Feature Stories Campus Events

Visiting Fellow at Brookings Institution to Speak at W&L

James Ziliak, currently a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, will discuss “Human Capital, Social Policy, and the Challenge of Persistent Poverty in America” on Thursday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. in Room A214 in the Science Center at Washington and Lee University.

The talk is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by W&L’s Shepherd Program and University Lecture Series.

Ziliak is a professor of economics at the University of Kentucky and director of the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research. While at W&L, he will meet with students in the Shepherd Poverty Program courses.

Ziliak has authored or co-authored more than 30 publications. He received his B.A. and B.S. from Purdue University and M.A. and Ph.D. from Indiana University.


Richardson Discusses Newspaper’s Decision to Abandon Print

The announcement this week that the Christian Science Monitor was ceasing publication of a daily print edition and would appear online only did not surprise Brian Richardson, head of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at Washington and Lee University.

The question all along, Richardson said, was which newspaper would be the first to abandon print. In hindsight, he added, the Monitor was probably the likeliest candidate because the paper did not depend on local advertising.

“Changing the economic model is the big hurdle right now,” said Richardson, a former print and broadcast journalist. “Print publications are destined to become niche publications. For newspapers from the Wall Street Journal to the Roanoke Times, the primary product is going to be the Web one of these days, because the delivery system is much more efficient and cheaper and accessible.”

Richardson believes that the shift to Internet-only newspapers has the potential to make journalism better by improving the free flow of reliable information to the public. That is not to say, however, that there are no potential pitfalls.

“On one level, where we have conversations about what journalism is, this has the potential to improve our ability to make this critical information available. We are talking about the potential for more access, a much quicker feedback loop and more interactivity,” he said. “All of those things that, frankly, scare us to death but have wonderful potential for increasing citizen participation and re-engaging them in civic debate.”

But Richardson does worry that the speed with which the news is now gathered and disseminated can pose problems.

“It’s already a cliché, but we say that we are all working for wire services now, because everybody is on deadline all the time,” he said. “When these competitive concerns get factored in, you have to answer such questions as ‘Is it still “get it first but first get it right”? ’ Or ‘Is it “get it first, and we’ll clean it up later when we know more”?’ That’s a real concern.”

Washington and Lee’s journalism department began preparing for the shift to electronic-only publications more than a decade ago, adopting a curriculum that emphasized what Richardson calls a “convergence” model in which journalists collect information in multiple formats.

Getting students to be comfortable with the new tools was the easiest part of the process, said Richardson.

“When it comes to rolling up your sleeves and playing with the technology and exploring its possibilities, students don’t need prodding. Every once in a while you have to rein them in,” he said.

The more difficult part of the transition, he said, was changing the culture in which the print and electronic media operated in very different arenas.

“In the old days, the farmer and the cowboy couldn’t be friends,” said Richardson. “Print journalists didn’t take broadcast journalists seriously; broadcast journalists thought print journalists were elitists. That’s a broad characterization, but I think there is some truth in it.

“What we had to do as the first mission was tell people that this is about providing audiences with reliable information by using the strengths of whatever medium you’re working in and playing to the strengths of that medium and empowering audiences.”


Professor Larry Hurd Named First Herwick Professor of Biology

Lawrence E. Hurd, professor of biology at Washington and Lee University, has been named to the new Herwick Professorship of Biology. Announcement of Hurd’s appointment was made by W&L Provost June Aprille.

The John T. Herwick, M.D., Professorship in Biology was created 2008 by Dr. John T. Herwick, W&L Class of 1936, and his wife, Mary T. Herwick, as a memorial to Oscar E. and Edith D. Herwick, Dr. Herwick’s parents. The donors’ gift honors William Dana Hoyt, Ph.D., W&L professor of biology from 1920 to 1945, who was Dr. Herwick’s professor from 1932 to 1936.

Hurd joined the Washington and Lee faculty in 1993 as a full professor and served as head of the biology department for 15 years. Previous to this he was a professor of biology at the University of Delaware for 20 years. He is currently editor in chief of the Annals of the Entomological Society of America and fellow of the Royal Entomological Society of London.

“Professor Larry Hurd, a valuable member of the biology department, teaches key courses in the department, including Fundamentals of Biology, Ecology, Zoology, Entomology and Ethics and Biodiversity,” said Hank Dobin, dean of the college at W&L. “Respected by his colleagues in the department, in the college and in his discipline, Professor Hurd rightly is the first John T. Herwick, M.D. Professor of Biology.”

Hurd has authored more than 90 publications in journals including Science, American Naturalist, Ecology, Environmental Entomology and Animal Behaviour. He is also co-editor of “The Praying Mantids” (Johns Hopkins Press, 1999).

