Feature Stories Campus Events

W&L Archaeology Students to Participate in Monticello Excavation

Students and faculty at Washington and Lee University will be teaming with archaeologists from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello this spring on an excavation of the house site of Jefferson’s overseer, Edmund Bacon.

Each spring for the past three decades, W&L has participated in major archaeology projects during the University’s spring term. The archaeological field methods course has conducted digs at the ruins of Liberty Hall, the three-story, late-18th-century building that housed Liberty Hall Academy, the predecessor to W&L, and the Longdale Mining Complex in western Virginia.

According to Alison Bell, assistant professor of anthropology at Washington and Lee, working at the Monticello site will provide the students with exceptional opportunities and challenges.

“This is an exciting collaboration with the department of archaeological research at Monticello,” said Bell. “Our students will be able to work with Monticello staff, including Frasier Neiman, the director of archaeology, Sara Bon-Harper, the archaeological research manager, and Jillian Galle, project manager of the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery. In addition, W&L students will learn state-of-the-art methods of archaeological excavation, recording, analysis and interpretation.”

The spring dig is part of a larger research project with Monticello and its Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS). The on-line database features detailed information about archaeological sites occupied by enslaved Africans and their descendants in the Chesapeake region, the Carolinas and the Caribbean during the colonial and antebellum periods.

“The project at Edmund Bacon’s house is part of an effort to understand how the non-elite European Americans lived in this era and in these places,” said Bell. “We have quite a lot of information about the elites of the time as well as fairly good documentation of the enslaved African Americans But this work will allow us to make some comparisons between how people like Edmund Bacon and his family lived and how enslaved people of the same period lived.”

Through the research, said Bell, it should be possible to get a greater understanding of the development of race and class in America. The excavation should provide important clues into the construction of the dwellings, the clothing and the eating habits of these non-elite whites.

“This is a broad center of the populace that has not had a great deal of study,” Bell said. “We hope to fill some blanks.”

Bell said that the excavation will have some significant logistical challenges, since the site itself is located in rugged terrain and at the very outskirts of the Monticello property.

Approximately 15 W&L students will participate in the dig this spring. Bell expects several future spring laboratories will also focus on the project.

“We will be entering our findings into DAACS, which makes the information available to anyone on the Internet,” Bell added.


W&L Joins Pilot Initiative with Hillel

Washington and Lee is among a group of seven national liberal arts colleges included in a pilot initiative being undertaken by Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, the largest Jewish campus organization in the world, to enhance the experience for Jewish students on smaller campuses.

Joan Robins, the director of Washington and Lee Hillel, attended a training seminar in October as part of the initiative.

“The first training seminar offered a wonderful opportunity to meet colleagues and exchange ideas,” said Robins. “While I am familiar with Hillel’s mission and values, it was helpful to discuss ways to apply these values to my work with students. The goal is to enrich the lives of Jewish students on campus. I am already feeling the support from the cohort — W&L is going to be able to send four students on the Birthright Israel program this winter.”

The other colleges in the pilot cohort are Bowdoin College, Colgate University, Franklin and Marshall College, Lehigh University, Middlebury College, and Williams College. The campuses were selected on the basis of having one paid profession dedicated to Jewish life on campus, high alumni involvement, an open relationship with Hillel and high academic rankings.

According to Deb Geiger, assistant director of the Soref Initiative for Emerging Campuses, the goal is to increase student engagement and to double the number of Jewish students who participate in immersion experiences such as Alternative Break and Taglit-Birthright Israel.

“There is tremendous potential to develop the Jewish student populations on these campuses by applying a more strategic and focused effort,” explained Geiger. “We want to ensure that despite the small population, Jewish students feel engaged in Jewish life and have access to the same opportunities, like Taglit-Birthright Israel, as do campuses with large Jewish student populations.”

Hillel has committed to the six-institution cohort for two years and will not only work to get students in more meaningful Jewish experience on and off campus but also to provide the professional with more skills, knowledge and resources.

Washington and Lee is currently in the midst of a fund-raising campaign to build a new W&L Hillel House as an effort to help increase Jewish student enrollment and build Jewish community life at the University. The goal of the campaign is $4 million, and the effort received a boost recently from a challenge gift from Donald Childress, rector of W&L’s board of trustees. Childress made a $500,000 pledge to the project as part of his $5-million gift to the University. W&L hopes to use the Childress challenge match to complete fund-raising in early 2009 so that construction can begin next summer.


