Feature Stories Campus Events

W&L’s Panhellenic Council Wins Award at Atlanta Conference

Washington and Lee University’s Panhellenic Association has been awarded the Gamma Phi Beta College Panhellenic Award by Gamma Phi Beta International Sorority. The award “recognizes the Panhellenic association that successfully develops and implements a program to enhance the Greek image on campus and in the local community.”

According to Elizabeth Ahlemeyer Quick, Panhellenic Affairs vice president for Gamma Phi Beta sorority, “The association’s Halloween Carnival certainly accomplished this goal! Gamma Phi Beta International applauds the Washington and Lee University Panhellenic Association on its outstanding contribution.”

The W&L Panhellenic representatives received a certificate and a check for $250 at the Southeastern Panhellenic Association Conference that was held in Atlanta in March.

“It is an honor for Panhellenic to be awarded the Gamma Phi Beta Panhellenic Award. W&L has worked very hard to improve relations with the community. Receiving an award such as this shows that progress is being made among Greek students, and we are moving in the right direction,” commented Lauren Travis, past Panhellenic president.

Dana Smith, assistant director of student activities and Greek life, added, “This is a great reflection on the entire Greek community at W&L. Both sororities and fraternities have participated in the Halloween Community Carnival at some point since it was started three years ago. Panhellenic Council (sororities) organizes and plans the entire event and receives funding support from the Interfraternity Council (fraternities).”


Mini-Language Classes Offered to Alumni During Reunion Weekend

Washington and Lee University’s Tucker Multimedia Center (TMC) and the departments of modern foreign languages will again offer W&L alumni the opportunity to attend mini-language courses over Reunion Weekend, May 1-3, 2008.

Mini-language classes being taught by modern foreign language faculty at Washington and Lee include French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. Classes will be approximately 30 minutes each, and run from 3:00-5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 2.

All classes, with the exception of Japanese, will be held in Tucker Hall. Japanese classes will be offered in the newly constructed Japanese Tea Room in the Watson Pavilion on front campus.

Now in its second year, the popular program is spearheaded by Dick Kuettner, director of the TMC and a professor of French and Spanish. “We are unique in offering our alums language classes centered around a central theme,” says Kuettner. “Language study is one of those useful commodities. Who wants to look the fool when traveling abroad or when negotiating a business deal with foreign clients? As we educators stress more and more the necessity and actuality of globalization, it would do us all good to be completely at ease and independent while communicating with others.”

Professors providing instruction are Roger Crockett (German), Patricia Hardin (Italian), Janet Ikeda (Japanese); Greta McCaughrin (Russian), Ivelise Faundez-Reitsma (Spanish), and Dick Kuettner (French).

“The mini-lessons are so much fun to teach because no one is there to complete a distribution requirement,” said Roger Crockett, head of the German department. “There is no homework, no test, nothing that makes us traditionally unpopular with students. And the atmosphere is relaxed, something like an educational KaffeeKlatsch.”

“The TMC and language departments constantly seek to bring the wide world of foreign cultures and languages home to the Washington and Lee campus. And we are very happy to have found another means to this end,” said Kuettner.

For additional information about the Tucker Multimedia Center for Foreign Languages, its services to the community and to the region, please visit http://tmc.wlu.edu/.


W&L Donates Parcel of Land to Rockbridge Historical Society

Washington and Lee University has recently donated a parcel of land to the Rockbridge Historical Society. After lengthy negotiations, the 4,090 square foot sliver of land adjacent to Varner Lane was donated to the RHS for its continued use as a picnic area within downtown Lexington.

Leanne Shank, university counsel, was instrumental in the legal processes that preceded this donation. “President Ruscio recognized the significance of the contributions that the Rockbridge Historical Society has made to the community,” said Ms. Shank. “After deliberations with the RHS that were consistent with the current property deed restrictions, President Ruscio and the Board of Trustees were happy to facilitate the donation of this property to the RHS, so that they may continue its use as an attractive green space.”

Located in front of the Lexington Visitor’s Center, the land will be utilized by tourists. “We are pleased to receive this gift from W&L,” said George Warren, director of the RHS. “With only two green spaces within Lexington’s downtown, this land is really appreciated.”


Locy Named First Donald W. Reynolds Professor of Legal Reporting

Toni Locy, a veteran of 25 years covering the American justice system at all levels, has been named Washington and Lee’s first Donald W. Reynolds Professor of Legal Reporting.

Locy, currently a visiting professor and Shott Chair of Journalism at West Virginia University, will join W&L’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications on July 1. She will teach courses in reporting on the civil and criminal justice systems. Some of those courses will be offered in collaboration with the university’s School of Law and its legal clinics.

Locy’s three-year position is made possible by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. The Reynolds Foundation began the department’s Business Journalism program with an endowment in 1999 that established the Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Business Journalism. The foundation’s gifts to Washington and Lee now total more than $4 million.

Dean of the College Hank Dobin appointed Locy upon a recommendation by a search committee headed by Reynolds Professor of Business Journalism Pam Luecke. Locy was selected from a nationwide pool of applicants.

“We are delighted that Toni Locy will be joining us,” said Department Head Brian Richardson. “Her experience, her energy, her love for her profession and especially her courage will serve as a guide and inspiration to our students and her new colleagues.”

Locy is currently appealing a contempt citation by a federal district judge after refusing to reveal the names of several confidential sources. She face fines of up to $5,000 a day. She was recently recognized by the American Society of Newspaper Editors at its annual convention, and she has met with Capitol Hill staffers to voice her support for a federal shield law pending before Congress.

