Feature Stories Campus Events

Sudden Death Win for Rick Woulfe '76L

Rick Woulfe, a 1976 graduate of the W&L School of Law, is managing partner of Bunnell Woulfe, P.A., in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In 2009, Rick was named one of Florida’s Super Lawyers and was also recognized as a Top Lawyer in the 2010 South Florida Legal Guide.

Rick knows his way around a golf course as well as a courtroom. On March 14, playing in the 55-and-over division of the Florida Azalea Senior Amateur at the the Palatka Golf Club in Palatka, Fla., Rick recovered from bogeys on the final two holes of regulation to win the title on the first hole of sudden death. According to the story in Golfweek magazine, the final round was played in winds that were never lower than 15 miles an hour and gusted to 40. The 17th and 18th holes — the ones Rick bogeyed — were particularly treacherous. But Rick birdied the first playoff hole after pitching within three feet of the cup.

What made the performance all the more remarkable was that Rick had shot 6-over-par on the front nine, and then started the back nine with four consecutive birdies followed by a hole-in-one on the 165-yard 14th hole.

A Loss in the W&L Family: Former First Lady Evelyn Huntley

Evelyn Whitehurst Huntley of Lexington, former first lady of Washington and Lee University, died on Monday, March 29, at her home. She was 78.

A graveside service will be held in Stonewall Jackson Cemetery at 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 1, with Rev. William M. Klein of Lexington Presbyterian Church and Dr. Louis W. Hodges, emeritus professor of religion at Washington and Lee, officiating. The family will receive guests at a reception from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Kendal of Lexington’s Sunnyside House.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that gifts be made to Rockbridge Area Hospice.

Mrs. Huntley was born on April 14, 1931, in Norfolk, Va., the daughter of Eldridge and Edith Whitehurst. She grew up in Virginia Beach and graduated from the College of William and Mary, where she majored in English.

Following her graduation from William and Mary, she began a career as an elementary school teacher. She taught second grade in Virginia Beach before moving to Lexington where her husband, Robert E.R. Huntley, was attending law school at Washington and Lee.

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After teaching fourth grade in Lexington for three years, she also taught the fourth grade in Alexandria, Va., before moving back to Lexington in 1968, when her husband joined the faculty of the W&L Law School. He later became dean of the School of Law and president of the University.

As Washington and Lee’s first lady for 15 years, Mrs. Huntley managed the daily operations of the Lee House as a center for University gatherings, welcoming countless visitors from inside and outside the University to Lee House throughout the academic year. She also planned and supervised activities at many campus venues, such as Evans Hall. Long-time members of the W&L community fondly recall her special events, including the annual faculty and children’s Christmas parties, and she initiated the now-prevalent local custom of white lights in windows during the holiday season.

In addition to her duties as Washington and Lee’s first lady, Mrs. Huntley headed a circle at Lexington Presbyterian Church for many years.

Above all, Mrs. Huntley considered her greatest role to be that of wife, mother, and grandmother.

In addition to her husband, survivors include three daughters and sons-in-law, Martha and Dyer Rodes of Nashville, Tenn.; Catherine (Katie) and James McConnel of Mount Crawford, Va.; and Jane and Robert Hopkins of Lexington; and six grandchildren, Huntley Rodes (a 2007 graduate), Sarah Catherine Rodes of the Class of 2011, Jordan McConnel of the Class of 2010, Robert Huntley McConnel, and Cole and Colin Whitmore..

Washington and Lee University Observes Holocaust Remembrance Week

Washington and Lee University will observe the eighth annual Holocaust Remembrance Week April 5-9.

Organized by Hillel, W&L’s Jewish student organization, the week will feature a series of events designed to stress the importance of remembering the victims of the Holocaust.

The week begins with a talk by Michael Marden, a Polish Holocaust survivor who spent three years at nine concentration/work camps as a teenager. The talk is Monday, April 5, at 5 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

The annual Vigil Against Oppression will be held on Wednesday, April 7, from 5-6 p.m. in Wilson Hall’s Concert Hall. It will feature the University Chamber Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Chorus in addition to the reading of poems and names of Holocaust victims by students and faculty. Musical selections recalling genocide and oppression in its many forms will be performed.

Orchestral selections include music from “Schindler’s List,” featuring senior violin soloist Hannah Schwartzstein, and “Hatikvah,” the national athem of Israel, conducted by senior Sara Kim. Choral selections will include “Sweet Rivers,” a moving men’s ensemble piece written in memory of the composer’s father and based on the plea of world-wide peace for all people; “Famine Song,” a haunting work written about women in Sudan in the 1980s who were suffering from drought, famine and genocide, yet found hope and salvation through the process of basket weaving; and “No Time,” a women’s choir piece conducted by junior Sarah Warsco.

On Tuesday, April 6, and Thursday, April 8, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., members of the community are invited to sign a scroll to honor a Holocaust victim and receive a photo of that person; the scroll will be on a table in the Commons Atrium. Finally, a special Yom Ha-Shoah service, led by Dean Hank Dobin, will be held on Friday, April 9, at 5 p.m. in the Elrod Commons, Room 345.

Best-selling Biographer Flora Fraser Visits W&L

Best-selling historical biographer Flora Fraser visited Washington and Lee on Monday, March 29. Her purpose? Research for her new book on Martha Dandridge Custis Washington and her marriage to George Washington.

Fraser toured the Lee Chapel and Museum with Linda Donald, manager of the facility. She then visited Special Collections and Archives in Leyburn Library, where, with Vaughan Stanley, special collections and reference librarian, she examined the digital collections of George Washington’s papers. Finally, she toured Lee House with Kim Ruscio, first lady of W&L, and Peter Grover, director of University collections. She also spoke at length with Patricia Hobbs, associate director of University collections, and was impressed with Hobbs’ extensive knowledge of Martha Washington.

Fraser, who lives in London, continues a line of famous biographers. Her mother is Lady Antonia Fraser, author of works on Mary Queen of Scots and the wives of Henry VIII. Her grandmother, the late Elizabeth Longford (wife of social reformer Lord Longford), was a renowned biographer of such figures as Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II.

Flora Fraser’s best-selling biographies include Beloved Emma: The Life of Emma, Lady Hamilton and The Unruly Queen: The Life of Queen Caroline. She has also written biographies of Pauline Bonaparte and of the daughters of King George III.

School of Law Announces German LL.M. Fellowship Program

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W&L's Ellington Honored by NASPA

Ray Ellington, assistant director of campus recreation, was recognized earlier this month as the Outstanding New Professional for Region III by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) . (Region III is one of five regions within NASPA). At W&L, Ray runs the university’s intramural and club sports programs and assists James Dick, the director of campus recreation, with all campus rec activities.

A graduate of Greensboro College with a sports administration major, Ray also has a master’s in sports management from Ithaca College. He’s in his third year at W&L.

Dawn Watkins, W&L vice president for student affairs, says of the honor: “This is one of the highest awards a new professional within Student Affairs can receive. Ray goes about his work at W&L quietly, but the quality of the programs with which he works — intramurals, sport clubs, group fitness — are clearly superb, and I’m delighted that NASPA has recognized that.”

KEWL Sponsors ‘Love Your Body’ Week

A student-run leadership group at Washington and Lee University sponsored the third annual Love Your Body Week at W&L from March 15-19. The group, Knowledge Empowering Women Leaders (KEWL), works on raising awareness about women’s issues such as body image, self-esteem, eating disorders, sexual assault and relationships. KEWL combines course work in women’s and gender studies with programming outside the classroom.

This year’s Love Your Body Week had a particular focus. “We decided to highlight great things that women are doing in order to celebrate the success and strength of women at Washington and Lee,” said Catherine Kruse, a junior who serves as president of KEWL. “By doing this, we hope to increase confidence and solidarity to allow women to be themselves and acknowledge their individual beauty.”

During the week, student-made posters displayed throughout campus highlighted accomplishments and offered encouragement. For example, one of the posters encouraged women to run for leadership positions on the two student-government organizations, the Executive Council (EC) and the Student Judicial Committee (SJC), on which no women currently serve. Another poster celebrated the recent victory of the W&L women’s basketball team, its first conference championship ever. Yet another praised the 22 undergraduate female inductees to the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society in March.

In addition to the posters, KEWL ran the Post Secret Campaign during Love Your Body Week. Designed to encourage and empower students by allowing them to share and read confidential thoughts in an anonymous way, Post Secret asked any member of the campus community who so wished to write a brief note and drop it in a box. KEWL then displayed the notecards in the University’s Elrod Commons. The cards featured such personal topics as religion and body image, questions and declarations of sexuality, worries about troubled friends, and experiences with sexual assault and drug and alcohol abuse.

“Many students struggle with telling others about their insecurities and choose to share a Post Secret because they do not know whom to turn to for support,” said Kruse. “One of the most powerful attributes about the Post Secrets is that many people can relate to the secrets, and it makes them feel better to know that they are not alone.”

The leaders of KEWL hope that their efforts reach fellow students who are struggling with body image, self-esteem, eating disorders, sexual assault and relationship difficulties. They also hope that the campaign will have a positive influence on the campus community.

Dr. Christy Barongan, a clinical psychologist in W&L’s Student Health Department, believes that the campaign “helped people voice the things that no one says out loud. When people share their vulnerabilities, it helps others accept their own difficulties.”

KEWL is not alone at W&L in the quest for awareness of women’s issues, and the University provides many resources for students. The Office of Health Promotion offers counseling on healthy habits and choices. The Student Health Center and the Counseling Center provide professional medical advice to those in need. Lifestyle Information for Everyone (LIFE), a student-run organization, helps students make wise choices about their health and safety. Programs called CAIR (Confidential and Impartial Resolution Resources) and DPA (Discrimination Policy Advisers) have staff and faculty members willing to help students with issues of sexual misconduct, discrimination and harassment.

“I feel confident on a campus knowing that there are a lot more women who support the same causes and cares that I do,” said Kruse. “I think that other women feel better knowing that there are groups who care about them, too.”

— by Maggie Sutherland ’10

“The Horse in Virginia” is First Extensive Illustrated History

Virginians have always had a special relationship with their horses, from the first colony in Jamestown, when horses became food during the “starving time” of 1609-1610, to the present day, with Virginia’s profusion of Olympic equestrians.

A new volume by Julie A. Campbell, associate director of communications and public affairs at Washington and Lee University, provides the first comprehensive narrative of that special relationship, beautifully illustrated throughout by paintings, photographs, historical advertisements and artifacts. It also comes with endnotes, a bibliography and an index.

“The Horse in Virginia: An Illustrated History,” published this month by the University of Virginia Press, includes material about two horses with special ties to Lexington. W&L is the resting place of the bones of Traveller, Robert E. Lee’s famous gray steed. Next door at Virginia Military Institute reside the buried bones as well as the displayed and stuffed hide of Little Sorrel, the favorite horse of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

“There’s something special about Virginia horses and our relationship with them,” said Campbell. “For example, many of our equine-related traditions come from our roots in England, where horses were a very important part of British culture-especially with sports like foxhunting and steeplechasing. The colonists carried that attitude with them to America.”

Horses were an intricate part of everyday life in Virginia for a long time. While the place of the horse in Virginia society would change over the course of 400 years, Campbell shows how the special bond between Virginians and their horses has remained constant.

During her extensive research, Campbell found that while the Revolutionary War and Civil War had significant impacts on Virginia’s horses, it was after World War II that horse culture really changed. People left the countryside for the city, mechanization set in, and “many farmers sent their draft horses to slaughter to become food for dogs and even humans,” said Campbell.

She found the shift after the war especially interesting, because horses then became more important as family pets and athletes. One of the most famous of the sporting horses was the famous Triple Crown champion Secretariat. He, too, has a connection with W&L, as he was owned by alumnus Christopher Chenery, class of 1914. The colors of his jockey’s silks were the same blue and white as those of Chenery’s alma mater. “We have some of his racing silks in Doremus Gymnasium,” said Campbell.

Another famous Virginia horse is Misty of Chincoteague, who Campbell learned was raised in Illinois, not Virginia, by her original owner, Marguerite Henry, author of the well-known children’s books about the Chincoteague ponies. “I was surprised but not disappointed, since the novel is accurate in its fond depiction of the Chincoteague horses and culture.”