Locy Contempt Citation Overturned

A federal appeals court has vacated a lower judge’s contempt order against the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications’ Reynolds Professor of Legal Journalism, Toni Locy, arising from stories she wrote when she was working for USA Today.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. issued the brief unsigned ruling Nov. 17. Locy had been cited for contempt for refusing to reveal sources she used in stories about the government’s investigation of former Army scientist Steven Hatfill.

Unidentified sources told several reporters, including Locy, that Hatfill was a possible suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people. In 2002 then-Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft called Hatfill a “person of interest” in the investigation.

Hatfill sued, alleging that FBI agents violated his privacy by leaking information to reporters about the government’s investigation into the anthrax attacks. On March 7, in response to a motion by Hatfill’s lawyers, Federal District Judge Reggie B. Walton ordered Locy to reveal her sources or pay up to $5,000 a day in fines from her own pocket. Four days later a higher court granted a stay while Locy appealed the ruling.

In that appeal, Locy urged the court to decide her case. But last summer Hatfill and the government settled the case for $5.8 million, and Hatfill asked the court to dismiss Locy’s appeal. The appeals court granted Hatfill’s motion, saying that because the case had been settled there was no reason to rule on whether Locy should be allowed to protect her sources. The court also vacated the contempt order against her.

“I am grateful that the court of appeals vacated the draconian contempt citation against me,” Locy said. “But I remain concerned that the case is not over, given recent statements in court by Dr. Hatfill’s lawyers that they intend to come after me to pay Dr. Hatfill’s legal bills. The appeals court did not address this issue directly, and we must now wait to see whether Dr. Hatfill’s lawyers follow through on their threat.”

“My colleagues and I are pleased and relieved that Prof. Locy no longer faces a contempt citation,” said Journalism Department Head Brian Richardson. “But it is unfortunate that the appeals court passed up an opportunity to affirm the necessity for reporters to be able to protect the identity of confidential sources.

“As reporters pursue their societal obligation to monitor our powerful institutions, their sources need to know that their identities can be protected when necessary,” Richardson said.


Professor Robert Ballenger Discusses Internet Shopping on WCVE in Richmond

Robert Ballenger, associate professor of business administration in the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics, believes that this holiday shopping season will be different from years past when it comes to e-commerce sites.

Ballenger, an expert on e-commerce, discussed the situation in an interview aired by WCVE, public radio in Richmond, on Nov. 20, 2008.


Graham Sheridan ’11 Named to Board of Directors of Hillel

Graham Sheridan, of Greensboro, N.C., a sophomore at Washington and Lee University, has been named to the International Board of Directors of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. There are only 10 student members of the 70 to 80 member board. He will serve a two-year term.

Student members are selected based on their campus involvement, understanding of Hillel’s work and commitment to Hillel’s values, as well as type and size of the university. Sheridan has been active in Hillel since coming to W&L. He is currently the vice president for Shabbat and holidays and was vice president for community service during his first year.

Hillel’s international board comprises diverse individuals committed to furthering Jewish campus life. Members represent many campus constituencies, including the 10 students, Hillel professionals, faculty and the community at large. There are two meetings of the whole board during the year-in the fall and spring.

“Members of the board have expertise in different aspects of Hillel,” Sheridan said, “but they see the need for students to tell them what’s going on at campuses, our input is sought when the board is discussing policies having to do with campuses.”

He continued, “I’m honored to have been chosen to be one of the 10 student members of the board and to represent Washington and Lee in the Jewish community at large.”

“Graham is a natural leader, and has helped to develop an exciting program for Hillel and to sustain a Jewish presence on campus,” said Joan Robins, director of W&L Hillel. “He enthusiastically shares his passion for Jewish living, which engages many students, including those not typically involved in Jewish life. I believe Graham will be a real asset to the Hillel Board during his two-year term.”

Sheridan is an economics major with a concentration in the Shepherd Poverty Program. He is a member of Chi Psi fraternity, College Democrats and Two Dead Guys Ultimate Frisbee.


