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Supporting Statements

Salma Anguiano

“Sarah is a very collaborative leader, and given where we are now with Whitman, we have a lot of work ahead of us, and I think that we need a leader who’s very collaborative and willing to work with different types of stakeholders in our community … another thing, too, is that she really values community, and that’s what makes Whitman a very special place; the close-knit community that we have here.”

—Salma Anguiano, Whitman Senior & Presidential Search Committee

Elissa Brown

“Sarah comes to us directly from another small liberal arts college, having already been immersed in many of the same challenges and opportunities that Whitman faces. She made an impression as a conscientious listener who continuously aims toward promising an extraordinary learning experience for all students.”

—Elissa Brown, Campus Sustainability Coordinator & Presidential Search Committee

Joe Davis

“Sarah Bolton is a dynamic leader and a thoughtful listener. She is an academic and a scientist. She has a passion for her campus community, and a strong commitment to excellence, inclusion and student success. Sarah’s values and vision mirror those of Whitman: She believes that student learning and growth should be at the center of every decision. She believes that excellence requires equity and a commitment to fulfill the college’s promise for every student.”

—Joe Davis, Chair of the Board of Trustees & Presidential Search Committee

Brian Dott

“I am particularly drawn to Sarah’s statements and concrete record about the importance of actions in creating a diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible campus. In addition, I am impressed by her strong listening and communication skills. During our interviews, she was able to incorporate stories she had heard from committee members just moments before into her statements and answers. She has a deep understanding of the importance for schools like Whitman to have a strong international focus. She understands the importance of the teacher-scholar model for creating meaningful mentoring of future Whitman students.”

—Brian Dott, Professor of History & Presidential Search Committee

Claire Evans

“I am thrilled to welcome Sarah Bolton as Whitman’s next president. She has a passion for liberal arts education and is committed to providing an accessible and inclusive experience for all students. It was evident during our interviews that she is up to the task to steer Whitman through the challenges that face small liberal arts colleges today.”

—Claire Evans ’96, Reunion Giving Officer, Whitman Parent & Presidential Search Committee

Adam Falk

“Greatest among her many talents, Sarah’s superpower is her phenomenal capacity to engage authentically with everyone around her. Her inspiring leadership flows first and foremost from this wellspring of deep connection. Sarah is a relentlessly strategic thinker, driven by an unshakeable commitment to those values that characterize Whitman: academic excellence, an inclusive and diverse community, and a balanced life that honors all aspects of a person’s experience. I learned so much from her in our work together at Williams College (the Whitman of the East!), and I’ve followed her career since those years with profound admiration.”

—Adam Falk, President, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation & former President of Williams College

Rosanna Ferro

“I have had the privilege of knowing Sarah for almost 10 years; she hired me as an associate dean of the college at Williams College in July 2013. Through her leadership and support, we were able to build transformative experiences for low-income and first-generation students during our time at Williams. Her unyielding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion has been present throughout her career and it is noticeable on campuses she has impacted. When working with Sarah, it is immediately evident how much she cares about students and their day-to-day experience, she gets it! I am grateful to have Sarah as a mentor and friend through the years. Whitman College is in great hands and I look forward to seeing how she will positively impact the campus community.”

—Rosanna Ferro, VP for Student Affairs at Ithaca College & former Associate Dean at Williams College

Kirsten Gable

“What I most appreciated about my interactions with Sarah was her ability to clearly articulate her vision for Whitman at a high level and also to dive down and provide details to demonstrate how she will be able to implement the changes necessary to achieve that vision. I was impressed by how well she engaged us in all our conversations and could sense both her keen intellect and deep warmth and empathy. I am confident that she has both the visionary as well as tactical leadership necessary to lead the college into the future, without sacrificing any of the aspects of Whitman that make it the institution we all love.”

—Kirsten Gable ’01, President’s Advisory Board & Presidential Search Committee

Danielle Garbe Reser

“Sarah stood out early in the process as someone with deep experience in leadership, and as someone who has maintained a level of energy, excitement and enthusiasm about the challenges in higher education. She really exemplified an interest in what it means to provide this education in a place like Walla Walla in a rural setting, where there are fascinating local issues, and also where we're at a crossroads of global concerns.”

—Danielle Garbe Reser ’97, Trustee & Chair of the Presidential Search Committee

Ivonne Garcia

“In the field of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, it is widely agreed that the most important diversity officer in any organization is its president because without a president's proactive, committed and engaged support no diversity officer alone can do the nearly impossible job of changing existing structures and cultures at our institutions to make them more inclusive and equitable. During the time we worked together, Sarah and I were able to implement major structural changes, including training equity advisors and making them a part of all faculty and many staff searches, working with BIPOC faculty to mandate antiracist and antibias training for all academic departments and programs, and developing a bias incident reporting process and policy, to name a few. That's why I count myself blessed to have had Sarah Bolton as my president at The College of Wooster and to have had the privilege to work with her over the time I was that institution's inaugural Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer. Sarah is an experienced and transformative leader, who also is profoundly caring about those around her. She loves to interact with students, she is supportive of her governance team, her faculty, and staff. From budget management to student affairs concerns, to close work with faculty, as well as with alumni, the community and the Board of Trustees, Sarah does it all with acute insight, careful analysis and grace. Even in 2020, which some have described as 'the year that Stephen King wrote,' Sarah was, in all our interactions, unflappable, kind and focused. In short, I can't say enough how fortunate Whitman is to have Sarah Bolton as its next president. I will always be grateful that I got to work with and learn from Sarah and I know she will be a great president for Whitman.”