The contempt citation arose from Locy’s coverage of the Justice Department for USA Today in 2001 and 2002. Unidentified sources told several reporters, including Locy, that former Army scientist Steven Hatfill was a possible suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people. In 2002 then-Attorney General John Ashcroft called Hatfill a “person of interest” in the investigation.

Hatfill sued, with his lawyers contending that his reputation had been damaged. On March 7, in response to a motion by Hatfill’s lawyers, Federal District Judge Reggie B. Walton ordered Locy to reveal her sources or pay up to $5,000 a day in fines from her own pocket. Four days later a higher court granted a stay while Locy appeals the ruling. A hearing is set for May 9.

In addition to her five years at USA Today, Locy has covered the Supreme Court and legal affairs for the Associated Press, federal courts for The Washington Post, criminal justice for The Philadelphia Daily News and federal courts for The Pittsburgh Press. She has also worked for The Boston Globe and U.S. News & World Report. She has a master’s degree in the studies of law from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., it is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.


Mitchell Awarded Fulbright to Teach in Ukraine

Phylissa Mitchell ‘01L, visiting assistant professor of journalism, has been awarded a Fulbright to teach at a university in Ukraine, although the exact institution has yet to be announced. Mitchell will teach a comparative course on free-press constitutional guarantees, focusing on broadcast writing and public affairs.

Mitchell says that the recurring question of whether freedom exists if there is no one there to freely report it, has always fascinated her. “After all,” says Mitchell, “the world knows about the Orange Revolution in 2004 because Ukrainian reporters utilized the internet to inform its people and the world about that tainted election. Because people were informed, they were outraged. Because they were outraged, they gathered. And because they gathered, the power structure was forced to concede.”

Brian Richardson, department head of journalism and mass communications, says Mitchell “brings a lively, engaging teaching style to the classroom that students respond to enthusiastically. We are delighted for her, and also for the students she will teach. She also brings her legal education and a wealth of experience as a journalist at all levels — from network television to community newspapers.”

Mitchell earned her J.D. at W&L in 2001 after years of producing news, working for ABC, NBC, CBS and KCTS-TV, as well as the PBS-affiliate in Seattle.


Benefiel Awarded Fellowship from Archaeological Institute of America

Rebecca Benefiel, assistant professor of classics at Washington and Lee University, received the Olivia James Traveling Fellowship from the Archaeological Institute of America for 2008-2009. It’s designed to support field research in the Mediterranean, and there is only one fellowship of this kind given out per year. The award is $25,000.

Benefiel will spend this fall and next spring on-site in Pompeii and in Rome working on her book, “Pompeii and Her Neighbors: Civic Identity, Social Interaction, and Ancient Graffiti.”

More than 11,000 inscriptions (ancient “graffiti”) on the walls of ancient Pompeii have been discovered and recorded since excavation of the site began in the 18th century. These writings provide interesting information about the social interaction taking place among residents of different communities. Benefiel said that they show there is a “good amount of civic pride and civic rivalries, especially between Pompeii and her closest neighbor, Nuceria.”

“I am thrilled about this opportunity,” she said. “It’s the best fellowship I could have gotten for my project because it is designed to support research in the field. For my research, being on-site in Pompeii is invaluable. Published photos exist for fewer than 1% of these graffiti.

“I have gone to Pompeii for brief research trips and every time I go, I encounter something unexpected that affects my approach to, my thinking about, and my understanding of these ancient writings. There is no substitute.”

Benefiel received her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.


W&L Freshmen Hamscher and Mou Chosen as Kemper Scholars

Washington and Lee students Eric Hamscher ’11 and Chengpeng Mou ’11 have been chosen to receive Kemper scholarships. They will join Steve Rivior ’08, Becca Taylor ’09 and Cale Grove ’10 as W&L students participating in the program.

Each year, the James S. Kemper Foundation selects one first-year student from each of its participating schools to serve as Kemper Scholars. “It is very rare for more than one student to be chosen from a single institution in a given year,” said Rob Straughan, associate dean of the Williams School.

Kemper Scholars receive financial aid during their sophomore through senior years and participate in an annual fall conference in Chicago. They are also employed as a not-for-profit intern in Chicago following their sophomore year, and a for-profit internship in a mutually agreed upon location following the junior year.

Hamscher, of Erie, Penn., plans to major in economics, politics or both. He also hopes to become fluent in Spanish and to possibly complete a concentration in the Shepherd Poverty program. Hamscher is currently involved in the Bonner Leader program, Freshman Leadership Committee, Freshman Orientation Committee and Mock Trial. He is a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

“I am very interested in this Kemper scholarship because I will be able to complete internships within both non-profit and for-profit organizations,” said Hamscher. “I believe the internships will help me to learn different management techniques as well as improve my leadership skills.”

Chengpeng Mou, of Chengdu, China, is interested in majoring in mathematics and economics. He plays second violin in the school orchestra and is leader of the University’s ping-pong team and. He is involved with the Shepherd Poverty program and a new member of the University Scholar program and the R.E. Lee Research program. This spring he will be traveling to Barbados and St. Vincent to study how tourism economy has affected the small Caribbean islands.

Mou believes that his natural intellectual curiosity and his hopes of a future business career make him a good fit for the Kemper Scholars program. “Kemper Scholar Program will no doubt help me in some tremendous ways: it makes me more financially independent, it offers me great internship opportunities, and it gives me access to a wide variety of mentors and motivated peers,” said Mou.

