Feature Stories Campus Events

Kevin Spirtas Presents One-Man Show at W&L

Kevin Spirtas brings his acclaimed one-man show to Washington and Lee University on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m. in the Keller Theater.

Hailed as “Broadway’s most exciting new leading man” by the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and an “electrifying talent
and entertainment” by Las Vegas Magazine, Spirtas is probably more familiar to audiences from his role as Dr Craig Wesley in the soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” His more recent Broadway performances include “A Chorus Line,” “Hairspray,” and the “Boy from Oz.”

In “Night and Days, An Evening with Kevin Spirtas,” he returns to the stage in a musical evening of song and dance that celebrates his journey from Broadway to Hollywood, weaving together familiar material that showcases his vocal and acting talents.

Spirtas’ visit is supported in part by the Cynthia D. Klinedinst Endowment.

Tickets are available online at lenfest.wlu.edu or call the Lenfest box office at (540) 458-800.

Omicron Delta Kappa Relocating to Its Birthplace of Lexington

Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society that was founded at Washington and Lee University in 1914, will be returning to its birthplace later this year when the national headquarters is relocated to Lexington, Va.

ODK plans to move into the historic Lexington train station on Nelson Street this summer once the organization’s purchase of the building from W&L is completed.

“We are excited at the prospect of moving the ODK national headquarters to Lexington,” said Thomas G. Goodale, the organization’s executive director. “This move permits us to return to the place where ODK was founded just as we are beginning to plan for the 100th anniversary of our founding in 2014.”

The relocation will also represent the first time in its history that ODK has had a headquarters facility of its own. Most recently it had operated out of facilities on campuses at the University of Kentucky and currently Transylvania University, both in Lexington, Ky.

“The decision by ODK to return to its roots here at Washington and Lee is wonderful news,” said W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio. “We look forward to welcoming the national headquarters to Lexington and to continuing our historic relationship with the society.”

Membership in ODK is regarded as one of the highest honors that a college student can receive. The society has chapters, known as circles, on more than 320 college campuses around the country. Membership is awarded to undergraduate junior and senior students; to graduate students; to faculty, staff, and administration; alumni; and to persons qualifying for membership “honoris causa.” Students who are elected, or tapped, for membership must rank in the upper 35 percent in scholarship in their respective institutions and must show leadership in at least one of five phases of campus life: scholarship; athletics; campus or community service, social and religious activities and campus government; journalism, speech, and the mass media; and, creative and performing arts.

ODK alumni range from Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning to secretary of state Hillary Clinton to singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow. Washington and Lee alumni who are members of ODK include former national broadcaster Roger Mudd, the late Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., and former New York Stock Exchange president William R. Johnston.

The Lexington train station was purchased by W&L in 1971 and has most recently been used to house the Facilities Management offices. Facilities management will move its offices to the old Rockbridge County courthouse.

New York Times Business Writer to Address Economy in W&L Talk

New York Times senior business correspondent Micheline Maynard will present a talk entitled “What Will We Look Like When The Recession Is Over?” at Washington and Lee University at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8, Room 327 of Huntley Hall.

The presentation, sponsored by the department of journalism and mass communications at W&L, is free and open to the public. Maynard will sign copies of her latest book, The Selling of the American Economy: How Foreign Companies are Remaking the American Dream, after the talk.

Maynard joined the staff of Times in 2004 as a reporter for the paper’s Business Day section. She was named Detroit bureau chief in 2005 and began covering national news and the auto industry. Three years later, she became a senior business correspondent for the Times, specializing in aviation and the airline industry.

In the meantime, she has also chronicled her adventures as a hybrid-electric car owner in “The Prius Diary,” part of a Times environmental business blog called “Green, Inc.” She also contributes regularly to the Times’ Culture and Dining sections.

Maynard began her career as a legislative correspondent for United Press International in Lansing, Mich., and served as an intern in the White House Press Office. She has also been a staff writer or bureau chief at a number of news organizations, including USA TODAY, Newsday, U.S. News & World Report, and the Reuters News Service.

In 1999-2000, she was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan and holds a visiting lecturer position at the university, where she has taught at the School of Business Administration and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Her extensive experience covering Michigan’s auto industry led to her 2003 book, The End of Detroit: How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market.

Maynard is a regular guest on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “PBS Newshour.” She’s also available on both Twitter and Facebook.

W&L Tax Clinic Receives IRS Grant for Third Straight Year

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Law Students Log Hundreds of Service Hours during Fall Semester

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Super Bowl Stock Market Predictor Still a Winner, According to W&L Professor

Even before the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts step on the field for Super Bowl XLIV, one result has already been determined–stocks will be up for 2010. Or so says the Super Bowl Stock Market Predictor.

