Tag Archives: Summer

There’s More Than One Way to Peel an Onion

Despite how many seasons as there are, and despite the numerous excellent things that happen throughout the year – Move In Day, the first day of classes, interviewing students, graduation – it is very easy for me to say this part of the year is one of my absolute favorites. This might seem like a strange thing to say, at least at first. There isn’t an incredible amount going on in the Office of Admission right now, apart from gearing up for an excellent and exciting travel season in the fall, and apart from the usual hustle and bustle of visiting students and their families flying in and out of the office for interviews and info sessions. This time of year is so simple, so quiet, a period of repose before the year goes flying by with busy, busy wings. So why is this part of the year one of the absolute best?

Simply put, ONIONS.

As many of you may know, Whitman College has the wonderful tradition of sending a box of Walla Walla sweet onions to the newest incoming class of students (if you didn’t know that, now you do). I myself remember the day my very own box of onions appeared on my parent’s doorstep, a surprise I certainly wasn’t expecting, although one with which I was delighted. Just recently, the onions were sent out to the incoming Class of 2017. Regardless of whether or not the new students knew the boxes were coming, arrive they did. Packages were opened. Onions were sighted. Laughter was assuredly had. But over all of this, there was most likely a pervading question to be answered: “What am I supposed to do with a box of onions?”

Thankfully, in answer to this, many students have posted pictures or sent emails, and the answers are out there for all to see. Take a gander at what some of our newest students have decided to do with their very own Walla Walla sweets.

Image Simple but delicious: French onion soup.

ImageA creative, and very delicious looking loaf of onion bread.

ImageDeliciously sweet toppings for a cheeseburger.

ImageA delectable plate of sweet onion rings.

ImageA warm bowl of onion risotto.

ImageSome amazing looking grilled cheese (and onion) sandwiches.

ImageAnd last but definitely not least, a positively mouthwatering onion tart.


So, regardless of whether you’re an incoming student looking for something to do with your box, if you’re an old student whose forgotten what you did with yours, or if you just like the succulent sweetness of a Walla Walla onion, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. The way my mouth is watering right now after looking at all these delicious dishes assures me that I’ve enjoyed writing it.

Summer Thoughts

Summertime in Walla Walla is hard to beat. Flowers bloom, the Farmers Market buzzes, nights are warm, and the lush, green wheat fields ripple lazily in the sunshine. But campus is quiet. The Class of 2013 graduated last Sunday and thus ends another academic year at Whitman. Those of us in the Admission Office cheered loudly for our beloved seniors; we laughed and hugged, ate strawberries, and stood on the periphery as families celebrated a truly momentous day. Within hours of the ceremony ending, chairs were stacked, plates cleared, goodbyes said, and silence pervaded.

Summer is a time of reflection in our office. Our students leave us, the hub bub of campus fades, and we focus our efforts on preparing for a new year that will most certainly be different from the last. The loss of our seniors is tempered by our excitement at the thought of newly minted Whitties walking onto campus in late August, yet our thoughts are also full of plans for fall travel and impending interviews of the next group of prospective students heading our way. It’s all “part of the cycle,” as we say in the Admission world. So if you’ll be a new undergraduate this fall, if you’re an anxious junior entering the college application process, or if you’re a very recent college grad headed into the working world, try to enjoy your life at this very moment. There simply won’t be another time like it.


If you’re an accounting major what you study can be defined. Liberal arts is a different animal (and as I type this Word indicates I should be typing liberal arts are). I’ve read a lot of good statements about liberal arts, usually by college presidents who apparently have some need to describe and defend, but for me it’s not about what it is but what it does.

My wife and I have a standing joke: When she asks me something (What’s hirsute mean?) and I provide the answer she says, “How do you know that?” I always reply, as she rolls her eyes, “I went to a liberal arts college.”

I was a good student at a good public high school. At Whitman I became a history major because I fell in love with the study of history. It was about discovery, new ways of looking at old news, considering cultures rather than distilled facts. I became an engaged intellectual, someone interested in ideas.

The residential context of the small, liberal arts college demands interaction with diverse peers who find their own intellectual and activist passions. Late night conversations are the norm. And it’s no surprise that Whitman turns out a disproportionate number of Teach for America and Peace Corps volunteers. The liberal arts is about involvement and engagement, about joyful living and having an impact.

I think of my Whittie friends: Tom, a philosophy major who’s a psychiatrist; Terry, the first of his family to graduate high school, now a PhD physicist; Wendy, a sociology major with a PhD in Italian Lit; Wes, an English major who works as a criminal defense attorney; Evan, my fellow history major, now a journalist.

An admission: I’m the old guy in Whitman’s Admission Office. The above mentioned friends and I graduated from Whitman 43 years ago. We all continue to be passionately involved in our careers, relationships and avocations. Whitman’s liberal arts environment nurtured that.

Hirsute: covered with hair

The Onions are Coming!

Incoming student, Jamey Moriarty, is excited about his Walla Walla Sweet Onions!  Have you received yours?  If so, tell us about what you plan to cook – share your recipes in the comments!  If you’re still waiting, rest assured, they’re on their way.  Happy cooking!

Whitman on the Road

Well, fine prospective students, we’re on the road again this summer!

Next week, Tony Cabasco, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, will be traveling throughout California with the Pacific Northwest Colleges Consortium.  You can hear about Lewis and Clark College, University of Puget Sound, Reed College, Whitman College, and Willamette University all in one place! These events are an opportunity for you to hear individual college presentations and ask questions of the representatives.

We will also have a representative at the Colleges That Change Lives Events throughout the country.  Watch out for Joshua Smith and Cate van Oppen at the Bellevue, WA event on Saturday, July 31.  Anne Thatcher will be at the Portland, OR event, also on Saturday, July 31.

You can see our full travel schedule on the Whitman Admission site.  We look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event!

Making a Difference

Often students wonder what to do during the summer to improve their chances of getting admitted to a selective college. I understand but am mildly aggravated by this preoccupation. Sure, you can find a cure for cancer or save the world from war and famine but you can also spend time with friends, read some books you didn’t have time for during the school year, mow the lawn, paint the trim, get a job, or find a worthwhile volunteer opportunity near your home: One does not need a passport to do community service. Remember the bumper sticker: Think Globally, Act Locally. And if these ideas sound a bit too pedestrian think of the essay you can write: How I Saved the World by Reducing My Carbon Footprint by Riding My Bike to Work/Library/Food Pantry.