Feature Stories Campus Events

First Johnson Scholars Arrive at Washington and Lee

Aug. 30, 2008, the first 41 Johnson Scholars will arrive for orientation at Washington and Lee University. The Johnson Scholarship Program was established through a $100 million donation to the university in 2007. It is highly competitive and recognizes students with outstanding academic qualifications and the promise for leadership in their chosen careers and future endeavors. Scholarships are valued at between $150,000 to $200,000 over a four-year period.

“This is a group of excellent students with academic accomplishments measured against the highest national standards,” said Robert Strong, associate provost and director of the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity.

Twenty-two of the 41 students have at least one perfect score on a national college entrance examination, and at least five have more than one perfect score. Eleven students have earned a distinction in the National Merit competition, either a national merit scholarship or official designation as a semi-finalist or a commended student.

They are also diverse. They come from 18 different states, from New York to California and from Louisiana to Wisconsin. Two currently live overseas (in Great Britain and Poland), but many have spent extended periods in other countries or are first-generation Americans with close ties to the native countries of their parents. The international connections involve India, Russia, China, the Ukraine, Japan and Spain. Five are the first in their family to attend college.

They have a wide variety of interests. One has been performing Irish dance since second grade. Another is a costumed guide in Yorktown, and a member of a fife and drum corps. There are three Eagle Scouts, a poetry prize winner, a member of a mock trial team that came in fourth in a national competition, a second-place winner in a national patriotism essay contest, a congressional page, multiple participants in governor’s schools, and three winners of Virginia high school leadership awards. Three were presidents of their high school student body; two were heads of student judicial boards; four were captains of athletic or debate teams; one was the secretary general of a model United Nations.

Like many young people they do volunteer work of many kinds, but Strong was particularly impressed by one of the Johnson winners who has been going to Haiti for the last three summers to build latrines. “I would think that it takes some dedication to do that job more than once,” he said.

A few examples of the abilities of other Johnson winners:

A budding entrepreneur among these scholars already has experience as the designer and businesswoman behind “Miss O,” her successful brand of fashion accessories.

Another student earned first place in the State Science Fair in Medicine.

W&L students might recognize a face among the Johnson Scholars. From fourth through tenth grade, she starred in the Emmy award-winning children’s education television show “The NASA Sci-Files,” produced by NASA and aired on PBS and in classrooms across the country.

The sports are well represented among these scholars, including a girl who is both captain of and plays in the number one singles spot on the boy’s varsity tennis team. There are also two Tae Kwon Do black belts.

The $100 million gift that established the Johnson Scholarship program was the largest ever in the 259-year-old school’s history and one of the largest ever to a liberal arts college. It is structured so that $85 million will go to scholarships and need-based financial aid, and $15 million to professorships, lectures and programs focused on leadership.

Each Johnson Scholar will have his or her tuition and room and board paid in full. Some students will have full cost-of-attendance scholarships, covering tuition, room and board, travel to and from Lexington, living expenses and incidentals such as books.

“We are delighted to welcome these exceptional students,” said W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio. “Graduating debt-free will liberate them to make more generous and visionary life decisions than would otherwise be possible.”

Representing all 50 states, D.C., and 41 countries, 1,873 students applied for the Johnson Scholarships, and W&L selected 159 to take part in the inaugural Johnson Scholarship Competition in February 2008. This was the strongest and most diverse group of scholarship finalists ever brought to campus. They boasted average SAT scores of 1,510, ranked on average in the top three percent of their classes and held positions of leadership in all facets of life.

Over the course of two days, applicants sat in on classes, met professors and mingled with students. They attended three interviews; one with a panel of faculty, one with a panel of students and one with an admissions representative. W&L weighed writing samples, teacher recommendations and records of leadership, citizenship and involvement in non-academic activities, along with their potential to contribute to the intellectual and civic life of W&L and the world at large in years to come.