Washington and Lee University is one of only fifteen schools invited to participate in the program.


Strong Appointed Associate Provost

Dr. Robert Strong, William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics in the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics at Washington and Lee University, has been named Associate Provost at the University effective July 1, 2008.

As associate provost, Strong will help to coordinate the many programs and initiatives that cut across school lines, including faculty and student development grants; implementation of W&L’s new Academic Life program; Advising Task Force recommendations; and reviews of the Faculty Handbook, the committee system, and structural support for interdisciplinary programs.

He will also be the director of the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity, with responsibility for coordinating the annual lecture-symposium series, student internships, and the post-enrollment program for Johnson Scholars.

“Bob brings solid credentials and deep institutional memory to the associate provost position,” said W&L Provost June R. Aprille. “His many years of service as department chair and on key committees that cross school boundaries have earned him the respect of colleagues and the experience needed to be effective in this new role.”

Strong came to Washington and Lee in the fall of 1989 after spending a year working on Capitol Hill as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. Before moving to Lexington, he taught political science and international relations at Tulane University and the University College of Wales.

While head of the politics department at W&L from 1989 to 2005, Strong served on the Advisory committee and on major committees reviewing the transition to co-education and general education requirements in the undergraduate curriculum.

A graduate of Kenyon College, Strong received his M.A. from Northern Illinois University and his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. His research involves the presidency and modern American foreign policy; his published work includes articles on arms control and books on Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter and a recently completed second edition of Decisions and Dilemmas: Case Studies in Presidential Foreign Policymaking (M. E. Sharpe).


W&L Receives $1.3 Million Grant to Support Biological Sciences

Washington and Lee University has received a $1.3 million grant from the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to support the University’s undergraduate biological sciences programs. W&L was one of only 48 institutions out of 192 applicants to receive a grant.

“This grant will help to lift all of our science departments to a new level of energy and collaboration for the benefit of students and faculty alike,” said June Aprille, W&L’s provost. Aprille holds a Ph.D. in physiology and specializes in cellular metabolism.

The core features of the proposal:

  1. An HHMI Fellows Program will engage students in two years of study including research preparation, summer research, travel to laboratories and professional meetings, and on-campus programs. “It will be an enriched and expanded version of our current R.E. Lee Research Program,” said Helen I’Anson, W&L’s HMMI program director and professor of biology and neuroscience.
  2. Two new faculty positions will add expertise and leadership in bioinformatics and computational biology. Current faculty will be able to attend workshops or visit other laboratories. “The biosciences are becoming increasingly quantitative and much more interdisciplinary, as research teams tackle problems at the interface of biology with other sciences,” said I’Anson. “These faculty members will spearhead our move to improve the quantitative skills of our current faculty and students.”
  3. Development of the bioscience curriculum. “This feature provides us with an opportunity to revamp our curriculum to reflect a more interdisciplinary and quantitative bioscience world,” said I’Anson.
  4. New service-learning courses will enable W&L students to develop science modules and teach them in local K-5 classrooms. W&L will offer a related Summer Science Institute for science instruction to local teachers. “The HHMI grant is great for W&L and our students,” said Fred LaRiviere, assistant professor of chemistry, “and since it will allow us to greatly expand our science education outreach efforts with the local elementary schools, the benefits of this grant will extend into the community as well.”

A committee of W&L faculty and staff composed the grant proposal last spring and summer. The committee included I’Anson; Paul Cabe, associate professor of biology; James Eason, assistant professor of physics and engineering; Mimi Elrod, director of summer scholars; Bill Hamilton, associate professor of biology; Larry Hurd, professor of biology; LaRiviere; Simon Levy, assistant professor of computer science; Tyler Lorig, professor of psychology and neuroscience; David Marsh, associate professor of biology; Rance Necaise, associate professor of computer science; and Frank Settle, professor of chemistry.

HMMI encourages institutions that apply for a grant to be creative in their proposals, and to recognize novel strategies that work well in a variety of settings.

“The HHMI grant is going to be especially important for the Neuroscience Program at W&L,” said Tyler Lorig, professor of psychology and neuroscience. “When most people think of neuroscience, they think about brains, neurons and microscope slides. That’s certainly a critical part of what we do, but neuroscience has grown to encompass even more. Computer modeling has become an important part of the discipline. This grant will make sure our students are prepared for this new quantitative emphasis in our field.”

I’Anson and the HHMI Advisory Committee will launch the program this September. In addition to I’Anson, the members of the Advisory Committee are Provost Aprille; LaRiviere; Levy; Lorig; Marsh; Irina Mazilu, assistant professor of physics and engineering; and Lena Ojure, director of teacher education at W&L.

HHMI, a nonprofit medical research organization, is dedicated to discovering and disseminating new knowledge in the basic life sciences. Established in 1953 by the aviator and industrialist Howard Hughes, HHMI is one of the largest philanthropies in the world, with an endowment of $14.8 billion in 2005.

“Liberal arts colleges—particularly some of our grantee institutions—have long been successful in educating future scientists,” said HHMI President Thomas R. Cech. “The undergraduate years are vital to attracting and retaining students who will be the future of science. We want students to experience science as the creative, challenging and rewarding endeavor that it is.”


Mellon Grant helps W&L’s Jenefer Davies Plan Aerial Dance Performance

Jenefer Davies, visiting assistant professor of dance at Washington and Lee University, has been awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Grant through the Associated Colleges of the South.

