research discoveries made by faculty and students. Creative intersections of art and technology. And powerful reckonings with historical and present injustices, followed by action to address them.

As we begin the fall semester, I am immensely proud of what Whitman makes possible. And I am eager to begin work with faculty, staff, students and alumni to chart a course for our future. Together, we will engage big questions. How do we continue to provide a broad education that inspires talented young people in a time of such rapid global change and disruption? What capacities will our graduates need in the coming decades to build lives of purpose and to make a difference in their workplaces and communities? How do we ensure that Whitman is accessible and deeply welcoming for students, staff and faculty of all identities and perspectives, and that it continues to become a more just campus—and to advance a more just world? What should we learn from the environmental challenges facing our region, and what actions should we take to be part of a more sustainable future?

Whitman is a place of extraordinary teaching, learning, growth and community. Our liberal arts education provides students with insights from many perspectives, and prepares them to engage with the most important questions of their time. That mission has never been more important and I am honored to be a part of it with all of you!


Sarah Bolton's signature

Sarah Bolton