Law Faculty Scholarship Cited in FTC Virtual World Report
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Get Ready for Reunions
It’s never too early to start making plans for the Washington and Lee reunions this spring, and a new blog site makes it easier than ever. Just go to Reunions at W&L to keep abreast of the latest plans for the weekend of April 30 to May 2. You can filter the information by class year and can see news and notes from classmates. You are also invited to go to the Alumni Weekend Straw Poll where you can register your attendance preference and see who else from your class is planning to attend.
Are You Fan of Lexington?
Lexington has its own Facebook fan page where you can see photos and keep up with the latest doings in Metro Lex. You can become a fan at this link and try your hand at Trivia Tuesday. Lexington’s got almost 4,500 fans already–more than our official Washington and Lee Facebook page. So as long as you’re on Facebook, if you haven’t become a Washington and Lee fan, just do it and invite others to join, too. At the same time, you can also fan the Southern Inn and the Theater at Lime Kiln.
Self-Taught W&L Musician Publishes First Album
When she entered college, Julie Slonecki was a self-taught musician who could not read music. Two years later, as a junior music major at Washington and Lee University, Slonecki has released her own indie rock album, “Borders.”
Although music has always inspired her, Slonecki attributes her growth as a musician to classes like Music Theory and to professors like Terry Vosbein.
“The more I learn of music theory, the more I am fascinated and utterly absorbed by music,” said Slonecki. “Professor Vosbein has taught me most of what I know about how music all fits together. He is very relaxed and comfortable with his students, and we always manage to have fits of roaring laughter in class. I hope one day to be as fluid as he is in talking about music and analyzing chords.”
Slonecki is the women’s section leader in University Chorus, the musical director of the a cappella group General Admission, a work-study student for the Music Department, and a DJ for WLUR, the university’s radio station.
In addition, she plays in a band composed of Washington and Lee students, Rikki Tikki Tavi. Fellow band members are senior Will Stewart, senior Michael Morella and junior Robert Wason. Slonecki performs vocals and plays the guitar, drums and keyboards.
A distinct part of Slonecki’s music is her originality – she has written and produced all of the music on her own. She says that anything can inspire her: “It could be the weather, a certain moment, a feeling. However, I’m not usually just struck with an idea, and then scramble to write it down. Usually they come about when I am just playing guitar, and out of that something that I like evolves into a song.”
Slonecki’s musical goals are organic and simple. “I just want to be able to make music that I love, and that other people can relate to and love. I guess making a decent living wouldn’t be bad, either,” she said. “However, looking ahead to a career as a musician, I am worried whether I will find success, since it’s a business that is not known for being easy to break into. However, I know I’m passionate about it, and I’m going to give it everything I have.”
Slonecki’s album is available on Amazon.
— by Maggie Sutherland ’10
Take Our Survey
The two feet of snow that blanketed Lexington and Rockbridge County on the weekend made for treacherous conditions but spectacular photography (and videography). Photographer Kevin Remington was on the W&L campus before the plows and a his shot of Holekamp Hall at the right shows what it looked like Saturday. And Terry Vosbein, professor of music at W&L, posted two videos of the snow, including one of a drive around Lexington once the roads were clear enough to drive safely. Terry, who has just published a new jazz CD, put his videos to his music. The first is Odin’s Dream, which was shot at his home, and the second is Don’t Blame Me, which is the auto tour of Lexington. Have a look at the links below:
Music Professor’s Progressive Jazz CD Honors Stan Kenton
Washington and Lee University music professor and composer Terry Vosbein spent three months at the University of North Texas in 2007 cataloging the works of jazz bandleader Stan Kenton. As he sifted through the material, he made a happy discovery: a treasure trove of unrecorded Kenton scores that the musician composed during his most popular period, 1946 to 1948.
In addition to that surprise, Vosbein made another unexpected finding. “During 1948 there was no recording going on because of a strike with the musicians’ union, and so all this music was being written and none of it got recorded,” he says. “Brilliant stuff that nobody’s heard.”
Vosbein includes seven of these songs on his new CD, “Progressive Jazz 2009,” a rousing tribute to Kenton performed by the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. Vosbein composed or arranged six additional selections. He’s been a fan of Kenton’s since high school-when his father encouraged Vosbein and his brother to play hooky for a show.
“Stan Kenton was going to be doing a concert and workshop in Columbia, S.C., and we mentioned this to my dad,” says Vosbein. His father promptly organized a road trip from their home in Atlanta. “I remember my dad saying, ‘This is better than school.’ “
Kenton, one of the most popular bandleaders of the 1940s and 1950s, is remembered for his experimental composing. “Rather than being a commercial big band like Glenn Miller or Tommy Dorsey and some of the other bands, the goal of his band was to be innovative,” says Vosbein. His compositions are also highly dramatic. “There’s this pacing that’s bringing you on an emotional trip. And that appeals to me whether it’s in jazz or classical music,” he says. “I like the sense that there’s an emotional ride, and Kenton was the master.”
He was also a master of marketing, touting his evolving sound by regularly changing the name of his band. From Artistry in Rhythm to Innovations in Modern Music to the Neophonic Orchestra, the names encapsulate the periods. Vosbein’s CD spotlights songs composed during Kenton’s Progressive Jazz Band period. “They were still playing in lots of clubs and lots of ballrooms and things, but he tried as much as he could to book these things into concert series,” says Vosbein. Kenton moved from dance hall music to a more complex, almost artistic, sound.
Kenton often hired risk-taking composers to arrange his music. Two of them, Pete Rugolo and Bob Graettinger, arranged the Kenton pieces on “Progressive Jazz 2009.” “Kenton’s band was not a concert band before Rugolo came along,” says Vosbein. “And Bob Graettinger really pushed it even further away from jazz and into experimental.”
Infused with the Kenton sounds he’d cataloged at North Texas, Vosbein composed his original pieces during a seven-month stint in Europe. “I would record [them] back into the computer and put on my iPhone and walk around the streets of Paris or Copenhagen with those headphones, listening to what I’d written that day or night,” he says. His song titles-from “Crows in Tuxedos” to “Jumping Monkey”-were inspired by images and stories that caught his attention abroad.
