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George S. Bridges Named Whitman's President

November 11, 2004


     WALLA WALLA, Wash.-- The Whitman College Board of Trustees announced today that George S. Bridges, Dean and Vice provost of Undergraduate Education at the University of Washington, has been named president of Whitman College.

    Bridges, 54, has been a Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington since 1982. In 1998 he was appointed Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education, and has served in his present position since 2002. In this role, he administers the Office of Undergraduate Education and all of its constituent offices and programs.

    Bridges, a Seattle native, becomes Whitman’s 13th president and is expected to take office July 1, 2005. He will succeed Tom Cronin, who announced last spring that he would step down at the end of the 2004-2005 academic year. Cronin has served as Whitman president since August 1993.

    The Whitman presidency attracted more than 100 candidates from around the country. A search committee co-chaired by Whitman trustees Karen Glover and John Stanton and which included members of the faculty, staff and student body, conducted interviews and invited finalists to campus in October. Bridges visited the campus in late October, at which time he met with students, faculty and staff.

    “Besides his standing as a nationally recognized scholar in his field, Dr. Bridges is known for his passion for students, his skill and strong appreciation for teaching, and his ability to make persuasive and compelling presentations to donors,” said Glover and Stanton. “Though new to liberal arts colleges, he leads an Honors College the size of Whitman and oversees academic programs for 25,000 undergraduates at the University of Washington. He is no stranger to undergraduate education, and we are convinced he will add his own enhancement to the story of Whitman College.”

    “The chance to lead one of the country’s leading liberal arts colleges in my home state was an opportunity that my family and I couldn’t pass up,” said Bridges. “We are honored by the appointment and genuinely look forward to being part of a community of fine scholars and great teaching and learning experiences for students.”

    Whitman, a college of liberal arts and sciences with about 1,400 students, has seen a 33 percent increase in applications in the past three years, with the college receiving an all-time high of nearly 2,600 applications for this year’s entering class of approximately 410.

    Whitman is supported by an endowment and outside trust total of about $300 million, giving it a measure of financial stability rare among private colleges and universities. Also setting the college apart is its particularly generous and loyal alumni. For the past 21 years, more than 50 percent of the alumni have given to the college each year, consistently placing Whitman in the top 20 colleges in the nation in percentage of alumni giving.

    Bridges earned his bachelor’s degree, cum laude and with distinction in sociology, from the University of Washington in 1972, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in 1973 and 1979, respectively. In his career he has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, American University, the University of Maryland and Case Western Reserve University in addition to his professional experience at the University of Washington. He also served on the staff of the Attorney General of the United States in Washington, D.C., in the Office of Policy and Planning with the Federal Justice Research Program.

     Bridges’ numerous honors and awards include the 1995 Washington Council on Crime and Delinquency’s Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Scholar and a 1996 Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Washington, its highest teaching honor. As dean, Bridges oversees the University of Washington’s Honors Program, a liberal arts college within the university. Bridges also helped develop the University of Washington’s Teaching Academy, a collection of programs that promote excellence in teaching as well as the integration of education and scholarly activities of faculty, staff and students.

    Bridges is the author or co-author of many papers, book chapters and professional presentations, including Inequality, Crime and Social Control, 1994, published with Matha Myers; “Racial Disparities in Official Assessments of Juvenile Offenders: Attributional Stereotypes as Mediating Mechanisms of Juvenile Offenders,” American Sociological Review, 1998, published with Sara Steen; and “Disproportionate Minority Confinement: The Washington Experience,” 2004, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., with Heidi Hsia and Rosalie McHale.

    Much of his research has centered on the problems of racial and ethnic minorities in the juvenile justice system. He has received numerous research grants and awards over the years including grants from the Department of Social and Health Services to study the racial composition of county juvenile courts and from the PEW Charitable Trusts as co-principal investigator on research titled “Preparing Future Faculty.”

    Bridges, his partner Dr. Kari Tupper, and their children, Lauren, Seth, Anna and James, live in the University Park neighborhood of Seattle. Dr. Tupper, who earned her doctoral degree in English from the University of Washington in 1997, is senior lecturer in women studies and comparative history of ideas at the University of Washington.

CONTACT: Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156

Email: parishlj@whitman.edu

Published on Nov 11, 2004
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