President Bridges talks goals, challenges in annual ‘State of the College’ address

Rachel Alexander

President Bridges addressed staff, faculty and select students in a State of the College address given on Friday, Oct. 12. While the President has in the past given some form of an annual report to the college’s staff and faculty, this is the first year that a formal State of the College address has been given to a group containing faculty, staff and students. Resident assistants, student academic advisors and members of ASWC were among the students invited to attend, and Bridges said that he hopes to make this address an annual event and include more students in the future.

In his address, President Bridges outlined four major goals that he said have been the focus of his administration–enriching Whitman’s academic program, improving diversity on campus, increasing national recognition of the college and leading the Now is the Time campaign to improve Whitman’s financial strength.

While noting that the college has made significant progress in each of these fields, Bridges also outlined several challenges Whitman faces today. Among those discussed were the fact that the college has experienced a declining pool of applicants over the past three years. Retention of female faculty and faculty of color was also discussed, as well as the need for the Student Engagement Center to improve services for students to explore post-graduation opportunities.

In spite of these challenges, President Bridges is confident that the college will thrive in the coming years.

“We have weathered the storm, our future is bright, and Whitman College will continue to thrive and advance in guiding and transforming the lives of our students,” he said.