Working within the original 20-musician, concert-band framework-five saxophones, five trumpets, five trombones and a five-piece rhythm section-Vosbein and the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra then put their own energizing spin on Kenton’s progressive sound.
Reviewers like what they hear: “Composer/arranger/conductor Terry Vosbein has reinvigorated a number of heretofore overlooked themes from the creative world of Stan Kenton, added several of his own, and placed them in the capable hands of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra for a concert performance that shines from start to finish,” writes Jack Bowers at www.allaboutjazz.com. The Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer calls the CD “a masterful and emotionally rewarding tribute.”
“Progressive Jazz 2009” is available at www.maxfrankmusic.com.
— by Amy Balfour ’89, ’93L
On the Civic Soapbox
Washington and Lee English professor Marc Conner hopped up on WMRA radio’s Civic Soapbox to discuss his recent visit to the National Book Awards when he opted not to heed Thoreau’s imperative (“beware of any enterprise that requires new clothes”) and wore a tuxedo to the gala event in New York City. The awards, which honored Colum McCann’s novel Let the Great World Spin, underscored for Marc the notion that our “national, ethnic, and racial identities are re-inventing themselves and all our boundaries have become more fluid.” You can read Marc’s remarks on the WMRA blog and listen to them below:
Decade's Hottest Colleges
The Daily Beast, former New Yorker editor Tina Brown’s Web site, has named its 15 hottest colleges of the decade this week, and Washington and Lee comes in at No. 13. The list was compiled by Kathleen Kingsbury, who writes about education issues for The Daily Beast and also for TIME magazine. There is not any rationale for the choices offered except for this description at the start of a slide show of individual schools: “The past 10 years transformed the collegiate landscape, creating a whole new class of first-choice schools. Kathleen Kingsbury on 15 colleges that soared in the rankings.” The University of Southern California is No. 1 on The Daily Beast list, which also includes one non-U.S. institution, the University of St. Andrews, at No. 12. Check out Washington and Lee’s entry here.
W&L Magazine, Fall/Winter 2009: Vol. 84 | No. 4
Getting Fit with Jennifer Galardi
If you are worried about gaining a few unwanted pounds as the holidays approach, a Washington and Lee alumna has created a gift that might just be what you need. Jennifer Galardi of the Class of 1996 has just produced a new DVD called “Ballet Body” and subtitled “5 ‘Feel-Good’ Workouts.” Jennifer and the new DVD are featured in a story in the Scranton Times-Tribune near her hometown of Abington, Pa. Among other insights, Jennifer says that she got started in the fitness field by teaching aerobics classes during her undergraduate days at W&L. And she’s certainly taken that initial experience to new heights, not only with her own DVD but by starring in a number of other DVDs produced by one of gyms, Crunch, where she teaches in Los Angeles and, recently, by co-starring with reality TV star Kim Kardashian in the “Fit In Your Jeans by Friday” series of DVDs. She has also taught dance and fitness classes at Sports Club LA and Equinox. You can catch a quick preview of Jennifer’s work on this video on which she teaches “The Galardi Move.” In addition, you can find a number of videos starring Jennifer on this Exercise TV site.
W&L’s Community Grants Committee Announces November 2009 Grants
Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee has made its first round of grants to non-profit organizations in the Lexington/Rockbridge community, awarding grants to 13 different organizations.
Nineteen proposals were received with for more thn $74,000 in requests. The 13 grants that were made totalled $29,750 and were made to the following organizations:
• Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center
• Boxerwood Nature Center & Woodland Garden
• English Speaking Union – Lexington Branch
• Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center
• Lexington Office on Youth
• Rockbridge Area Occupational Center
• Rockbridge Area Free Clinic
• Rockbridge Area Relief Association
• Rockbridge County High School Model UN
• Rockbridge County Public Schools
• Rockbridge County Public Schools Foundation
• The Rockbridge Regional Library’s Youth Literacy Program
• Waddell PTA
W&L’s President Kenneth P. Ruscio said, “The needs are great, and W&L is proud to be a partner with the wonderful agencies that work so hard to improve the quality of life in Lexington and the greater Rockbridge communities.”
Washington and Lee will award a total of $50,000 during the program’s 2009-2010 cycle. Proposals may be submitted at any time but will be reviewed semiannually. The submission deadline for the second round of consideration is June 1, 2010. Interested parties may access the Community Grants Committee Web site and download a copy of the proposal guidelines.
Proposals should be submitted as electronic attachments (word or pdf) via email at email@example.com. (Please call 540-458-8417 with questions.) If an electronic submission is not possible, materials may be faxed to 540-458-8745 or mailed to:
Washington and Lee University Community Grants Committee
Attn: James D. Farrar, Jr.
Office of the Secretary
204 W. Washington Street
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, VA 24450
Law Dean Rodney Smolla Named President of Furman University
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Major Award for Gerry Lenfest
Gerry Lenfest, Washington and Lee alumnus and benefactor, was the recipient Saturday of the Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement from The Pennsylvania Society, a non-profit, charitable organization founded in 1899. Lenfest, ’53, ’55L, was recognized at the 111th annual dinner of The Pennsylvania Society at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. He joins an impressive list of previous Gold Medal recipients, including George H.W. Bush, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jane G. Pepper, Joe Paterno, Dr. Gertrude Barber, Bill Cosby, Tom Ridge, Chris Matthews, Judith Rodin, Arlen Specter and Dan Rooney. The award is given in recognition of leadership, citizenship and contributions to the arts, science, education and industry. In recognition of the award, The Pennsylvania Society contributes $50,000 to a Pennsylvania charity chosen by the recipient of the Gold Medal. Gerry’s choice was to divide grant between two organizations — The Woodmere Art Museum and The Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia. Gerry’s speech at the dinner is being re-broadcast on Pennsylvania Cable Network TV tonight at 8 p.m. and Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Fighting Pollution at Hays Creek
Rockbridge County’s Hays Creek is polluted with e-coli.
The creek flows from just north of Brownsburg into the Maury River, the James River and eventually the Chesapeake Bay. Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has listed the creek as impaired with bacteria and efforts are now underway to remedy the situation, with help from Washington and Lee University.