Hurd’s current research interests include tropical biodiversity, indicator species and human coexistence with nature; plant community succession and arthropod consumer diversity; and what regulates predator populations.

A graduate of Hiram College, Hurd received his Ph.D. from Syracuse University.


Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program Presents a Talk by Thomas Freeman

Thomas Freeman, current research fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., will give a talk at Washington and Lee University on Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 4:15 p.m., in Payne Hall, room 21. It is sponsored by the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program.

The event is free and open to the public. The title of Freeman’s lecture is “Women Martyrs During the Reign of (Bloody) Mary.”

Freeman is editor of the John Foxe Project at the University of Sheffield. An historian of martyrdom and monarchy in sixteenth-century England, Freeman is the editor of two recent books, Tudors and Stuarts on Film (Palgrave, 2008) and Martyrs and Martyrdom in England, 1400-1700 (Ashgate, 2007).

He has a forthcoming book, with Elizabeth Evanden, through Cambridge University Press: Religion and the Book: the Making of John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.


Michael Thompson ’09 Wins Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship

Michael Thompson ’09, from La Jolla, Calif., and a senior at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., has recently been awarded a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship which will continue his education for an academic year in one of five cities.

He won’t be told until mid-December 2008 whether he’ll be studying in Rio de Janiero, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru; Toluca, Mexico; or Istanbul, Turkey. Thompson was asked as part of his scholarship application where he would like to study and why.

His scholarship application had to be in the language of the school he would be attending–Portuguese for Rio de Janiero, Spanish for Santiago, Lima and Toluca and English for Istanbul. If the Rotary program sends him to Turkey he would need to learn Turkish although the school he would be attending there is taught in English. And he already knows Portuguese and Spanish.

The Rotary Ambassadorial Program aims to further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries and geographical areas. While abroad, scholars serve as goodwill ambassadors to the host country and give presentations about their homelands to Rotary clubs and other groups. Upon returning home, scholars share with Rotarians and others the experiences that led to a greater understanding of their host country.

“I am very pleased Mike won the Rotary Scholarship,” said Christopher Connors, associate professor of geology. “During study abroad programs at Washington and Lee, Mike has developed a passion for travel and learning about new cultures, particularly Brazilian culture. The sciences are no less in need of cultural understanding than any other discipline, and in many ways more so. Most of the challenges we face in the geosciences cross borders and cultures and are global in nature.”

Thompson, a geology major with a concentration in environmental studies, said the places he would like to study next year are “geologically interesting. There is a fault line running from South America up through the Rockies in the U.S. Turkey is also a heavily faulted area.”

Connors also said, “The Rotary Scholarship will allow him to strengthen his understanding of another culture while preparing for graduate study and a career in the geosciences. He is the type of personable, motivated, and intelligent student the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship seeks to nurture with their program.”

Currently at W&L, Thompson serves on the Student Judicial Council and is a third-year member of the rugby club, a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and a member of the Cycling Team.

When asked what he planned on doing after his scholarship year is over Thompson said that “it’s still a question mark. I might want to be a geologist for a couple of years, or an environmental consultant. I might be interested in starting up an environmental energy company. I can’t say for sure right now.”


Hansen Babington ’09 Wins Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship

Washington and Lee University senior Hansen Babington ’09 of Mobile, Ala., has been awarded a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to attend either La Universidad Complutense de Madrid, a large public university in Madrid, Spain, or La Universidad Torcuato di Tella, a private school in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Babington will be abroad for either 10 or 12 months, depending on the school to which he’s assigned. He’ll be told which school that will be in December or January.

The Rotary Ambassadorial Program aims to further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries and geographical areas. While abroad, scholars serve as goodwill ambassadors to the host country and give presentations about their homelands to Rotary clubs and other groups. Upon returning home, scholars share with Rotarians and others the experiences that led to a greater understanding of their host country.

“I am thrilled to have won the Rotary scholarship,” said Babington. “It will give me the resources to build off of my studies at W&L and begin studying international journalism. I hope to use my studies to start a career that will allow me to pursue my love of language and contribute to the intercultural exchange of ideas.”

Babington will attend a Rotary seminar to orient him as to his responsibilities to his host and sponsor Rotary clubs during his time as an Ambassadorial scholar, as well to prepare him for the writing and presentation of the 18 speeches he’ll be required to make to Rotary clubs in his host country. The wrap-up speech to his home sponsor Rotary Club, in Mobile, Ala., will be after his fellowship is over.

Babington never imagined he’d be studying journalism in Spanish but his language background at W&L will help him. “Professor Ellen Mayock urged me to look at pursuing a scholarship in the first place,” said Babington. “She gave me invaluable help and advice on the Spanish language portion of my application – in fact, she was the one who sparked an interest in me about studying the Spanish language.”

