Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIII, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Pio Past: Whitman announces Cronin’s replacement

Originally published Nov. 11, 2004

By Meghan Bunch

Whitman announces Cronin’s replacement

After 2,643 e-mails traded between the two chairs of the search committee, the presidential search is finally over.

President Tom Cronin can say goodbye to Whitman College as George Bridges, currently Dean of Undergraduate Education, Vice Provost and Professor of Sociology at University of Washington, will take over. Bridges has a B.A. from the University of Washington and an M.A. and P.h.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. After a unanimous decision by the board of trustees, Bridges will start as president in fall 2005.

Bridges’ partner, Dr. Kari Tupper, and their family will leave Seattle to come to Walla Walla. They have two children planning to attend Pioneer Middle School.

“Walla Walla will be interesting and different, but it also will be good because it will be safer,” said Bridges’ daughter Anna, who will be in the eighth grade. “Moving here will be strange; Seattle is so big and Walla Walla will be really different,” added younger sibling James, who will be in the sixth grade.

Tupper, who has a Ph.D. in English from UW, currently teaches at the University of Washington (Gender Studies and CHID). She plans to join the Whitman faculty in fall 2006.

“Teaching is my passion. I have to teach,” said Tupper. “I am a good teacher-” “She is a great teacher,” added Bridges.

Bridges and his family plan to get to know the campus, students, faculty, community members, and the cultural traditions of Whitman and Walla Walla.

“I have a great sense of excitement and we are honored to be here,” said Bridges.

Bridges has focused on scholarship in the past, but has moved his main focus to student experiences and opportunities.

Bridges and Tupper consider students a huge part of their life. They recently had a visiting international student stay at their Seattle home for a week.

“Whitman has exceptional students, faculty, and a community focusing on undergrads,” said Bridges. He feels that at students are extremely luck to be at Whitman, one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country.

Current president Tom Cronin stresses that the Whitman community and Bridges need to work toward a “mutually collaborative embrace” of each other, in which the student body encourages and supports the new president in his efforts to acclimate himself to the college.

Filling the shoes of Tom Cronin will be difficult. “I don’t really have concerns, but meeting high standards will be a daunting task,” said Bridges. “For the first year, I will listen and learn.”

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