Work is underway on a third volume outlining the history of Whitman College from 1975-2015, to be undertaken by Professor David Schmitz, Robert Allen Skotheim chair of history.
He is tackling the research and writing over a five-year period, according to a story by Gina Ohnstad at Whitman. The work will cover Robert Allen Skotheim’s presidency through George Bridges’ term.
It’s “a critical time in the college’s history and a great time of growth and transition,” David said.
Former president Robert Skotheim commissioned the first two volumes, written by Tom Edwards, William Kirkman professor of history emeritus, who served at the college from 1964 until retirement in 1998.
David expects his work will examine how “Whitman fits into the nation’s history and the history of higher education, while having many of the same characteristics of institutional history that made Professor Tom Edwards volumes stand out.”
A published author, Schmitz will consult archival records and take oral histories.
He’s spoken with former president Skotheim and has been identifying other sources he will use and themes and topics he’ll cover.
Funding for the work is through a generous donor, Gina reported.
Heading into his 32nd academic year at Whitman, David plans to teach full-time for two more years while continuing his research, then dive into the college’s history.
“It seems to me that a serious place requires a serious examination of itself and look at where it’s been to help it understand where it wants to go, should go, can go,” he said.