2014 Alumni Award Winners

2014 Alumni Association Awards

Alumnus of Merit Award

Presented to a Whitman graduate who has achieved distinction in their chosen field and performed outstanding service for their community or Whitman College.

Phil Ershler '74 has summited Mt. Rainier more than 400 times and Mt. McKinley more than 20. He was the first American to climb the north face of Mt. Everest-
a feat chronicled in the film Winds of Everest-and the sixth American to climb the Seven Summits, the highest mountains on each continent. Ershler is director and co-founder of International Mountain Guides, a Seattle-based company that organizes and leads mountain-climbing trips globally.

Pete Reid Award for Young Alumni

Awarded to a graduate who demonstrates youthful exuberance for their career, their community and Whitman College.

After two summer internships in Washington, D.C., Katie Wilson McBreen '02 was hired as associate deputy director of advance for vice-president Dick Cheney. She is currently vice-president of communications and public affairs for the National Retail Federation, and was recently named one of "40 Under 40" by PRWeek. McBreen has also served Whitman for the past 12 years as her class representative for annual giving, co-chairing her fifth reunion committee and 10th reunion fund committee. She is also a member of the southeastern seaboard committee for the Now Is the Time Campaign.

Gordon Scribner Award

Presented to graduates who have volunteered considerable time and effort to Whitman College over an extended period of time. 

Peggy Copeland Corley '52 is a pioneer among Seattle preservationists, having served as the first chair of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board, the organization charged with historic preservation for the city. Her work has ensured that Memorial Building was noted as a historic site of importance. On the State Heritage Council, she assisted in the creation of what is now the Museum of History and Culture in Spokane. From the early 1960s to the present day, Corley has also volunteered her time to the annual fund, her 50th reunion fund, the alumni relations office, the college archives and-for 15 years-the Board of Overseers.

Carolyn Vester McMurchie '54 has a long history as a volunteer, advocate and leader for Whitman and for numerous boards and committees. She has worked tirelessly to serve those in need in her Portland, Oregon, community, with a focus on women, children and families. She has served as a class representative and as a member of the Board of Overseers at Whitman, effecting positive change on campus as chair of the Student Life Committee. She served for 18 years, becoming an overseer emerita in 1994.

Faculty Award for Service

Given annually to a faculty member who has strengthened ties between the college and its alumni through their work with the Alumni Association. 

Theresa DiPasquale, Gregory M. Cowan professor in English language and literature, treks to Ashland, Oregon, each August where she meets a group of alumni, parents and friends discussing, dissecting and debating plays late into the night. In 2010, DiPasquale led a post-play discussion after attending a performance of Julius Caesar in Honolulu, Hawaii, and in 2014, led a trip to New York with Garrett-Sherwood scholars. Since volunteering on behalf of the Alumni Association, DiPasquale has spent more than 30 days on the road and traveled more than 20,000 miles. 

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