W&L Professor Paul Gregory Authors Book on Quine’s Naturalism

Paul A. Gregory, associate professor of philosophy at Washington and Lee, has written a book titled Quine’s Naturalism: Language, Theory, and the Knowing Subject (Continuum Studies in American Philosophy), which offers a new interpretation of philosopher W.V. Quine’s views of naturalism.

According to Gregory, “Quine was the most important naturalistic philosopher of the 20th century and a major impetus for the recent resurgence of the view that empirical science is our best avenue to knowledge. His views, however, have not been well understood.”

To help in the understanding of Quine’s views on language, knowledge and reality, Gregory offers new views and interpretations on Quine’s naturalism, while at the same time defending it. Gregory says, “The naturalism/antinaturalism debate can be advanced only by acknowledging and critiquing the substantial theoretical commitments implicit in the traditional view.”

“Paul Gregory has written a wonderfully clear and useful book on Quine’s naturalistic epistemology. Gregory does a fine job of explaining central Quinean doctrines and their interrelationship, as well as providing an illuminating defense of these views against various objections, “ said Professor Hilary Kornblith, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

James E. Mahon, professor of philosophy and chair of W&L’s department of philosophy, commented, “I am delighted that Paul’s book has been published. W.V. Quine is the most important philosopher of the 20th Century after Wittgenstein, I would say, and Paul is an expert on him. Quine’s Naturalism: Language, Theory, and the Knowing Subject is a culmination of Paul’s work over the years, and as a colleague I am very happy for him. He has worked tirelessly for us and our majors, and it is great to see him rewarded.”

Gregory has been a member of the faculty at W&L since 2005 and before that was a visiting professor at W&L from 2002-2005. He received his B.A. from Syracuse University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


W&L Awarded $600,000 Grant to Expand Environmental Studies Program

Washington and Lee University has been awarded a four-year, $600,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to expand and enhance place-based learning in its interdisciplinary Environmental Studies program. The grant will enable W&L to create a specialization in the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, the nation’s largest estuary and the largest Atlantic watershed, where critically important ecological services are being eroded by pollution, over-fishing and other impacts of development.

The Chesapeake Bay program will add a domestic component to the program’s already strong international program in the Brazilian Amazon, providing students an opportunity to engage in comparative analysis of two critically important watersheds, and to examine environmental policies that differ from one country to another for historical, cultural, political and environmental reasons.

“W&L’s Environmental Studies Program takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the causes, consequences and solutions to environmental problems,” said James Kahn, John F. Herndon Professor of Economics and head of the Environmental Studies program at W&L. “The Chesapeake Bay Program provides an excellent opportunity to integrate ecology, economics, ethics, geology, public policy and many other disciplines into this framework.

“We already have a program in Brazil which provides a strong place-based learning opportunity with significant opportunities for student research and internships,” Kahn continued. “The Chesapeake Bay program provides a domestic counterpart which accomplishes the same academic goals, provides opportunities for comparisons and creates a mechanism for close ties between the University and the communities that share our watershed. To my knowledge, W&L is among the few top liberal arts universities which offer both domestic and international opportunities in this area.”

Kahn notes that the focus of the Chesapeake Bay program will be on the upper watershed and how decisions made by communities and individuals in that region affect the bay as a whole. The program is intended to help those communities make better decisions concerning a variety of ways to reduce pollution in the watershed. Students will see the difficulty of solving problems associated with the complex interactions of community dynamics, science, the economy and policy making and, over time, realize the results of those efforts.

“The Chesapeake Bay watershed program will complement our Amazonian program to result in a truly unique approach to Environmental Studies at Washington and Lee,” said June R. Aprille, W&L’s provost. “The comparisons of political, social and cultural factors that impact policy and practice in these two important environments will create very rich interdisciplinary educational opportunities. With its unusual blend of professional, pre-professional and liberal arts programs, W&L is uniquely suited to develop this kind of integrated study and research.”