Professor Michael Smitka Interviewed on WVTF Public Radio

Michael Smitka, professor of economics in the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics at W&L, has focused his research on the Japanese and U.S. auto industries, especially comparative analysis of the automotive parts industry and industry cost structures.

As Congress contemplated various scenarios regarding a potential bailout of the U.S. automobile industry, Smitka was interviewed by WVTF Public Radio in Roanoke about the potential impact of the collapse and where the blame for the current crisis lies.


Georgetown Philosophy Professor to Discuss ‘the Guilt Soldiers Carry’

“The Other War: The Guilt Soldiers Carry” will be the topic of a discussion given at Washington and Lee University by Nancy Sherman, professor of philosophy at Georgetown University, adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown Law School and a fellow of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, on Thursday, Dec. 4.

The 4:30 p.m. event at the Stackhouse Theater in W&L’s University Commons is free and open to the public. A reception and book signing will be held after the talk.

Sherman was the inaugural holder of the Distinguished Chair in Ethics at the United States Naval Academy and in that role lectured widely to military audiences, including ROTC, military academies, bases and war colleges. She was associate professor of philosophy at Yale University and has held visiting positions at Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland.

Sherman is the author of Stoic Warriors: The Ancient Philosophy Behind the Military Mind; Making a Necessity of Virtue: Aristotle and Kant on Virtue; and The Fabric of Character: Aristotle’s Theory of Virtue. The editor of Critical Essays on the Classics: Aristotle’s Ethics, Sherman has published over 30 articles in the general area of ethics, history of moral philosophy, ancient philosophy, military ethics, moral psychology and the emotions.

She has been the recipient of many awards, including fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Philosophical Society and the Mellon Foundation.

Sherman holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University in philosophy, an M.Litt. in philosophy from the University of Edinburgh and a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College.

Sherman’s talk is sponsored by The Herbert Pollack Lectures in the Sciences and the Humanities.


Annual Christmas Candlelight Service Held for At Least 35 Years

Washington and Lee University’s annual Christmas Candlelight Service will be held Thursday, Dec. 4, at 8 p.m. in Lee Chapel. The public is invited to attend at no charge. Seating will begin at 7:15 p.m.

The “Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols,” broadcast each year from King’s College Chapel, University of Cambridge, and widely used in England, the United States and around the world, is an ancient form for corporate worship at the Christmas season. The prayers, lessons and music tell the story of sacred history from the Creation to the Incarnation.

In 1880, E.W. Benson, later the Archbishop of Canterbury, drew up a service of lessons and carols for use on Christmas Eve in the wooden shed which served as his cathedral. In 1918 this service was adapted for use in the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge. In the early 1930s, the BBC began broadcasting the service on overseas programming, and it is estimated that there are millions of listeners worldwide.

The service has been held for at least 35 years in Lexington, the earlier years at Robert E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church. W&L’s Glee Club participated in the service while at the Episcopal Church, but when the Candlelight Service moved to Lee Chapel in the early 1990s, the newly founded Chamber Singers sang at the service.

The late David Sprunt, then chaplain at W&L, presided over the service when held at the Episcopal Church. Thomas V. Litzenburg Jr., acting University chaplain emeritus, was the presider for 16 years until this year. Gordon P. Spice, professor of music, conducted the Chamber Singers in the service until this year at both Lee Chapel and for a few years when held at R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church.

Music for the traditional service again will be provided by the University Chamber Singers, this year conducted by Jerry Myers, acting director of choral activities and visiting assistant professor of music. Timothy Gaylard, professor of music, will be the organist for the service.

Nine members of the Washington and Lee University community are chosen to read the lessons. William C. Datz ’75, coordinator of Religious Life, will preside over the service.


Band-Aid Will Not Help U.S. Auto Industry, Says Washington and Lee Economist

A disorderly collapse of the U.S. auto industry would not represent good public policy, but the successful solution to the current crisis requires more than a hurriedly applied Band-Aid, according to a Washington and Lee University economist who specializes in the automobile industry.

Michael Smitka, professor of economics in the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics, focuses his research on the Japanese and U.S. auto industries, especially comparative analysis of the automotive parts industry and industry cost structures.