A modest grant from the DEQ to Robert Humston, assistant professor of biology at W&L, will enable him to buy test kits to monitor the water pollution. Humston’s goal is to enlist the help of landowners along the creek’s 50,000-acre watershed not only to reduce the pollution but also to use the test kits to monitor the results. “If people are more involved in the process, then they will become more invested in the results,” said Humston. “The DEQ does a fantastic job of monitoring our surface waters but they can’t be everywhere all the time.”
The main cause of the bacterial pollution in Hays Creek, according to the DEQ, is the large number of cattle that are allowed access to it. “During the hot months of the year, they like to cool off in the water,” said Humston, “and it provides a source of drinking water for them.” He also explained that when the cattle defecate in the water they release a large quantity of bacteria directly into the creek. Although the bacteria don’t have a long life it does mean that the water is unhealthy. “It is definitely unsafe for humans to be drinking the water or swimming in it during times of high bacteria loads,” he said.
Humston also pointed out that the bacteria are feeding into the Maury River, although it has not been listed as unsafe due to the larger volume of water compared to Hays Creek.
Another more regional issue is the question of unhealthy levels of nutrients. “If you see a problem with bacteria from cow feces then you can assume that there are also high inputs of nutrients since they also come from cow feces,” he said. “While the bacteria will eventually die, the nutrients are going downstream and will eventually end up in the Chesapeake Bay. This includes nitrogen and phosphorous, which may be good for plants and growing crops, but once they get into the slow-moving water they stay in the system for a long time. By fixing the bacteria problem in one small creek we are also contributing to fixing the nutrient problem that is pervasive throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.”
Fixing Hays Creek will mean keeping cattle out of the water. As part of his efforts to reach out to the local community, Humston is joined by colleagues Laura Henry-Stone, a post-doctoral fellow in environmental studies, and Don Dailey, visiting associate professor with the Shepherd Poverty Program. Along with a group of representatives from several Virginia state and local conservation agencies they have held meetings with landowners to learn about the community’s concerns for water quality and land use.
They have explained why the bacteria problem exists and why fixing it would not only benefit the environment but also result in a higher growth rate and better health for the cattle. Since this is all private land, however, the state is not saying that landowners must take action, although some are already voluntarily putting fences up near the creek.
Humston explained that some people who bought the land for raising cattle, did so specifically because it had the creek running through it. “Telling them what they can and can’t do with their own property becomes a thorny issue,” he said.
“Another problem is that some people have the wherewithal to put up these fences, but for others this is a lot of money to pull together. Then the fences have to be maintained for years down the road, and that can take a lot of work. They may also have to put in wells to provide an alternative source of water.”
This is where W&L comes in. “Our role is to point people to the government and non-profit programs that can help defray the costs of putting in these fences and then to provide any necessary volunteer assistance in maintaining them,” he said.
Humston teaches a class at W&L on freshwater ecology in which he and his students have been measuring the pollution levels at Hays Creek. They have also been comparing their own more complex tests with the new test kits provided by the grant. “They compare very nicely and these test kits are easy to use,” he said.
Humston hopes to recruit 20 landowners to monitor the pollution levels at Hays Creek, giving each person 10 test kits to last 10 months of the year. The kits consist of a small bottle to collect the water and a compound to mix with it. This is then put on a plate and covered in tin foil and stored at room temperature for a couple of days. After that time, Humston said, the number of bacterial colonies is apparent and can be counted. This gives an idea of how many colony-forming bacteria are present in a certain volume of water, and what type of bacteria they are.
The participants would monitor the water once a month and Humston would coordinate their activities with those of his freshwater ecology class. “If people need help reading the plates, or they’re not sure if they are doing it correctly, or just want confirmation that they are doing it right, our students will help them. Having people collect reliable data is going to help tremendously,” he said, “and the efforts of W&L students will help make sure that the data we send to the DEQ is the highest quality possible.”
Although this initial water-monitoring project is only for one year, Humston hopes to apply for grants that will extend it for a full 10 years. “After that time we will start to see improvements in the water system and be able to identify what activities are having the most impact. Certainly fencing off cattle will have the greatest impact, but there are also stream restoration efforts to consider as well,” he said.
One person who has fully bought into stream restoration is W&L alum Russell Fletcher of Indian Bottom Farm. He has given Humston’s students complete access to monitor the water in the part of Hays Creek that runs through his property. Humston holds up this farm up as a great success story. “He’s not only put up fences to keep the cattle from the water, but he’s done a lot of work to stabilize the banks that the cattle destroyed when they walked in the creek. Now he has nice sloping banks with new grasses and sycamores growing where once there were steep cliffs of exposed dirt that were constantly washing soil downstream.” Restoring this streamside vegetation helps reduce inflow of e-coli from cattle manure on pastures during a rain, an additional source of bacterial inputs. Fletcher has also renovated the stream channel itself, establishing a more normal water flow pattern of riffles, pools and runs.” All of these fixes help with the bacteria problem,” Humston said.
Humston said that so far he has been pleasantly surprised at the encouraging responses to his project from local residents. “The idea behind W&L’s involvement is to provide volunteer effort and scientific support that sits at the interface between what the state agencies are attempting to do and what the landowners need to do to fix Hays Creek,” he said. “We want to facilitate the process of restoration, but the beneficiaries will be the landowners, their cattle and the environment.”
Four W&L Students Selected for Trip to Israel through Taglit-Birthright
Four Washington and Lee University students were selected to participate in a free, 10-day trip to Israel during their December break through Taglit-Birthright Israel. This is the seventh year that W&L Hillel is participating in this program.
Birthright Israel, the largest college Israel experience in history, provides the gift of first-time, peer-group, educational trips to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18 to 26. The gift is funded through private philanthropists, the government of Israel and local Jewish communities around the world. The goal is to strengthen participants’ personal Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish people.
The four students, seniors Emily Martin from Live Oak, Texas, and Zack Segall from Owings Mill, Md.; and sophomores Josh Posner from Boca Raton, Fla., and Lev Raslin from Kinnelon, N.J., were selected by W&L Hillel and Hillel International after completing a lengthy application and interview process. They will travel to Israel with students from Princeton, Elon and Bucknell universities and Union College.
