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Meet: Tom Whittaker

Professor, Adventure Education
Prescott College, AZ

photo of tom whiittaker

Who I am - words that describe me:
Adventurer: I embrace activities that involve risk, both personal and physical. I am attracted to projects that entail uncertain outcomes.

Teacher: developing potential and motivating others.

My personal challenges:
At 31 I was struck by a drunk driver seriously injuring both legs. My right foot was amputated. Both knees chronically damaged. My prognosis, limited, light physical activity. This May I was the first disabled person to summit Mount Everest.

My career challenges:
Tom climbing Mt. Everest At Prescott College I train the next generation of outdoor leaders; young men and women that will introduce the public to Earth's wild environments beyond the trail head. With love and courage we explore the physical, intellectual and emotional peripheries of our known world.

Likes/Dislikes about career:
I like the enthusiasm, energy, idealism and commitment the students bring with them every day.

Albert Schweitzer who said the measure of a person's maturity is the number of deep experiences they have had in their lifetime. And my father, who when I was growing up in Malaysia would take us on multiday trips deep into the jungle and see tiger, bear and elephants.

Future goals:
The seven summits: On each of the world's 7 continents there is a highest point of land. In Asia it is Mt. Everest, 29,028 ft.; in North America it is Mt. McKinley - 20,028 ft. and so on... I would like to be the first disabled person to stand on all 7 summits.

My thoughts about space exploration:
Space is the final frontier. The outward journey leads us within. The more we learn about our universe, the more we understand about our Earth.

Personal information:
I have a wife named Cindy, a 7 year old daughter named Lizzie and a dog named Rosie.

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