Anyone with a love of horses, history or Virginia will find plenty to enjoy in this book. And anyone with a connection to W&L will find material not only about Lee and Traveller, but also a section on George Washington, a quintessential Virginia horseman.

The author will be signing copies of the book at W&L on May 1 during Reunion Weekend.

Grant Aims to Keep Women in Math and Science

Despite efforts to decrease the gap between women and men in math and science, men continue to outnumber women in those fields, says Sara Sprenkle, assistant professor of computer science at Washington and Lee University.

“Even though more women than men go to college, fewer women than men pursue degrees in science and math. For example, women earn only 20 percent of bachelor’s degrees in physics, engineering, and computer science,” said Sprenkle. “The ratio of women continues to decline through graduate school and in professions.”

At W&L, 196 out of 335 science majors are women (both figures include students with more than one major). Although psychology is dominated by women (88 percent), smaller majors have fewer women-computer science has 24 percent and physics has 25 percent.

A 2010 ACS-Mellon Faculty Renewal grant for “On Solid Ground: Building the Foundation for Women Faculty and Students in Math and Science,” will support the development of a new project at W&L called Women in Math and Science (WIMS), which aims to give students more confidence and life skills to help retain them in these disciplines. The grant is shared with the University of Richmond which runs a parallel program.

George Carras, director of corporate and foundation relations at W&L, described the $7,490 grant as “modest, but its importance is great.”

WIMS has been created by Sprenkle and Katherine Crowley, assistant professor of mathematics. It will bring together women in all areas of science and math to create the critical mass recent research has shown to be important in encouraging them to stay in the sciences.

Research indicates that having an informal group of women science faculty and majors improves retention of women majors. While such a group in a single major may not be sustainable because of the major’s small size, a group that includes all the sciences and math can be effective.

WIMS will meet regularly to introduce students to faculty on a personal and professional level, meet women in the community pursuing careers in math and science, and discuss topics of interest such as the stereotype threat and the role of family in a career in science.

Although WIMS is new at W&L, the program started at the University of Richmond this academic year, and the two groups will work closely together with joint meetings and coordinated speakers. Other ideas include an outreach component such as a math workshop for faculty in math science and a “WIMS Day” for local middle-school students.

Already this year, Crowley, who is currently working in Sen. Al Franken’s office in Washington on an American Mathematical Society Congressional Fellowship, hosted a group of women science students from the University of Richmond to talk about her job and how creating government policies can support the sciences.

W&L Completes Climate Action Plan

Washington and Lee University has submitted its climate action plan (CAP) with a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 to the American Colleges and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio is one of 667 signatories to the Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

“We are making progress in our efforts toward meeting our commitment of a sustainable campus,” said Ruscio, who designated sustainability as one of five major institutional goals for 2009-10. “The plan that we have submitted is realistic but still challenging. We are fulfilling our institutional mission, articulated in our motto, to be “not unmindful of the future.”

W&L’s CAP focuses on four broad areas:

  • Education, both as part of the formal curriculum and as a supplement to classroom instruction. Currently, about 30 percent of Washington and Lee’s undergraduates enroll in credit-bearing classes that address issues related to sustainability. The percentage of students in such courses has steadily increased in recent years. At the same time, the University Sustainability Committee leads educational efforts on day-to-day practices for all members of the University community.
  • Communication to keep all constituencies informed of sustainability initiatives.
  • Assessment to provide consistent, clear and accurate tracking of the University’s actions and progress.
  • Implementation of energy-saving solutions. As the CAP report notes, many University buildings that were designed and constructed”when our consciousness about sustainability and energy management was not as high and when technologies were less sophisticated.” At the same time, the University has developed and initiated several energy-conservation measures that provide options for energy savings “at many different scales and levels of investment.”

The timeline of the Climate Action Plan sets short, intermediate and long-term goals. Each phase includes a comprehensive educational program, plus upgrades to the physical plant, all designed to improve efficiency and reduce consumption. The currently established goals on the timeline:

  • 2011 – Reduce annual utilities cost by $1 million annually over the next four years. This will be achieved through continued reduction of BTUs per square foot throughout all facilities on campus and primarily through implementation of specific projects with a return on investment of three years or less.
  • 2013 – Reduce BTUs per square foot by 25 percent. This will be achieved primarily through energy-saving projects with a return on investment of five years or less through increased efficiency of HVAC equipment, lighting and plumbing systems.
  • 2020 – Reduce greenhouse production 20 per cent. This will be achieved through adding more-efficient HVAC equipment, reducing the amount of space to be heated and cooled, decreasing reliance on fossil fuels, increasing reliance on renewable energy sources such as solar hot-water generation, and encouraging members of the community to be mindful of how their actions affect the environment.
  • 2050 – Achieve carbon neutrality. This will require the implementation of technologies not yet fully developed (including photovoltaic [PV], co-generation, and 100 percent renewable resources to replace natural gas consumption) and the purchase of electricity produced by others using non-renewable resources.

The plan takes into account the return on investment that various projects will provide. Projects that pay for themselves quickly will receive priority, while others with longer payback periods will be the subject of careful financial planning. A number of projects may be packaged together to generate the shortest payback period.

William Hamilton, professor of biology and chair of the University Sustainability Committee, emphasized the essential role that members of the community play in achieving the goal.

“We intend to develop and cultivate a culture of sustainability on the campus so that students, faculty and staff share in the responsibility of reducing our carbon footprint,” said Hamilton.

“The plan that we have produced is designed to be fluid and flexible,” Hamilton added. “We now have a baseline from which we will move forward, but we are well aware that the pace of change in this area means we may shift course as new technologies or opportunities emerge. The key is that we have firmly stated the commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050, and that will remain a constant.”

The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment is an effort to address “global climate disruption undertaken by a network of colleges and universities that have made institutional commitments to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations, and to promote the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate.” The effort began in 2006

Cy Twombly '53 and The Louvre

Washington and Lee alumnus (Class of 1953) and Lexington native Cy Twombly has become only the third contemporary artist selected to create a permanent work for the Louvre. His contribution is a painted ceiling for the Salle des Bronzes, and he is the first artist given the honor of decorating a Louvre ceiling since Georges Braque in the 1950s.

The press release from the Louvre describes it as “a work of monumental proportions, covering more than 350 square meters, its colossal size ably served by the painter’s breathtaking and unprecedented vision. Twombly’s two best-known trademarks are perhaps the incorporation of passionately scrawled words into his paintings and the energetic use of splashes or drips of vivid colors. In this work, Twombly leaves behind such romantic expressiveness. Here instead, the visitor discovers an immense blue sky, enlivened by the movements of spheres and punctuated by white insets inscribed with the names of the leading Greek sculptors active in the 4th century: Cephisodotus, Lysippus, Myron, Phidias, Polyclitus, Praxiteles and Scopas. Twombly’s aim was to create a work perfectly in harmony with the architecture and purpose of the space, this huge rectangular gallery housing the Louvre’s collection of Classical bronzes. Thus the round shapes can be interpreted as shields, planets, or coins, while the blue background evokes either the sky or the sea.”

Asked about his uncharacteristic use of blue, Cy, who will be 82 next month, told  The Associated Press, “I got into something new in old age.” He is the son of Edwin Parker “Cy” Twombly Sr., a member of the W&L Athletic Hall of Fame as coach of the swimming and golf teams.

Twombly further told AP, “I was just thinking of the blue with the disks on it, it’s totally abstract … I put all the great Greek sculptors’ names on the top. It’s that simple.” He also said he was inspired by the colors he found in a Chinese print as well the blue of early Italian Renaissance artist Giotto, who used paint made from lapis lazuli.

At the work’s inauguration on Tuesday, Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand named Cy a knight in the Legion of Honor, saying the ceiling reminded him of “the sea, allied with the sun.”

Lights Out! It’s Earth Hour.

With the sponsorship of Washington and Lee’s Student Environmental Action League (SEAL), the University will be participating in Earth Hour 2010 on Saturday, March 27, between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.

By turning off the lights on the Colonnade and Holekamp Hall during this hour, the University is showing its support of Earth Hour, a global demonstration of public concern for climate change. SEAL urges students who live off campus to turn off the lights at their own houses during Earth Hour.

“All over the world, demonstrations about climate change are popping up in response to this event, such as China’s Forbidden City, Victoria Falls and Salzburg, Austria, to name a few,” said Sarah Engstrom ’10, member of SEAL. “Hundreds of thousands of people have banded together to support a cause that is dear to all of our hearts, the earth.”

Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia, in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008, the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness for that hour.

Last year hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour. Over 4,000 cities in 88 countries officially switched off their lights to pledge their support for the planet, making Earth Hour 2009 the world’s largest global climate change initiative.

“This one simple act not only saves a little bit of energy, it also makes a strong statement to our commitment to sustainability and is an opportunity to truly live out our school’s motto ‘Non in Cautus Futuri’ (Not unmindful of the future),” Engstrom said. “As members of a global community and future leaders of global policy, we can’t afford to ignore the question of sustainability. I strongly encourage each and every one of you to join SEAL in Earth Hour.”

Fast Start for Clark Finney '06

Clark Finney, a 2006 graduate of Washington and Lee, with a degree in business administration and two years on the Generals’ lacrosse team, has just received the prestigious Most Promising Commercial Salesperson of the Year Award from the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY).

Clark, an associate with Cushman & Wakefield, received the award on March 2 at the REBNY Members’ Luncheon.  He receives a one-year seat on the REBNY Board of Governors and becomes a lifetime member in REBNY’s Circle of Winners group, which meets four times a year for a private dinner. The award was created to recognize current and potential professional achievement in a young commercial salesperson new to the industry, as well as to recognize “high moral character and ethical professional behavior.”

Clark’s honor led to a significant feature story in the New York Observer, which began by recounting his first big deal in commercial real estate — a sublease for a 4,500-square-foot space on Broadway on behalf of a hedge fund. In less than three years with Cushman & Wakefield, Clark has been credited with playing a key role in completing approximately 335,000 square feet of lease transactions.

When he’s not closing big real estate deals, Clark is working on behalf of the charity he co-founded, The Adeona Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that has raised more than $250,00 for underprivileged children in New York City.

Hon. Jennifer Walker Elrod Delivers Lewis F. Powell Lecture

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Stacy Morrison '90 Falls Apart in One Piece

Stacy Morrison’s memoir, “Falling Apart in One Piece,” was published this week by Simon & Schuster, and she appeared on the TODAY show on Tuesday morning to talk about it with Al Roker. (Click here to watch the video and read an excerpt).

Stacy is editor-in-chief of Redbook magazine, and the book is about her divorce after 13 years of marriage. It’s subtitled “One Optimist’s Journey Through the Hell of Divorce.” Kirkus Reviews called the book “candid and inspiring.” Wall Street Journal reviewer Laura Vanderkam writes, “Ms. Morrison doesn’t wallow in self-pity, even though the situation is ripe for it. Neither does she try to portray herself as a single-mom Superwoman.” (Here’s the compete review, but you may need a password to view it.)

Some readers of the New York Times no doubt saw Stacy’s piece in this past Sunday’s Style section. It was titled “The Ex-Husband Who Never Left.

Stacy became editor of Redbook in July 2004. Under her guidance, the magazine won the FOLIO: General Excellence award in 2005 and a Clarion Award for General Excellence in 2007. She’s got a blog on Redbook’s Web site (“Something About Stacy”) but admitted just this week that she hasn’t been as attentive to it as she would like. But then, she has been busy with other things — like the magazine, the book and her 6-year-old son Zack.

The book has a very cool Web site with lots of other information, including the news that one of her book signings will be here at Washington and Lee on April 30, when she’s back for her 20th reunion. So be sure to drop by Stacy’s site and sign the guest book. Oh, and you can buy her book there, too.

W&L Law’s Jost Invited to Health Care Bill Ceremony

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Bravos for Lawyer-Tenor Nick Leitch '84, 87L

Powell (Nick) Leitch of the Classes of 1984 and 1987L is an attorney practicing in the defense of medical malpractice and products liability claims for LeClairRyan law firm in Roanoke. That’s Nick’s day job.