With Congress considering how to respond to the crisis confronting the Detroit automakers, Smitka argues that a quick fix is apt to be unsuccessful, even though he acknowledges that the industry, especially General Motors, is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and has cancelled new products that are crucial to the firm’s long-term health.

Given a 35% downturn in industry sales, even Toyota is temporarily closing plants in the US. GM, which due to its health care and pension obligations entered the current market collapse with insufficient cash, and clearly needs emergency assistance. However, Smitka believes that a panicky approach to the immediate problems of one or two firms is merely first-aid, not a cure. “Instead,” he said, ”we need a more orderly set of policies that looks not just at the Detroit Three, but at the industry as a whole, including suppliers and dealerships.”

Rather than a panicky approach to the immediate problem, Smitka believes the solution is a more orderly set of policies that looks not just at the Detroit Three, but at the industry as a whole, including suppliers and dealerships.

“Applying a bad bandage can make cleaning the wound much harder,” Smitka said. “As much as President-elect [Barack] Obama will have a full plate in front of him, I think this automobile crisis is one that should be left on the plate for him. Congress should focus on simple measures to stabilize the patient, and not attempt surgery in the field..”

Smitka notes that the six primary U.S. automakers — Honda, Toyota and Nissan in addition to the Detroit three — are all heavily dependent on U.S.-based suppliers with a particular type of part frequently coming from the same manufacturing facility. The collapse of General Motors would lead to the demise of many of these suppliers and that, he notes, would mean that Toyota, Honda and Nissan would also have to stop production for lack of the parts.

“There would be no quick fix, either,” he said. “Keeping one part of a plant operating half-time when payroll, purchasing and other areas were all closed would not be feasible. Assemblers, suppliers, dealerships would all close. In pretty short order, we would see 3 million direct jobs and as local businesses felt the effects, another 3 million indirect jobs gone. That would boost U.S. unemployment into double-digits.”

Smitka believes that any plan to provide assistance to the industry must not only be comprehensive, covering dealers, assemblers and suppliers, but that everyone in the industry must be willing to take a hit.

“I have little sympathy with the level of compensation of the bonus rank of the Detroit Three,” he said. “There are plenty of hungry managers around. If someone thinks life is impossible without all the perks, then let them hunt for an employer in some other industry who will provide them. One of their underlings will gladly take their place. All managers should be offered a flat salary with no stock options. Let the executives buy and gas up their own cars, too. That might be a particularly good symbol. If they want to compare vehicles, which surely they ought to be doing, then they can go to a test track or rent one out of their own pocket. My guess is that UAW executives do pretty well, too, and should also be asked to make sacrifices.”

Smitka is now convinced that a potential GM bankruptcy would occur before the end of January, due to the latest data that show an almost unimaginable drop in sales.

Suggestions that sales to consumers in developing areas outside the U.S. may help mitigate the significant decreases in domestic sales are no longer true, said Smitka. The developing world has been a major source of profit but the global economic downturn is already hurting profitability everywhere, according to Smitka. “Sales to China or Brazil or India, for example, do not represent a silver bullet,” he said. “Indeed, governments in the EU and Asia are also being forced to offer assistance to the industry.”


E-commerce Professor Predicts Changes Online This Christmas

In today’s economy, bricks-and mortar-retailers are already offering huge discounts to shoppers.

Traditionally, online retailers have offered discounts but not to the same degree, and in the past some online stores have waited until after Christmas to offer sales. This is all changing, says Robert Ballenger, an e-commerce expert at Washington and Lee University. “In this environment, the online stores are going to have to discount up front to attract people to buy.”

Ballenger says this is already beginning to happen. “Online retailers are becoming very competitive on discounting. I think anyone who has shopped online or through a catalog in the past year or two is going to be inundated this year with e-mail solicitations offering discount coupons to encourage them to buy online.”

“Customers are going to go where the best price is,” says Ballenger, who taught the first e-commerce development course in the United States. “If they think they can drive to the mall and get 30-40% off something that they want to purchase, why would they pay 30-40% more to buy the same thing online?”

Also this year, many online retailers are offering free or reduced shipping. For example E-bay is strongly encouraging its bigger sellers to offer free shipping by discounting its seller fees to those who offer free shipping.

Online retailers do have one disadvantage, says Ballenger: they can’t handle the last minute buyer. About five days to a week before Christmas online buying drops dramatically, because regular shipping won’t get the goods to customers on time and few people want to pay for express shipping.