The $7,700 grant will be used to create an aerial dance performance on the side of Wilson Hall. The performance will be a combination of dance and climbing. Davies and James Dick, W&L’s director of campus recreation, have been working on this concept for over two years. They hope to stage the performance in May 2009.

“I will develop the vocabulary of movement based on the freedoms and limitations of the apparatus (climbing gear), teach the students this vocabulary and choreograph the dances,” said Davies. James Dick will collaborate with a professional rigging company who will come to W&L and oversee the technical aspects of the rig.

The performance event will have students rigged in mountain climbing harnesses, lowered onto the side of Wilson Hall from the roof. The side wall of the building will serve as the stage for the performance.

“This student-based performance project was inspired by my past experiences using professional dancers,” said Davies.”One year I created a show in which dancers were suspended 60 feet from the top of the Center in the Square building in downtown Roanoke.”

This type of performance is very physically demanding. The dancers must have the strength to hold themselves parallel to the ground, while being graceful and fluid in their movements. “It is my hope that the physicality will inspire both male and female students to participate,” said Davies.

“It will be great working with students in a way much different than on natural rock on the side of a cliff,” said Dick. “Some of our students who learn the technical aspects of rock climbing anchors use that knowledge later on in life in many ways. I look forward to getting them out of their comfort zones on top of a building right here on campus.”


Poet Lesley Wheeler to Read from Recently Published Collection

Lesley Wheeler, Washington and Lee University professor and chair of the English department, will read from her recently published collection of poetry, “Scholarship Girl.”  

Everyone is welcome to attend this arts event, which is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The reading will take place in the same gallery where “Business as Usual,” an exhibition of sculptures by Bob Trotman, will be on display.

For more information, contact Dinah Ryan, director of Staniar Gallery, at ryand@wlu.edu or 540-458-8860.


W&L Hillel Presents Holocaust Remembrance Week Activities

Washington and Lee University’s Hillel presents Holocaust Remembrance Week from April 28 – May 2. The planned activities range from films to a vigil to a talk by a Holocaust survivor, the grandmother of a current W&L student.

All of the Holocaust Remembrance Week activities are open to the public without charge.

Judith Hruza, a retired physician and survivor of the Holocaust, will give a talk on Thursday, May 1, at 4:30 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater in W&L’s Elrod Commons. The topic of her talk will be about her experiences during the death march from Budapest to Austria, at the end of 1944, and her liberation. The death march forced out most of the Jews who were living in Hungary at that time. Hruza is the grandmother of senior Audrey Horn.

Born on the border between Czechoslovakia and Hungary, she was in Budapest to attend high school when Jews were forced to march on foot to camps in Austria. Dr. Hruza decided on a life in medicine because of a physician she met on the death march. She attended medical school in Prague and in 1966 escaped from Czechoslovakia to Sweden then on to the United States in 1970.

The activities at Washington and Lee during Hillel’s Holocaust Remembrance Week are:

  • Monday, April 28
    • 7 p.m., Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons, film: “Everything is Illuminated.” Jonathan (Elijah Wood, post-Frodo Baggins) is a collector. He obsessively catalogs items pertaining to his family, then pins them to his bedroom wall. When he is given a photo taken in 1940s Ukraine of his grandfather with the mysterious woman, Augusta, his curiosity is piqued. So he travels to the Ukraine and begins a road trip into his past.
  • Tuesday, April 29
    • 4:30 p.m., in front of Lee Chapel: Vigil Against Oppression. Take a stand against oppression in its many forms. The vigil will feature poetry, readings, a moment of silence, candles and music. Led by Burr Datz, coordinator of Religious Life. Co-sponsored by Hillel, the Multifaith Council and the Office of Religious Life (rain site: inside Lee Chapel).
    • 9:30 p.m., film: “The Devil Came on Horseback.” An up-close, honest and uncompromising look at the crisis in Darfur. The film exposes this on-going tragedy as seen through the eyes of one American witness.
  • Wednesday, April 30
    • 7 p.m., film: “Everything is Illuminated.”
  • Thursday, May 1
    • 4:30 p.m., Stackhouse Theater: Talk by Dr. Judith Hruza, Holocaust survivor.
    • 9:30 p.m., film: “The Devil Came on Horseback.”
  • Friday, May 2
    • All day, Elrod Commons Living Room: Names Projection to remember the six million.
    • 6:30 p.m., Elrod Commons room 345: Yom Ha Shoah Service, led by W&L Dean Hank Dobin.
    • 10 p.m., film: “Everything is Illuminated.”

All films will be in the Stackhouse Theater in Elrod Commons.


Sascha Goluboff Named Engaged Scholars Fellow

Sascha Goluboff, associate professor of cultural anthropology at Washington and Lee University, was selected as one of three new fellows in the “Engaged Scholars Studying Congregations” program coordinated through The Hartford Seminary.

The fellowship consists of mentoring, networking and research support with funds provided by the Lilly Endowment, Inc., and aims to enhance the ability of the participants to do excellent research on their projects. Goluboff and the other fellows will have the opportunity to sharpen research skills that allow them to take the life of faith communities seriously while they build a network of mentors and colleagues.

Goluboff will spend two summers (2008 and 2009) working on her project “African American Home Church: The Politics of Race and Religion in the Rural South.” The fellowship will support both summers of ethnographic research on the political and religious implications of congregants’ loyalty to their “home church” in rural Southwestern Virginia.