But Sunday and last night, he was on stage at the Shaftman Performance Hall in Roanoke’s Jefferson Center where he was the tenor with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra for its performance of Mozart’s “Requiem.” His performances drew this review from Seth Williamson in the Roanoke Times: “Hometown tenor Nick Leitch sang again with big-name soloists. Leitch held his own with the pros in the dramatic ‘Day of Wrath’ section.” See the entire review here.

This is not Nick’s first turn on the stage in Roanoke. Last May he performed in Opera Roanoke’s production of Othello. Reviewer Williamson had the same kind of praise for Nick then, too: “By the way, hometown boy Nick Leitch, chosen by White for the lesser tenor role of Roderigo, demonstrated that he has no trouble running with the big dogs.” In 2005, he performed in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” a joint production of the Roanoke Symphony and Mill Mountain Theatre at the Roanoke Civic Center. And in 2004, he was the featured tenor soloist for the Roanoke Symphony’s Virtuosi I performance of Handel’s Messiah. He routinely sings with the Roanoke Symphony Chorus.

Back in his day job, Nick sees health-care providers, including physicians, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and ancillary health care providers, and he counsels hospital and physician groups on various issues.

W&L Professor’s Chilean Relief Campaign Is Personal

Monica Gonzalez, an assistant professor of Spanish at Washington and Lee University, is mounting her own campaign to raise money to assist earthquake victims in her native Chile.

The effort is personal. Gonzalez still has vivid memories of the 8.0 earthquake that hit her hometown of Santiago in 1985, causing the walls of her house to move “like jelly,” she said.

When the earthquake struck on Feb. 27, Gonzalez and her brother, Fernando, were visiting Washington. She had not yet heard the news when she began getting messages from friends asking how her mother was back in Santiago.

“I started to panic because my mother was living alone, and I couldn’t get in touch with her by telephone throughout the day,” said Gonzalez, who joined the W&L faculty last fall after completing her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley.

Gonzalez learned that her mother was safe by trading Facebook messages with friends in Santiago, and finally made telephone contact late that Saturday night. “It was very scary,” she said.

Gonzalez has watched as news of the Chilean quake has disappeared from the front pages in the United States. She hopes the “Help Us Rebuild Chile” campaign that she is mounting along with her brother will at least keep the situation in front of members of the W&L community.

“After I found out that my family was safe, I could not help but feel sad for the country,” she said. “One-third of Chile has felt the impact of the earthquake. Two million Chileans have been displaced. That is a huge proportion of the population without housing.”

The need, she added, is urgent since the rainy season will soon present even greater problems to those who are living in tents. “They really need help soon,” she said.

Gonzalez thinks that because Chile is “a second-world country” as opposed to Haiti, which is a third-world country, the rest of the world views the two situations somewhat differently.

In addition to receptacles for cash donations, she has collaborated with W&L’s Dining Services to stage a Chilean dinner in the Marketplace on April 7 to conclude the campaign with Dining Services donating a portion of the proceeds of each meal served to the effort. All of the money that Gonzalez raises will go to the Red Cross for Chilean earthquake relief.

Lincoln and Shakespeare Subject of Lincoln Lecture Series at W&L

John Channing Briggs, professor of English and director of the University Writing Program at the University of California, Riverside, will lecture on “Lincoln and Shakespeare” as part of Washington and Lee University’s Lincoln Lecture Series on Thursday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m., in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The series of presentations on Lincoln is sponsored by the Apgar Foundation, the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity and the department of politics at W&L.

Briggs is the author of the 2005 volume, “Lincolns Speeches Reconsidered” (Johns Hopkins), in which he examines Lincoln’s thought process through a careful chronological reading of his oratory, ranging from Lincoln’s 1838 speech to the Springfield Lyceum to his second inaugural address.

In addition, Briggs book, “Francis Bacon and the Rhetoric of Nature,” won the Thomas J. Wilson Award for the best first book published by the Harvard University Press in 1988.

In addition to courses in Renaissance literature and Shakespeare, he teaches the history and theory of rhetoric and composition, including seminars on Lincoln and the rhetoric of the American Founders. Briggs also directs the Basic Writing Program and the Inland Area Writing Project. He was the winner of the 1995-96 Faculty Teaching Award at the University of California, Riverside.

Briggs received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago.

Domnica Radulescu to Read from Her New Novel “Black Sea Twilight”

Domnica Radulescu, professor of Romance languages at Washington and Lee University, will discuss and read from her new novel, “Black Sea Twilight” (Doubleday, 2010), on Monday, March 29, at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of her talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Art, Memory, and the Creative Body/Mind.” A reception and book signing will follow in the lobby of Northen Auditorium.

“Black Sea Twilight” is a love story set in the 1980s Romania. For more information see www.amazon.co.uk.

Radulescu, chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at W&L, was born in Romania and came to the United States in 1983. She joined the faculty of Washington and Lee University in 1992.

She is the author of “Train to Trieste” (Knopf Publishing Group, 2008) for which she was awarded the Library of Virginia’s 2009 fiction prize, and “The Theater of Teaching and the Lessons of Theater” (Lexington Books, 2005). She also has written and edited books and scholarly articles on European literature and cultures, and is the founding director of the National Symposium of Theater in Academe.

Radulescu won her country’s National Prize for Short Story Writing when she was just 17 but fled the country soon after to escape the Communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu.

The lecture is sponsored by a Class of ’62 Fellowship.

President of Federal Reserve Bank of New York To Give Willis Lecture

William C. Dudley, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, will present the seventh biannual H. Parker Willis Lecture in Political Economics at Washington and Lee University on Thursday, April 1, at 5 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

The title of Dudley’s presentation, which is free and open to the public, is “Economic Outlook for 2010.” It is sponsored by W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics and the departments of economics and politics.

Dudley became the 10th president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in January 2009, succeeding Timothy F. Geithner who became Secretary of the Treasury. Dudley is credited with playing a central role in the Fed’s response to the financial crisis, helping to design and implement the central bank’s emergency lending programs.

As chief of the New York Fed, Dudley supervises five of the seven largest U.S. banks and serves as the vice chairman and a permanent member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the group responsible for formulating the nation’s monetary policy.

Dudley was executive vice president of the Markets Group at the New York Fed, where he also managed the System Open Market Account for the FOMC. The Markets Group oversees domestic open market and foreign exchange trading operations and the provisions of account services to foreign central banks.

Prior to joining the Bank in 2007, Dudley was a partner and managing director at Goldman, Sachs & Company and was the firm’s chief U.S. economist for a decade. Earlier in his career at Goldman Sachs, he had a variety of roles including a stint when he was responsible for the firm’s foreign exchange forecasts. Before he joined Goldman Sachs in 1986, he was a vice president at the former Morgan Guaranty Trust Company. Dudley was an economist at the Federal Reserve Board from 1981 to 1983.

A 1974 graduate of New College of Florida, he received his doctorate in economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1982.

Dudley serves as chairman of the G-10 Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems of the Bank for International Settlements. He is a member of the board of trustees of the Economic Club of New York. He was a member of the Technical Consultants Group to the Congressional Budget Office, 1999-2005.

Previous Willis lecturers have included Frederic S. Mishkin, a former member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Dr. Marvin Goodfriend, formerly senior vice president and policy advisor, The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond; J. Alfred Broaddus Jr. ’61, past president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond; and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, who was a member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors when he gave the lecture in 2004.

2010 Earle Bates Lecturer in Environmental Studies to Discuss “The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus”

Dr. Mitchell Thomashow, president of Unity College in Maine and nationally known in environmental circles, is the 2010 Earle Bates Lecturer in Environmental Studies at Washington and Lee University. He will give a lecture on Friday, April 2, from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater in Elrod Commons.

The title of Thomashow’s talk, which is free and open to the public, is “The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus.”

Thomashow is a scholar and writer who is specifically interested in developing reflective, interdisciplinary pedagogy for undergraduate and graduate programs in environmental studies. He has spent 30 years in the field of environmental studies, promoting an approach that is precisely matched to the unique qualities of Unity College.

As a way of meeting the challenge of training a new generation of sustainability leadership, and as a guide for both curricular and institutional transformation, Thomashow proposes nine elements of a sustainable campus which are designed to evoke a whole new twenty-first century catalogue of transformational sustainable practices.

Thomashow is the founder of “Whole Terrain,” an environmental literary publication and “Hawk and Handsaw,” a journal of reflective sustainability. He serves on the advisory board of The Orion Society, the Coalition on Environmental and Jewish Life (COEJL), and the Teleosis Institute.

Thomashow is a founding member of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors, a national organization that supports interdisciplinary environmental studies in higher education. He serves on the Steering Committee of the American Colleges and University President’s Climate Commitment.

Thomashow’s talk is sponsored by the Program in Environmental Studies.

Recognition for W&L Dance Program, Senior Zaq Lawal

Washington and Lee’s fledgling dance program and senior Zaq Lawal won major recognition last weekend during the American College Dance Concert at Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond. Zaq’s dance, “Metamorphosis,” was among a dozen outstanding works that a panel of judges chose from the 45 that were submitted by the 27 participating colleges and universities for performance at the closing gala.

Zaq, an economics major, will be one of the first W&L students to graduate with a dance minor. He’s already signed on for a job with Heinz next year. According to Jenefer Davies, W&L assistant professor of dance and artistic director of the W&L Repertory Dance Company, Zaq was lauded for his performance and for “projecting and embodying his brilliant powerful movement” by three nationally recognized dance  adjudicators — Denise Jefferson, a former Alvin Ailey dancer and  director of The Ailey School; Janis Brenner, a Juilliard teacher and the leader of Janis Brenner & Dancers; and Susan Hadley, a professor of  dance at Ohio State University and a former Mark Morris dancer.

What makes Zaq’s recognition and the performance of the W&L dancers all the more impressive is that the competition included such major universities as Southern Florida and Penn State, which have significant dance programs. “It was quite amazing,” said Davies. “We are such a young program, and we don’t even have a dance major, so that makes it even more sweet. Our dance program has only existed for only four years, and yet we have won this distinction for artistic excellence twice. It is affirming to be singled out by your colleagues on a national level.”

Davies also praised the support the program has received from Dean of the College Hank Dobin and her colleagues in the Theater Department.

Law Grad Running (and Walking) for Alabama AG

Giles G. Perkins, a 1992 graduate of the W&L School of Law and Executive Committee president in the 1991-92 academic year, is a candidate for attorney general in Alabama this year.

To launch his campaign earlier this month, Giles joined marchers on the 51-mile walk between Selma and Montgomery to recreate the voting rights march from 45 years earlier. The Montgomery Advertiser wrote about Giles’ candidacy and his walk earlier this month. He’s one of three Democrats in the race.

Giles was previously executive direc­tor of the Alabama Democratic Party and was also with the Birmingham of­fice of the Miller Hamilton law firm. Currently, he operates his own law firm and, according to the story in the Advertiser, works predomi­nantly in corporate law.

Follow Giles’ candidacy on his campaign Web site, perkinsforalabama.com, or on his Facebook fan page.

International Investment Disputes Focus of Washington and Lee and United Nations Joint Conference

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W&L Professor's Novel Still High on the Charts

“Train to Trieste”, the 2008 novel by Washington and Lee University Romance languages professor Domnica Radulescu, continues to appear on best-seller lists around the world. Most recently the novel was No. 4 on the electronic book list at Foyles, the London book seller, which appears weekly in The Observer. (Note that it was one spot ahead of Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol.”

Meantime, the French version, titled “Un train pour Trieste,” has been the subject of reviews in newspapers and on blog sites, including this one on La culture se partage and another on Ledauphine.com.

Watch for an announcement soon with complete details about a reading that Domnica is giving for her forthcoming novel, “Black Sea Twilight,” in Northen Auditorium on March 29 at 5 p.m.

Melissa Meriam Bullard Delivers Talk on “The Secrets of a Renaissance Merchant in his ‘Studiolo’”

Melissa Meriam Bullard, professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will deliver a lecture at Washington and Lee University on “The Secrets of a Renaissance Merchant in his Studiolo” on Friday, March 26, at 6:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The lecture is free and open to the public. It also will serve as the keynote address of the Mid-Atlantic Renaissance-Reformation Seminar (MARRS) being hosted by W&L’s Program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the Department of History.