At this point, the retail stores, if they have the inventory, can precipitously drop their prices to attract customers. “I think there are going to be a lot of people this year who are going to wait for those prices to drop,” says Ballenger. “I remember this happened in the early 1990s. Many Christmas shoppers waited because they knew there were going to be big discounts in the last week, and they were right. And that’s not good for retailers at all.”


Campus Kitchen Sponsors Annual Turkeypalooza

Turkeypalooza! It’s time for W&L’s Campus Kitchen to prepare their annual Thanksgiving dinners for the needy in the area.

Members of the campus community have already donated more than 25 turkeys, and additional donations are being accepted until Friday morning, Nov. 21. (If you are still interested in donating a turkey, please email Jenny Sproul ’08, the Campus Kitchens project coordinator, at sproulj@wlu.edu.) Each fraternity was asked for 15 pounds of potatoes plus $15 to cover miscellaneous costs associated with the meal preparation, and the sororities were asked to donate the ingredients used to put together the rest of the Thanksgiving dinner, from vegetables to spices to pumpkin for the pies.

On Friday, Nov. 14, Sproul, and students Jen James ’09, Melissa Caron ’09 and John Henderson ’09, collected turkeys from W&L employees at the entrance to the parking garage as the employees came to work. The Campus Kitchen regulars started cooking the Thanksgiving dinners last Sunday and will continue through Thursday evening. They started delivering the dinners on Wednesday of this week.

In addition to the students, faculty and staff who regularly donate their time at Campus Kitchen, more students, faculty and staff have signed up to help cook and deliver during the holidays. W&L’s Rockbridge County Alumni were told of Turkeypalooza to give them the opportunity to sign up for two-hour cooking or delivery shifts as service projects. CKP’s goal is to actively engage the community and make sure that the kitchen can run effectively even when students are away from breaks and holidays.

To engage the Lexington community in the Campus Kitchen, more area residents are asked to help. For instance, last Sunday, The Lexington Presbyterian Church Youth Group helped mash potatoes and make cards for CKP clients.

In addition to Lexington, food is delivered to clients in Buena Vista and Natural Bridge. Campus Kitchen uses various agencies in the area such as Habitat and Big Brother and Big Sister who identify those in need. Sproul says they are anxious to start working with VMI in hopes of reaching more individuals and families in need across the county.

Last summer, Campus Kitchen started delivering to people at the R.E. Lee Hotel in downtown Lexington where some residents are receiving frozen turkeys and other holiday groceries to cook on their own.

But the food is a means to an end. “Building relationships is the most important aspect of this to a lot of the people who receive food from Campus Kitchen,” says Sproul. “They love to see people coming back week after week to talk to them, to care for them.”


FOX Business Reporter, Dagen McDowell, to Speak at W&L about Financial System

Dagen McDowell, a Virginia native who serves as one of the anchors on the year-old FOX Business Network, will speak about the financial press and the current financial situation at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17, in Room 327 Huntley Hall, at Washington and Lee University.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

McDowell, who also serves as a business correspondent for the FOX News Channel, will be on campus as a Donald W. Reynolds Visiting Fellow. In that role, she will speak to classes in both the journalism department and the Williams School of Commerce.

The title of McDowell’s talk is “Reworking the Financial System and Rethinking Financial Journalism.” She will focus on how business journalism has changed and will change with the unprecedented upheavals in our financial system this fall.

A native of Brookneal, Va., McDowell is a graduate of Wake Forest University. She began her career as a financial journalist at the Institutional Investor’s newsletter division.

McDowell has appeared regularly on Your World with Neil Cavuto since 2003 as well as the show Cashin’ In. She interviewed Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson just one day after FBN launched last fall. Prior to joining Fox, McDowell wrote a personal finance column for TheStreet.com called “Dear Dagen.” In addition, she has written for SmartMoney magazine and SmartMoney.com.

McDowell’s visit is made possible by a grant 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, Nevada, it is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.


Erwin Chemerinsky to Deliver 2008 Tucker Lecture at W&L Law

Erwin Chemerinsky, founding dean of the law school at the University of California, Irvine, and an expert in constitutional law, will deliver this year’s Tucker Lecture as part of the annual Law and Media Symposium, hosted by Washington and Lee University at the School of Law.