The grant will make possible the expansion of W&L’s Environmental Studies program—recently elevated from a concentration to a major—in a number of ways, adding a tenure-track faculty position, increasing the number of student internships and faculty-mentored student research opportunities and more fully integrating the program with W&L’s biology department.

Environmental Studies course offerings will also increase to meet the demand among W&L students, which has risen dramatically in recent years. The program added more sections of its introductory course and has plans for new courses in aquatic ecology and environmental modeling, interdisciplinary courses which integrate science and policy and a team-taught capstone course.

Robert Humston, assistant professor of biology and the program’s newest faculty member, plans to develop a two-course sequence for the Chesapeake Bay program. “The winter term course will be a broad watershed ecology and management course, which will be classroom-based and will consider not just the structure and function of watersheds, but also the major issues facing them with respect to conservation and management,” Humston said. “The spring term course will be a field-based course that will take students from the headwater streams in the mountains to the river mouths at the bay and will explore all the concepts covered in the classroom course from the ground level.”

The addition of the Chesapeake Bay program will help more students fulfill the Environmental Studies program’s experiential learning component—an internship, a research project or an approved study abroad, leading to a capstone paper or honors thesis—that is a requirement for the major. And W&L students won’t be the only ones to benefit. Brazilian students studying at W&L as part of the U.S.-Brazil Consortium will be actively involved in the Chesapeake Bay program and eligible for funding to do research or internships with agencies and non-governmental organizations in the Chesapeake Bay areas, which will enhance their experience.

“With this generous support from the Mellon Foundation, the University’s Environmental Studies Program will move to an important new stage in its development,” said W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio. “Washington and Lee takes pride in educating students prepared for their future responsibilities as citizens and leaders, and few issues will be more central to the lives of this student generation than the environment.”


W&L Mourns the Loss of Anne Scott Farrar Willett

The Washington and Lee community is mourning the loss of Anne Scott Farrar Willett, 81, a long-time and valued member of the W&L family. She died on August 26 at the Westminster-Canterbury retirement community in Lynchburg, surrounded by her family. In addition to her nine-year career in development at W&L, Mrs. Willett was the widow of James D. Farrar ’49, the long-time dean of admissions at W&L; the mother of James D. Farrar Jr. ’74, secretary of the University and assistant to the president, and of Scott Farrar ’76; the mother-in-law of Brice B. Williams ’78; and the grandmother of Katharine D. Farrar ’11.

Mrs. Willett was born Dec. 28, 1926, in Lynchburg, Va., the daughter of Kirkwood Duval Scott and Lois Hickson Scott. She graduated from Lynchburg’s E.C. Glass High School, attended Agnes Scott College, and graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in 1947 with a B.A. in English. On Nov. 4, 1950, she married James D. Farrar. Mr. Farrar passed away in 1993. She later married J. Frank Willett, of Lookout Mountain, Tenn.; he died in 2002.

Mrs. Willett worked at Virginia Military Institute’s Preston Library from 1965 to 1976 and as director of research for the VMI Foundation from 1978 to 1985. In February 1985, she joined W&L as assistant director of development. She retired on June 30, 1994, as associate director of development and director for corporate and foundation support.

“Anne and her family have been an important part of W&L for a long time. She was one of the people who makes this such a special place,” said President Ken Ruscio ’76. “Kim and I send our thoughts and prayers to all of her loved ones.” Mrs. Willett belonged to the Lexington Presbyterian Church and was a former member of the High Bridge Presbyterian Church and the Blue Ridge Garden Club. Active in her children’s education, she served on various PTA organizations, including a term as president of The Episcopal High School’s Parents and Friends Committee.