In the public talk, Bullard will explore aspects of Renaissance material culture, specifically the development of the studiolo (study) as a merchant’s private space within his palace, the uses to which it was put, and changing attitudes in the Renaissance towards private wealth and its display.

Bullard is the author of several books on Renaissance political finance and cultural patronage including “Filippo Strozzi and the Medici. Favor and Finance in Sixteenth-Century Florence and Rome” (Cambridge University Press, 1980) and “Lorenzo the Magnificent: Image and Anxiety, Politics and Finance” (Olschki, 1994).

Bullard recently completed a two-volume critical edition with extensive historical commentary on the letters of Lorenzo de’ Medici (Lettre di Lorenzo do’ Medici, vols x & xi, Instituto Nazionale di studi sul rinascimento and Guinti-Barbera, 2003-2004). She has published numerous articles concerning Renaissance patronage, family history, papal finance, diplomacy, psychology and culture.

She has been an expert commentator on several television series including the PBS miniseries on “The Renaissance and the Medici.”

She has received numerous awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. She has also been a research fellow at Harvard’s Villa I Tatti in Florence, the American Academy in Rome, the Rockefeller Foundation at Bellagio and the National Humanities Center.

At the University of North Carolina, Bullard teaches courses on the Italian Renaissance, medieval and early modern European economic history, Mediterranean economies and societies, Western civilization, and myth and history.

Bullard received her B.A. from Duke and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University.

Real-World Advertising

The students in Bruce Macdonald’s advertising and marketing class, “Art in Business,” had just gotten back from a field trip to Kroger.

The Washington and Lee students spent the next hour analyzing their experience in the local grocery store, dis-cussing everything from the ease of finding common products to the smell of baked goods that did, or didn’t, greet them at the door.

But on this day last fall the students had more to worry about than groceries — 45 percent of their grade would depend on a marketing plan they would develop for their neighbor to the south, The Natural Bridge of Virginia.

Macdonald, an adjunct professor, said his students were surprised to find out that their class project would be the nearby attraction. And Craig Corwin, the Bridge’s associate director of marketing, said he was thrilled to work with the class.

The students followed a process that Macdonald said is identical to the way a modern ad agency approaches the advertising and design problems for a new client. Macdonald would know; he has 40 years of marketing experience. Prior to coming to Washington and Lee he worked for a major ad agency in New York City before starting his own firm.

Macdonald has been teaching the class for eight years, helping his students create marketing plans for local businesses such as Pumpkinseeds, CornerStone Bank and Rockbridge Vineyard.

The students’ task last semester wasn’t easy, he said, because of the complexity of the attraction. It includes the Bridge itself, a large hotel, dining room, cafe, Monocan Indian Village, caverns and Monster Museum.

To help them craft a meaningful marketing proposal, the students were given season passes and a tour of the grounds by the executives from Cape Leisure, the marketing company that currently represents Natural Bridge. The executives, Corwin, and Thomas Olson, the director of marketing, shared their insights into the unique challenge of marketing the Bridge.

The 23 students split into four groups for the project. They would be competing against one another for the best grade — only one “A” would be doled out for the semester. The groups went out on their own, conducting original research at the Bridge, and even its competition — in this case other nearby tourist attractions such as Monticello, The Greenbrier and Montpelier. Macdonald said they looked into the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various attractions. Students also studied the age, socio-economic bracket, gender and spending habits of their target audience.

The students identified a number of selling points unique to Natural Bridge. Among them, that the site was special insofar as it offered natural beauty combined with a sense of history.

When they completed their research, the groups set out to create a marketing strategy, answering questions such as how to reach their audience and through what kind of media.

When all was said and done, each team gave a 20-minute presentation to the class and the two marketing executives. Macdonald said that giving a presentation in front of a group was an important component of the learning experience.

The class displayed mockups of print ads and billboards touting special events such as fireworks displays, holiday activities and alumni weekend promotions. The students were especially adamant about increasing the Bridge’s marketing efforts to students and parents from W&L, Virginia Military Institute and Southern Virginia University.

Macdonald said that, among the more pragmatic ideas that came from the students, were to improve the Bridge’s Web site, modernize the gift shop, and add excitement to the Indian village.

Corwin and Olson were pleased by the results. The marketing executives told the students last fall they were planning to address many of the points made by students, and were taking note of the many fresh ideas presented.

Macdonald noted recently that Natural Bridge of Virginia has already implemented some of the students’ ideas, and with the oncoming spring tourist season, more will be seen.

— Reprinted by permission from the Lexington News Gazette

Team R. (for Ryan) Bowe Featured in Documentary

Hood to Coast is billed as the largest relay race in the world. The race features 1,000 teams with 12,000 runners and covers 197 miles from Mount Hood to the Oregon coast. Anew documentary film about the race, also titled “Hood to Coast,” follows four of the relay teams, one of which, Team R. Bowe, was competing in memory of Washington and Lee alumnus Ryan Bowe, of the Class of 1999.

Ryan, who died of rare heart disease in 2007, was no stranger to the Hood to Coast race. A member of the track and field team at W&L, he had run in the Hood to Coast race for the first time when he was 12.

The documentary features the members of Ryan’s family who composed the relay team — his brother, mother, father, and widow — along with several of his W&L fraternity brothers and track teammates who also joined the team. In the film’s trailer, Ryan’s father, Larry, is wearing a Generals’ baseball cap and familiar shirt with the Trident on it when Team R. Bowe is featured. You can watch the trailer here on YouTube. Look for the introduction of Team R. Bowe at the 0:41-second mark.

We found a mention of the film and its W&L connection by spotting a review by another  alumnus, Brian Prisco, of the Class of 2000, on the Web site Pajiba. In his review, Brian writes of Team R. Bowe’s portrayal in the documentary: “It was impossible not to be steeped in poignancy every time a family member ran a leg, because you could see the weight of their grief crushing the tears out of them. Every time you compete for a lost loved one, it pushes you that much harder, and you feel the victory all the more sweetly.” Read the complete review here.

Washington and Lee University Hosts High School ChoralFest Concert

The music department at Washington and Lee University will conclude a full day of music with the first High School ChoralFest Concert on Saturday, March 20, at 7 p.m. in the Wilson Concert Hall.

The concert will feature four high school choirs, W&L Chamber Singers and W&L University Chorus performing jointly with the W&L Repertory Dance Company. Each chorus ensemble will perform individually, and then combine as the Festival Mass Choir under the direction of conductor Weston Noble.

Tickets are not required for the event, but seating is limited and on a first come-first serve basis. Doors for the concert open at 6:30 p.m.

Now the Johnson Professor Emeritus of Music, Noble had a 57-year tenure as a conductor and teacher at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. “The chance to work with a conductor of Weston Noble’s ability is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of the W&L and high school students. Professor Noble is truly a legend in the American choral world,” said Shane Lynch, director of choral activities at W&L and the head clinician and organizer of the ChoralFest.

Noble received global acclaim as the conductor of the Luther College Nordic Choir from 1948 to 2005; the Luther College Concert Band from 1948 to 1973; and as guest director for over 900 All-State bands, orchestras, choirs and festivals across four continents.

In 1994, the North Central Division of the American Choral Directors Association established the Weston H. Noble Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Choral Art. Additional awards include the Robert Lawson Shaw Award from the American Choral Directors Association and the 2008 Midwest Clinic Medal of Honor.

He was awarded the St. Olav’s Medal from King Harald V of Norway for his contributions to Norwegian-American relations; he also was awarded honorary doctorates by five universities.

The Festival Mass Choir will perform Alan Pote’s “God is Our Refuge,” which will feature W&L brass instructor Peter del Vecchio and senior Nicholas Neidzwski on trumpet. Also featured is Dan Davison’s rousing “Ritmo,” including W&L alum Joshua Harvey, pianist for the W&L chorus, and Judith Clark, rehearsal pianist for the chorus, performing the challenging four-hand piano parts. The Festival Mass Choir will also provide the Lexington debut of Dr. Lynch’s original composition “Beneath Angel Wings.”

W&L’s University Chorus will present Matthew Culloton’s haunting “Famine Song,” a work about Sudanese women finding hope through basket weaving while suffering through horrendous drought, famine and genocide in the 1980’s. The piece will be performed with members of the W&L Repertory Dance Company, directed by Jenefer Davies, assistant professor of dance.

“‘Famine Song’ gives us the opportunity to branch out and combine the arts, bringing the aural and visual impact to the audience member in new and powerful ways. The addition of movement, Davies’ creative choreography and lighting, adds enormously to an already intense work,” said Lynch.

The Chamber Singers will debut Eric Whitacre’s epic “Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine,” an ambitious extended work that seeks to provide insight into the dreams of genius Leonardo da Vinci as he struggles attempting to create the world’s first flying vehicle.

Participating high schools include the Blue Ridge School’s Men’s Choir, directed by Dolores DeAngelis; Fredericksburg Christian Schools’ “Savior’s Echo,” directed by Kathryn Kulp; the Heights School’s Men’s Chorus, directed by Dr. Kevin Strother; and the Oakcrest Women’s Chorus, directed by Anne Miller. They will perform a variety of works as individual choirs, from Morten Lauridsen’s tender “Dirait-on” to the festive Sally Albreacht work “Sing Alleluia, Clap Your Hands.”

Bunnell, Browning Recognized at Celebrating Student Success Reception

Washington and Lee University senior Natalie Bunnell and junior Christopher Browning will be recognized at the Celebrating Student Success (CSS) monthly reception on Wednesday, March 17, 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 3:30 p.m.

Bunnell, from Clarendon Hills, Ill., is an art history and Romance languages double major. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa national honor society, Phi Eta Sigma freshman national honor society, and Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society, and serves as secretary and show coordinator of the Arts League for promotion of students in the arts and general co-chair of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

Bunnell is a cellist with the University Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra, head of the W&L Peer Tutoring Program, Residence Life staff member and assistant head resident advisor, and a George Washington Honor Scholar and recipient of the James Garner Foundation Scholarship. She also has made the Honor Roll and Dean’s List for each term while at W&L.

Bunnell was an intern last summer at the Netherlands Institute of Cultural Heritage in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The previous summer she inventoried, photographed, transported and organized the entire W&L art collection, working with the Washington and Lee University Collections.

Browning, from Naperville, Ill., is a politics and history double major. He is president of 1 in 4, the male sexual-assault prevention group; chapter representative to Greek Vision Council, which focuses on crucial aspects, programs and goals of Greek Life; member of Lifestyle Information for Everyone (LIFE); a volunteer for Project Horizon; and the winner of a Robert E. Lee Honor Scholarship and a Marshall Undergraduate Scholarship.

Browning is a founding member of End It., a movement that seeks to end sexual assault at W&L no later than 2030 and to make W&L a safer place; is the 4 in 1 liaison to End It.; was the recruitment chair and is the vice president-elect of Sigma Nu fraternity; and is vice president of special events for Student Recruitment. He has worked as a tour guide the past two summers. Browning is senior head desk attendant supervisor, responsible for managing the Leyburn Library circulation desk.

Browning has attended six conferences on sexual assault, including W&L’s 2nd and 3rd Sexual Assault Summits; William and Mary’s 1st Peer Education Forum; and The National Conference on Sexual Assault in Our Schools.

CSS is an initiative sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs to celebrate 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.

Bunnell and Browning were selected by the CSS committee, which is composed of students, faculty and staff. Any campus community member can nominate a W&L student by filling out the online form on the CSS Web site. Nominations are always accepted and encouraged.

The last two CSS receptions for the 2009-2010 academic year will be from 2-4 p.m. in the Elrod Commons Living Room on April 7 and May 5.

W&L Writer-in-Residence R.T. Smith to Give Reading

Washington and Lee University’s Writer-in-Residence R. T. Smith will give a reading from some of his own works on Wednesday, March 24, at 4:30 p.m. in Staniar Gallery, Wilson Hall.

The reading is free and open to the public. A reception will be held in the Lykes Atrium after the reading.