Chemerinsky will deliver his remarks on Friday, Nov. 14, beginning at 1 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

The symposium, “The Wild, Wild Web: Free Speech, Libel, and the First Amendment in the Digital Age,” will also feature the Hon. Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, judicial conservative and well-known free-speech advocate.

Chemerinsky’s career as a scholar and teacher spans nearly thirty years and includes teaching stints at Duke University, the University of Southern California and DePaul University. An active appellate advocate at both the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, he was named in 2005 as one of “the top 20 legal thinkers in America” by Legal Affairs magazine.

In September 2007, Chemerinsky was named dean of the law school at the University of California, Irvine, heading California’s first new public law school in 40 years. Scheduled to begin classes in the fall of 2009, the fledgling school has offered free tuition for three years for the first enrolling class.

The Tucker Lecture at the School of Law was first established by the W&L Board of Trustees in 1949 to mark the bicentennial of the University and the centennial of the Law School. It was named after John Randolph Tucker, hired in 1870 as the second teacher in legal education, and named the first dean of the Washington and Law University School of Law in 1893.


Professor James Kahn to speak on Environmental Preservation and Economic Progress

Wednesday, November 12th at 7:30 PM, Professor James R. Kahn will speak in the Parish Hall of R.E. Lee Episcopal Church on the topic “Environmental Preservation and Economic Progress: Pipe Dream or Necessity.” This event is open and free to the public.

Kahn, the John F. Hendon Professor of Economics at W&L, who holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Maryland, has been director of the Environmental Studies Program at W&L since 2000. Kahn has been working collaboratively in a particular area of his research with a professor at the Universidade Federal do Amazonas in Manuas, Brazil, on the indigenous people of Amazonas, Brazil. Also, he is an eminent expert on economic incentives and direct controls of environmental resources.

Kahn is the author of The Economic Approach to Environmental and Natural Resources, which is been released in three editions, and he has authored numerous articles, papers and monographs in scientific journals and proceeding volumes.

The Parish Hall of R.E. Lee Episcopal Church is located in the building next to the church and can be entered down steps from the front or by elevator located below the bridge connecting the Church and the Parish House.


W&L Negotiations Team Takes Second at Regional Competition

The Washington and Lee University School of Law team of second year students Mike Gardner of Martinsville, Va., and Steve Mammarella of Lexington, Va., placed second at the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Regional Negotiations Competition, held Nov. 1 in Washington, D.C. Gardner and Mammarella finished behind a team from Liberty University School of Law.

Also representing the W&L School of Law at the competition was the team of second year students John Sorock of Wilmette, Ill., and Shannon Sherrill of Lexington, Va., winners of the School’s Robert J. Grey Negotiations competition held earlier this year. In all 28 teams competed at the regional event. The W&L team was the only team finishing in the top four that did not bring faculty advisors with them to the competition.

The National Negotiations Competition will be held February 14-15, 2009, in Boston, Mass. The ABA has not yet determined which teams from the regional competitions will move on to the final competition.

The ABA Negotiations Competition helps students develop practical legal skills and emphasizes teamwork and the ability to resolve disputes in a negotiation setting. During the competition, teams of students acting as lawyers for opposing parties receive confidential information about how they can best represent their clients’ interests. The teams work together in a limited time frame to find a compromise that is acceptable to both of their clients.

The problem for this year’s competition involved an elder law issue. On one side of the dispute were attorneys representing an elderly woman whose competency to make decisions regarding her assets had come into question. The W&L teams represented the elderly woman’s daughter, who felt that some of the recent decisions regarding her mother’s estate might have been unduly influenced by interested third parties.

Negotiations is one of several ABA-sponsored competitions that help students develop the kind of practice skills they will employ as professional attorneys. Other competitions include Appellate Advocacy, Mock Trial, Mediation and Client Counseling. For more information about Moot Court at Washington and Lee Law School, please visit http://law.wlu.edu/mootcourt.


Goldsmith Inaugural Winner of VFIC Teaching Award

Arthur Goldsmith, the Jackson T. Stephens Professor of Economics at Washington and Lee University, has won the new H. Hiter Harris Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC).

