Annie Stillar: Superwoman

By: Olivia Shaffer

For a little over a year now, I have had the privilege of working for Annie Stillar at the English Department front desk. She has become a mentor and a friend, and her commitment to our department is ceaseless. (I am often reminded that I am not Annie by faculty in the department, as they frantically look for her to solve their crises while I’m working and she takes lunch).

Ask anybody in the English Department about Annie Stillar and you will hear words like “ebullient” and “magical” to describe her. Annie is the Academic Program Assistant for our, as she puts it, lively department. Aside from assuring that the building does not burn down, she relieves all of the administrative tasks from the faculty in the department so they are less overwhelmed. In all honesty, the title of Academic Program Assistant is much too narrow to describe everything Annie does for our cozy little department. Assisting the English Department, the Honors Program, the College of Arts and Sciences, and Women’s and Gender Studies, as well as working as managing editor for Rock & Sling is incredible. And she does it all with a smile on her face and a witty attitude that keeps the department alive.

Annie works toward creating communicative and trusting relationships among the students and staff to ensure she can best support and assist us academically and, maybe more so, emotionally. Professors and students alike would agree that Annie is often the rock in our department, keeping us from going completely insane. As she says, “it’s for the greater good that [she] be intuitive, attentive and not burn out” – which makes her job equally rewarding and challenging, having to be our collective backbone even when she may not have it all together all the time.

Outside of work – because yes, she does enjoy doing things that do not involve alleviating us of our own demands – she feels she’s her best self when she does what scares her the most. She spends her time outside: hiking, being adventurous, and jumping from really high places and living to tell about it. Only once did an experience like this completely terrify her: when she scaled a 400-foot mountain without a harness, but made it to the top without turning around or calling in the helicopters (pictured below). In addition to an insanely adventurous life, she’s made an unofficial career out of singing – and is good enough to make her own album, in my opinion.

Annie Stillar

I asked Annie to outline details of her work, and got an answer with an overwhelming list, which I’ll add here because there’s no other way to fully understand her dedication to us:

“On a wider scale, my job entails pulling off an academic year’s worth of events like endowed readings, socials, graduation fun, retreats and informational meetups (and where applicable, playing travel agent to guests, getting them paid, keeping them fed and hydrated and feeling like Whitworth is a delightful place to be), fostering a healthy and communicative relationship with the Business Office, becoming BFF’s with the department chairs and directors housed here (current count: 4), assisting in the execution of course schedules, contracts and office space (or as I like to call it—musical chairs), the acquisition of class/department resources from far and wide, the management and oversight of six program budgets, and the general endearing of myself to all persons regardless of how much they can do for me and how quickly. I’m an equal opportunity provider of fun and snark alike, if anyone asks”.

She is our own personal superwoman. She has worked here for 6 years, and I’m not sure how the department got through every day without her before. She is witty, and joyful, and full of an energetic spirit that executes the ideal of mind and heart. And she (almost) always has chocolate. No matter what happens, no matter what crisis we are in, she’ll tell you that the show must go on. And because of her, it does. Annie Stillar, we thank you.


Olivia Shaffer (’16) is an English Literature major and History minor at Whitworth University. Aside from academics she dedicates a large part of her time to the Jubilation Dance program at the university; an extra curricular that allows her to continue to pursue her passion for dance. She has no idea what post-graduation life will look like, but hopes for the best.

Festivity-Packed Friday

This Whitworth Lifeemail (1)

Don’t miss This Whitworth Life put on by our very own Nicole Sheets and her EL 347 Creative Nonfiction Writing! This storytelling event will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, in the HUB’s Multipurpose Room. 

Nine members from various facets of the Whitworth community, including the legendary Leonard Oakland, will read five to eight minute stories about a defining moment in their lives. Following each story, a panel of faculty members will provide commentary.

“My hope is that this storytelling event will add to Whitworth’s already robust sense of community,” Nicole Sheets says. “All of the storytellers have some connection to Whitworth; our cast represents students, faculty, facilities services, campus security, program assistants, administrators, coaches and trustees.”

Story readers will include:

  • Casey Armstrong, Whitworth custodian
  • Joel Diaz, senior sociology major and Whitworth security officer
  • Austin Foglesong, freshman English major
  • Mackenna Kuehl, senior English major
  • Leonard Oakland, Whitworth professor of English
  • Ken Roberts, member of the Whitworth Board of Trustees
  • Toby Schwarz, Whitworth professor of kinesiology and athletic coach
  • Annie Stillar, program assistant for Whitworth English department
  • Kathy Storm, associate provost for Whitworth faculty development

“Stories remind us that everyone’s a complex person, that we’re all storehouses of experience,” Nicole says. “Plus, stories are fun.”

The faculty panel will be comprised of Casey Andrews, Whitworth associate professor of English; Suzette McGonigal, Whitworth counselor; and Raja S. Tanas, Whitworth professor of sociology.

