Joe Davis, chair of the Board of Trustees for the 2021-22 academic year, provides periodic updates for the Whitman community.

Dear Whitman campus community,

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Joe Davis, I am the incoming Board of Trustees Chair.

I graduated from Whitman in 1980.  As Whitman moves into its 140th year of educating, my spouse and I have just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. I met Sarah Nordholm Davis at Whitman; we were married by Dr. George Ball, one of our dearest professor friends. My son is a 2018 Whitman graduate.  My mom’s family were wheat farmers in Waitsburg, and I spent a couple years at Sharpstein Elementary.  My second semester of our senior year, Sarah, and I, and four friends, rented an off-campus house directly across from Sharpstein and a few blocks up from where I lived on Newell St. while attending elementary school.

I owe a lot to Whitman. As you might imagine I love Whitman College, and my love of the college has only grown over the years.

Let me add my welcome to being back on campus or starting your first year.  I heard you had a wonderful move-in, exciting opening week and a great orientation.   I am so thrilled you are on campus and able to be together; I know all of you are working hard to ensure each other’s safety and well-being.  I am heartened to hear reports from President Murray and Peter Harvey of the initial test results.

To the faculty of our dear college, thank you for all you do to teach and nurture our Whitman students.  Thanks, in advance, for what I hope is a great year, even with the inevitable ups and downs we will have with COVID uncertainty.  As I have committed, I look forward to meeting you during this school year. 

To the administration and staff, thank you for all you do to hold Whitman together. Often one does not see the commitment and effort you put in to ensure Whitman is its best self, but know you are deeply appreciated.

And to the students, Whitman is, of course, for you!  I hope you have a wonderful year. I hope you learn, grow, push yourselves to try new things, debate with friends, hear new points of view from which you learn, and thus expand your own thinking.  I hope you develop the skills to take facts, feelings, data points, experiences, emotions, and opinions, rapidly analyze the inputs, and connect the learnings to come forth with insights and ideas that will make a difference, that will move the world positively forward.  This is the essence of a liberal arts education.

I am excited to begin my journey as Board Chair with you.  The Board remains fully committed to working with our entire community to ensure, first and foremost, Whitman provides an exceptional education and an environment to foster growth to each of our students, better enabling our graduates to be a positive force as they leave Whitman.  We also remain committed to helping ensure Whitman is a wonderful place to build a career for faculty and staff, in a dynamic and challenging, yet diverse and inclusive environment.

I hope to meet many of you, granted COVID allows me to be on campus.

I wish you all a great year. 

Joe Davis