“The opportunity to be an Engaged Scholars Fellow is extremely timely for me at this stage in my project,” she said. “I come to this study with years of experience and networks in the anthropology of the former Soviet Union and Europe. So, while I have book knowledge on the topic of the Black Church, I need to connect with new colleagues who can read and evaluate my work, so as to push me to think creatively and knowledgeably within this new field of research.”

Goluboff is a graduate of Colgate University, and received both her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of numerous scholarly articles as well as a book, “Jewish Russians: Upheavals in a Moscow Synagogue” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003). 


Pickett Awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship

Holly Pickett, assistant professor of English, has recently been awarded a nine- month National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) research fellowship to the Newberry Library in Chicago for the 2008-2009 academic year.

Her project description is “The Drama of Serial Conversion in Early Modern England.” While undertaking this project, Pickett hopes “to offer the first book length study of the period’s historical and fictional figures who changed their religious affiliations multiple times.” She explained that “by examining the ways such converts responded to accusations of hypocrisy, my work uncovers the serial convert’s two fold challenge to early modern understandings of religious identity.”

Fellowships at the Newberry Library help researchers who want to use the collection but cannot finance a visit on their own. Fellows make the library their research home during their time in Chicago.

‘This is a very impressive honor and a wonderful research opportunity,” said Lesley Wheeler, professor of English and department chair.”While we’ll miss her excellent teaching and advising next year, we’re tremendously excited by this scholarly success and look forward to its results in print and in the classroom.”

“I am very excited about my time at the Newberry,” said Pickett. “They have wonderful resources in Renaissance religious materials and participating in the community of other fellows at the library also promises to be very exciting.”


Fifth Annual Tom Wolfe Seminar Features Distinguished Authors

The opening talk of Washington and Lee University’s fifth annual Tom Wolfe Weekend Seminar will be given by author Geraldine Brooks, on Friday, April 18, at 4 p.m. at the Stackhouse Theater in Elrod Commons. This talk is free and open to the public.

Brooks is the author of five books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “March,” a novel set in the Civil War. Her internationally bestselling novel “Year of Wonders” (2001) is set in England during the plague 1666.

Her most recent book “People of the Book,” a novel that traces the journey of a rare illuminated Hebrew manuscript from medieval Spain across five centuries of European history, is also enjoying critical acclaim. According to the Boston Globe, “There’s a romance between Brooks and the world, and her writing is as full of heart and curiosity as it is intelligence and judgment.”

The seminar’s program this year, “A Writer’s Use of History,” features two distinguished authors, both Brooks and her husband Tony Horwitz. A Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist, Horwitz is the author of “Blue Latitudes,” “One for the Road,” “Confederates in the Attic” and “Baghdad Without a Map.”

His most recent book, “A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World,” is forthcoming in April. Like his other books, “Voyage” is as much about Horwitz’s efforts to understand history through often humorous personal encounters with the historic places as well as those who tend or otherwise embrace the myths surrounding them.

Suzanne Keen, Broadus Professor of English at W&L and winner of the Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award for 2008 from the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, will also participate in the seminar.

To attend the weekend seminar (April 18-19), please contact W&L’s Office of Special Programs at 540-458-8723.


Morel Named Research Fellow in the James Madison Program, Princeton University

Lucas Morel, associate professor of politics at Washington and Lee University, has been named a Research Fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University for the 2008-09 academic year.

Morel, who teaches American Government, Political Philosophy and Black American Politics, among other topics at W&L, will spend the academic year in residence at Princeton researching his new book, “Abraham Lincoln and the Fragile American Republic.”

The book will be Morel’s third. He is also the author of “Ralph Ellison and the Raft of Hope: A Political Companion to Invisible Man” (UP of Kentucky, 2004) and “Lincoln’s Sacred Effort: Defining Religion’s Role in American Self-Government” (Lexington Books, 2000).

“Spending my sabbatical year at the James Madison Program will permit me to write, write, write about my favorite political figure and arguably the greatest statesman the world has ever witnessed,” said Morel. “As a Visiting Research Fellow in a program devoted to the study of American ideals and institutions, I can work out my thesis about the most controversial aspects of Abraham Lincoln’s political thought and practice among scholars with a similar devotion to the principles of the American regime.

“I especially look forward to seeing how recent scholarship about Lincoln, the Civil War, and antebellum history confirms, challenges, and otherwise informs my argument about the meaning of the American Union for Lincoln and his approach to the slavery controversy and black American citizenship,” Morel continued. “As the nation and the world anticipates the bicentennial celebration of Lincoln’s birth, I can’t think of a better way to spend the 2008-09 academic year.”

Morel received his B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and an M.A. and Ph. D. from the Claremont Graduate School. The author of numerous scholarly articles and essays, he has taught politics and been the pre-law advisor at Washington and Lee since 1999.


Cintron Awarded Franklin Research Grant

Leslie Cintron, W&L assistant professor of sociology, has been awarded a Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society to conduct archival research in England for her book “From Open Spaces to Popular Culture: The National Trust and the Transformation of British Heritage, 1895-2008,” which looks into the genesis of Britain’s national heritage preservation movement.

The Franklin grants are both competitive and prestigious, and Cintron is grateful for the generous support of her research. “It’s a wonderful boost for my work, and will enable me to travel to the United Kingdom to conduct research in several key archives in and around London. The significance of consulting these archival materials is in identifying how the work of the fledgling National Trust–particularly their work acquiring open-spaces–was constructed, presented to and discussed with supporters and potential donors. The findings will enable me to complete a chapter of my book manuscript.”