Goldsmith will receive his award at a luncheon in Richmond on Thursday, Nov. 6.

The Harris Award was endowed at the VFIC by the family of the late Hiter Harris Jr., a leading Virginia banker who was a member of the VFIC’s board from 1973 to 1998. The award is based on the faculty member’s impact on and involvement with undergraduate students, along with his or her scholarly approach to teaching and learning.

Goldsmith joined the W&L faculty in 1990 after having taught at the University of Connecticut and the University of North Carolina. He also held visiting professorships at Wake Forest, Victoria University in New Zealand and Bond University in Australia. He was promoted to full professor at Washington and Lee in 1996 and was named to the Jackson T. Stephens Professorship in 1997. He chaired the department of economics from 1998 to 2003.

Supporting Goldsmith’s nomination, Alice Shih, a 2008 graduate of W&L, wrote the VFIC that Goldsmith’s “teaching and guidance extends well beyond the classroom, helping his students develop as civic-minded citizens and not just students.” She praised Goldsmith as someone who exemplifies what a teacher should be — “one who not only helps you believe you are destined for great things, but helps you achieve those goals.”

“I cannot imagine a more worthy candidate for this new award than Art Goldsmith,” said Washington and Lee President Ken Ruscio. “Art is an energetic, enthusiastic and effective classroom instructor. He is a distinguished economist. He has earned the respect and admiration of students, professional colleagues and university administrators.”

Goldsmith received the Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. His areas of specialization include labor economics, the economics of race and ethnicity, macroeconomics, and economic psychology. He has published extensively and lectures widely at economic and academic conferences. He belongs to the American Economics Association, is currently vice president of the Southern Economic Association, serves on the Board of Directors of the Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics, and is a member of the National Economic Association.

The Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, founded in 1952, supports the 15 small private liberal arts colleges and universities in Virginia by securing grants and gifts for the consortium.


Nuclear Digital Library “Mushrooms” Globally

For all things nuclear visit http://alsos.wlu.edu.

It is the Web site for the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues, which received 172,000 visits from 163 countries (38% of the total visits) accessing 500,000 pages during the past year, according to the latest reports from Google Analytics and local server data.

“The figures show not only the global use of the library but the diverse topics accessed,” says Frank A. Settle, visiting chemistry professor at Washington and Lee University and leader of the project.

Alsos currently contains indexed annotations on over 2,700 books, articles, films, CDs and online resources on a variety of nuclear topics. It includes not only hot button issues such as nuclear proliferation, nuclear waste and terrorism, but nuclear topics in 25 disciplines including medicine, science, literature, economics, art and music. Visitors to the site can also locate the nearest library where the publication is stocked, or download it if available online.

Over 40 W&L students have been involved with Alsos, half as computer software developers and half as content specialists. Thomas Whaley, professor of computer science at W&L, has directed the development of the software. Other students have worked on content under the direction of Elizabeth Blackmer, editorial consultant, and Judy Strang, writing consultant at the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. “The summer experience of working as a team to develop software and content has provided these students valuable experiences in information technology as well as increasing their knowledge of nuclear issues,” says Settle.

All annotations are reviewed by an appropriate member of the distinguished national advisory board before they are placed on the Alsos site. The 27-member board includes 14 top academics as well as representatives from the Council on Foreign Relations, Los Alamos National Laboratory, U.S. Army, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Smithsonian, American Institute of Physics, George C. Marshall Foundation, Global Security and the Pacific Northwest Laboratory.

The Alsos Library is recommended by the National Science Teachers Association and is referenced by more than 600 complementary Web sites worldwide, such as libraries, colleges, schools and research institutes, along with normal search engines and Wikipedia.

The Library was initiated at W&L by Settle in 2000 with a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and is a component of the NSF’s National Science Digital Library (http://nsdl.org). It is currently funded by a grant from H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest.

Alsos takes its name from the U.S. Army mission to assess German progress on the atomic bomb during WWII.


Department of Journalism Covers Election Night

At 1:30 a.m. Nov. 5, Brian Richardson, head of W&L’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications; Michael Todd, digital media specialist; and journalism student Jane Lee ’09 finally left W&L’s election night newsroom.

Lee was among three dozen students, overseen by nine faculty and staff, who had produced three iterations of The Rockbridge Report Web site, two live television broadcasts and a four-page broadsheet newspaper, all on deadline.