Hillel’s program is a packed, fun-filled experience that involves extensive touring of Israel, interactive discussions, recreational activities and time to hang out with new friends. The trip is staffed by Hillel professionals, who help to create meaningful and educational opportunities for the students.
Students frequently return to campus with an enduring commitment to Jewish life. Last summer, David Sternlicht ’11 participated on the Taglit-Birthright Israel trip, and wrote that “since I left Israel, all I have been able to think about is returning. The fun I had, the friends I made, and the emotional connection I felt made Israel feel like an addictive drug-a desire that I needed to fulfill.
“My wishes were granted as I have been accepted to Tel Aviv University to study abroad from January through May of 2010. My experience in Israel was completely invaluable, and I cannot wait to build on this experience with more freedom to explore the rest of what Israel has to offer.”
W&L Junior Crighton Allen Publishes Op-Ed in Washington Post
Crighton Allen, a junior at Washington and Lee from Thomasville, Ga., participated in the Shepherd Alliance Summer Internship Program this past summer when he worked with the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C. What Crighton saw during his time in D.C. made him wonder about the way the system worked. So he wrote about his concerns in an essay that has been published today in the Washington Post’s “All Opinions Are Local” section. You can read Crighton’s piece, “Too many hands holding D.C.’s youth safety net,” on line. It’s the Hot Topic on the Post Web site. Crighton is a history major with a concentration in the Shepherd Poverty Program. He’s also currently chairman of the Student Judicial Council.
GAO Report Highlights W&L Black Lung Clinic
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W&L’s First LEED Certification Effort On Target
In its first attempt at earning Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for a campus building project, Washington and Lee University has made significant strides with its Newcomb Hall preservation project , especially with its related construction waste management plan.
Newcomb Hall is the first phase of the planned rehabilitation and preservation of W&L’s historic Colonnade. Work began in June 2009 and, according to Thomas M. Kalasky, director of design and construction at W&L, is currently on schedule for completion by the summer of 2010.
In electing to seek LEED certification for all University construction projects, both the Newcomb preservation and the new construction of Hillel House are incorporating sustainable building practices in design, construction, operations and maintenance. The LEED system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, awards points in various areas. One element of the Newcomb project that has been even more successful than W&L envisioned is the diversion of construction debris away from landfills.
Working with the construction management firm of Kjellstrom and Lee, and all subcontractors, W&L created the construction waste-management plan with an initial goal of diverting 50 percent of the waste. Through November, the plan had resulted in 84 percent diversion.
“Our plan has been very effective, and we’ve had very good support from the subcontractors, which has helped guarantee its success,” said Kalasky.
The university established a construction waste-recycling center on the north end of the campus beyond its athletic fields.
“All the comingled waste is taken directly there in trucks and emptied into dumpsters without first being sorted,” said Kalasky. “This has been very efficient, requiring fewer trucks and dumpsters. The material is then transported to Ace Waste, a collector and processor specializing in construction and demolition debris recycling, near Richmond.”
Once the material is at the recycling center, Kalasky said, it is sorted into four basic products – cardboard, metal, wood and concrete (including brick and stone). Once the material is processed, Ace Waste provides W&L with a report of how much of the debris was recycled and how much wound up in the landfill.
“Cardboard goes back to new cardboard, while any wood product typically ends up as landscaping mulch,” said Kalasky. “The metals will be melted down and end up as metal products again. The concrete, bricks and stone can be used as structural fill or ultimately can end up being made back into concrete.”
Kalasky noted that while the University’s goal of LEED certification does require certain up-front costs, the benefits are numerous.
“In the long run, it makes good economic sense, but it’s also the right thing to do from a sustainability standpoint,” Kalasky said. “Some estimates are that at the current disposal rate we’ve been going, Virginia’s construction waste landfills will be full in seven years. That would mean we’d have to truck these materials somewhere out of state, which would cost more and use more fuel.”
At first blush, Kalasky said, it may seem an odd marriage to connect the preservation of a 19th-century building with 21st-century energy and environmental standards.
“What we’re doing, among other things, is inserting more efficient mechanical systems and tightening up the envelope so that we have less heat loss in the winter or heat gain in the summer,” Kalasky said. “It actually fits very well in a project like this.”
From Banking to Building
According to a post on his blog, “The Georgian Revival,” Wright Marshall had intended to become either an investment banker or a lawyer when he entered Washington and Lee in 1991. But today Wright is an advertisement for the value of a liberal arts education. Although he majored in business administration at W&L, Wright said that he took every architectural history course he could get at W&L and also did an independent study on the Colonial Revival style in Georgia. His blog entry about the Atlanta architecture firm of Frazier and Rodin, which was designing Colonial Revival style homes in Atlanta between 1926 and 1939, cites that W&L project. But Wright’s interest is no longer academic. He is the founder and owner of Revival Construction, which takes as its mission “to build beautiful homes and lasting relationships, focusing on classically designed whole-house renovations and additions to houses built before WWII in the in-town areas of Atlanta.” The firm was received a Regional Contractor of the Year Award for the Southeast region for Residential Historic Renovation and Restoration in 2008 from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a whole house renovation. Coincidentally, three of he homes that Revival Construction has renovated were originally designed by the Frazier and Rodin firm that Wright first studied at W&L.
University Chorus Debuts Three W&L Student Compositions
In a first for Washington and Lee University, the University Chorus performed three new choral works composed by three senior music majors during the 2009 Holiday Concerts.
Shane Lynch, director of choral activities, said that the pieces started as a project for the composition class of Terry Vosbein, professor of music. “This has never been tried before with the W&L chorus, and I’ll admit it’s a bit of a scary proposition when you open yourself up to performing student compositions because you don’t know what you’re going to get,” Lynch said.
Lynch has undertaken this sort of student project at other schools and “we had to dump some of the pieces because it is a learning process and the compositions weren’t good enough,” he said. “So I was pleasantly surprised that we ended up with three great compositions. It’s something W&L should be really proud of. This is the perfect example of what we mean when we tell students that the advantage of a school like W&L is that you will have opportunities you wouldn’t have at other schools.”