The Franklin grant research will comprise part of a chapter examining the genesis of the national preservation movement, focusing on the particular role a Victorian-era network of social theorists, social workers, poverty researchers and religious leaders had on the early mission and work of this non-profit heritage preservation organization.”


William Freehling, Visiting Scholar at W&L, to Give Public Lecture

William W. Freehling, the Robert S. Griffith ’52 Visiting Scholar in History at Washington and Lee University, will present a lecture on Monday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. in Lee Chapel. The title of Dr. Freehling’s lecture is “Mysteries of the South’s Secession.”

The talk is free and open to the public.

He has taught at Berkeley and Harvard and held full professorships at the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins and endowed chairs at SUNY Buffalo and at the University of Kentucky. Now retired from a university career that brought him as many honors for teaching as for his books, Freehling is presently senior scholar in residence at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

He is the author of a two volume work titled “The Road to Disunion.” The second and concluding volume, published in 2007, is subtitled “Secessionist Triumphant 1854-1861” and completes a set of books which offer a major reinterpretation of the causes of the Civil War and of Confederate defeat.

Freehling’s current projects include a book of essays on the writing of “Road to Disunion” (forthcoming in 2008) and a reinterpretation of Abraham Lincoln’s early presidency (forthcoming in 2009).

Dr. Freehling will teach a spring term course at W&L, The Coming of the Civil War.

He received his A.B. from Harvard (where he wrote his honors thesis under Arthur Schlesinger Jr.), and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.


W&L’s English for Speakers of Other Languages Program Earns Grant from the Verizon Foundation

W&L’s English for Speakers of Other Languages program (ESOL) recently received a Verizon Community Initiative grant of $500. The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, awards grants to initiatives and non-profits that fall under its focus areas of education, literacy, domestic violence prevention or technology for healthcare and healthcare accessibility.

ESOL provides community members with language classes, translation services and one-on-one tutoring to facilitate communication within the increasingly diverse population of Rockbridge County. “The Verizon grant demonstrates external support for the mission and operation of ESOL,” said Ellen Mayock, associate professor of Romance languages and one of two faculty advisors for the organization.“The ESOL volunteers are grateful for both the financial support and the vote of confidence in our operation. This grant will allow us to enhance our English and Spanish education programs, as well as to increase publicity for our Translations and Hotline services.”

James Madden ’08 and Susan Mahoney ’09, development chairs of ESOL, submitted the grant to Verizon as part of their significant grant-writing work this year. “ESOL provides members of Rockbridge County taking ESOL language classes with free textbooks,” said Mahoney.“The grant will fund part of ESOL’s text book purchases for one full year.”

The funding from Verizon will allow ESOL to allocate the $500 they spend annually to other areas such as instructor development and translation services.

“Because the Executive Committee funding we receive covers only part of our annual budget, we were looking for external sources of funding,” said Madden, who credits Mahoney, with assistance from Mayock, as the main driving force behind the application. “At this point, we are still seeking more permanent sources of external funding, and we are hoping that alumni will be willing to support the great work that ESOL is doing in the community,” said Madden.  

To learn more about ESOL, please visit their website at http://ESOL.wlu.edu.


Drew McWay ’08 Wins Grant From 100 Projects for Peace

Drew McWay ’08, an accounting and business administration major from Dallas, Texas, was recently awarded a grant from 100 Projects for Peace. This organization invites all undergraduates to submit a project proposal that enhances the idea of world peace. McWay will receive a $10,000 grant made possible by Kathryn Wasserman Davis, an accomplished internationalist and philanthropist.

McWay’s project will take him to Northern Peru to partner with Sinergia, a small microfinance group that loans money to females who dream of owning their own business. As the loans are repaid and redistributed, they will provide for countless others for years to come.

“This economic development will nurture emotional peace in the hearts of Peruvian women and promote economic peace in the war on poverty in northern Peru,” said McWay.

Northern Peru suffers from poverty and unemployment that are curable. Although short-term solutions are offered through international efforts, they serve as temporary band-aids to long-term problems. “Fortunately, theory and practice have revealed the more sustainable, long-term solution of micro lending,” said McWay.

Sinergia is an organization that has successfully issued loans to over 100 women in the poverty-stricken Wachanzao barrio in northern Peru. “Sinergia targets women as the beneficiaries of their microloan program because women tend to share a greater portion of their business profits with their family and they are, typically, in a worse socioeconomic condition than their male counterparts,” said McWay.

The first portion of his grant money will be used as loan capital. “Each $50-250 microloan starts approximately one additional business, saves one Peruvian woman from unemployment and raises one Peruvian family from the depths of poverty,” said McWay. The second portion will be dedicated towards training Peruvian entrepreneurs.

“My decision to apply for this grant and serve in this capacity came after prayerful consideration of my strengths and weaknesses alongside my interests and disinterests,” said McWay. “This peace project isn’t entirely altruistic. It serves the best interests of both my future and the future of the Peruvian people along the northern coast.”

McWay will remain in Peru, working with microfinance institutions, for nine months following his initial grant project. He has begun private fundraising to cover personal expenses while he continues his work with Peru Mission.

“Drew was a student in my freshman leadership seminar, and since then I have enjoyed watching him mature and develop as a student and more importantly as an outstanding individual,” said Roger Dean, professor of management. “His participation in the 100 Projects for Peace is but another example of his genuine concern for the well-being of others and putting his Christian faith into action. I wish him well.”