Against the backdrop of Staniar Gallery’s book arts exhibition, Beyond Text and Image: the Book as Art, Smith will read some of his recent poems plus a short story from his new book, “The Calaboose Epistles” (Iris Press, 2009). All of the stories in this book are locally based, set in Southwest Virginia.

“All the stories in The Calaboose Epistles are about people in jail, people just out of jail or people who certainly ought to be locked up,” Smith said.

Smith, who has been at W&L for 15 years, is the editor of Shenandoah: the Washington and Lee University Review and also teaches writing in the English department. Smith has been the writer-in-residence at since 2009. This is his first official reading as W&L’s writer-in-residence.

Before coming to W&L, Smith taught at Auburn University for 19 years, serving as Alumni Writer-in-Residence for his last 12 years there.

Smith is the author of over 12 poetry collections including “Outlaw Style,” “The Hollow Log Lounge,” and “Brightwood.” In addition to “The Calaboose Epistles,” he also has written three collections of stories including, “Faith” and “Uke Rivers Delivers.”

In addition to winning two Library of Virginia Poetry Book of the Year Awards, for Outlaw Style (2008) and Messenger (2002), Smith has received one fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, two Virginia Arts Commission fellowships, three Alabama Arts Council fellowships and the Alabama Governor’s Award for Achievement by an Artist.

Smith’s writings have won the Pushcart Prize three times, have been published five times in New Stories from the South, and have been published in Best American Short Stories, Best American Poetry, Atlantic Monthly and Southern Review, among others.

The reading is sponsored by the Office of the Dean of the College.

Law Alumnus, Army Reservist to Discuss Rule of Law in Afghanistan

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W&L Representatives at Virginia Festival of the Book

Seven writers, poets, and faculty members with Washington and Lee ties will be participating this week in the 2010 Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville. (And if we missed anyone, please let us know.) If you click on the individuals’ names below, you’ll get all the details of their presentation, including details about the various venues.

Laura Brodie of the English Department is on a panel titled Great Discussable Books on Friday, Mar. 19, at noon at the Southern Cafe and Music Hall.

Temple Cone, a 1995 graduate and currently an assistant professor of English at the U.S. Naval Academy, will read from his poetry at a session titled “Poetry: Journeys of the Heart and Mind” on Saturday, Mar. 20, at 2 p.m. at Barnes and Noble in Barracks Road Shopping Center.

Ted DeLaney of the History Department and the Class of 1985 is moderating a panel, “African-American Paths to Freedom,” on Wednesday, Mar. 17, at the University of Virginia Bookstore.

Emily Ecton, a 1992 graduate and children’s book author, will be on a panel “Pub Day: Getting Published — Picture Books to Young Adults” on Saturday, Mar. 20, at noon at the Omni.

Deborah Miranda of the English Department will be on a panel “Poetry – Still Here: Readings by American Indian Poets” on Sunday, Mar. 21, at 1:30 p.m., at the Student Bookstore on the Corner.

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, a 1993 graduate and finalist for a National Book Award in poetry this year, will read from her work as part of An Evening of Poetry on Friday, Mar. 19 at 6 p.m. in Culbreth Theatre on the University of Virginia campus.

Lesley Wheeler of the English Department will read from her work as part of a program titled “Poetry: Mysteries and Surprises” on Thursday, Mar. 18, at 4 p.m. in the U.Va. Bookstore.

One other Washington and Lee connection: the Festival is sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and Rob Vaughan of the Class of 1966 is president and CEO of the foundation.

W&L Economist Jim Casey on Clean Skies News

Washington and Lee economist Jim Casey is among more than 2,000 economists and scientists who comprise the Union of Concerned Scientists, a lobbying effort to push for Senate climate legislation.

While he was in Washington, D.C., last week, Jim was interviewed for Clean Skies News, an Internet-based news organization staffed by professional journalists committed to accurate and in-depth reporting on energy and the environment.

Casey was interviewed by Washington and Lee alumnus Tyler Suiters, a 1991 W&L graduate. We wrote about Tyler in the summer when his guest on Clean Skies News was another W&L alum, former U.S. Senator John W. Warner (Class of 1949). Tyler’s blog is named Energy on Capitol Hill.

You can watch the Tyler’s interview with Jim below or on the Clean Skies Network.

Student-Faculty Symposia Promote the Joy of Learning

Washington and Lee University students in pursuit of graduation pack their schedules to fulfill their requirements. Naturally, they study subjects for which they have a passion during the march to a degree. Some students, however, seek intellectual stimulation not only for academic credit, but for the pure pleasure of learning.

For just such students, this term Washington and Lee is sponsoring two student-faculty symposia, adding a self-motivated academic atmosphere to the community.

The first symposium, led by Matthew Bailey, focuses on the medieval religious rite of pilgrimage. Bailey is the head of the Romance Languages Department, and he specializes in medieval Spanish language and culture.

The other symposium, headed by Simon Levy, explores the ideas of the Bloomsbury Group, the informal collection of artists, writers, critics and scientists who lived in the London neighborhood of Bloomsbury during the first half of the 20th century.

Levy is an associate professor of computer science, teaching classes on scientific computing and the theory of computation. Levy’s interest in the Bloomsbury Group stems from his study of formal-logic philosopher Bertrand Russell, who was a satellite member of Bloomsbury.

Faculty involvement in the symposia draws from several academic departments. “We have many activities on campus, but I especially like the sustained focus of the symposium and the possibility of having faculty from different fields focusing on an idea, in this case pilgrimage,” said Bailey.

The Pilgrimage Symposium welcomes participation from the departments of English, classics, art history, Spanish and religion. The Bloomsbury Symposium counts professors in economics, art history, computer science, and English.
The success of the symposia, however, depends on student involvement.

Samantha Copping, a junior classics and religion major, said that her motives for signing up for the Pilgrimage Symposium were purely selfish. “I just really wanted to hear what the professors had to say,” she said. “So far, I’ve really enjoyed watching experts in various fields respond to each other’s comments and seeing what different disciplines can have to say about the same topic. It’s something you never really encounter in the usual classroom environment.”

Bailey is pleased with the students’ participation. “I think it is a wonderful opportunity for anyone interested in the topic to learn a great deal, from the readings and from the discussions,” he said.

Junior Celeste Cruz-Carandang, who majors in medieval and Renaissance studies and art history, has found inspiration in the Pilgrimage Symposium for both of her theses next year. “Washington and Lee has an environment that encourages intellectual curiosity,” she said, “and I maintain that students thrive on it.”

Copping, who found out about the symposia through a friend, knew it was something she wanted to be part of and is grateful for the opportunity.

“There are so many students at W&L who are dying to do something intellectual outside of class but don’t really have the outlet to do so,” she said. “Reading something on your own is well and good, but I find that I get so much more out of it when I discuss it with other people.”

— by Maggie Sutherland

W&L to Test Emergency Notification System on March 16

Washington and Lee University will participate in Virginia’s statewide tornado drill on Tuesday, Mar. 16, by testing the University’s emergency notification system.

W&L will send emergency notices through its text-messaging and e-mail systems and will activate its emergency Web site during the tornado drill, beginning at 9:45 a.m.

The University distributes text messages through e2Campus. Any members of the University community who have not registered a cell phone number with e2Campus may do so at http://www.wlu.edu/x37324.xml.

As part of Tuesday’s test, a survey will be available for members of the community to complete at the conclusion of the drill in order to evaluate the systems.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management is coordinating the statewide tornado drill. Last year 16 tornadoes struck Virginia. Details on how to prepare for a tornado are available at the Emergency Management Web site at http://www.vaemergency.com/threats/tornado/index.cfm.

W&L's John Cimina '02 Named Top Naval Flight Officer

Capt. John Cimina, a 2002 graduate of Washington and Lee, has just received the 2010 winner of the Robert Guy Robinson Award from the Marine Corps Aviation Assocaition as the 2010 Naval Flight Officer of the Year. The award is named in honor of Marine First Lieutenant Robert G. Robinson, who earned the Medal of Honor as a Gunnery Sergeant in World War I.

The award is given in recognition of “the most outstanding  contribution made to Marine aviation, whether in combat, research and development, weapons employment or to overall Marine aviation, by a Naval Flight Officer in Marine aviation.”

John was commissioned in 2003 and promoted to captain in 2007. He’s featured in a trio of videos on the Marine Officers site, and they’re all worth watching. You can see all three at this link.

One of those clips is below, and it shows John explaining what his particular job is in the Marine Prowler aircraft.

Founding Chairman of ESPN Stuart Evey to Share Inside Story of Its Beginning

Founding chairman of ESPN and author Stuart Evey will give a lecture on the story of ESPN’s beginnings on Thursday, March 18, at 5 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons at Washington and Lee University.

Evey’s talk is free and open to the public. The lecture is part of W&L’s Johnson Lecture Series.

In 1979, Evey had worked his way to the vice presidency of worldwide non-oil operations of Getty Oil Company when he heard an entrepreneur pitch a new cable network-a total sports network.

Intrigued with the plan, Evey recommended this investment to Getty management. Following Getty’s investment in the launch of ESPN, Evey became the founding chairman. Not only did he direct and oversee the growth of ESPN, he also negotiated the sale to ABC television in 1984 for nearly $300 million.

Evey is the author of “Creating an Empire” about the early days of ESPN. Evey has served on the boards of many companies including Cyan, Mitsubishi Oil Company, GO Energy, Louisiana Gaming Company and Vadium Technology.

Now retired from Getty Oil, Evey serves as a business development consultant and is a frequent guest speaker for a variety of charitable events and organizations.

Classicist Andrew Wallace-Hadrill to Lecture About Preserving the Past Buried by Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

Classicist and Roman social and cultural historian Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, director of the Herculaneum Conservation Project and master of Sidney Sussex College in England, will lecture at Washington and Lee University on Tuesday, March 23, at 7 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater in the Elrod Commons.

The title of the talk is “Herculaneum: Living with Catastrophe,” and it is free and open to the public.

The overall aim of the Herculaneum Conservation Project (HCP) is to safeguard and conserve, to enhance, and to advance the knowledge, understanding and public appreciation of the ancient site of Herculaneum and its artifacts. Many cities, towns and villas were buried by Vesuvius in 79 A.D., including Herculaneum and the better-known town of Pompeii.

The HCP has involved new excavation and new discoveries, as well as collaboration with engineers, surveyors, geologists, chemists, volcanologists, paleobiologists, archaeologists, architects and conservators.

Its main objectives are to slow down the rate of decay across the entire site; to test and implement long-term strategies appropriate for Herculaneum; to provide a basis of knowledge and documentation of Herculaneum; to acquire new archaeological knowledge about Herculaneum to help in its preservation; to conserve, document, publish and improve access to the artifacts found in excavations there; and to promote greater knowledge of and discussion about Herculaneum.

Sidney Sussex College, of which Wallace-Hadrill is master, is a college of the University of Cambridge, and was founded in 1596. Wallace-Hadrill was professor of classics at the University of Reading from 1987; has been editor of the leading journal in his field, the Journal of Roman Studies; and was visiting professor at Princeton in 1991. Since 1995, he has been the director of the British School at Rome, the largest and most dynamic of the British Research institutes abroad; he continued at the University of Reading while there.

Wallace-Hadrill’s major books and articles include a study of the first-century Latin writer Suetonius, “Suetonius: The Scholar and His Caesars” (Yale University Press, 1984); a social history of the Roman house, “Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum” which won the Archaeological Institute of America’s James R. Wiseman Award in 1995; and “Rome’s Cultural Revolution” (Cambridge University Press, 2008).

The visit and public lecture by Andrew Wallace-Hadrill is made possible through a gift by Walter and Judy Hoyt. Dr. Hoyt Sr. is a member of the class of 1974 and their son, Dr. Walter Hoyt Jr., is a member of the class of 2005.

50,000 and Counting

Tonight at the Glasgow Community Center, the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee program will serve its 50,000th meal. What a milestone!

CKWL began in 2006, founded by then-senior Ingrid Easton. It has grown by leaps and bounds in the years since and is now a model for the Campus Kitchen program nationally.