Then, head over to Westminster Round’s Christmas Party at 7 p.m., 10713 N. Nelson for food, conversation, holiday story-time, and a photo booth. Carpooling will be available in the HUB around 6:45, after This Whitworth Life. 

Check Out Photos From Fool Me Once: A Talent Show


On April Fools’ Day, students, faculty, and friends gathered for Fool Me Once: A Talent Show in the HUB. (Above: Dr. Fred Johnson reads Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss). We raised just over $60 for Project Hope Spokane in our tip jar.

maggie wolcott

Thanks to Krystal Valle (’13), our event photographer. Krystal describes herself as “excellent at pretending to be good at things like writing, designing, photography, baking, and sometimes, on a really spectacular day, a nice slow jog. Her real talents hail from her dry humor full of cheeky remarks.” (Above, Professor Maggie Wolcott demonstrates the art of making jam. She also passed out sweet samples.)


Cameron Parker, above, plays a medley on his ocarina.

It takes a village to put on a talent show. Thanks to the tireless Annie Stillar, to Diana Cater for the promotional materials, to Karina Basso and Fred Johnson for serious tech support and piano-moving abilities, to Liv Larsen Andrews and Arlo Andrews for reading us a bedtime story, to faculty support from Casey Andrews, Maggie Wolcott, Amy Rice, Katherine Karr-Cornejo, Fred Johnson, Laurie Lamon, Laura Bloxham, Doug Sugano, and Brytton Bjorngaard. High-fives of appreciation to our student performers: John Taylor, Ruth Nalty, Rosie McFarland, Cameron Parker, Karina Basso, Brett Bajema, and Blaine Eldredge.

Enjoy these highlights! Karina Basso plays a tribute to Weird Al Yankovic.


John Taylor discusses the nuances of indoor gardening.

john taylor

Casey Andrews regales us with melancholy British pop.

casey andrews

Liv Larsen Andrews and Arlo tell us about Project Hope Spokane.

project hope

Ruth Nalty displays her prodigious collaging abilities.

ruth nalty

Katherine Karr-Cornejo reads poetry from Nicanor Parra in Spanish and English.

katherine karr cornejo

Librarian Amy Rice shares the joys of subject headings.


Brett Bajema creates beats while Blaine Eldredge raps about gardening, chickens, and other issues of our day.

blaine and brett

Rosie McFarland shows her Potter Puppet Pals film from her youtube channel.

rosie film

A Word From Annie Stillar: Program Assistants Just Want to Have (Summer) Fun

Whitworth English
Not to get hyperbolic here, but the English Department might having trouble finding its way out of a padded, self-adhesive envelope if it weren’t for the administrative and collegial talents of Annie Stillar (pictured above, with Sergei the skydiving instructor).
Annie has been at Whitworth for three years. She describes herself thusly: “The self-proclaimed runt/mascot of eight a$$-kicking, sports-dominating children. she likes happy hour, hates karaoke, and could tap dance you under the table. 26 going on 27, waiting for fellows to fall in line and offer her fruit and wine.”
If you haven’t checked out Annie’s blog, you’ll want to after you read her most recent post for Whitworth English Blog (she also submitted the photos):
I know what you’re thinking. Months off must be a total blast! Au contraire. Read on for a taste of my miserable summer.
Whitworth English
1) The Dirty Dash. A 4.5 mile mud run that includes chucking oneself over walls. I never liked sports OR being outside; for me to willfully jump into a mud pit was both liberating and newsworthy. Next year: I’m going, you’re going, we’re all going.
2) Musical Theatre camp. I spent weeks telling dozens of children to shut up and sit on their pockets (and teens to just plain shut up). We covered Disney, Sondheim, Gershwin, Wicked, the Roaring 20’s and my favorite, the Legends of Pop. Including but not limited to MJ, Elton John and Pat “Love is a Freaking Battlefield” Benatar. Need I say more?
Whitworth English

3) Skydiving, a.k.a My Hot August Weekend. I had all sorts of questions as we ascended to 13K feet: has anyone ever puked in mid-air? Passed out? Really? Like, lights out? Dang. It’s time to go? Let’s burn this mother down. As it turns out, careening towards earth at 125 MPH is totally awesome. My instructor is my new BFF after that long mid-air embrace. I asked how many times he’d jumped and he said this makes an even five. If he gets to ten they give him a free one! (Shut. Up. NOT HELPING, SERGEI.) However, after throwing ourselves out of the plane I was grateful we’d left no room for Jesus.

In short: skydiving is bomb. Tom Petty, eat your heart out.

4) Other, less noteworthy activities: the Avett Brothers, the Shins, meeting my new niece, adventures in community theatre, and the Stillar Family Annual 100% Natural Good-Time Lake Vacation Solution.
Good news: I survived. So did my family.

Welcome to Fall, everyone.