I love the White Sox component in Bill Robinson's message, and because he's included the Pale Hose in his piece, I'm going to sneak in an even more personal piece of news: I became a grandma in June, and my heart is now owned by a tiny girl named Kylie Marie Mitchell. Grandmotherhood is wonderful – and sometimes more difficult than one might think. It certainly involves heartfelt, sometimes frighteningly vulnerable love, a willingness to put all of one's eggs into a fragile little basket, and a deep knowledge that if a train were to make its way through Grammy's living room, she would unhesitatingly throw herself in front of it to save the baby. But it also involves submerging one's ego through self-reminder ("If Kylie's parents want your advice, they'll ask for it"); tamping down again and again an overactive imagination ("What's that little bump on the side of her head? How long has it been there? Have they had it checked?"), and working very, very hard to learn that one's son and daughter-in-law are now, officially, grownups, with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities appertaining thereto.
I won't go too far with this comparison, making it seem as if a redesigned alumni magazine is the equivalent of a new human life. There are big differences: With Whitworth Today we got to choose how our creation would look and what it would include, and we worked hard to make it bright, interesting, occasionally funny, and a welcome addition to the stack of reading material that most of us harbor these days. And it took us only six weeks. But now we have to send it out into the world: It is, in a sense, our baby.
We're excited about the changes to the magazine, and we hope you'll like what you see here. Talented graphic designer Tamara McIntosh did yeoman's duty to come up with this great-looking new design, and the editorial board is wowed by what she's done to update and enhance the magazine's layout. And Director of Communications Greg Orwig, '91; Managing Editor of College Communications Garrett Riddle; Public Information Officer (and Whitworth Today Assistant Editor) Julie Riddle, '92; and Director of Annual Giving, Alumni, Parent and Church Relations Tad Wisenor, '89, served with Tamara and me on the design committee and not only chose a great design, but contributed mightily to the melding of six strong opinions into one.
We're also pleased with the content in this issue. You'll notice that we moved the President's Message to its rightful place on the inside front cover ("rightful" since our research shows that it's one of the most popular features in the magazine), and Bill has – you should pardon my references to his references – knocked one out of the park as our leadoff batter.
• Whitworth's 2005-2010 strategic plan (stop yawning, please; Greg Orwig has written a delightful first-person-fictitious account of what it will be like to be a student at Whitworth as the college's ambitious plan comes to fruition);
• the newest campus map, created by illustrator-par-excellence Rolf Goetzinger, that includes photos of the end products of Whitworth's recent building boom, along with a list of what's to come;
• the first-person-for-real story of Political Studies Professor John Yoder's two trips to Liberia this fall, at the behest of the Carter Center, to monitor the voting process in that country's long-awaited and much-anticipated
• words of wisdom about writing and what it means to be a writer from Laurie Lamon, '78, Whitworth associate professor of English and author of the recently released collection of poetry, The Fork Without Hunger.
In addition, we have art from our faculty; news that includes stories about inspiring alums, a momentous announcement about Whitworth's future, and a faculty member who's pals with the pope; a thoughtful piece on stem-cell research by one of this year's Alumni Award winners, and a Q-and-A with Theology Professor Jim Edwards about his provocative new book. Add to that the newly revamped class notes – always a reader favorite – and you can see why we're pleased with both the look and the "feel" of this issue.
It's an exciting era in Whitworth's history, and we're proud to be a part of the spirit of progress and innovation that will characterize the next five years – and far beyond – here at the college. Now, after all that, it's time for me to lay it on the line and ask you the question that's dogging every one of Whitworth Today's "parents": What do you think of our baby?