In 2006 CKWL served 2,675 meals compared with a year ago (calendar 2009) when it served 17,328 meals. The number of volunteer hours over that time has climbed from 816 in 2006 to 4,279 in 2009. In addition, the program recovered 1,658 pounds of food in 2006 when it began and had increased that to a whopping 31,803 in 2009 (thanks, in large part, to a new relationship with WalMart).

If you missed it, CKWL was featured on WDBJ-TV in Roanoke last month for its backpack initiative at Natural Bridge School. CKWL volunteers load the backpacks with food each week and the schools then distributes the backpacks to students who are on the reduced-lunch program at Natural Bridge.

CKWL is celebrating its 50,00th meal with a 5K run on March 20. You can find details here.

Meantime, congratulations to Jenny Sproul, Class of 2008 and coordinator of CKWL, and all the volunteers over the years who have gotten the program to this point.

Curious George Tests Students at Speed Reading

Reading aloud as fast as they can from Curious George and flipping the pages while trying to remain intelligible, students at Washington and Lee University are having fun trying to read the most words in 15 seconds. (See video below.)

It’s Speed Read Week at W&L from 10:10 a.m. to 3:25 p.m., March 8 through 15, in the atrium of Elrod Commons. The three fastest readers will receive gift certificates from area businesses and tickets to upcoming campus events.

The other winners will be elementary school children from low-income families in Lexington and Rockbridge County who will receive books purchased with the proceeds of the fundraiser run by First Book, a student organization.

Participants are asked to contribute a minimum $3 donation which can be made in cash or by swiping their university card.
“Each children’s book we buy costs $2.50, so that’s why we set the amount at $3 or more,” said senior Jessie Wang, as she hung racing flags on the walls to draw attention to the event. “If we were to buy a book like Curious George at a book store it would cost about $10, but we are part of the national organization First Book, and we receive deep discounts through Scholastic publishing,” she explained.

Wang founded W&L’s First Book with fellow student Kelly Gotkin ’10 in the fall of 2007. That first year the fastest speed read was 115 words in 15 seconds, but the next year it was 128 words. “It goes up a little bit each year,” said Wang.

First Book tries to organize three fundraisers each year, including one at Virginia Military Institute. In 2009 they raised approximately $750 at W&L and $300 at VMI. That enabled them to buy over a thousand books for area children.

Speed Read Week is co-sponsored by W&L’s Panhellenic Council and involves 60 sorority members, ten from each sorority, manning the Spead Read table in shifts all week. “I think it’s a really great way to promote literacy in the area, plus it’s fun,” said volunteer Mary Elizabeth Bush ‘13. “I might try my luck later in the week,” she added.

The national organization First Book is based in Washington D.C. and was founded nearly 20 years ago by Kyle Zimmer, a corporate lawyer who also tutored children at an inner-city soup kitchen by night. She discovered that 80 percent of pre-school and after-school programs serving low-income families had no age-appropriate books for the children they served. Since its inception, First Book has delivered more than 65 million books to programs serving children in need across the United States and Canada.

W&L’s First Book will be adding to that number again this year with books for local children.

Watch some of the speed-reading attempts below:

New W&L Accounting Courses Teach International Standards

For U.S. companies, preparing to adopt international accounting standards is a major headache.

For accounting students at Washington and Lee University, a new curriculum is alleviating some of the pain.

A $50,000 grant from PricewaterhouseCoopers Charitable Foundation has enabled W&L’s accounting department to create a series of courses that teach the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in parallel with the regular accounting classes covering U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Standards (U.S. GAAP).

According to Elizabeth Oliver, professor of accounting and department head, the initiative employs different approaches for upper-level or introductory classes. In the upper-level classes, once a professor completes a topic in the U.S. GAAP class, students will learn about the same topic using IFRS in the international accounting class. For the introductory classes, students are introduced to the international standards through a stand-alone module developed by W&L accounting professor J. William King.

Oliver said she doesn’t know of any other school using this parallel course approach, but that students are already seeing the benefits. “Not only are students understanding IFRS and how and why it is different, it is reinforcing their understanding of the U.S. standards as well.”

From left, Elizabeth Oliver, William King and Brandi Wedgeworth, who has introduced the new curriculum in her class this year.

Students will graduate knowing both standards, and Oliver said that will “give them a leg up” when it comes to finding a job. This is especially true with PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has been one of the biggest employers of W&L graduates over the past few years. “They have said it will be part of their recruiting process. If accounting graduates can’t talk about IFRS, then the firm is not going to be interested in them. The other major accounting firms haven’t made such targeted comments, but it is important to them as well,” she said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has already given international companies that file in the United States permission to use IFRS. Meanwhile, U.S. companies have been preparing for the shift to international standards since 2008, when the SEC released its proposed roadmap for the adoption of IFRS in the United States within the next five to seven years.

While the financial crisis may have added some uncertainty to the exact timeline, PricewaterhouseCoopers believes it is inevitable. On its Web site the company stresses the importance of understanding IFRS and its implications, calling it “a business imperative for U.S. companies.”

To explain the difference between the two standards, Oliver said that U.S. GAAP is rules-based but IFRS is based on principles. “Principles versus rules is a big argument in accounting,” she said, adding that in her opinion both have advantages. “Right now the problem is if you look at a financial statement that uses one set of accounting standards and try to compare it with another that uses different accounting standards, it’s very hard to understand what the real differences are. If everyone uses the same standards then we’re all better off and the market is better off. But it’s painful as we make the change.

“There’s been a huge shift with other countries adopting the international standards–Brazil is one country making the change this year–and, as you can imagine, it’s causing a lot of difficulty for companies,” she said.
According to Oliver, the grant application was a very competitive process. “For us to be included with some of the big research schools that also received grants is very gratifying for us. We’re a small school with a very different teaching model,” she said.

Eventually, once the IFRS standards have been adopted in the United States, Oliver expects the accounting curriculum to return to one set of courses. “It will eventually come full circle as we return to one primary set of standards–the IFRS.”

Mackenzie Brown's Story

When we last wrote about Mackenzie Brown, a 2009 graduate, she was headed to Uganda to teach at BULA (Better Understanding of Life in Africa) Children’s Home. Her hometown television station in West Virginia had done a story about her upcoming adventure. That was last July.

Mackenzie arrived in Uganda in August and found the school and her work there just as rewarding as she thought it would be. One her blog entries from mid-August reads: “The children are very sweet, and I have been welcomed so warmly!! They have trouble pronouncing my name, so I have become Sister Brown instead.” Her blog has lot of photos and some videos of the children and her work.

But her story took a very scary turn in September when she was caught in a crossfire — literally — between rival Ugandan factions. Because of the dangers, Mackenzie has returned to the States, but she posted an incredibly poignant, and frightening, description of the events of September 10 to her blog. You can read them here.

But the last paragraph of her post is particularly eloquent:

“I don’t want people to fear Uganda, and that’s why I haven’t written this sooner. It’s not a bad place, and it has some amazing people (like Henry). Right now, though, the tension has not been completely resolved, and I feel better staying in the US. I miss my students and my friends, and part of my feels guilty about being able to leave. Most of the people I know there don’t have that option. That night, I couldn’t stop thinking that these people shouldn’t have to live like this. It’s not right, and I wish I knew how to fix it. I have never been so scared in my entire life. I am safe now, but my friends are not, and it kills me each day.”

Reed Bolton Byrum to Give Keynote Address for 49th Institute of Media Ethics

Reed Bolton Byrum, former president and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America, will give the keynote address for Washington and Lee University’s 49th Institute on Media Ethics on Friday, March 12, at 5:30 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

The title of Byrum’s talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Into the Vortex of Corporate Social Communications: Ethical Challenges and Shortcuts in the Age of New Media.”

Byrum, a leading innovator with 20 years of Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas, experiences, is expert at positioning small- to mid-sized companies in business-to-business marketplaces and the financial markets.

Byrum has served as a corporate executive for companies, ranging from small tech companies like Trilogy and RightNow Technologies to the Fortune 100 companies like EDS and GE Capital.

The talk is sponsored by the Knight Program in Journalism Ethics and the department of journalism and mass communications.

Scott Ainslie Plays Robert Johnson

Eric Clapton has called Delta blues legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Robert Johnson “the most important blues musician who ever lived.” Washington and Lee alumnus Scott Ainslie would no doubt agree. Next year is the 100th anniversary of Johnson’s birth and the 25th anniversary of his recordings, and Scott has created a one-man show that explores Johnson’s music, times, and life story.

A year ago we blogged about Scott when newspapers in New England were writing about his 2008 CD, “Thunders’ Mouth.” The 1974 W&L alum has been both studying and teaching Johnson’s techniques for years. He has produced an instructional DVD that teaches Johnson’s “signature licks.”

Below, you can watch Scott perform a Johnson favorite, “Kind Hearted Woman,” during a live concert in Scott’s hometown of Brattleboro, Vermont, from last November:

Science, Journalism Profs Join Forces to Teach Space Travel

How are new college courses created?

In the case of Topics in Public Science: Space Travel, at Washington and Lee University, it all started at a brown bag lunch hosted by W&L’s journalism department in 2004.

One of the invitees was W&L chemistry professor Steve Desjardins, who happened to mention his interest in how journalists cover science.

The idea resonated with Brian Richardson, head of the department of journalism and mass communications and a former print and TV journalist.

In the winter term of 2006, the chemist and the journalist team-taught a course on science journalism. They chose not to focus on any particular area of science, but the students’ focus was unmistakable.

“To our surprise,” said Desjardins, “it was when we began to discuss the U.S. space program and space travel that everybody just lit up.”

So that is how the course they are teaching this winter term of 2010 was born, and how they’ve settled into an interesting conversation about science and journalism with one another and with their students.

As the syllabus explains, the course focuses on the history and scientific and technical challenges of human and unmanned space travel as well as the approaches news media have taken in covering U.S. space travel and exploration. They start with lectures on how a rocket works and move through the space race.

Each week, Desjardins gives the Monday lecture, offering technical background on the issue at hand. On Wednesday, Richardson leads the students through the media’s coverage of the story under discussion. Then, on Friday, the students either take a quiz on the material or must turn in (they don’t write on deadline) a spot news story based on the information the professors have presented.

There is no textbook but plenty of resources, including videos of the late Walter Cronkite anchoring CBS-TV’s coverage of many of the major events in the history of the U.S. space program, from John Glenn’s orbital flight to the Apollo 11 moon landing.

“One of the difficulties that journalists face with many fields of science is that only the breakthroughs become publicly accessible. The day-to-day work is not easily available,” said Desjardins. “But space exploration is different. Few technical subjects have been covered as extensively as the space program. With space exploration, we saw it develop step by step.”

Richardson acknowledged that he and Desjardins have had several a-ha moments as they’ve presented the material to the students.

“I was talking about some aspect of the technology and mentioned the scientists using their slide rules. The blank stares of the students were stunning,” said Richardson. “Slide rules? They had no idea what I meant. But that’s also been true of much of the material about the space race. Steve and I grew up with the space program. We knew the astronauts’ names. We watched the successes and failures. These students were not even born when Challenger exploded in 1986.”

In many respects, Richardson says, the issue that he and Desjardins are facing is similar to what the journalists confront when reporting science.

“Just as we are doing in this class, the journalist has to ask, ‘How much can I assume the audience knows already?’ You really have to decide where you can start the conversation,” said Richardson.

From his standpoint, Desjardins sympathizes with the journalist’s task in interpreting science and hopes that a course of this sort can help.

“Science is not well done in sound bites,” said Desjardins. “If you want to understand how a television works, not just the general concept, but if you want to understand it well enough to have an intelligent argument about it, it takes two years, not five minutes. If people had never seen computers, imagine trying to argue the existence of microchips in five minutes. It’s a really difficult problem, especially since the audience is not as technically literate as you’d like.”

Richardson knew the course had promise when he and Desjardins made a presentation about it to a group of W&L science alumni.

“They all wanted to come back and take the course,” Richardson said. “When you hear that, you know you’re onto something.”

Too, both faculty members say their ability to teach a course of this type underscores the value of talking across disciplines in formal ways and in informal interactions such as a brown bag lunch.