Mrs. Willett is survived by her sister, Lois Scott Mengel, of Danville, Va.; her daughter, Anne F. Williams, son-in-law, Brice B. Williams, of Atlanta, and their children, James M. Williams and Hayden S. Williams; her son, James D. Farrar Jr., daughter-in-law, Katharine C. Farrar, of Lexington, and their children, James D. Farrar III, Lyle H. Farrar and Katharine D. Farrar; and her son, D. Scott Farrar of Chapel Hill, N.C., daughter-in-law, Linda K. Farrar, of Apex, N.C., and their son, Andrew S. Farrar. She was preceded in death by a grandson, R. Wiatt Farrar.

The memorial service for Mrs. Willett will be this Thursday, Aug. 28, at 11:00 a.m. at the Lexington Presbyterian Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to the Class of 1974/James D. Farrar Sr. Scholarship, c/o Development Office, Washington and Lee University, 204 W. Washington St., Lexington, VA 24450-2116.


Charles Johnson’s Essay “The End of the Black American Narrative” First Given as Address in W&L’s Lee Chapel

When the full house of student and faculty in W&L’s Lee Chapel listened to Charles Johnson give the Martin Luther King Jr. day address in January 2008, titled “The End of the Black American Narrative,” they had no idea of the explosion of interest his arguments would eventually generate. Associate Dean of Students Tamara Futrell brought Johnson to campus.

Following his visit to W&L, Johnson revised his address into essay form and The American Scholar published it in the summer 2008 issue. The publication’s Web site editor reports that in the first week of its publication the essay drew some 3,800 visitors. Bookstore managers have written to Johnson to report that issues of The American Scholar have been “flying off the shelves,” fueled by his provocative arguments. Johnson was also interviewed on the Joe Hicks radio show to discuss the essay and its applicability to today’s political climate. Also, in recent weeks numerous blogs have engaged the essay and discussed its timely perspective on American culture.

“That such a major essay in American cultural thought originated in an address at W&L is quite significant,” says Marc Conner, professor of English and director of African-American Studies. Conner is a founding member of the Charles Johnson Society, hosted at W&L, which focuses on Johnson’s work and its literary and cultural importance. His most recent book is “Charles Johnson: The Novelist as Philosopher,” co-edited with William Nash of Middlebury (University Press of Mississippi, 2007).

“Johnson’s main argument,” says Conner, “is that a single narrative has long dominated African-American culture and history: the narrative of African-Americans’ enslavement, oppression, victimization and struggle for civil rights and full political status in a racist society. That narrative, Johnson argues, held true up to the Civil Rights movement, but in that movement’s aftermath it has lost its purchase. Today’s African-American population, Johnson claims, is far too numerous (over 30 million people), too diverse (witness Barack Obama’s mixed parentage and cultural background), and too spread across America’s entire class spectrum to admit of a single spokesperson or of a single story that defines their enormous diversity.”

Conner adds that the essay has found both enthusiastic admiration and also insightful criticism from all American perspectives and ethnicities. “The long narrative of African-American struggle and the history of that culture’s victimization is one that demands respect and honor. Though Johnson is hardly dismissing that narrative–quite the contrary–he is saying that it does not apply in the same way in the 21st century.”

President Ruscio notes that “the Johnson piece is an example of a thoughtful and provocative essay being well-timed, given the Obama candidacy, among other things, and the interest in trying to determine whether we have moved to a new narrative in understanding race in our culture. It has shaped the public conversation on a complex issue and enriched our understanding, whether one agrees with Professor Johnson or not. Washington and Lee is proud to have played its part in hosting this important event.”

W&L rising junior Alecia Flynn, a student in the African-American Studies Program, who met Johnson and heard his talk, thinks Johnson makes legitimate and interesting points that encourage us to ask timely questions of ourselves, our communities and our nation. “Reading the article for myself, as opposed to listening to it read aloud in Lee Chapel, made for a much more reflective and meaningful rendition of a most thought-provoking analysis,” she says. “We certainly are privileged to have had such a great mind present this at W&L.”

Johnson’s essay can be read at http://www.theamericanscholar.org/su08/narrative-johnson.html.