Washington and Lee University finance professor George Kester has authored a new study that determines that, over the course of the event’s 43-year history, the Super Bowl winner has correctly predicted whether the market will go up or down 77 percent of the time.

Beyond the up or down prediction, Kester, the Martel Professor of Finance in Washington and Lee’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, found using the Super Bowl model would have resulted in an impressive return on investment.

Kester will publish his results in the Spring 2010 issue of the “Journal of Investing,” and his work has already been reported in the Wall Street Journal and on “CNNMoney.”

Here’s what the Super Bowl Predictor maintains: If the team that wins the Super Bowl has its roots in the original National Football League, the market will increase. If the winning team was originally from the old American Football League, the market will decline.

“My very tongue-in-cheek explanation for this phenomenon is based on the first time that a team from the old AFL won, which was Super Bowl III in 1969, when the upstart New York Jets and quarterback ‘Broadway’ Joe Namath stunned the heavily favored Baltimore Colts,” Kester said. “Investors thought the Jets’ upset victory meant there must be something amiss in America and it was time to sell, and that’s been built into the American psyche ever since.”

Of course, that probably is as good an explanation as any for the phenomenon that began to be tracked in the mid-1980s and led two researchers to do a rigorous academic examination that was published in the prestigious “Journal of Finance” in 1990.

The researchers, Thomas M. Krueger and William F. Kennedy, found that the Super Bowl Predictor had been correct 91 percent of the time for the 22-year period of 1967 through 1988.

“For some time I had been interested in repeating and updating this study,” said Kester. “In addition to determining whether the predictor was correct in determining up or down markets, I was also curious whether the model could predict especially strong bull markets and especially bad bear markets and outperform a buy-and-hold strategy.”

Kester constructed a back-test with a beginning portfolio of $1,000 that he invested in S&P 500 stocks or Treasury bills, depending upon which team won the Super Bowl.

“Interestingly, over the entire history of the Super Bowl, my wealth would have been more than twice as great had I used this strategy rather than a passive buy-and-hold strategy with the S&P 500,” he said. “I took brokerage costs into account whenever I sold T-bills and invested in stocks and vice versa, and I also included dividends on the S&P stocks. The dollar values of the portfolios at the end of 2008 would have been $43,000 for a buy-and-hold strategy and $105,000 for the Super Bowl market-timing strategy.”

Along the way, Kester tried one other wrinkle. After the AFL and NFL merged in 1970, professional teams have played in two divisions of the NFL–the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference. So he ran a second test to see if using the teams’ current conference affiliation would have the same effect. It doesn’t. Overall prediction accuracy with the conference approach was about 58 percent as opposed to 77 percent accuracy using the old AFL and NFL affiliations.

“Of course, you have to do a research project like this with a sense of humor and realize that this is spurious correlation,” said Kester. “It would be difficult for me to recommend to any investors that they base their strategy on a football game. On the other hand, in hindsight, the superior investment performance of the Super Bowl market-timing strategy speaks for itself.”

Kester did not say whether he had called his broker when the New York Jets lost in this year’s conference championships. That Jets’ loss meant that the final two contestants in the Super Bowl, New Orleans and Indianapolis, are both rooted in the old NFL. So no matter who prevails on Super Sunday, investors may be the big winners.

Lacrosse Magazine on the Keiglers

A feature story in Lacrosse Magazine tells the story of Washington and Lee’s Keigler connection — father Tom ’77 is a National Lacrosse Hall of Famer; son Will ’10 enters his senior season tied for 16th on the all-time scoring list at W&L. See the story here. W&L lacrosse fans of all generations will enjoy reading about the father and son. As the story notes, former Washington and Lee lacrosse coach Jack Emmer called Tom “the best defenseman in the college game . . . one in a million” when he entered his senior season. Interestingly, son Will said that, growing up, he never really knew how good his father had been, telling Lacrosse Magazine: “He never would say that he was an All-American and played on a World Team. It was something I hadn’t seen before and it was pretty amazing.” Will, first-team All-ODAC and honorable mention All-America on the field, was also named to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine College Division Academic All-District III At-Large squad. Will and the Generals open their lacrosse season on the road at Birmingham-Southern on Feb. 23.

Habitat Helping Haiti

Washington and Lee students continue to work on Haitian earthquake relief on several different fronts. W&L’s Habitat for Humanity chapter has received $2076.90 to donate for disaster relief in Haiti from the student Executive Committee. The EC allocated these funds based on both the historic success of W&L’s Habitat for Humanity andits innovative plans for the future. This donation will be combined with a $4,000 donation from the Rockbridge County Habitat for Humanity and will be earmarked specifically to help finance transitional shelters for the hundreds of thousands who have become homeless. Transitional shelters cost around $2500 and serve as both a temporary housing solution and a foundation on which inhabitants can build a permanent residence. W&L’s Habitat chapter, incidentally, recently won a matching grant from State Farm Insurance. Meanwhile, Change for Haiti has set up a raffle and has developed plans for a benefit concert. You can follow Change for Haiti on its Facebook page here. Dining Services has its special lunch tomorrow, Jan. 29, in the Marketplace. Dining Services will donate $3 for each lunch served to the American Red Cross for Haiti relief.