“We do this rather casually at Washington and Lee, but it’s because we value it; we value the interaction of people from different departments,” Desjardins said. “That kind of interaction has to be viewed favorably at all levels. The worst message you can send is, ‘Don’t waste your time talking to one another.”

A Homecoming for Wood Selig '83

Old Dominion University — and all of Tidewater, it seems — are welcoming Norfolk native Wood Selig back to the area with open arms. The 1983 Washington and Lee alumnus, who came to W&L from Norfolk Collegiate, has taken over as the athletic director at Old Dominion after 11 years at Western Kentucky.

Prior to Western Kentucky, Wood had worked in sports administration at Virginia Commonwealth and the University of Virginia, after receiving his master’s in sports administration from Ohio University. A psychology major at W&L, Wood also earned a doctorate in education leadership from U.Va.

The response to Wood’s hiring has been remarkable. Not only has he received plaudits from Bowling Green, Ky.,, which he is leaving, including a laudatory column in the WKU student newspaper,  but media in Tidewater have also praised the ODU decision, noting that it’s particularly important because of Wood’s experience in fundraising as the Monarchs begin only their second season of varsity football.

For instance, David Teel wrote about Wood’s hiring in the Newport News Daily Press: “ODU could not have selected anyone more rooted in its sporting past than Wood Selig. More important, the school has chosen an accomplished administrator, and the combination makes Selig, at first blush, an inspired hire straight from central casting.” In the Virginia Pilot, Bob Molinaro has a column about Wood that includes comments from people who knew him growing up in Norfolk and on the job at Western Kentucky.

Shenandoah Turns 60 and Turns a Corner

This spring, Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review, celebrates one milestone and prepares for another. First comes the 60th anniversary issue of the journal, a tribute to writer Flannery O’Connor. And then comes a change, when Shenandoah shifts from print to Web.

For the anniversary, why focus on O’Connor? The author of short stories like “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and novels like Wise Blood hailed from Georgia, not Virginia. But she had a personal association with Shenandoah. Her story “A Stroke of Good Fortune” appeared in the Spring 1953 edition; the journal has reviewed her books; and this special issue will contain some of her correspondence with the editors.

In addition, O’Connor (1925-1964) is a vivid part of popular culture. She is the subject of not one but two recent biographies, one published last year and an authorized biography to come. And radio hosts Garrison Keillor (“Prairie Home Companion”) and Michael Feldman (“Whad’Ya Know?”) even mention O’Connor on their shows. As R.T. Smith, editor of Shenandoah since 1995, who has his own scholarly interest in the author, put it, “O’Connor turns out to be not just hidden off in a corner of the English department and high culture.”

All of this came together in what Smith called “a happy constellation” of timing and material. The 300-page issue (which is “pushing the limit of what our printer can bind”) is brimming with stories by Joyce Carol Oates, Fred Chappell and Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, and with poems by Charles Wright, Kallima Hamilton, Claudia Emerson, Dave Smith, Betty Adcock and Rodney Jones. It will have an excerpt from the upcoming authorized biography, by William Sessions, a former English professor at Georgia State University and an O’Connor friend. Robert McDonald, professor of English at W&L’s neighbor, the Virginia Military Institute, contributes photographs of O’Connor’s farm, Andalusia. Some of the material is about O’Connor; the rest, said Smith, is “in conversation with deep Southern culture and misbehavior”-not unlike the work of O’Connor herself.

A W&L connection comes in the person of the Rev. James MacLeod, of Augusta, Ga., who has contributed material from the book he is writing about his friendship with O’Connor. This work from the member of W&L’s Class of 1959 will be divided among this issue, the fall 2010 issue, and the journal’s Web site.

The special issue will be published in May, and the journal will host a celebration of O’Connor when Washington and Lee’s undergraduate classes resume in the fall. The speaker will be Sarah Gordon, one of the premier scholars of O’Connor and a founder of the Flannery O’Connor Review.

Shenandoah will publish in its usual format in fall 2010. In spring 2011, there will be a limited-edition anthology of poems published in Shenandoah over the last 15 years. And then will come the biggest change of all. “For the foreseeable future,” said Smith, “that will be the last print issue of Shenandoah.”

Starting with the fall 2011 issue, it will be entirely online. A paid subscription will be a thing of the past. “It is perhaps inevitable when we look at what has happened to other literary journals,” said Smith. “Literary magazines per se are going to have to change their way of conceiving themselves and of reaching their audiences. And this is all tied up in the deep inquiry going on in our culture about the future of print. There is time to make that transition and be an innovator.”

The way the journal involves students in its work will be innovative as well. “The interns will not just observe and theorize about the actual editorial decisions, from design to contents to policies,” said Smith, “but they will also participate in the decisions, plus do things like screening submissions and blogging.”

Through such graduate-student-like work, the W&L undergrads will gain valuable experience, and Smith thinks readers will gain through “lively interactivity on the blog.” There will be more interns, and work-study students will continue their usual tasks. As a result, he said, “the magazine will become a laboratory where students get practical experience and contribute to the online conversation concerning the nature and future of American literature.”

Other facets of this ongoing Web conversation will be such features as songs, artwork and photography, as well as videos of poets reading their verse and authors discussing their stories.

For the reader, Smith said, an online journal “also leads to more accessibility and an increased audience.” If a reader feels an immediate yen to read a literary magazine like Shenandoah, it’s just a click away.

Smith wants long-time readers of Shenandoah to know that “the veteran authors are coming with us, and this medium will allow us greater access to discover the new authors.” Shenandoah will continue to offer honoraria to its contributors and to bestow most of its current awards, including the Graybeal-Gowen prize for Virginia poets.

“We will bring all of the very best features of a physical magazine except three-dimensionality,” said Smith. “We believe that we’re going to be gaining in terms of interactivity, accessibility, audio, the kinds of things that have made the whole concept of the Internet interesting to start with.”

9/11 Terror Trial Judge to Speak on High Profile Trials

Original story at:

W&L Alumna Nominated as Chair of ABA's House of Delegates

Linda Klein, a 1983 graduate of Washington and Lee’s School of Law, was nominated in February as chair of the American Bar Associations’ House of Delegates. Linda is managing shareholder in the Georgia offices of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, and of the firm’s board of directors.

The chair of the ABA House is the second-highest office in the association. The House of Delegates has 555 members and is the ABA’s policy-making body. Linda will begin her two-year term in August at the conclusion of the 2010 ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

In 25 years of practice, Linda has specialized in business dispute resolution, including contract law, construction law, fidelity and surety law, employment law, and professional liability. She’s won numerous awards and honors. She was, for instance, the first — and thus far only — woman president of the State Bar of Georgia in 1997.

In 2009, the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section presented Linda with the Edmund S. Muskie Pro Bono Service Award, which recognizes TIPS members who exemplify the attributes embodied by the late Sen. Muskie: his dedication to justice for all citizens, his public service, and his role as a lawyer and distinguished leader of the section.

She was also the recipient of the ABA’s 2010 Fellows Outstanding State Chair Award and was honored with the Randolph Thrower Lifetime Achievement Award 2009 from the State Bar of Georgia, which recognizes Georgia attorneys for their achievements in promoting diversity in the legal profession.

Saving Soulsville

If Washington and Lee alumnus Charlie Santo has his way, the area in Memphis known as Soulsville is going to be revitalized through an unusual program called the Memphis Music Magnet. Santo, a 1996 W&L graduate, is currently an assistant professor of  City and Regional Planning in the School of Urban Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Memphis. Prior to joining the Memphis faculty, he was a principal planner for housing and neighborhood preservation with the City of Richmond.

According to , Santo and his graduate students conceived the project that aims to attract and support musicians and the music industry in Memphis through homeownership and housing programs, and “the development of neighborhood-based amenities with the goal of turning abandoned buildings into neighborhood assets and fostering neighborhood rebirth. Amenities will include shared rehearsal space, a health center, equipment rental and a recording studio.”

Soulsville is a neighborhood in South Memphis, where Stax Records was located and where many well-known music legends got their start. The roster of luminaries included Isaac Hayes, Aretha Franklin, Booker T. Jones (Booker T. & the MGs), Memphis Slim, and Al Green, among many others.

Santo says that the Memphis Music Magnet will emphasize “retaining talent and growing talent, as well as attracting talent from the outside,” Santo said. “We focused on music because the music industry in Memphis is not what it once was. We have a lot of talent in Memphis. And people recognize it as an asset.” An article about the project in the Tri-State Defender noted that it is modeled after an arts-based neighborhood revitalization program in Paducah, Ky., called The Artist Relocation Program, and a Chattanooga, Tenn., program called ArtsMove.

“We’re putting a local spin on revitalization and tying it into the city’s heritage with specific focus on creating neighborhood-level change by attracting and supporting musicians and the music industry in Memphis,” said in the Defender piece. “We want to build on our existing assets and not try to create a new image from scratch.”

Rockbridge County Model United Nations Conference Held at W&L This Weekend

The Rockbridge County Model United Nations Conference, which is hosted by Washington and Lee University and staffed completely by W&L students, will be held on Friday, March 5, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday, March 6, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the W&L Law School.

W&L’s Provost June Aprille and VMI’s Superintendent J.H. Binford Peay III will both speak at the conference. Aprille will welcome the students to the conference and to W&L and commend them on their participation in the Model United Nations. Peay will talk on the importance of diplomacy in the world today.

Going into its fourth year, the Rockbridge County Model United Nations (ROCKMUN) Conference hosts approximately 105 high school students from around Southwest Virginia for a two-day long United Nations simulation.

Over 25 Washington and Lee Model United Nations students work year-round on this conference because “they see that it embodies the student-run government principles that W&L teaches,” according to Mike White, ROCKMUN Secretary General and W&L’s Model United Nations president.

A Model United Nations (MUN) program is held from middle schools through college. The conferences, usually two or three days in length, are meant to recreate the feel of the real United Nations using identical committees, rules and debate procedure as seen in New York and The Hague and established following World War II. Students write mock resolutions on some of the world’s greatest issues and conflicts, from nuclear proliferation to environmental refugees.

The Model United Nations simulation was proposed four years ago by a group of W&L students for high school students for the explicit purpose of providing a multicultural experience unavailable in the area. They solicited the help of Rockbridge County High School, VMI, the Williams School at W&L and local banks for help with funding and logistics. The original program had a staff of about 15 and the conference hosted four schools with an attendance of about 65.

A year ago the program expanded to 30 staff, with the participation of more than 175 high school students, with local middle school students also involved as pages. For the first time private schools from around the area also participated. With the collapse of the economy and looming education budget cuts, the numbers of students participating this year have shrunk.

“Most Washington and Lee students participating in ROCMUN had positive experiences in high school Model United Nations and want to share the experience it imbues in students,” said White. “It is an amazing sight to see a student terrified to speak in public at the beginning of the conference get up to voraciously defend their country’s position by the end of the simulation – the growth in confidence is always palpable.”

Some W&L students also participate in Washington and Lee’s traveling Model United Nations team and attend college conferences to participate as delegates themselves. In the past four years, they’ve travelled to Toronto, Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Model UN programs, having won overall best delegate at the Harvard competition and outstanding delegate at Penn.

W&L's Hillel Travels to Uruguay on Alternative Break

Washington and Lee’s Hillel had its first-ever Alternative Break over the Washington Holiday, when 14 students traveled to Uruguay. According to Joan Robins, director of Hillel at W&L, who accompanied the students, the group focused on poverty issues in Montevideo, where they worked with individuals who were severely affected by the 2002 economic crisis in that South American country.

The W&L students spent two days at a child-care center, which distributes meals and provides educational programming. It is also a place for the children to shower (albeit with cold water), because most of them do not have water at home. They played games with the children and painted the shacks that made up the center.  Several students made donations for a new hot-water heater.  In addition, they worked with local Uruguyan Hillel students, teachers, mothers and children to paint the facilities at a battered women’s shelter.

During the visit, the students met members of the local Jewish community, played bingo with folks at a Jewish home for the elderly, and enjoyed Shabbat services at local synagogues and dinner with several host families.  Wrote Robins: “Our students discovered a country with a rich history, vibrant culture and complex socio-political system.  They enjoyed very friendly people, and had fun exploring the city nightlife, such as salsa and tango, and also relaxed on Uruguayan beaches.”