The Charles Johnson Society Web site, which is hosted at W&L can be seen at http://charlesjohnson.wlu.edu/.


Washington and Lee University Editor Named Finalist for Literary Award

Washington and Lee’s R.T. Smith, editor of Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review, is one of three finalists for the poetry prize at the 11th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards. His nominated book is “Outlaw Style: Poems,” from the University of Arkansas Press.

Smith, who has edited Shenandoah since 1995, has published 13 collections of poetry, including “The Hollow Log Lounge” and “Trespasser.” In 2002, he received the Library of Virginia’s poetry award for “Messenger.” He has published two collections of stories, “Uke Rivers Delivers” and “Faith.” His work is frequently anthologized in such books as “New Stories from the South: 2008” and appears in many periodicals, including Atlantic Monthly and Gettysburg Review. He also teaches literature and writing at Washington and Lee University.

“Every year these awards are a testament to the variety and robustness of the literary arts in Virginia,” said Smith. “Because I think ‘Outlaw Style’ is my riskiest and most eccentric book, I’m especially delighted that it’s receiving recognition from the Library of Virginia.”

The other two finalists for the 2008 poetry award are Constance Merritt, for “Blessings and Inclemencies: Poems” (Louisiana State University Press) and Charles Wright, “Littlefoot” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). An independent panel of judges selected the finalists in the categories of poetry, fiction and non-fiction from among 138 nominated books. The winners will be announced on Oct. 18 at a gala ceremony at the Library of Virginia, in Richmond.


W&L Concludes Outstanding Fund-Raising Year

Washington and Lee University concluded a stellar fund-raising year on June 30. New gifts and pledges, the best indicator of support for any college, totaled $37.6 million, up from $26.1 million a year ago after subtracting extraordinary gifts. The previous year included historic commitments of $100 million from Rupert H. Johnson Jr. ’62 and $33 million from H. F. (Gerry) Lenfest ’53, ’55L.

“The past year continued the University’s momentum in fund-raising,” said Dennis Cross, vice president for University advancement. “Our progress reflects the positive feelings alumni, parents, and friends share about Washington and Lee under the leadership of President Ruscio.

“W&L is blessed to have magnificent, loyal supporters who care deeply about this place and its distinctiveness,” Cross continued. “They appreciate a W&L education and what it continues to mean to them. They want today’s students to enjoy the best liberal arts and legal education possible and to ensure the presence of the best and most dedicated faculty.”

Overall for 2007-08, cash received from private sources totaled $51.1 million, up from $38.6 million in the previous year. Of this amount, more than $44 million went into endowment or new or renovated facilities.

W&L’s Annual Fund set a new record, with 11,036 donors giving $6.85 million, an increase of almost 11 percent from 2006-07. The Annual Fund has increased from $4.69 to the $6.85 million in four years, and now represents more than seven percent of the University’s unrestricted operating budget. Without the Annual Fund, the University would need an additional $137 million in unrestricted endowment monies.

Both undergraduate and law alumni and parents set new records for giving to the Annual Fund, with alumni contributing an unprecedented $5.79 million and parents exceeding $1 million in gifts to the Parents Fund for the first time. According to Tres Mullis, executive director of University development, a significant factor in the Annual Fund results was the success of the first year of The President’s Society, recognizing gifts of $2,500 or more to the Annual Fund. 730 donors became charter members of The President’s Society in 2007-08.

Within The President’s Society, Mullis also reported that 6 donors joined the new Founders’ Circle which includes Annual Fund gifts of $50,000 or more. Other significant growth occurred within the George Washington Associates with its membership increasing 95% to 406 members. This giving level within The President’s Society recognizes gifts of $2,500 to $4,999. 

Another significant factor in the record Annual Fund was the leadership of chair Bill Wallace ’74 ’77L, Law chair Rob Aliff ’91 97L, and Parents Leadership Council chairs Buddy and Ginger Pickle. Hundreds of others made a big difference as reunion leaders, class agents or volunteers, alumni chapter officers, Trustees and advisory council members.