“Ultimately, in the upcoming year I just wanted to serve God and others on an international stage in an area of personal interest,” said McWay. “Microfinance captures my full interest and attention, so that’s the non-profit road I decided to investigate and invest my time into.”


The Rockbridge Report Wins First Place in Regional Journalism Competition

Washington and Lee University hosted this year’s Region II Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Spring conference and won three of the Mark of Excellence awards handed out on March 29. Region II includes Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

This year, collegiate journalists submitted more than 3,400 entries in 39 categories across SPJ’s 12 regions. The Ring-tum Phi won second place in the category of Editorial Writing, and inGeneral won third place in Best Student Magazine. The Rockbridge Report, the student-run weekly news Web site, won first place for Best All Around Independent Online Student Production.

“I am enormously proud of our students and faculty for their hard work and professionalism,” said Brian Richardson, professor of journalism and department head.“In our region, we compete against journalism programs that in some cases comprise more students than the entire student body at W&L. The recognition by SPJ is gratifying, and a singular accomplishment. For the second time in three years, The Rockbridge Report is a national finalist in its category.”

“The Rockbridge Report, http://rockbridgereport.wlu.edu/, which also has a weekly TV broadcast version, is the product of several of our journalism classes,” said Doug Cumming, professor of journalism. “Our students in various classes cover the beats, edit the copy, assign breaking news coverage and produce the website. Professors, of course, give it all a final copy edit and oversee the production–we take final responsibility, but they should get all the credit.”

The Rockbridge Report Web site also won a regional first-place Mark of Excellence award in 2006, which put it in the running for the national awards. Having won first place again this year, the Rockbridge Report will compete with first place winners from the other 11 regions for the 2007 national award, to be announced at the SPJ’s convention in Atlanta in September.

“Being involved with the Rockbridge Report is a great opportunity to get real-world experience while in a classroom setting,” said Megann Daw ’08, former producer of the Rockbridge Report. “We worked as a team to cover every aspect of local news, and it’s great to see our diligence pay off.”

The spring conference at W&L was called “Report Back: Meeting Where Journalism Education Started.” Besides the awards luncheon in Evans Hall, it featured seven panels, two multimedia demonstrations, a mock news conference, a silent auction for SPJ’s Legal Defense Fund and a keynote address by Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now!”


Joseph McDonald ’10 Wins Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Washington and Lee University sophomore Joseph McDonald, a physics and mathematics major from San Antonio, Texas, has been awarded a prestigious Goldwater scholarship.

Goldwater Scholarships support study in the fields of mathematics, engineering and the natural sciences as preparation for careers in these areas. The one- and two-year awards cover eligible expenses, including tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

McDonald’s proposal was composed of research he participated in this past summer with physics professors Tom Williams and Paul Bourdon during the R.E. Lee Research Program. “It involves theoretical physics with the subject being quantum entanglement,” said McDonald.

When he isn’t studying, McDonald is very interested in music. “I play my guitar when I need to sit down and relax, away from my studies,” said McDonald. “It puts my mind at ease and lets me escape for a little while.” He also takes lessons in jazz improvisation.

“The Goldwater Scholarship is highly prestigious and the awards process is very competitive,” says Marcia France, W&L’s Goldwater liaison. “Only 321 were awarded nationwide. In addition to needing outstanding academic credentials, nominees are also required to write an essay discussing an idea for research in their field of study. Joey McDonald’s proposal on deterministic dense-coding with qutrits and d-level qudits was outstanding. This is an impressive and well-deserved honor. We are delighted that he has been awarded this scholarship.”

His plans for the future are undecided at this point, but he hopes to possibly study physics or mathematics in grad school. “Electrical engineering is also something that interests me,” said McDonald. “It would be great to combine both electrical engineering with my music. Working with guitar circuits and pedals would be a lot of fun.”

In 1986, Congress established the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program to honor Senator Goldwater for his exceptional service to the U.S. Goldwater served this country for 56 years as both a soldier and a statesman, including his 30 years in the Senate.


Anna Pendley ’09 Awarded Keck Geology Consortium Project Fellowship

Anna Pendley ’09 has been named Keck Geology Consortium Project Fellow for 2008. The fellowship is awarded by the Keck Geology Consortium, an independent, multi-college collaboration based at Franklin & Marshall College focused on enriching undergraduate education through research experiences.

Pendley, a double major in anthropology/archaeology and geology, will spend late June-late July with a team of students and faculty researching the geoarchaeology of the Poggio Colla near Florence, Italy. She will build on her summer research in her geology thesis next year, and present her work at the annual Keck Geology Consortium Undergraduate Research Symposium next spring. Her research will also be published in the Keck journal.

“Each of the seven students involved will develop an individual project based on his or her own interests,” said Pendley. “Because I am a geology and archaeology double major, this project is literally the perfect marriage of my academic passions, and I hope to develop a project that reflects my interest in both areas. I would like to study the soil samples collected at the site, or perhaps survey the geomorphology of the area to better understand why this was chosen as an area of settlement and what natural processes have helped shape the region.”

Pendley attributes her interest in geology to a spring term introductory course taken her freshman year. “Professor David Harbor made the six-week course extremely challenging, but also more interesting than I could have ever imagined,” she said. “Throughout the course of the class we took many field trips to sites in the Lexington area. Each and every one of them took my breath away.”

Her enthusiasm led to her enrollment in an archaeology class, and eventually a double major.

“I began taking nothing but classes for my majors,” Pendley said. “I even delved into independent studies that, with a little guidance, I was able to develop into whatever I desired.

“One of those studies, overseen by Bernard Means, was the first introduction I had into the field of geoarchaeology,” she continued. “I was able to travel to a Monongahela Indian village site in Pennsylvania and perform basic geological investigations. Based on my research and prior archaeological research performed in the 1930s and 1940s, I was able to speculate on the formation of that odd landform. I presented my research at the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference in March in Ocean City, Md.”

“Anna epitomizes the ideal liberal arts college student,” said Means, visiting assistant professor of anthropology at W&L. “She approaches her double majors with unbridled enthusiasm. I’m pleased that I could introduce Anna to the interdisciplinary field of geoarchaeology, where she is already pursuing her twin interests simultaneously. I could not be happier to play a small role in guiding this emerging scholar.”

A native of Pekin, Ind., Pendley is a dorm counselor and a member of Chi Omega sorority, SPEAK and the Generals Christian Fellowship. She will be the assistant head dorm counselor in charge of programming for 2008-09.

Following her graduation in 2009, she hopes to work in archaeology or geology for a short time before pursing a graduate degree.

“As very few geoarchaeology graduate programs exist in the United States, I may have the opportunity to build my own course of study,” she said. “With all the academic training and support I have received at Washington and Lee, that certainly should not be a problem!”

David Harbor, head of the geology department and Pendley’s advisor, believes that the fellowship will position her for a bright future in geoarchaeology.

“The Keck Geology Consortium project in Italy is a perfect match for Anna’s interests and experience in archeology and geology,” he said. “Her experience in both will certainly put her in the thick of discussions and activities in the field, and I am certain that the research experience and the thesis follow-up will give her the confidence and knowledge to pursue many exciting possibilities where geology and archeology meet.”


Mary Childs ’08 Named 2008-09 Watson Fellow

Mary Childs ’08 has been named a Thomas J. Watson Fellow for 2008-2009. She is one of 50 students nationally to receive a Watson fellowship this year.

Administered in cooperation with 50 outstanding private colleges and universities throughout the United States, the Watson provides a grant of $25,000 to college graduates of unusual promise to engage in a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel outside of the United States. Inaugurated by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation in 1968, the fellowship program has granted more than 2,500 Watson Fellowship awards, with stipends totaling more than $30 million.

Childs’ project, “The Eye of the Beholder: The Cartography of Faces,” will take her to France, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, China, Brazil and Morocco to explore the topography of a land through portraiture.

For Childs, a business journalism major who studied at St. Stephen’s College in India from June – December 2006, the Watson provides an opportunity to focus on her love of painting and travel in a way that was both inspired and prevented by her study abroad experiences as an undergraduate.

“I’ve always loved painting and art,” said Childs. “Initially when I came to W&L, I wanted to double major in studio art, but going abroad made that difficult. I view my Watson as a sort of double major or an M.F.A. in a way. Winning the fellowship means an opportunity to combine two of my greatest loves: the world and the canvas.”

Her project will trace cultures as they manifest themselves in the faces of their own people. “It’s a new cartography: map-making with faces,” Childs explained. “As I traveled across Southeast Asia, I watched the faces change with the terrain. Cheekbones rose and fell and hair was braided and hidden in turbans. Even the tying of a sari expressed where my feet were. Every location in the world looks different, but more interestingly, every inhabitant reflects those differences.

“Charles Darwin must look down from scientific heaven and smile as his descendants morph to better accommodate their changing surroundings,” she continued. “How does a bone structure show a mountain range? How do eyelids reflect the sun? Why do jawlines sharpen and nostrils flare depending on the ground from which they sprang?”

A native of Richmond, Va., Childs is the recipient of the Journalism Department’s Landon B. Lane Scholarship and was a 2007 Reynolds Intern. She is a writer for the Trident, one of W&L’s weekly independent student newspapers, and editor-at-large for InGeneral, a student-run magazine. She is co-president of JubiLee, W&L’s female a cappella group, a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and served as the Massachusetts State Chair for the 2008 Mock Democratic Convention.

She credits the W&L faculty and administration with helping to make the Watson opportunity a reality.

“Professor Luecke and Dean Ikeda have been so helpful in guiding me every step of the way in this process,” Childs said. “And the art department has also been very supportive. They let me into Painting II this winter even though I’ve never been able to take Painting I! This spring, I’m doing an independent study with Professor Beavers to figure out which materials I’m most comfortable in and which will travel best.”

“Mary impressed the internal fellowships committee with her passion for breaking out of the mold,” said Janet Ikeda, associate dean of the College. “She ‘sent herself’ to India to see how far she could stretch her imagination. There she fell in love with another culture that challenged the very way she thought about the world. Now her plan is to map the contour of faces in various parts of the world. With her journalistic instincts and sound liberal arts education, she will embark on a global adventure of a lifetime.”

Childs, who turned down an internship with Bloomberg, L.P., in New York in order to accept the Watson, plans to pursue a career in business journalism following her year abroad. “I think Bloomberg understood that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said. “I hope they’re still interested when I get back.”

Pamela Luecke, Donald W. Reynolds Professor of Business Journalism and Childs’ academic advisor, is confident that Childs’ Watson experience will further her career plans.

“Mary is a gifted student with great promise as a business journalist,” Luecke said. “The extraordinary opportunity to travel the world as a Watson Fellow will strengthen her understanding of the global economy and enrich her perspective as a journalist.”