—Ivonne M. Garcia, Associate Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Harvard Graduate School of Education & former Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, The College of Wooster

Rebecca Hanrahan

“When I asked President Bolton to describe the morale of the faculty at her current institution in light of the crises of these last years, she described a place where the faculty is committed to advancing the objectives of diversity, equity and inclusion but also feel the institution needs to do more and do better. She described a faculty that is exhausted by the pandemic but still deeply invested in the well-being of students, and finally, she described a faculty that is hungry for innovation and excited by the challenges such innovations present. As she spoke with both compassion and insight, I thought she could very well be describing the faculty of Whitman. And this gave me great confidence in President Bolton. She knows the challenges we face here—and understands the opportunities, as well. She is ready to help us embrace both.”

—Rebecca Hanrahan, Chair of the Faculty & Presidential Search Committee

Kurt Hoffman

“I am confident that Sarah has the experience and leadership skills to guide Whitman forward at this challenging time in the college's history. She has a track record of engaging effectively with all constituencies when dealing with important issues in her current position. I observed Sarah in several different interview environments and she was very good at responding directly to an individual and their question and then broadening the discussion to include the broader constituencies of the committee. Sarah has a knack for connecting specific issues to a broader set of fundamental values she could clearly articulate and that are consistent with the values of the Whitman community. I am very optimistic about Sarah serving as our next president because the search process attracted a strong pool of candidates and she rose to the top through careful consideration by the committee.”

—Kurt Hoffman, Professor of Physics & Presidential Search Committee

Peter Lewis

“I was extremely impressed with Sarah’s world view and strong belief liberal arts is relevant for the future of humanity. Her commitment to DEI is evidenced by significant improvements at Wooster under her presidential leadership. Sarah poses a wonderful combination of an impressive STEM intellect that is wrapped in warmth, humor, and humility which I believe will serve her well as she leads our college.”

—Peter Lewis, Trustee & Presidential Search Committee

Lauren Osborne

“American liberal arts colleges are facing a crucial moment in history, in which our missions are uniquely necessary, but face a significant challenge in articulating the importance of liberal education. Sarah made clear that she has the skills necessary to translate and articulate the relevance of a Whitman education, particularly when she said she felt that the skills imparted by a liberal arts education are key in fighting authoritarianism. As a faculty member, I am also particularly hopeful, given the critical and nuanced ways in which she spoke of equity across every sector of the institution.”

—Lauren Osborne, Associate Professor of Religion & Presidential Search Committee

Aaron Perrine

“Sarah was a dazzling presence for our committee from our first meeting with her. It was so clear that she authentically cares about students, faculty and staff, and that her experience as a college president has positioned her to ‘hit the ground running’ at Whitman. Her passion for liberal arts and for her field of physics was also incredibly inspiring. She would not commit to building a particle accelerator in Walla Walla but we did at least talk about additional lasers!”

—Aaron Perrine ’99, President’s Advisory Board & Presidential Search Committee

Akshay Shetty

“Sarah will be a fantastic leader at Whitman. She is just right for this moment. Sarah is warm, thoughtful, deliberate and decisive with an inclusive and effective communication style. Her intellect is palpable and it is evident that Sarah has the ability to think strategically and see the forest for the trees, while at the same time she has a demonstrated track record, experience and the ability to be highly effective at running the school on a day-to-day basis. She has a genuine love for the liberal arts education and is excited to live the Whitman mission. Sarah has an opportunity to be a high-impact leader at Whitman during an important time in the school’s evolution.”

—Akshay Shetty ’99, Trustee & Presidential Search Committee

Julie Taylor

“Sarah Bolton is a highly qualified, personable and passionate leader of the liberal arts who will be a great fit for Whitman College. From the first time I saw her cover letter and CV, I knew that this was a great candidate. The more I got to know her through our rigorous search process, the more impressed I was. She is capable and experienced, and her love for the liberal arts, for students, faculty, staff and community really shone through every time we talked to her. I am excited about the energy and experience she will bring to Whitman. She is a truth-teller; she understands listening to many voices and making hard decisions. Sarah is willing to try new things, but will always hold true to the promise of an excellent liberal arts education.”

—Julie Taylor, Whitman Parent, Trustee & Presidential Search Committee

Christian Wallace-Bailey

“When I met Sarah in person for the first time, I could immediately feel that she saw me not just as a member of a hiring committee, but as a student and a person as well. When she asked me about what I was interested in and why I was at Whitman, I felt an empathy beyond just the interview and curiosity into what Whitman is actually like and how it has had an effect on my life. She got at the heart of what really makes Whitman special to me, and that passion makes me certain that Sarah will be an excellent person to help lead our college into its future.”

— Christian Wallace-Bailey, Whitman Senior & Presidential Search Committee

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