“The success of the Annual Fund brings real and tangible benefits directly to the institution and enhances our ability to provide an exceptional education for our students,” said President Ken Ruscio. “It also instills a sense of shared enterprise and mutual commitment among so many parents, alumni and friends.”

Beyond the difference made by the Annual Fund, Cross noted that students, faculty and staff experience every day the benefits of other gifts made recently, including: the dedication of Holekamp Hall (the former Co-Op) last fall, the improvements to Wilson Field, plans for the renovation and restoration of the Colonnade, plans for the new W&L Hillel House and the arrival of some of the nation’s top students supported by the new Johnson Scholars program and other endowed scholarships.

Other benefits seen every day include the recognition of the University’s best teachers–scholars with named professorships, more competitive faculty salaries through progress in meeting the Lenfest Challenge, the opening of the new exhibition in the Lee Chapel & Museum which highlights Washington and Lee’s role in educating to build and rebuild a nation, renovations to Leyburn Library, enhancements to undergraduate science education and support of the University’s schools, departments and programs.

“A Washington and Lee, education would be quite different without the support we receive each year from each person and the ongoing legacy we derive from the precious resources provided over the generations,” Cross said. “We can be very proud of the fruits of our shared vision and our collective generosity invested in our students, faculty, campus and programs. As we begin the early stages of a new campaign, we are well positioned for an historic effort that will continue the legacy shared by the members of the Washington and Lee community.”


Shenandoah Wins Governor’s Award for the Arts

Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review has won a prestigious Governor’s Award for the Arts for 2008. Governor Timothy M. Kaine will present it to Shenandoah, which won in the category of arts organizations and artistic directors, and nine other recipients at the state capitol, in Richmond, on Sept. 17. Accepting the prize will be Shenandoah’s editor, R.T. Smith, and its managing editor, Lynn Leech.

Shenandoah, founded in 1950 by Washington and Lee students and faculty members, is an acclaimed tri-annual journal of poetry, short stories, reviews and essays. Recent contributors and subjects include poet Claudia Emerson, novelist Joyce Carol Oates and essayist Wendell Berry. Works from Shenandoah often appear in such anthologies as “Best American Short Stories,” “Best American Poems” and “The Pushcart Prize.”

“This recognition for the magazine is really a tribute to the staff, the student interns, the writers and subscribers who invest their time and energy in the creation and distribution of serious writing,” said Smith, who has edited the publication for the past 13 years. “I hope it will also serve to remind people of Washington and Lee’s ongoing commitment to the fine arts. For the past 58 years, Shenandoah has been one expression of that commitment, and we’re very pleased both to serve this community of dedicated readers and to be cited among this year’s honorees for the Governor’s Award.”

Smith has published 13 collections of poetry, including “The Hollow Log Lounge” and “Trespasser.” In 2002, he received the Library of Virginia’s poetry award for “Messenger.” He has published two collections of stories, “Uke Rivers Delivers” and “Faith.” His work is frequently anthologized in such books as “New Stories from the South: 2008” and appears in periodicals such as Atlantic Monthly and Gettysburg Review. He also teaches literature and writing at Washington and Lee.

Leech, who has served as managing editor for the past 21 years, is a founder of the CLMP Literary Publishers Conference, held annually in conjunction with the Associated Writing Programs Conference.

“Shenandoah is among the premier literary journals in the nation, and we are gratified that the state of Virginia has recognized its excellence,” said Hank Dobin, dean of the College at Washington and Lee. “The university is proud to be affiliated with Shenandoah and to have Rod Smith, the journal’s editor and an acclaimed author of both fiction and poetry, on our staff. My thanks to Rod Smith and Lynn Leech for their fine work and for bringing attention to Shenandoah and W&L at the moment when we are promoting and celebrating the arts.”

