Feature Stories Campus Events

W&L Continues to be Active Partner With Lexington and Rockbridge County

Washington and Lee University is pleased to announce the creation of the Community Grants Committee. Established this spring, the purpose of the committee is to create a formal structure for evaluating requests for financial donations and support that come to Washington and Lee from the Lexington/Rockbridge community.

Vice President for Finance and Administration and University Treasurer Steve McAllister observed, “It is unusual for an institution like Washington and Lee to create a formal evaluation process like this. Establishing the Community Grants Committee is a reflection of the University’s ongoing commitment to a partnership with the local community. By establishing this process we will help ensure a closer match between community and University interests.”

President Ken Ruscio added, “The establishment of this program builds upon the mutual partnership between the University and the Lexington and Rockbridge County communities. The University has long recognized that the strengths of the community and the University go hand in hand.”

When asked about the annual budget and expected range of grants, committee chair Jim Farrar said, “The Community Grants Committee will have an annual budget of $50,000. While there is no minimum request amount, we expect the grants to range from $500 to $25,000. Requests above $25,000 will require additional review processes.”

Farrar went on to add, “We have limited funding available through the June 30, the end of the University’s fiscal year. Organizations seeking grants in this quarter should submit proposals no later than June 13, 2008.”

Contact committee chair James D. Farrar Jr. at jdfarrar@wlu.edu or 540-458-8417 to receive the committee’s guidelines for submitting a proposal.


Poet and W&L English Professor Lesley Wheeler Writes Scholarly Study

Poet Lesley Wheeler, professor of English at Washington and Lee University, is the author of a new book, “Voicing American Poetry: Sound and Performance from the 1920s to the Present.” Published by Cornell University Press this year, it offers a uniquely full history of 20th- and 21st-century poetry performance in the United States.

“Voicing American Poetry” examines the shifting significance of voice and sound for American poets and readers. According to Wheeler, “Poetry recitation used to be something that everyone did–it was fundamental to American education, and what mattered was the skill of the performance.

“In the middle of the 20th century that shifted. Now what matters is not the skill but the identity of the performer: we expect the poet herself to be present, reading her own work in an anti-theatrical way. This change fascinates me, not only as a scholar but as a poet and as a programmer who arranges poetry readings at Washington and Lee.”

In addition to “Voicing American Poetry,” Wheeler has written “Scholarship Girl,” a poetry chapbook (Finishing Line, 2007) and “The Poetics of Enclosure: American Women Poets from Dickinson to Dove” (University of Tennessee Press, 2002). She has also written over 25 poems and currently is working on two books of poetry.

Wheeler has been a member of Washington and Lee’s faculty since 1994. She received her B.A. from Rutgers University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University.


W&L Professor Pam Luecke Elected Chair of Accrediting Committee of ACEJMC

Pam Luecke, the Donald W. Reynolds Professor of Business Journalism in the department of journalism and mass communications at Washington and Lee University, was recently elected chair of the accrediting committee of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC).

Luecke has been a member of W&L’s faculty since 2001. Prior to coming to Washington and Lee, she was the editor and senior vice president of the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky.

Prior to that she was the assistant managing editor and then deputy managing editor at the Hartford Courant in Hartford, Conn. She also worked at the The Courier-Journal and the Louisville Times as business reporter, business editor and regional editor. She also taught for a term at the University of Connecticut.

“Accreditation encourages high standards in journalism education and ensures that teaching remains in step with professional practices,” said Prof. Luecke. “I’m honored to be part of this important process.”

Luecke received her B.A. from Carleton College, her M.S.J. (masters of science in journalism) from Northwestern University and her M.B.A. from the University of Hartford.

ACEJMC is the agency responsible for the evaluation of professional journalism and mass communications programs in colleges and universities and is dedicated to fostering and encouraging excellence and high standards in professional education in journalism and mass communications.


Jessica Steinmetz ’08 Wins Sarah G. Ball Teaching Award

Jessica Steinmetz ’08 of Sacramento, Calif., is this year’s Sarah G. Ball Teaching Award recipient. She is a politics major who also completed the teachers education program.

