Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Thank you, Mr. President: A ‘what’s up’ interview

by Karlis Rokpelnis

This is a “what’s up” interview. So, what’s up?
For me personally: My son’s basketball team is 3-1 and the games are great fun to go to. My daughter is playing flute in a state-wide competition. I am excited about that.

I got to ski for the first time in a few years and that was wonderful. I also just met the next ambassador to Iraq, who is a Whitman grad.

For the college: I am absolutely pumped about how many opportunities there are for Whitman to advance. We had a great meeting with the board of trustees last week. They approved many aspects of our budget and agreed to proceed with renovation of Sherwood and other buildings on campus. It was a very positive meeting.

We were also talking about a vision for Whitman’s future. The trustees are intrigued by the idea of a global studies program; they are intrigued about increasing study abroad, and also bringing more international students to campus. Establishing programs like the Semester in the West.

The board is interested in getting students more involved with undergraduate research together with the faculty and finding ways in which we can connect students and faculty more closely in any discipline. And ensure that the faculty have the support and the resources they need to be even better at their jobs than they already are.

We are adding several new staff positions. We are adding a new staff position to the Study Abroad Office, a new position to the Intercultural Center to, again, support the work of students in these areas.

One more thing that came out of the meetings was that the trustees want to see more student involvement in their work. They want to bring students into some of the committees. That is new for Whitman and it is very important. Students have not been involved in trustee work and I think that we are going to find a way to get them involved.

So, things are going well.
It’s cold, it’s winter, it’s kind of gray. But other than that, it is going really well. We have got a new provost. She will be the chief academic officer. Her name is Lori Bettison-Varga. She is very dynamic and exciting and will be a huge addition to the campus. She will be my right and left hand person.

We started Whitman at the same year and when I came back for the third semester, a feeling of being at home really struck me.

[Whitman] feels like home to me too. It’s taken me 18 months and I feel very comfortable here. I like the students, I like the faculty. This is a great school and I like to brag about it.

I wish I could have gone here to school.

It’s Valentine’s today. Got any plans?
Nothing out of the ordinary. We are, however, hosting the new provost who is visiting this week. I get to cook and I am excited about any opportunity to cook.

What’s on the menu?

We are having fresh crab tonight, so I need to get to the store before it closes. I haven’t figured out the dessert yet. Maybe we’ll have some of those cookies [the kind you get at the Presidents Open Office hours at Reid].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Whitman Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *