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