Text and online voting will be active August 1, 2015, 8:00 a.m. to October 30, 2015, 4:00 p.m. Your standard carrier text/data rates apply.
Eight men will vie for the title of Mr. Whitman 2015 this fall in the 14th annual fundraising contest organized by the women of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Of the eight (only seven photos appear) contestants, half are nominated by their respective fraternities, while half are independently nominated by Kappa Kappa Gamma’s philanthropy committee.
Since its inception in 2002, the tongue-in-cheek beauty pageant—which serves as a fundraiser for charitable causes in Walla Walla and around the world—has raised almost a quarter million dollars.
This year’s beneficiary is the Walla Walla Public Schools AVID Program. AVID—Advancement Via Individual Determination—is a program that helps disadvantaged students become better prepared for college through a daily elective course, led by an AVID-trained teacher and a team of college students.
Allison Kelly ’16 is the philanthropy chair for Kappa Kappa Gamma and in charge of this year’s fundraising efforts.
“I joined Kappa knowing that I could make a difference in the world through all of the philanthropic events hosted each year,” Kelly said.
The first organization that benefited from the Mr. Whitman contest was the local chapter of the Children’s Home Society, which provides services for families and children in Walla Walla.
From there, they have raised money for local organizations like the Walla Walla Public Library and Blue Mountain Heart to Heart, and for international groups like the Mboya School for Cerebral Palsy in Kenya and Lake Nkuruba Orphanage in Uganda.
The biggest Mr. Whitman success was in 2010, when the contest raised $46,000 for the Chris Elliott Fund, a brain cancer and brain tumor patient advocacy organization based in Redmond, Washington.
2010’s Mr. Whitman, Joe Wheeler ’11, was responsible for $7,000 of the money raised for the CEF.
“I did a similar kind of pageant fundraiser in high school and absolutely loved it,” Wheeler said. “The pageant and everything leading up to it was one of the best experiences I had in college. What could be better than working with amazing people to raise money for an important cause?”
CEF, which was nominated by a student whose mother was suffering from the rare brain cancer glioblastoma, said that they were surprised and honored when Whitman students approached them.
Founder and president of CEF Dellann Elliott Mydland said that the contest and the funds changed their organization overnight. The funds went toward “our day-to-day work of educating brain tumor patients and their families on advanced treatments/clinical trials, as well as our connection service to brain tumor specialists.”
This year’s Mr. Whitman contestants will take part in fundraising events including 5K runs, bake sales, auctions and more in the run-up to the final beauty pageant, which happens on October 30.
Cast your vote for this year’s Mr. Whitman by texting the number beneath a contestant’s photo by October 30.