Feature Stories Campus Events

Campus Kitchen Celebrates Second Year of Full-Time Operations

Washington and Lee University’s Campus Kitchen (CKWL), recently completed its second year of full-time operation. CKWL is a service organization that uses surplus food collected from campus dining services, catering operations and donations to provide nutritious meals to the hungry in Lexington and surrounding areas.

Founded in September 2006 by Ingrid Easton ’06, the organization employs a large network of volunteers to cook and deliver meals, as well as provide companionship, mentoring and nutrition education to those it serves.

Easton, a student in the Shepherd Poverty Program, was inspired to start W&L’s Campus Kitchen by her internship experience at the organization’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The operation had an immediate impact on the local community, and after just one year of service, CKWL received the “Excellence in Operations” Award from national office, recognizing its success in maintaining high-capacity operations and in engaging strong student leaders.

“This award is a testimony to all the hard work done by many people– Dining Services, faculty, staff, our client-partner agencies and most especially our students; we are very pleased to receive it,” said Robbie Turner ’02, Campus Kitchen coordinator. “There are many fine Campus Kitchen operations at other colleges, so to be singled out for this award is a real honor.”

Beneficiaries of W&L’s Campus Kitchen’s meals have included the Lexington City Office on Youth, Rockbridge Area Hospice, Project Horizon, Natural Bridge Manor, the Magnolia Center in Buena Vista, individual Habitat for Humanity homes and the Rockbridge Area Occupational Center.

In addition to helping the needy meet nutritional requirements, the volunteers benefit greatly from the opportunity, expanding their horizons by making connections off-campus. “The delivery shifts, particularly, are a great opportunity for students to learn more about Lexington and Rockbridge County, and to meet and build relationships with residents outside Washington and Lee,” said Turner ’02.

The ongoing benefit to the local community is clear. During the 2007-08 academic year, Campus Kitchen served 10,040 meals, including 190 Thanksgiving meals with all the trimmings. 21 turkeys were donated by faculty, staff, students and community members during the Kitchen’s “Take Your Turkey to Work Days,” enabling the organization to provide whole turkeys to seven Habitat for Humanity families in addition to the prepared Thanksgiving meals.

In all, approximately 8,000 lbs of donated food was used to prepare the year’s meals.

The organization also offered a bi-monthly, student-led “Healthy Cooking on a Limited Budget” class for women and children from Project Horizon, a local domestic abuse shelter, and joined with members of the biology department and Dining Services to create a campus community garden, which will provide fresh produce for Campus Kitchen meals. Campus Kitchen volunteers assisted with the initial planting, and will help with harvesting the garden over the summer and fall.

In the future, CKWL will continue to seek ways to better serve the community, and particularly to locate individuals and families who may especially benefit from meals. The organization will also participate in the nearby Natural Bridge Juvenile Correctional Center’s Work Release program.

“We are confident that this effort will be extremely beneficial to the young men in the program and assist them in pointing their lives in a healthier direction,” said Turner. “We are likewise hopeful that this initiative will allow W&L students to both learn from these young men from very different backgrounds and to serve as mentors to them as they work alongside each other.”


W&L Honors Graduates at Commencement Exercises June 5

Washington and Lee University celebrated its undergraduate commencement on Thursday, June 5, on its historic Front Lawn in front of Lee Chapel. Sunny skies greeted 431 graduates of the Class of 2008 as family, friends and the University community celebrated their accomplishments.

Graduating senior Jordan Campbell, vice president of the Executive Committee of the student body, addressed the audience. He emphasized the dedication of the faculty, noting that organizations often rank W&L in the top 10 of universities with the most accessible faculty. He also spoke of the importance of the honor system, and quoted W&L alumnus Sen. John Warner, who once told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the W&L honor system had been a guiding light for him.

The ceremony concluded with remarks by W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio, who spoke about the necessity of civility and respect for others, and the continuing relevance of those virtues to today’s generation.

“You will soon be leaving a community that cares about virtues—civility being one of them, but integrity, humility and tolerance are others that readily come to mind. You will be entering a world that seems to care less about them. You will be tempted to discount their importance or relevance,” said Ruscio. “You go forth into this world with a conscience formed at least in part by your experience at Washington and Lee,” Ruscio noted.

“You go forth convinced that character counts. I encourage you to tap into that reservoir of moral awareness that you filled during your time here—and I encourage you to find ways to continually replenish it.”