Lynch, a noted composer and conductor, explained that, like a novel, choral works go through an editing process, partly to identify places that are hard to sing. “Two of the student composers got to experience the editing process in real time because they also sing with the University Chorus,” he said.
The compositions are each two to three minutes long and have a central theme of winter.
C.J. Boyd, a music composition major from Shrewsbury, W.Va., said it took him about 20 hours at the computer to compose his piece, called “Christmas Eve” from a poem by American poet Eugene Field from the 1890s. “Field wrote children’s poetry, and this poem is an anticipation of Christ coming for Christmas. But at the same time it’s really dreamy, like he’s trying to get the child to go to sleep at the same time,” he said. “The most interesting part for me was being in the chorus and learning it with the other singers. It was a first for me to have the piece I wrote taught back to me.”
Will Stewart, a music theory major from Winchester, Tenn., chose a text by Henry David Thoreau for his composition. Titled “There and Here,” Stewart described it as being about the dichotomy of living in the realistic world and the more ethereal world. “It’s up to individual listeners to interpret it as they wish,” he said. “I had to find a poem that really spoke to me and inspired me to compose. Then, as I went through the process of composing, it took on a life of its own.”
Andy Budzinski’s composition “Blow, Thou Winter Wind” comes from a passage in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.”
Budzinski, who is from Lawrenceville, N.J., is a music composition major, but he noted that “it’s the first vocal work I’ve done.” Although he sings with the university’s Chamber Singers, rather than the chorus, Budzinski was able to attend some rehearsals. “Singers all have very unique voices, and it’s a completely different ballgame to hear it performed than to see it on the page,” he said.
Conducted by Lynch, the University Chorus consists of 60 singers who perform between four and six concerts on campus each year. Its repertoire includes music from all periods, and they also tour internationally every other year. The most recent tour was to Germany in 2007. Other tours have included Austria, Italy, Cuba and Scandinavia.
The Holidau Concert also featured the university’s Wind Ensemble, String Ensemble and the University Chorus presenting traditional and contemporary arrangements of favorite holiday tunes.
Audio files of the University Chorus can be heard at http://music.wlu.edu/content/view/23/51/
W&L Professor’s New Book Examines the Power of Silence in Japanese Politics
Politics professor Robin LeBlanc explores this masculine dynamic in her new book, The Art of The Gut: Manhood, Power, and Ethics in Japanese Politics. ” ‘Art of the gut’ comes from the Japanese term hara gei,” says LeBlanc. “It is used to describe what it means to know your way through a social encounter without having to make anything explicit.”
In practice, the term applies to backroom dealing and decision-making among Japanese men. Male politicians use the term “to describe the cementing of relationships,” says LeBlanc, “and often really important relationships.” Power comes from understanding what the relationship requires, without detailed explanation.
LeBlanc decided to study men’s political power after finishing her first book about Japanese politics, 1999’s Bicycle Citizens: The Political World of the Japanese Housewife. “I was frustrated by the fact that my male-dominated discipline didn’t teach or notice that they had male scholars or that the political men they studied had gender,” says LeBlanc. “They thought gender meant women.”
LeBlanc originally planned to study how Japan’s local assemblies structured the manner in which candidates-both male and female-could become politically engaged. At the time, referendum movements were challenging the status quo across Japan, so local assemblies were prime targets for consideration.
While she was in the field, however, she noticed how her sources repeatedly mentioned the effectiveness of one man, a community leader she calls Baba-san. “The people I was working with in my field convinced me that you really have to look seriously at this individual, particularly in this rural town called Takeno. He really matters. If he weren’t here, we would be different,” says LeBlanc.
The problem? Political scientists examine trends and patterns, not individual agents. But Baba-san was different. “It really just got to the point where I couldn’t ignore what they were saying, and I just saw [that] this person makes a difference,” says LeBlanc. “He became a political force.” Baba-san was also interesting to LeBlanc because he was a mid-level local politician. “We never look at people in the middle,” she says. We focus instead on the power elite or marginal groups.
LeBlanc also followed Takada-san, a second-generation politician running for the local ward assembly in Tokyo. “He’s a very, very typical case. He was running for his father’s seat,” says LeBlanc. Though statistics aren’t available for local politicians, 40 percent of elected national officials in Japan are second generation.
LeBlanc’s observations about the two men reveal how their unspoken adherence to Japan’s masculine code helped, and occasionally hindered, their ability to wield and maintain power. Baba-san, for example, refused to engage verbally with another political operative who’d proposed a candidate swap during a key backroom meeting. His silence cemented his choice. In another case, Takada-san felt duty-bound to acquiesce to a constituent’s funding request-one that was financially unsound-based on an unspoken, gut-level sympathy for the man’s role as breadwinner.
With the book, LeBlanc hopes to encourage political scientists to look at men, particularly men in power. “Men’s studies right now doesn’t focus on politics,” she says. “It’s natural, so we don’t see it.” With The Art of the Gut, she is also exploring a new mode of political-science writing, moving beyond the traditional, trend-based approach to a more narrative, even artistic, form of analysis that can include first-hand observations and individual agency.
LeBlanc’s book is available at the University Bookstore and Amazon.com.
— by Amy Balfour ’89, ’93L
More than Two Decades in KD Country
Anyone from Western Pennsylvania or even anyone who has spent some time traveling through Pittsburgh over the last two decades has probably seen and heard a Washington and Lee alumnus who has become a fixture on KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh’s CBS affiliate. Dave Crawley of the Class of 1969 celebrated two decades with the station in April 2008, and he’s still going strong. According to Dave’s bio on KDKA’s Web site, he has taped more than 3,000 stories and has won 10 Emmy awards as “Outstanding Feature Reporter” in Mid-Atlantic states. On his 20th anniversary, both KDKA and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had major feature stories about his career. A history major, Dave has also published several books of children’s poetry. At KDKA, the primary vehicle for Dave’s stories is a segment called “KD Country” for which he’s interviewed visiting celebrities along with local characters. You can watch those segments on the KD Country video library. If you go there, be sure to watch Dave’s 2008 story about “Champ, the Car Honking Dog.” And next time you’re in the Pittsburgh area, tune in.