The Sarah G. Ball Teaching Award was established in 2003 by the Ball family to honor Sarah Ball ’01. It recognizes excellent preparation for teaching in elementary and secondary schools and a commitment to community service. The award is presented to a graduating senior who is committed to teach in a school, which serves a community of learners with diverse needs.

The recipient of the Sarah G. Ball award will receive recognition at Washington and Lee University’s graduation ceremony and a $4000 salary supplement for their first year of teaching, which is renewable for a second year.

Steinmetz plans to teach English in China next year. “As a teacher, I truly believe that one of the most important issues I need to stress is that through education, anything can be achieved,” said Steinmetz.

Steinmetz’s professors are supportive of her desire to teach children with diverse needs. “Jess is an outstanding education student who has taken every opportunity to work in the local schools,” said Lenna Ojure, director of teacher education. “I am glad W&L is able to provide her with recognition and financial support through the Ball Award as she starts her teaching career.”

“I knew within days after Jess enrolled in my introductory course on poverty that she was committed and capable of expanding educational opportunity for the most disadvantaged children,” said Harlan Beckley, professor of religion and director of the Shepherd Poverty Program. “She is not ostentatious about her commitment, but it is part of her.”

The alternate is Yvonne Coker of Forestville, Md.


Robert Frasco ’09 Wins Boren Scholarship

Robert Frasco ’09, a Russian area studies major from Suffield, Conn., was a recent recipient of a David L. Boren  Scholarship from the National Security Education Program (NSEP).

The NSEP awards Boren Scholarships to American students for study of world regions critical to U.S. interests, including Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin American and the Caribbean, and the Middle East.

“The Boren scholarship is awarded as a means to further cultural understanding and language proficiency of nations not located in Western Europe,” said Frasco. His scholarship will pays for a year-long study abroad in Moscow, Russia. Frasco will be enrolled in an intensive language program and possibly take part in an internship at a Russian organization.

According to Frasco, it was his “deep interest in history, particularly of the early/mid twentieth century, as well as a passion for the topic of international affairs and politics” that sparked his interest in Russian studies. “I enjoy traveling immensely, doubly so for less conventional places,” he said.

“Over two decades of my teaching at W&L, I have met just a handful of students who would match both Robert’s engagement in international affairs and his intellectual curiosity and brilliance,” said Krzysztof Jasiewicz, professor of sociology. “As it happens, all these students after graduation went on to distinguished careers in foreign service or academy. There is no doubt in my mind that Robert will follow in their footsteps.”

Frasco hopes to work in the field of international relations and diplomacy after graduation.


W&L Hosts William and Mary Professor To Talk on Serial Murders of Mexican Women

Washington and Lee University will host a visit by Professor Carla Olson Buck, Spanish professor at The College of William and Mary, who will give two talks, May 26 and 27, that are free and open to the public.

The subject of those talks will be the serial slaying of 450 women and girls — mostly poor young factory workers — since 1993 in Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua City, Mexico. Many of the bodies were dumped in the desert, horribly mutilated, and many were sexually assaulted prior to their deaths. The ongoing killings have inspired two Hollywood movies and remain unsolved.

The earliest of those cases are quietly slipping off legal dockets since Mexico, unlike the United States, has a statute of limitations for murder. At a time when U.S. prosecutors are resurrecting Civil Rights-era murder cases – some more than 40 years old – Mexico is closing murder cases forever after 14 years.

Monday, May 26, at 7 p.m. in the Northen Auditorium of Leyburn Library, Professor Buck’s talk “Harvest of Women: Juarez, Mexico’s Killing Fields” will focus on the killings of female maquiladora workers of Ciudad Juarez and on the numerous representations of this ongoing femicide in journalism, literature and film.

Tuesday, May 27, from 12:20 p.m. to 1:15 p.m., in Room 216 of Elrod Commons, Professor Buck will present her work “Consuming Pathos: Cultural Representations of the Murdered Women of Juarez” at a Women’s Studies lunch colloquium. The general public are welcome to bring their own lunches or, to reserve a lunch, please e-mail mayocke@wlu.edu by Wednesday, May 21.