Present on the podium with Ruscio were trustees Kimberly Duchossois and Sarah Nash Sylvester, and trustee emeritus J. Hardin Marion. Also on the podium were William C. Datz, coordinator of religious life; Jordan Campbell, class of 2008 and vice president of the Student Executive Committee; Robert D. Straughan, associate dean of the Ernest Williams II School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics; Larry C. Peppers, dean of the Ernest Williams II School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics; Janet Ikeda, associate dean of the college; Hank Dobin, dean of the college; Dawn A. Watkins, vice president of student affairs and dean of students; Rodney A. Smolla, dean of the School of Law; Elizabeth Knapp, associate dean of the college; D. Scott Dittman, university registrar; and Brian E. Richardson, university marshal. Ethnic students composed 12.3 percent of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2008, a record for the college. Another record was set with 63 percent of students spending time abroad, either on approved study or some other significant experience.

Valedictorian of the Class of 2008 is Jameson Graber, a double major in mathematics and physics from Arlington, Texas. He is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, president of one of the black Greek-letter fraternities, Phi Beta Sigma, and president of W&L Students for Life. He won a Goldwater Fellowship as a junior.

One student, Matthew W. Harrison, from Sherrill’s Ford, N.C., completed three majors in geology, history, and accounting and business administration, matching a record set in 2007.

Among this year’s outstanding graduates are students receiving special honors and highly competitive scholarships:

  • Jameson Graber, from Arlington, Texas, was class valedictorian. He is a double major in mathematics and physics. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and is active in the Reformed University Fellowship, Washington and Lee Students for Life (president for two years), Joyful Noise gospel choir, Phi Beta Sigma fraternity and University Chamber Singers. After graduation, Graber will start a Ph.D. program in mathematics at the University of Virginia, funded by a Jefferson Fellowship.
  • Two members of the senior class received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion for seniors who “excel in high ideals of living, in spiritual qualities, and in generous and disinterested service to others,” said President Ruscio. The 2008 recipients are Alice Shih, from Austin, Texas, and Dane Boston, from Dunedin, Fla. Boston also received the Edward Lee Pinney Prize, awarded by the Student Affairs Committee for extraordinary commitment to personal scholarship and to the nurturing of intellectual life at Washington and Lee.
  • Three graduates won Fulbright Fellowships to study and work abroad for a year, beginning this summer. Emma Elizabeth Axt, a Romance languages/journalism and mass communications major from Edina, Minn., will teach English in France. Deborah Anne Newell, a German literature and medieval and Renaissance studies major from Troy, Mich., will teach English to teenagers in Germany. Laura Nugent, a double major in economics and medieval and Renaissance studies from West Grove, Pa., will study the architecture of churches in Moldavia built between 1488-1609 with a history professor at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj, Romania.
  • Mary Dryden Childs, a business journalism major from Charlottesville, Va., is one of 50 recipients nationally of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. Her project will take her to Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Japan, Morocco, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates to explore the topography of a land through portraiture.
  • Neil Richard Sheaffer, a Russian area studies and European history major from Plantation, Fla., was selected by the Executive Committee of the student body to received the Frank J. Gilliam Award, as the student who has made the most valuable contribution to student affairs in more than one field.
  • Timothy James McGlaston, a biology major from Attleboro, Mass., received the National Collegiate Athletic Association Postgraduate Scholarship.

Professor Domnica Radulescu Co-authors Book on “Gypsies”

Washington and Lee University Romance Languages Professor Domnica Radulescu has co-authored a book titled “Gypsies” in European Literature and Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). It traces representations of Gypsies that have become prevalent in the European imagination and culture, and that have influenced the perceptions of Roma in Eastern and Western European societies.

“This is a topic that I have been interested in for quite a while,” says Radulescu. “It’s a fascinating topic and it’s not been covered before in this kind of complete sustained way of going throughout centuries of different European cultures and literatures. So it’s a very unique collection in that sense.”

“We examined how marginalized groups such as ‘gypsies’ have been represented, compared to their actual social realities, and how those two are connected. Also, the ways in which these representations have fallen under either idealizing patterns or demonizing patterns, for example the passionate gypsy woman or the baby thief. There have been some representations that are more sensitive to actual realities, and the book does deal with some of those.”

Radulescu has been a member of the faculty at W&L since 1992. She received her B.A. from Loyola University of Chicago, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.