“Fan” W&L Career Services
Washington and Lee’s Career Services has a Facebook fan page that keeps students (and others) up to date on the various opportunities that the office has. Become a fan. And while you’re on the page, check out the new Career Services blog. Speaking of Career Services, Beverly Lorig, the director, offered interesting observations about job prospects for a recent media tip sheet. Referring to the college graduates of 2009 through 2011, Lorig said, “Students are no longer being courted, praised, and rewarded lavishly. Those of us in this business for many years remember talking to candidates about showing they were ‘hungry’ for the particular job. I believe we are returning to that reality.”
Alex Shabo ’12 and Greg Lennon ’11 Recognized at Celebrating Student Success Reception
W&L students Alex Shabo and Greg Lennon will be recognized at the Celebrating Student Success (CSS) monthly reception on Wednesday, Dec. 9, from 2-4 p.m. in the Elrod Commons Living Room.
The reception is open to anyone in the campus community. Free food and beverages will be available beginning at 2 p.m. with a brief presentation at 2:30 p.m.
A sophomore from Hingham, Mass., Shabo is a psychology and business administration double major. She was just selected a member of the Bonner Leaders Program; is a resident advisor for first-year students; a member of the Literacy Campaign; is a Peer Tutor currently tutoring calculus for first-year students; is a member of the Career Service Project Team; and is a member and service chair of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.
Shabo is a member of Phi Eta Sigma national freshman honor society; is a volunteer with the Nabors Service League; works with the W&L Campus Kitchen; is a member of Reformed University Fellowship (RUF); and is student editor of the new blog “A Week in the Life.” She has been on the Honor Roll and Dean’s List her freshman and sophomore years.
Lennon, a junior from Virginia Beach, Va., is majoring in international politics and attended the Salzburg Law School in Salzburg, Austria, on International Criminal Law last summer. He is president of the Greek Vision Council which focuses on crucial aspects, programs and goals of Greek Life; vice president of 1 in 4 (male sexual assault prevention group); publicity chair of the CONTACT Committee; Interfraternity Council representative, philanthropy chair and former historian of Sigma Nu fraternity; member of Lifestyle Information for Everyone (LIFE); and a volunteer for Project Horizon.
Lennon also has attended many conferences, including the Marshall Plan and Iraq at the Marshall Foundation; Campus Strength Training, Men Can Stop Rape; Virginia Peer to Peer Educator Summit at the College of William and Mary; Sexual Assault in our Schools, Safe Zone; and presented a Men Can Stop Rape Program at the W&L Regional Sexual Assault Summit.
CSS is an initiative sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs to create ongoing dialogue about the positive accomplishments of individuals and organizations at Washington and Lee University, especially students who are not typically recognized for the depth and breadth they add to our campus community.
Shabo and Lennon were selected by the CSS committee which is composed of students, faculty and staff. Any campus community member can nominate any Washington and Lee University student by filling out the online form on the CSS website. Nominations are always accepted and encouraged.
Future CSS receptions during the 2009-10 academic year will occur from 2-4 p.m. in the Elrod Commons Living Room on Jan. 27, Feb. 17, Mar. 17, Apr. 7 and May 5.
Two New C-SPAN Videos With W&L Connections
If you missed them on C-SPAN television, there are two videos with Washington and Lee connections currently available from the
Alumni Battling Childhood Cancers
Back in November Stephen R. Chance of the Class of 1989 and his family stopped by Lexington on their way back to Atlanta from Philadelphia. Stephen decided to show his family around his alma mater. As he walked across the footbridge, he spotted a banner for St. Jude Childrens’ Research Hospital from the University’s group of the “Up ’til Dawn” fundraising program for St. Jude. The banner had special meaning to Stephen and his family since they were on their way back from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where six-year-old Patrick was being treated for relapsed stage IV Neuroblastoma, for which there is no known cure. You can read about the Chances and Patrick’s battle on the family’s Press On Web site. Coincidentally, Stephen grew up with another W&L alum, Turner Simkins of the Class of 1987, and his wife, Tara Rice Simkins. The Simkins’ son, Brennan, 7, has relapsed acute myeloid leukemia and, even as Stephen was spotting the St. Jude banner on W&L’s footbridge, the Simkins were actually at St. Jude where Brennan was undergoing continued chemotherapy in preparation for a second transplant. According to Stephen, Patrick’s and Brennan’s chances are similarly very poor, and the two families have established, Press On to CURE Childhood Cancer, a named fund under the auspices of CURE Childhood Cancer, Inc., to raise money in support of research. When Stephen returned to Atlanta last month, he sent a note to W&L relating his experience in Lexington and expressing his thanks for the Up ’til Dawn fundraiser for St. Jude. “I have never been more proud of W&L than I was at that moment,” he wrote. In the weeks since that initial email from Stephen, current student organizers of W&L’s Up ’til Dawn event have been in contact with the Chances as planning for the Feb. 9, 2010, fundraiser goes forward. Stay tuned.
W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio Joins Presidents’ Trust to Advance Liberal Education
Washington and Lee University President Kenneth P. Ruscio is among 82 college and university presidents and chancellors who have joined a new Presidents’ Trust formed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) to make the case for liberal education and its value in today’s world.
The Presidents’ Trust is a leadership group within the AAC&U’s national initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise: Excellence for Everyone as a Nation Goes to College.
“A liberal arts education emphasizes critical thinking and exposure to broad social, economic and political trends. This approach is more valuable than ever before as we help students make sense of the rapidly changing world around them,” said Ruscio. “We are pleased to be supporting the Association of American Colleges and Universities in the new effort to promote the liberal arts and especially to integrate liberal arts and professional preparation, which has long been a hallmark of Washington and Lee.”
According to the AAC&U, the core priority areas for the Presidents Trust for 2009-10 will include:
- Making the economic case for liberal education;
- Making-and fulfilling-the civic case for liberal education;
- Engaging first-generation families and new Americans with the meaning and value of liberal education;
- Integrating liberal arts and professional preparation on campus;
- Charting a new direction for assessment and accountability.
“President Ruscio is already providing valuable leadership speaking out and ensuring that Washington and Lee students are receiving the kind of college education that will best prepare them for success in today’s competitive global economy – an engaged and practical liberal education,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider.