Smith said, “George Washington himself wrote in 1798 that ‘to promote Literature in this rising Empire . . . [has] ever been among the warmest wishes of my heart,’ and in accordance with his wishes, the university strives to nourish a lively interest in the creation and enjoyment of literature.”

Other winners this year are individual artist: Ralph Stanley, Clintwood; arts organizations and artistic directors: Bob Brown Puppets, Arlington; Hampton University Museum, Hampton; Ralph Cohen and Jim Warren, Staunton; Richmond Ballet/Stoner Winslett, Richmond; Richmond Jazz Society, Richmond; Theatre IV/Bruce Miller and Phil Whiteway, Richmond; William King Regional Arts Center, Abingdon; and arts patrons: David and Susan Goode, Norfolk.

The Governor’s Awards have been given only three times before, in 1979, 1985 and 2000. The Virginians for the Arts Foundation and the Virginia Commission for the Arts selected the judges, Nancy Bagley Adams, former chair of the Virginia Commission for the Arts; J. Plunky Branch, noted musician, songwriter, music and film producer; L. Preston Bryant Jr., secretary of Natural Resources and former chair of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities; Amy Bridge, director of the Governor’s Mansion; Mary Jones of Abingdon, former board member of the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; and Charlene (Suny) Monk, executive director of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

For more on Shenandoah, see http://shenandoah.wlu.edu.


Shenandoah Wins Governor’s Award for the Arts

Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review has won a prestigious Governor’s Award for the Arts for 2008. Governor Timothy M. Kaine will present it to Shenandoah, which won in the category of arts organizations and artistic directors, and nine other recipients at the state capitol, in Richmond, on Sept. 17. Accepting the prize will be Shenandoah’s editor, R.T. Smith, and its managing editor, Lynn Leech.

Shenandoah, founded in 1950 by Washington and Lee students and faculty members, is an acclaimed tri-annual journal of poetry, short stories, reviews and essays. Recent contributors and subjects include poet Claudia Emerson, novelist Joyce Carol Oates and essayist Wendell Berry. Works from Shenandoah often appear in such anthologies as “Best American Short Stories,” “Best American Poems” and “The Pushcart Prize.”

“This recognition for the magazine is really a tribute to the staff, the student interns, the writers and subscribers who invest their time and energy in the creation and distribution of serious writing,” said Smith, who has edited the publication for the past 13 years. “I hope it will also serve to remind people of Washington and Lee’s ongoing commitment to the fine arts. For the past 58 years, Shenandoah has been one expression of that commitment, and we’re very pleased both to serve this community of dedicated readers and to be cited among this year’s honorees for the Governor’s Award.”

Smith has published 13 collections of poetry, including “The Hollow Log Lounge” and “Trespasser.” In 2002, he received the Library of Virginia’s poetry award for “Messenger.” He has published two collections of stories, “Uke Rivers Delivers” and “Faith.” His work is frequently anthologized in such books as “New Stories from the South: 2008” and appears in periodicals such as Atlantic Monthly and Gettysburg Review. He also teaches literature and writing at Washington and Lee.

Leech, who has served as managing editor for the past 21 years, is a founder of the CLMP Literary Publishers Conference, held annually in conjunction with the Associated Writing Programs Conference.

“Shenandoah is among the premier literary journals in the nation, and we are gratified that the state of Virginia has recognized its excellence,” said Hank Dobin, dean of the College at Washington and Lee. “The university is proud to be affiliated with Shenandoah and to have Rod Smith, the journal’s editor and an acclaimed author of both fiction and poetry, on our staff. My thanks to Rod Smith and Lynn Leech for their fine work and for bringing attention to Shenandoah and W&L at the moment when we are promoting and celebrating the arts.”

Smith said, “George Washington himself wrote in 1798 that ‘to promote Literature in this rising Empire . . . [has] ever been among the warmest wishes of my heart,’ and in accordance with his wishes, the university strives to nourish a lively interest in the creation and enjoyment of literature.”

Other winners this year are individual artist: Ralph Stanley, Clintwood; arts organizations and artistic directors: Bob Brown Puppets, Arlington; Hampton University Museum, Hampton; Ralph Cohen and Jim Warren, Staunton; Richmond Ballet/Stoner Winslett, Richmond; Richmond Jazz Society, Richmond; Theatre IV/Bruce Miller and Phil Whiteway, Richmond; William King Regional Arts Center, Abingdon; and arts patrons: David and Susan Goode, Norfolk.

The Governor’s Awards have been given only three times before, in 1979, 1985 and 2000. The Virginians for the Arts Foundation and the Virginia Commission for the Arts selected the judges, Nancy Bagley Adams, former chair of the Virginia Commission for the Arts; J. Plunky Branch, noted musician, songwriter, music and film producer; L. Preston Bryant Jr., secretary of Natural Resources and former chair of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities; Amy Bridge, director of the Governor’s Mansion; Mary Jones of Abingdon, former board member of the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; and Charlene (Suny) Monk, executive director of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.


Washington and Lee Commits to Heart Safety; Installs AEDs on Campus

Washington and Lee University has purchased 16 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) – 12 fixed and four mobile. The 12 fixed AEDs were installed Thursday, July 31, at various locations on campus.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) kills approximately 365,000 people in the United States annually. According to the American Heart Association, as many as 50 percent of SCA victims have no prior indication of heart disease; their first symptom is cardiac arrest.

The only definitive treatment for SCA is a defibrillation shock – an electrical pulse through the heart – which restores a normal heart rhythm. The chance of an SCA victim’s survival decreases by 7 to 10 percent for every minute that passes, so in order to be effective, defibrillation treatment must be administered within the first few minutes of cardiac arrest. After as little as 10 minutes, very few resuscitation attempts are successful.

“The AEDs make it possible for trained lay rescuers to provide immediate defibrillation, or an electrical shock to the heart, to a victim of cardiac arrest, even before arrival of emergency medical services. The survival rate following a cardiac arrest soars as much as 85 percent when an AED is applied immediately,” said Dr. Jane Horton, director of student health and counseling at W&L.

In addition to Dr. Horton, W&L’s AED implementation team includes Josh Williamson, head athletic trainer; Paul Burns, environmental health and safety officer; and Steve Tomlinson, associate director of Public Safety.

Many colleges and universities have instituted Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) programs with multiple AED units located in readily accessible areas on campus. The key components of a successful program are 1) ready access to AED units in multiple locations; 2) training of designated people in CPR and AED use; 3) using and maintaining AEDs according to manufacturer’s specifications; 4) physician oversight; and 5) integration with the local emergency medical services system/hospital.

Williamson is currently working on scheduling American Red Cross Adult CPR/AED courses which will be offered to interested W&L employees throughout the year. They will be notified of dates and times, when decided, via campus notices. The contact for these classes is Williamson. A CPR course is currently offered under physical education to W&L students.

The 12 Campus locations of AEDs:

  • Duchoissois Tennis Center (courtside)
  • 300 level Doremus Gym (Fitness Center lobby)
  • 100 level Doremus Gym (by pool entrance/squash and racquetball courts)
  • Stadium facility at Wilson Field
  • Lenfest Center lobby (Lenfest lobby/Box Office area)
  • Evans/Early-Fielding (lobby between the two buildings)
  • Elrod Commons atrium
  • Lee Chapel
  • Leyburn Library (beside elevator on Northen Auditorium level at present due to construction)
  • Gilliam Admission House
  • Law School (main entrance hallway area between library and classrooms)
  • Maintenance Facility

The four mobile units are located with Public Safety (1), Student Health (1), and with the Athletic Trainers (2).

For more information about AEDs, please contact Dr. Horton at jhorton@wlu.edu.