Students who participated were Stephanie Dultz ’10, Emily Martin ’10, Dinah Danforth ’10, Lizzie Engel ’13, Ali Greenberg ’13, Nora Wallenius ’13, Melissa Horadam ’13, Tracy Richardson ’11, Jared Hester ’13, Graham Sheridan ’11, Brian Cherry ’11, Josh Posner ’12, Lev Raslin ’12 and Max Chapnick ’13.

The trip was funded in part by Hillel International, but the W&L students held fund-raisers and contributed to the cost of the airfare.  Since it was founded eight years ago, Hillel’s program has sent more than 7,000 students to rebuild communities in Israel, the Gulf Coast, Central and South America, Former Soviet Union, Cuba, Brazil and Uruguay.

Click here for a series of photographs from the trip.

Former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner III to Speak at W&L

Walter H. Kansteiner III, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2003, will be Executive-in-Residence in the Williams School at Washington and Lee University on March 11-12. He will give a lecture on Thursday, March 11, at 5 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater in Elrod Commons.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is titled “China and Africa: A Winning Investment or an Unholy Alliance?”

Kansteiner served as President Bush’s personal representative to the G8 Africa Process, was former member of the Department of Defense Task Force on Strategic Minerals under President Bill Clinton, was Director of African Affairs on the National Security Council and was Africa specialist on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff.

Currently, Kansteiner is a non-executive director of Moto Gold, a multinational corporation operating in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is a member of the board of directors of Titanium Resources Group and he is a founding principal of The Scowcroft Group, an international advisory firm.

Kansteiner has more than 20 years experience with African and emerging market business issues. He has been a corporate advisor to many companies on a wide range of mergers, acquisitions and privatizations including telecommunications, forestry, mining, financial services, healthcare and aviation services.

Kansteiner has a B.A. from Washington and Lee University (class of ’77), as well as graduate degrees in international economics and ethics from American University and Virginia Theological Seminary, respectively.

Two W&L Alumni Physicians Respond to Haiti Crisis

Two members of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1997, Dr. Anthony “Mazz” Mazzarelli and Dr. Sacha Montas, were among the first responders to earthquake victims in Haiti last month. Anthony heads up the emergency medicine unit at Cooper University Hospital in Newark, N.J. Sacha is a fourth-year resident in the department of emergency medicine at the University of Michigan.

Anthony organized and coordinated the 18-member team of physicians who went to the Haitian-Dominican Republic border, providing thousands of injured patients with emergency surgical and critical care. Sacha and the team’s work were featured in a PBS NewsHour feature that you can watch here. He also wrote about the experience on a blog at the University of Michigan.

Several stories about the mission also ran onKYW radio in Philadelphia where Mazz’s work was highlighted. Their efforts were also praised in an editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

If you happen to be from the Philadelphia area, Anthony’s name may be familiar to you in a different context. Not only was he named one of Philadelphia Magazine’s “Next Generation of Great Doctors,” but he also happens to have a weekly radio talk show on Sunday’s from 10 p.m. to midnight on Philadelphia’s The Big Talker 1210.  You can catch the audio of his recent shows, which cover everything from the death of the Olympic luge racer to Evan Bayh’s decision not to run for reelection, on this page on PlayIt.com.

In one of the pieces about the trip to Haiti, Anthony said that he was “amazed by the strength and resiliency” of the Haitian people who expressed gratitude, even in the “face of painful procedures and stories of suffering and loss.”

“Chicago” Will Bring Murder, Greed and Corruption to the Lenfest Stage

The department of theater and dance at Washington and Lee University will present “Chicago,” a Robert O. and Elizabeth M. Bentley musical full of “murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery — all those things we hold near and dear to our hearts” on March 11-14, 2010, at 7:30 p.m. in the Keller Theatre of Lenfest Hall.

Tickets are required and can be purchased on-line at lenfest.wlu.edu or through the Lenfest Box Office at 458-8000.

This is the first time that a Bentley musical has been accompanied by a promotional trailer, created by Alicia Budich ’11 with help from Markheavens Tshuma ’10.

The musical transports us to Chicago in the Roaring ’20s. Roxie Hart (Ellie Duvall ’11), an aspiring starlet, is having a torrid affair with Fred Casely (Keaton Fletcher ’13). When she finds out that he is not her ticket to stardom, she murders him in a burning rage. Thus begins the wild ride through the theatrics of her imprisonment and trial, leading Roxie to hire famous defense attorney Billy Flynn (Drew Lambert ’10), known for guaranteeing his female clients acquittals, for the right price.

The musical is directed by Rob Mish ’76, director of the Lenfest Center for the Arts. Mish has directed two previous Bentley musicals, Secret Garden (2009) and Kiss Me Kate (2007). He finds this particular musical to be different from previous productions because “while the production of all theater is a collaborative experience, “Chicago” is especially so as dance is used to tell so much of the story. The songs and scenes enhance the dancing in this type of musical – not the other way around,” Mish said.

Joining Mish is choreographer Jenefer Davies, vocal director Shane Lynch and accompanist Josh Harvey ’00. Davies, assistant professor of dance-theater and Washington and Lee Repertory Dance Company creative director is “our own Bob Fosse,” said Mish. Davies describes the dancing as a “physical manifestation of the plot, not just stuck there but moving the plot forward.” Lynch, director of choral activities, finds the strengths of the show to be in the “principal’s vocal ability and adaptability.” Harvey says this show is one of the most challenging, interesting and intense productions he’s been a part of at W&L because of the combination of heavy dancing and vocal requirements.

“Chicago” is being mounted on a two-story set, designed by scenic director Shawn Paul Evans, assistant professor of theater, complete with two winding staircases. Davies’ intricate choreography to famous numbers like “Cell Block Tango” and “All That Jazz” will be danced on a 9-foot high, 40-foot wide platform. The set allows the performers to get close to the audience; what is usually the orchestra pit is now a staircase that leads right into the first row.

W&L’s production is showcasing students of all academic backgrounds. Roxie Hart is played by biology major Duvall. “‘Chicago’ is the type of show that singers, dancers and actors vie for, get excited about and dream of doing. I’m very excited about getting to do it here at Washington and Lee,” said Duvall.

Velma Kelly, Hart’s main rival onstage and in the courtroom, is played by senior studio art major A’rese Emokpae. Recognizing that comparisons to the 2002 film adaptation are inevitable, Emokpae says, “Forget what you saw Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellwegger and Richard Gere do. Contrary to popular belief, the play and the broadway show came before the movie. It’s different from what you’d expect, but I think it’s even better! Nothing beats a live performance, kids!”

Lambert has dreamed of razzle-dazzling the audience in his role as Billy Flynn for years, and through the rehearsal process, has created a sense of unity, not just for the show, but also for the cast itself. “Billy Flynn has been one of my dream roles forever and I’m very excited to perform it with such a talented cast and crew,” he said.

Seventh Annual Tom Wolfe Lecture/Seminar Features Writer Jeannette Walls

Writer Jeannette Walls will present the keynote remarks of Washington and Lee University’s seventh annual Tom Wolfe Weekend Seminar on Friday, March 12, at 4 p.m. in Lee Chapel.

This year’s seminar, “Hardship, Resilience, and the Art of the Memoir,” will examine poverty in America and the art of the memoir. Walls’ talk is free and open to the public.

Walls is the author of “The Glass Castle,” the best-selling memoir that has sold over two million copies, and “Half Broke Horses: A True Life Novel,” selected as their “Best Read” by Independent Book Sellers.

“The Glass Castle” details Walls’ life growing up in extreme poverty and describes the unimaginable obstacles she faced as a child. From the desert of the Southwest to the mountains of West Virginia to her parents’ homelessness in New York City, Walls’ account of an impoverished life is a compelling and moving first-person testament to what it means to be poor.

“The Glass Castle” has been translated in 16 languages and was on The New York Times Best Seller list for over a year.

Jeannette Walls also is a journalist whose work has appeared in New York Magazine, Esquire, USA Today and MSNBC. A major motion picture about her life is currently under development.

To attend the weekend seminar (March 12-13), please contact W&L’s Office of Special Programs at 540-458-8916.

Mountain Photographer Shows Changes Over 50 Years in Mt. Everest Region

Mountain geographer and climber Alton Byers, famous for capturing on camera 50 years of climate change in the Everest region of the Himalayas, will give a talk on Thursday, March 18, at 7 p.m. in the Leyburn Library’s Northen Auditorium at Washington and Lee University.

The title of the talk is “50 Years of Climate, Culture, and Landscape Change in the Mt. Everest Region” and Byers will provide comparisons to changes in the Peruvian Andes. The talk is free and open to the public.

Byers climbed to more than 60 sites where climbers and scientists originally took hundreds of photographs of both regions and replicated each panorama-a process known as repeat photography.

Placed together, the juxtaposed images are not only visually stunning but also of significant scientific value, providing startling evidence of the before and after changes in the glaciers and landscape.

The presentation will also cover the results of Byers’ most recent expedition to the Himalayas where he and colleagues from Hokkaido University, Japan, climbed to 11 high altitude glacial lakes that have either formed or grown over the past several decades as a result of global warming, some of which could be highly dangerous and destructive to downstream populations.

The presentation is designed to not only demonstrate the changes that have occurred in the glaciers and landscapes of the world’s highest mountains, but also to encourage discussion and thinking about how to help people adapt to these changes. It also underscores the need for better mountain conservation that can help protect future water supplies and biodiversity, and also act as a buffer against recent warming trends.

The lecture is part of the series “Nature and Politics in the Americas” presented by Mark Carey, assistant professor of history at W&L. It is funded by the National Science Foundation and the history department, environmental studies and Latin American and Caribbean studies at W&L.

The final lecture in the series is on Thursday, March 25 and covers environmental justice. “Peasants, Political Violence, and the Environment in Chile” will be presented by Thomas Klubock, department of history, University of Virginia. It will be at 7 p.m. in the Leyburn Library’s Northen Auditorium at W&L.

Novelist Porochista Khakpour to Give W&L Glasgow Reading

Novelist Porochista Khakpour, who teaches fiction at Bucknell University, will give a reading for her work on Thursday, March 18, at 7 p.m. in Room 345 in Elrod Commons at Washington and Lee University.

Khakpour’s debut novel, “Sons and Other Flammable Objects” (Grove/Atlantic) is a New York Times “Editor’s Choice,” Chicago Tribune’s “Fall’s Best” and 2007 California Book Award winner. It is out in paperback.

Khakpour’s writing has appeared in “The New York Times,” “The Village Voice,” “The Chicago Reader,” “Paper,” “Flaunt,” “Bidoun,” “Guernica,” nerve.com and FiveChapters.com, among others.

She has been awarded fellowships from The Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars, Northwestern University, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Sewanee Writers’ Conference, The UCross Foundation and The Corporation of Yaddo.

Khakpour’s reading is sponsored by the Glasgow Endowment and is free and open to the public.

Lost and Found

Senior Robert Claiborne always believed he would be reunited with the W&L class ring that he lost in the snow between Newcomb Hall and Morris House. It flew off his finger when he returned fire during a brief snowball battle on Feb. 2.

Elizabeth Knapp ‘90, associate dean of the College, happened along when Robert and a couple of friends were sifting through the snow, looking for the ring. She went home and retrieved her kids’ toy metal detector. When she returned, there were about dozen students in the hunt. Even with the metal detector, they had no luck, and Robert began posting a message about his missing ring in Campus Notices. The notice ran for several weeks.

When Robert headed to Florida for Washington Break, he still hadn’t given up hope. Turns out, neither had Dean Knapp. When the grass started peeking through the snow that week, she decided to take another look — and there was the ring in plain sight. She e-mailed Robert with the simple subject line: “Found it!” And ring and owner were reunited on Friday, Feb. 26.

“I was pretty confident that the ring would be found,” Robert wrote in an e-mail. “A few friends told me I should just consider it gone, but I knew the general area where it was lost and thought that it would turn up once the snow melted.  At most schools I guess this wouldn’t really be something to advertise on Campus Notices, but our Honor System creates a stronger sense of trust and community.”