The Presidents’ Trust advocates for a 21st-century vision of liberal education that combines the best of that philosophy of education’s traditional focus on broad knowledge, analytic reasoning and rigorous contextual study with newer approaches to helping students integrate and apply their learning in new settings. The Trust believes that a 21st-century liberal education provides individuals with core knowledge and transferable skills and cultivates social responsibility and a strong sense of ethics and values. Characterized by challenging encounters with important issues, a liberal education prepares graduates both for socially valued work and for civic leadership in their society.
As part of the Presidents’ Trust, W&L has already hosted a regional working conference to discuss core purposes and practices of liberal arts education. Additional regional and national meetings will engage individuals both on and off campus in ongoing conversations.
W&L Habitat for Humanity Chapter Earns State Farm Matching Grant
The Washington and Lee University Habitat for Humanity chapter has been selected as one of the 2009-2010 State Farm Insurance Companies $5,000 Matching Grant recipients.
State Farm issues only seven $5,000 Matching Grants to campus Habitat chapters nationwide. With this matching grant, State Farm challenges the recipients to raise an amount equal to the grant before May 15, 2010, and to donate it to their affiliate chapter in order to receive the matching funds.
W&L Habitat for Humanity seeks to aid its affiliate, the Rockbridge Area Habitat for Humanity, by raising money to relieve poverty housing and homelessness in the community. All the proceeds from W&L fundraising efforts go directly to the Rockbridge affiliate for the use in building homes. The State Farm Matching Grant will provide the chapter the opportunity to double its fundraising efforts.
The W&L Habitat for Humanity chapter is led by co-chairs Robert Thorpe and Charles Wilson, both seniors at W&L.
Adam Schwartz, associate professor of business administration and the group’s faculty advisor, attributes the grant achievement and the success of the W&L Habitat Chapter to Thorpe and Wilson’s efforts. “Charles and Robert are fantastic leaders,” said Schwartz. “They do a great job with the Habitat Hotel and other fund raising projects.”
Already this year the chapter, under the direct guidance of Thorpe and Wilson, has raised $10,000, thus achieving the stipulations of the matching grant. Wilson predicts that by the end of the year they will have raised $15,000 through a combination of their fundraising efforts and the State Farm grant.
“The Habitat for Humanity Fundraising Board typically raises the majority of its money from Habitat Hotel each year,” says Wilson, referring to one of the organization’s most successful projects. Habitat Hotel aims to get the entire W&L and Rockbridge community involved in fundraising by askings both members of the University community and local residents to host parents of W&L students in their homes over Parents and Family Weekend. Parents pay $100 per night, and all proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity.
“Habitat Hotel usually brings in about $4,000,” said Wilson. “We also receive a sizeable portion of our final donation from the school – $5,000 from the student body Executive Committee allocated us $5,000. In addition, we create a T-shirt with a different theme each year to create awareness and educate the students on the purpose of Habitat in our community. Through T-shirt sales, concessions and donations, we are able to get another $1,000.”
The $15,000 that the W&L chapter raises is used for the construction of a Habitat house in the area, and Wilson said estimates are that the average cost of a house is $98,000.
Thorpe encourages more members of the community to become involved in Habitat’s work through spreading awareness and through participation in both builds and fundraisers. “As a charity organization, we rely on this awareness and on the fundraising that follows it,” he said”
“What makes Habitat for Humanity distinct at W&L, is that every dollar we raise goes to the benefit of Habitat. Our exclusive purpose is to give. Habitat has afforded me the unique experience of working with members of the local community,” said Wilson, adding: “We hope to be able to receive the matching grant again and make it an annual fundraising goal.”
— by Maggie Sutherland ’10
New Alumni Association Blog
If you’re looking for the latest news of Washington and Lee’s alumni chapters, there’s a great new on-line resource available. The Alumni Association’s blog features a comprehensive calendar of chapter events plus links tothe individual blogs being maintained by 16 different alumni chapters. Be sure to have a look. Chances are you’ll find a W&L holiday party coming up soon in your area.
W&L Journalism Professor Covers Indian Prime Minister’s State Visit
Like her faculty colleagues and students at Washington and Lee University, Indira Somani was prepared to spend a restful Thanksgiving break.
That all changed when Somani, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications at W&L, received an e-mail from an editor at India-West, a weekly newspaper published in California for Indian-Americans.
Before she knew it, Somani was headed to Washington, D.C., to spend three days covering the historic state visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and putting into practice some of the very lessons that she teaches her W&L students.
For Somani, a second-generation American whose parents came from India, it was more than just another freelance assignment.
“This was a personally rewarding experience,” Somani said. “I felt very blessed to have this opportunity. To see the American and Indian flags flown together all over the White House and to be present to see the many prominent Indian-Americans attend President Barack Obama’s first state dinner was just surreal for me.”
Somani was part of the press corps at almost a dozen different events that Prime Minister Singh attended, including a day-long series of events at the White House.
Although much of the post-visit media attention has focused on the Virginia couple who crashed the state dinner, Somani believes she witnessed an important moment in U.S.-India relations.
“It was clear to me that the White House wanted to show that the U.S. values India as a key partner in dealing with important international issues, including terrorism, the global economy and environmental challenges,” said Somani. “Some Indians had thought President Obama had neglected India during his first months in office.
“But I think that President Obama knows that he’s ultimately going to need India’s help when it comes to figuring out how to get the troops out of Afghanistan eventually, and that makes the relationship between the countries all the more important,” she said.
Among the issues raised during the visit, Somani cited two major educational initiatives as particularly important: an increase in the Fulbright-Nehru Scholarship program and the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative, which increases ties between the countries’ universities.
“As I wrote in one of the articles for India-West, the prime minister was explicit in inviting American business to look to emerging possibilities in India,” said Somani.
In addition to covering the substantive issues, Somani had the chance to attend the press preview that First Lady Michelle Obama had prior to the state dinner and also turned celebrity photographer to capture images of the guests arriving. She even captured the celebrated gatecrashers, though her photos of them are slightly out of focus.
“I, of course, had no idea who these two people (Tareq and Michaele Salahi) were, but I did remember them coming through and was shocked at the eventual reports,” she said. “I was focusing on the Indian-Americans who attended — people like Bollywood composer AR Rahman and American film maker M. Night Shyamalan – because there is a great deal of interest among Indians in these individuals.”
Somani said the general consensus among those with whom she spoke was that the visit of the two world leaders was fruitful. At the same time, she considered her experience equally fruitful.
“It was good for me to be out in the field again,” said Somani, who spent 10 years in broadcast journalism before entering academia. “Our journalism program is based on a converged environment in which students learn to combine broadcast, on-line and print. In this instance, I was operating in the print medium but using both a still camera and an audio recorder in much the same way that we teach the students. I was a one-man band, and I can now share this experience with my students.”
Somani’s interaction with both the White House press corps and the Indian journalists traveling with the prime minister also demonstrated how rapidly journalism is changing.
“Even since 2002 when I was last working in media, the methods of news gathering have made huge strides,” she said, noting that she worked alongside Indian journalists who were editing video on small, portable devices right on the spot and sending the material back to their bureaus where it was uploaded immediately and available on satellite television.
“It was amazing to see the speed at which they were working, and this is something I can also bring back to the classroom,” she said. “We have been talking about implementing editing on deadline with our students because that will be their reality. Currently the students work on The Rockbridge Report (the journalism department’s television newscast and on-line news magazine) as a weekly production so they have several days to work on their pieces. We obviously have to be realistic because of their other classes, but I want them to graduate from our program with skills that they can use. Seeing the way international media are working in this environment was helpful.”
Juniors Anthony Cardona and Emmy Mathews Win VFIC/Norfolk Southern Scholarships
Anthony Cardona and Emmy Mathews, juniors at Washington and Lee University, are winners in the $10,000 Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges (VFIC ) / Norfolk Southern Scholarship Program competition.
Cardona and Mathews were selected in a statewide competition with applicants from all 15 member colleges in the VFIC consortium. Over 40 applications were received and two of the three winners chosen were W&L students.
Cardona, a business administration major with a minor in philosophy, is from Lower Gwynedd, Pa. He is a member of W&L’s varsity baseball team that last year won the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championship for the first time; a student-athlete and member of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee; a member of Southern Comfort a cappella singing group and a member of Kappa Alpha Order. He was selected to the ODAC Baseball All-Conference Team, recognized as an ODAC Scholar-Athlete and chosen as an NCAA Leadership Conference Representative.
Last summer Cardona interned at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y, working on the marketing and sales initiatives at the Hall of Fame. He also designed direct mailings, brochures and coupons to help bolster enrollment. After graduation Cardona plans a career in marketing and promotions and getting his M.B.A.
Mathews, from Baltimore, Md., is a business administration and philosophy double major. She is captain of the field hockey team and women’s lacrosse team; is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society; Phi Eta Sigma freshman honor society; is a member and treasurer of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority; and member of Kathekon, W&L’s student alumni association. She was awarded the Edward Lee Pinney Prize for her commitment to personal scholarship and nurturing intellectual life
Mathews was W&L’s Freshman Female Athlete of the Year; ODAC Field Hockey Rookie of the Year her freshman year; ODAC Lacrosse First Team All-Conference last winter and Field Hockey First Team All-Region this year. Mathews spent last summer studying corporate finance at the London School of Economics Study Abroad.
The competitive Norfolk Southern Scholarship program, administered by the VFIC, is provided to juniors who have academic promise and an interest in enhancing their future career opportunities with Norfolk Southern. The award is available to VFIC undergraduates seeking degrees in economics, business, finance, accounting or related fields. Each scholar receives $5,000 for his or her junior year and an additional $5,000 for his or her senior year, contingent on maintaining the scholarship requirements.
Only moments before the network TV cameras went live from Eisenhower Hall at West Point for President Obama’s speech on Afghanistan last night, a Washington and Lee alumnus stood at the podium where the president would stand and addressed the Corps of Cadets and gathered dignitaries. Col. James T. (Ty) Seidule, a 1984 W&L history major, provided introductory remarks prior to President Obama’s address. Ty’s 15-minute speech provided a brief history of past presidential visits to the Academy. If you happened to be watching online at C-SPAN.org, you would have caught Ty’s speech. (We’ll try to post the audio or video eventually.) Ty is Academy Professor and chief of the military history division of the department of history at West Point. He teaches a course on West Point history and was quoted in a USA Today piece Wednesday that discussed the relationship between presidents and West Point. In his speech, Ty called West Point is “a metaphor for the American character” and noted that there is “a special relationship between the Commander-in-Chief and the West Point cadets.” Ty also reminded the cadets that their role was clear with respect to the president’s decisions regarding troop deployment: “We are the executors, not the advocates of national policy.” He added that “presidents have enjoyed their visits and cadets have enjoyed hosting them.” He went on to say that part of the cadets’ enjoyment of the visits is because “only the president can grant amnesty for minor offenses.” (The president did not grant amnesty last night because of the serious nature of his speech; instead, the commandant of cadets gave the order for amnesty, bringing smiles to the faces of those cadets with demerits.) Ty earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Ohio State. During his active duty, he was a commander in the 82nd Airborne, armored division.
Alumna Wins Marshall Memorial Fellowship
Anna Schleunes, a 1991 Washington and Lee alumna and currently assistant city attorney for the city of Charlotte, N.C., is one of only 54 individuals from around the nation to be awarded a prestigious German Marshall Fund’s Marshall Memorial Fellowship (MMF) for 2010. Anna, a politics major at W&L and a member of Chi Omega, received her law degree from the University of North Carolina and has worked for the city of Charlotte since 2003. As assistant city attorney, she provides legal advice to the Neighborhood Development Department, the Fire Department, the Community Relations Committee, and the Cemeteries Division of the Engineering and Property Management Department. According to the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Marshall Memorial Fellowship program is designed to educate emerging American and European leaders on the importance of transatlantic relationships and to encourage collaboration on international and domestic policy challenges. During a 24-day period, the fellows travel to five cities across Europe and meet with local counterparts. In a story distributed by the city of Charlotte, Anna is quoted as saying: “This is an amazing chance to learn about the challenges facing leaders in Europe, as well as new ideas I can bring back to Charlotte.”