Journalism students had been at local voting places all day, with more at local Democratic and Republican headquarters, the victory party locations for both parties, local watering holes and at other locations for voter reaction. The result was live studio and phone interviews with party officials and local elections experts, and informative graphics and slide shows. They also produced several rewrites and updates of key stories for print, broadcast and the Web site throughout the evening.

Richardson was impressed by the professionalism shown and the dedication to the task at hand. “Every year, as election night winds down,” he said, “I think for a minute about all the newsrooms I’ve been in on election night through the years, and I realized that I have never felt prouder or more honored to have been a part of an election night newsroom than I was last night.

“As journalists, we are never more crucial to the audiences and the democracy we serve than when we show those audiences the results of their participation in self-governance. Last night, everyone did a superb job serving our local audience. My deepest gratitude and heartiest congratulations to all involved.”

W&L journalism alumnus Tom Mattesky ’74, retired deputy bureau chief with CBS News in Washington, joined the department for the evening.

Both broadcasts are available on the department’s Web site http://rockbridgereport.wlu.edu, where the newspaper is also available as a pdf. Hard copies of the newspaper are available in Reid Hall and elsewhere on campus.

Photo: Erin Galliher ’10 interviews Lexington Mayoral candidate Mimi Elrod outside a Lexington precinct, assisted by, from left, Farrell Ulrich ’10, Jason Bacaj ’10 and Henry Nathan ’10. Elrod was elected.


Tom Wolfe Elected to Virginia Legends Walk

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Tune in to Rockbridge Report for Local Election Coverage

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News Director Sarah Tschiggfrie Shares Observations of a First-Time Voter in Staunton News Leader Op/Ed

I’m 54, a self-confessed political junkie, and a first-time voter.

I’ve never voted in any election, local or national, in my life, and now I’ll be doing so for the first time on Tuesday as a new U.S. citizen. In fact, it was my desire to vote that prompted me to go through the two-year process of becoming a citizen.

Back in my original country of England, I always viewed politics as boring and a bit sleazy. Sometimes it was downright embarrassing, such as the cringe-worthy schoolboy antics of our politicians during “Prime Minister’s Question Time” on the BBC. Then there were the equal-time-for-all “Political Party Broadcasts” on TV during a general election, which were a national joke. When they aired you could almost hear the clicks as millions of TVs around the country were turned off and there was a mass exodus to the pubs. Ross Perot with his pie charts was more compelling.

The political scandals that would rear their heads from time to time and turn into a media feeding frenzy were the only time I really noticed politics. So I never bothered to vote – which I now admit with some shame.

It took moving to the U.S. with my American husband to spark my interest in politics. At first, it was the politicians themselves, with their larger-than-life personalities, that fascinated me. Here was an entirely different, more glamorous breed than the English version, I thought, as I sat up and paid attention. Then I decided that maybe I should try and understand the U.S. political system, which was so different to that in England. (I confess it took me a while to realize that the Republicans and the GOP were the same party.)

So for the last 14 years I have followed the triumphs and travails of U.S. politics, learned about the Supreme Court, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and enjoyed vigorous political debates with anyone who would take me on. I have, in short, become a political junkie. The irony that I had gone from a country where I could vote but never had the interest, to a country where I wanted to vote but couldn’t, was not lost on me.

Every four years I would grumble about not being able to vote, but I never did anything about it. It was too time-consuming, not to mention costly. Then came the news two years ago that the cost of citizenship would soon double. Time for action, I said to myself, admitting that my desire to vote had become overwhelming.

I traveled to Washington, D.C., for interviews and again, separately, for finger printing, and finally received my invitation to become a U.S. citizen. As I stood and took the oath of allegiance this summer, my main thought was that, finally, I would be able to vote, and in a year of such importance as well. My voice would be heard, albeit among millions of other potential voters.

So on Tuesday, I will wait in line and for the first time cast my vote and feel like a real U.S. citizen. Will I have a sense of anti-climax? Will the act of pulling a lever, or whatever it is you do in Virginia, be less than the momentous event I picture in my mind? Maybe, but at least I finally took action. I will be there.

Sarah Tschiggfrie is News Director at Washington and Lee University.