“I would say that Hansen has just the qualities that will make him a fine Rotary ambassador in either Spain or Argentina,” said Ellen Mayock, associate professor of Spanish at W&L. “As a Spanish and English major he has fine-tuned his reading and writing skills in both languages. He loves the Spanish language, has a keen ability to read and write in the language and to capture nuance of the written word, and is zealous about working with both English and Spanish in the community.”

Mayock continued, “I am delighted that Hansen will be able to use the many skills and the extensive knowledge he has gained at W&L when he travels abroad next year with Rotary,”

At W&L, Babington volunteers for ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and is a member and treasurer of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He has played on the Rugby team for four years, serving as captain this year, is a member of the Cycling Club and participates in triathlons.


Law-Media Symposium to Explore Free Speech on the World “Wild” Web

No technology, besides television, has had a greater impact on our society than the Internet. Fifteen years have passed since it reached the mainstream, and we’re still struggling to keep up with the breakneck pace of evolution and innovation.

On Nov. 14-15, top First Amendment scholars and new media journalists will converge on Washington and Lee University to explore these issues at the 2nd annual Law and Media Symposium, “The Wild, Wild Web: Free Speech, Libel and the First Amendment in the Digital Age.”

The two-day symposium, which is free and open to the public, begins at 9 a.m. each day, and will be held in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall, W&L School of Law.

The many changes in the Internet have hit the news media hard. While the demand for online news grows, newsroom staffs contract and even the largest papers are scrambling to find viable replacements for fading revenue. At the same time, new technologies built on the speed of the Internet have put unprecedented power in the hands of everyday citizens, who can now take part in an unregulated marketplace of ideas and commerce that extends to millions. Defining and policing free speech in this chaotic space has confounded the courts and legal scholars alike.

Made possible through the generous support of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the symposium will include speakers, panels and a moot court exercise involving students and the audience as judge and jury.

“The Reynolds Foundation has provided us a unique opportunity to explore together the intersection of law, public policy and journalism in the age of new media,” says Brian Richardson, head of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications. “This is enormously important and very exciting.”

The symposium’s speakers include:

  • Jim Brady, vice president and executive editor of washingtonpost.com; board member of the Online News Association; former vice president and editorial director for AOL.
  • Erwin Chemerinsky, expert in constitutional law and federal civil procedure; law professor at USC, DePaul and Duke; founding dean of the law school of the University of California, Irvine.
  • John Harris, co-founder and editor in chief of The Politico newspaper and politico.com; author of “The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House” and co-author of “The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008.”
  • The Hon. Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; a judicial conservative and well-known free-speech advocate, mentioned as a possible U.S. Supreme Court candidate.
  • Rodney A. Smolla, dean and Steinheimer Professor of Law at W&L’s School of Law; First Amendment expert and frequent commentator on legal disputes involving online media.
  • Mike Allen, chief political writer for politico.com and a W&L graduate, will join the panel on Saturday.

“This promises to be one of the most exciting programs of the year,” said Smolla. “Erwin Chemerinsky and Judge Alex Kozinski are two of the nation’s most provocative and engaging commentators on the Constitution and American culture. Combined with the insights of Jim Brady and John Harris, this will be a blockbuster show on one of the most interesting issues of media law and policy of our times.”

Day one, beginning at 9 a.m., will feature lectures and Q&A sessions by the panelists. In addition, Smolla will lead a moot court exercise where he will present oral arguments on both sides of a dispute before a fictional Supreme Court. The audience and panelists will serve as the Court’s justices.

Day two, beginning at 9 a.m., will feature a panel and free-form discussion on Internet protections of political speech in light of the just-concluded presidential race. The panel will be moderated by Journalism Department head Brian Richardson.

The symposium is being conducted with special funding from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, 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. The Foundation has awarded more than $4 million in grants to the University’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications to establish a faculty chair in business journalism, to fund summer internships for business journalism majors, and to enhance interdisciplinary teaching programs in business, law and journalism.


Rough Beauty by Dave Anderson Open Nov. 10 in Staniar Gallery

Rough Beauty, an exhibition of photographs by Dave Anderson, will be on view in Staniar Gallery on the campus of Washington and Lee University November 10 through December 12, 2008. The exhibit chronicles Anderson’s photographic documentation of the town of Vidor, Texas.

Between fall 2003 and early 2006, Anderson made 50 trips to Vidor, a hard-scrabble community in southeast Texas reviled for its history of Klan activities. Rough Beauty reveals the lingering effects of this history in a town struggling to create a new identity from a difficult past. Anderson’s photographs also bring to light the resiliency and hidden beauty within this community.