W&L’s Ellen Mayock Receives SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award

Ellen C. Mayock, professor of Spanish at Washington and Lee University, has received a 2010 Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). As Virginia’s highest honor for faculty at its public and private colleges and universities, the award recognizes superior accomplishments in teaching, research and public service.

“Professor Mayock is an accomplished scholar and a terrific teacher,” said W&L Provost June Aprille. “And her positive influence on students extends far beyond the classroom, as she organizes opportunities for them to use their language skills in service and outreach programs. The SCHEV awards provide wonderful recognition for outstanding educators in the Commonwealth. I am delighted that W&L is represented among the 2010 awardees.”

Mayock, who joined the W&L faculty in 1997, teaches Spanish language, literature, culture, translation and cinema. A member of the Romance Languages Department, she also is a core faculty member of two interdisciplinary programs, Women’s and Gender Studies and Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and teaches classes in those areas as well.

The professor holds a B.A. in Spanish and French from the University of Virginia; an M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College; and a Ph.D. in Hispanic literature from the University of Texas. She also did graduate work at Temple University in Paris, France.

Mayock is the author of The “Strange Girl” in Twentieth-Century Spanish Novels Written by Women (University Press of the South, 2004) and the co-editor (with Domnica Radulescu, professor of French at W&L) of Ruptured Selves, Resisting Bodies: Feminist Activism in the Academy (forthcoming with McFarland).

Mayock has written many articles and book reviews for such publications as Letras Femeninas, Excavatio, Anales de la Literatura Española Contemporánea and Letras Peninsulares. She also has contributed chapters to books including Women in the Spanish Novel Today, Anuario 2006 de Estudios Celianos-La Obra del Literato y sus Alrededores: Estudios Críticos en Torno a Camilo José Cela and Latin American Writers: An Encyclopedia.

Mayock also has co-authored a Spanish textbook supplement and translated a play, and she has given numerous presentations at conferences in the U.S. and in Spain, Mexico, France and other countries. Among her many professional involvements, she serves on the board of directors of the Asociación Hispánica de Humanidades and directed its Fifth International Conference in Seville, Spain.

At W&L, she serves as a faculty adviser to English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), a student organization that provides translation services and language classes for residents of Rockbridge County. One of ESOL’s signature activities is a service trip to the Dominican Republic, where W&L students work with local elementary school students and with young baseball players for the San Diego Padres.

From 2004 to 2006, Mayock served as associate dean of the College at W&L. During that time, she oversaw a year-long program, Celebrating Women at Washington and Lee, commemorating the 20th anniversary of coeducation at the University. She currently serves as a faculty representative from the College to W&L’s Board of Trustees and chairs the University Athletics Committee. In that capacity, she is the institution’s Faculty Athletics Representative for the ODAC and the NCAA.

She has received several grants for her scholarship, for instructional technology and for ESOL. In 2006, she won W&L’s Anece F. McCloud Excellence in Diversity Award, which goes to a member of the campus community who demonstrates commitment to promoting the awareness, acceptance and appreciation of diversity at the University.

Before coming to W&L, Mayock taught Spanish and French at the Germantown Academy, Fort Washington, Pa.; English at the Carmen Pérez private institute, Madrid, Spain; and Spanish at the University of Texas, Pennsylvania State University (Delaware County) and Saint Joseph’s University (Philadelphia).

Mayock will receive her award at a ceremony and luncheon on Feb. 18, at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond. She and the other recipients will also receive an honorary introduction on the floor of the General Assembly.

SCHEV is Virginia’s coordinating body for higher education. Established in 1956, it promotes higher education in the Commonwealth by making public policy recommendations to the governor and the General Assembly and by administering educational programs. For more information, see http://www.schev.edu/.

General Knowledge 101: The Answer

And the answer is?


The Calyx was first published in the same year that Virginia Tech’s yearbook, The Bugle, began. Both came after Harvard University’s was first published in 1889. But the oldest college yearbook is Yale University’s Banner, founded in 1841.


Earlier this week officials of Corks and Curls, the yearbook at the University of Virginia, announced that it was ceasing publication, a casualty of the digital times. The Calyx continues. Corks and Curls first published in 1888. So here is the first in an occasional series of trivia tests.