Thousands of families were attracted to Ciudad Juárez by the maquiladoras – assembly plants, most of them owned by U.S. companies – that sprung up blocks from the border because of an abundance of cheap labor that transformed the town into the fourth most populous city in Mexico. Young women were especially prized by factory supervisors because they were considered more reliable and less rowdy than men. Almost overnight, women were making money while men were still struggling to find jobs, leading to resentment in the local macho culture that activists cite as a social undercurrent to the slayings.

For many years, the authorities did little to investigate or prosecute those responsible. Mexican federal authorities and international human rights organizations have accused local authorities of covering up evidence and failing to properly investigate these crimes for over a decade. Human rights activists have said the true killers may have been protected by authorities who tortured innocents to confess to the killings. Victims’ families have been subjected to harassment.

Carla Olson Buck is an associate professor of Hispanic Studies and teaches courses on gender issues and Mexican and Spanish literature and culture. Her research has focused on women cultural producers (writers, playwrights and filmmakers), and she is currently working on a book on cultural representations of the women of Juarez.

Professor Buck’s visit is co-sponsored by The Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, the Women’s Studies Program, and the Office of the Dean of the College.


Emma Axt ’08 Awarded Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to France

Washington and Lee University senior Romance languages/journalism and mass communications major Emma Axt ’08, of Edina, Minn., has recently been awarded the distinguished Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to teach English in France.

The Fulbright teaching assistantship program places students in a host country to teach English and complete a research project. The host country provides the student with international travel expenses, a living stipend and in some cases, tuition assistance. “In June, I will have more details about my specific assignment, but I think it will be at the primary school level,” said Axt.

Her advisors, Ed Craun, professor of English and George Bent, professor of art, were a great resource during the application process. “Emma Axt worked extremely hard to get her Fulbright application just right,” said Bent. “She frequently consulted with faculty to get as much information from them as possible, and then used that information wisely to shape a proposal that was both innovative and feasible.”

Axt’s project proposal dealt with researching the use of literature in primary and secondary schools. “I am attempting to discover how French schools use literature to teach children about other cultures and history,” explained Axt.

“The Romance language department was extremely supportive and helpful during the application process,” said Axt. Francoise Fregnac-Clave, professor of Romance languages, added, “Emma has all the qualities the Fulbright program looks for in its ambassadors–bright, eager to learn, passionate about literature and culture, her own and others, proud of her upbringing and ready to share her knowledge and ‘coups de cœur’ with all that will listen!”

The praise and encouragement doesn’t stop there. “She has been my student in most of my advanced French literature classes and she even took an Italian class with me,” said Domnica Radulescu, professor of Romance languages. “I’ve always been impressed by her unusual intellectual maturity and by the fact that she knows more about French literature, culture and European literature and culture in general, than most students I’ve had at W&L. She fully deserves this honor and as someone who has taught and mentored her for four years, I’m thrilled and proud of her.”

Axt is a member of the University Chamber Singers, and has acted as tour manager for the past two years. She is involved with the Literacy campaign as a volunteer at Mountain View Elementary and this year worked as a docent at the Stonewall Jackson House.

In the future, Axt hopes to attend graduate school to study foreign literature and linguistics. “I also have an interest in children’s publishing, and I hope to explore that area while abroad,” said Axt. “I am so excited to share my experiences with young people. This opportunity is a dream come true.”


Closing Lecture and Reception for Bob Trotman: Business as Usual

On Thursday, May 15 at 5:30 p.m., sculptor Bob Trotman will give a lecture about his installation Business as Usual, currently on exhibit at Washington and Lee University’s Staniar Gallery. The artist’s talk will take place in the Wilson Hall concert hall, followed by a reception in Staniar Gallery and the Wilson Hall atrium.

The public is invited to attend both the artist’s lecture and the reception, as well as to visit the exhibit before its closing on May 17.

Bob Trotman: Business as Usual consists of ten figures carved from basswood and poplar and painted with tempera in muted tones so that the wood grain, cracks, and tool marks are clearly visible. They represent a new body of the artist’s work and a further development of his dystopic vision of middle-class American culture, notably the corporate workplace.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is the sculpture Cover Up, a group of three business men and one business woman huddled under a shroud so that only their legs and feet are visible below the carved wooden drapery. Cover Up occupies a middle ground between Committee and Chorus.

Committee is a group of five monumental “corporate heads” on columnar pedestals, each with his eyes or mouth carved on reversible wooden blocks with an alternate expression on the other side. Across the room from Committee is Chorus. Represented only from the chest up with their arms raised above their heads and mouths agape, the four larger-than-life figures in Chorus look as if they are sinking into the floor.

A resident of Casar, N.C., who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1969 with a degree in philosophy, Bob Trotman is nationally recognized for his wood sculpture. He studied at the Penland School of Crafts in Penland, N.C., and with such well-known artists as James Surls, Robert Morris, and Francisco Rivera. Trotman has received two Visual Arts Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and three grants from the North Carolina Arts Council. He has shown in such significant venues as the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Tenn.; the Visual Art Center of Richmond, Va.; the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; the Mint Museum in Charlotte, N.C.; and, the Frank Parrasch Gallery in New York; and, his work is in numerous public and private collections.

After its closing at Washington and Lee University’s Staniar Gallery, Bob Trotman: Business as Usual will travel to the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, N.C., the Greenville County Museum of Art in Greenville, S.C., and the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, N.C. An itineraty and exhibition catalog are available at Staniar Gallery.

Staniar Gallery is dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary and art historical works in all media by regionally, nationally, and internationally recognized artists. Its central purpose is to serve as a teaching space, presenting multi-disciplinary topics through art and dialogue. Located on the second floor of Wilson Hall in the Lenfest Center for the Arts on Washington and Lee’s campus, the gallery is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the academic year. For additional information please call 540.886.8861.


Winner of Shenandoah’s Glasgow Prize to Give Reading of Her Work

Emerging poet Emily Rosko will give a reading of her work at Washington and Lee University on Tuesday, May 20, at 4:30 p.m. in Elrod Commons, room 216. The event will begin with an informal public interview of Rosko by Lesley Wheeler, professor and head of the English department.

This event is free and open to the community.

Rosko is the author of Raw Goods Inventory, winner of both the 2005 Iowa Poetry Prize and the 2007 Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers from Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review. Recipient of the Stegner, the Ruth Lilly and Javits fellowships, her work has been published in journals such as The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Denver Quarterly, The Laurel Review and Pleiades.

Of Rosko’s work, poet Alice Fulton writes, “There is a persuasive emotional and cerebral undertow to Rosko’s meditations; she is a poet of conscience who confronts the largest ethical dilemmas without succumbing to simplicities. She is a breathtaking, in fact, thrilling young poet who makes me want to read and read and write and write.”

Rosko holds degrees from Purdue and Cornell universities, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in creative writing and literature at the University of Missouri.


Deborah Newell ’08 Awarded Fulbright Fellowship to Teach in Germany

Debby Newell ’08 of Troy, Michigan, is a recent recipient of a Fulbright grant to teach English in Germany. A German literature and medieval and Renaissance studies major, Newell will teach the English language to 12-18-year-olds.

Newell is a University Scholar, a tutor at the Writing Center and a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. She enjoys traveling, running and hiking and has acted in W&L’s annual German department play for the past four years.

In addition to teaching part time, Newell will be responsible for completing a mini research project which will deal with German language radio dramas in the wake of WWII.

“I’m a radio DJ here for WLUR and an NPR addict,” she said. “I’ve always been struck by the power of radio to transcend economic and social barriers and to enliven literature. In my research I’ll be focusing on the impact of radio in the midst of postwar devastation.

“The Fulbright will give me the opportunity to explore several loves: teaching, travel, and radio, while also allowing me to act as a cultural ambassador and, I hope, foster lasting relationships with German students and teachers,” she added.

“There are few academic honors available to German majors at W&L that Debby has not earned,” said Roger Crockett, professor of German at W&L. “If we sent more young people like Debby abroad as teachers and ambassadors, we would be better understood and appreciated as a society.”

Newell is the recipient of the Stephenson Scholarship for German as well as the Craig Hinkel prize for English and German. She served as an exchange student to Bayreuth, northern Bavaria.

She undecided about her plans beyond her Fulbright year. “I’ve been accepted to law school, but I’m still considering a career in archiving or library science,” she said.