Anderson and Rough Beauty have received international acclaim and have been profiled on NPR and on Canadian television. Rough Beauty was the winner of the Santa Fe center for Photography 2005 Project Competition.

Primarily self-taught, Anderson has worked for the past three years as a full-time fine art and commercial photographer. In this short time he has been recognized as “one of the shooting stars of the American photo scene” by Germany’s fotoMAGAZIN and named to the “PDN 30” list by Photo District News, the much anticipated annual list of 30 emerging photographers.

His work has been featured in numerous magazines including Esquire, Stern, ESPN, Photo District News and British Journal of Photography. Various pieces are also in the collection of museums including the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the George Eastman House, the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.

Anderson will give an artist’s talk at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 12 in the Wilson Hall Concert Gallery. The talk will be followed by a reception in the Wilson Hall Lykes Atrium. The public is invited to attend both events.

During the exhibition, Anderson will spend a week in Washington and Lee University’s Art Department as a Visiting Artist.

Staniar Gallery is located on the second floor of Wilson Hall, in Washington and Lee University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For additional information call 540.458.8861.


New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt to Speak at Journalism Ethics Institute

Clark F. Hoyt, The New York Times public editor, will deliver the keynote speech at Washington and Lee University’s 46th Institute on Journalism Ethics on Friday, Nov. 7, at 5:30 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

The title of Hoyt’s speech is “You Must Be Dumber Than You Look – My Life Second-Guessing The New York Times.” The event is free and open to the public.

The public editor, the paper’s in-house critic and scold, works outside of the reporting and editing structure of the newspaper and receives and answers questions or comments from readers and the public, principally about articles published in the paper. Hoyt additionally publishes periodic commentaries about The Times’ journalistic practices and current journalistic issues in general, when he believes they are warranted.

After starting his newspaper career in 1966 at The Ledger in Lakeland, Fla., Hoyt began working for Knight Ridder at the Detroit Free Press in 1968 as a general assignment reporter and then political reporter. He became Washington correspondent for The Miami Herald in 1970, was later a national correspondent for Knight Ridder and then news editor of its Washington bureau.

He was named business editor of the Free Press and then managing editor of the Wichita (Kan.) Eagle-Beacon from 1981-85, before returning to Washington where he became bureau chief of Knight Ridder in 1987. He was Knight Ridder’s vice president/news from 1993-99. From 1999 until the sale of Knight Ridder, he was Washington editor, with responsibility for the Washington bureau and the editorial operations of Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

After the sale of Knight Ridder to The McClatchy Co. in 2006, Hoyt became a newsroom consultant to McClatchy to help with transition issues. In 2007, he joined The New York Times.

Hoyt shared the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting with Robert S. Boyd in 1973 for their coverage of Democratic vice presidential nominee Thomas Eagleton’s history of treatment for severe depression. In 2004 he received the John S. Knight Gold Medal, Knight Ridder’s highest employee award.

Hoyt is a director of the foundation of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and a former chairman of the National Press Foundation.

He is a graduate of Columbia College, the undergraduate liberal arts school at Columbia University.


Environmental Ethicist Andrew Light to Speak at W&L

On Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 4:45 p.m., the Society and the Professions Program in Ethics at Washington and Lee University will sponsor a lecture by Andrew Light, associate professor of philosophy and environmental policy at George Mason University (GMU).

The event, which is at the Stackhouse Theater in Elrod Commons, is free and open to the public. The title of Light’s talk is “Climate Ethics After Bali.”

Light is also director at the Center for Global Ethics at GMU and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. He is an internationally recognized environmental ethicist specializing in the ethical dimensions of environmental policy, restoration ecology and climate change.

Light described his talk, “With the effective end of the debate over the basic science of climate change, and the dramatic shift in the U.S. political response to this issue, the world should now move quickly toward a successor agreement to the Kyoto protocol. This was the overwhelming consensus coming out of the last UN Framework on Climate Change conference held in Bali last December.

“What will be the role of ethicists in forming this new agreement? Will there be a role for ethicists in this process? “

After reviewing the current state of work on the ethics of climate change in the English speaking world, I will argue that philosophers need to move quickly to develop a more “clinical” model of climate ethics, comparable to clinical models of bioethics, if they want to be part of the resolution of this critical problem,” Light concluded.

He has authored, co-authored and edited 17 books on environmental ethics, philosophy of technology and aesthetics, including Environmental Values (2008), The Aesthetics of Everyday Life (2005), Moral and Political Reasoning in Environmental Practice (2003) and Technology and the Good Life? (2000). He is currently finishing a book on the ethics of restoration ecology in a changing climate.

Light received his B.A. from Mercer University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside.