Feature Stories Campus Events

A Paris Photo Blog

For proof that students in the spring term course, Photography and the City, taught by Washington and Lee art professor Christa Bowden are hard at work, look no further than their blog, W&L Photography. You will find a selection of the images they have taken since they arrived in the city — and the city in question just happens to be Paris.

The class is spending the first three weeks in Paris, where they will each undertake a substantial photographic project of their own while also taking field trips to museums, galleries, and other relevant sites. The last week will be devoted to printing the images and curating an exhibition of the work.

Below are just a few samples of the images you’ll find on the blog at http://wluphoto.com/

New Site for New Students

As members of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2014 begin to prepare to enter the University in the fall, there is a great new website resource available to make that transition as smooth as possible.

The New Student Dashboard, created by W&L’s Web team and maintained by Kati Grow in the Division of Student Affairs, maps out an almost day-by-day plan for the transition. Anyone who has been involved with getting ready to take that step (or helping a student get ready for that step) recognizes that the questions can be endless — from to how long the room curtains should be to what restaurants are available near the campus. The dashboard not only provides the questions and answers in a blog form, but there is a live chat option, too.

A checklist lets students know what they need to be thinking about from the time they send in their deposit until they arrive in Lexington.

Be sure to have a look at the new page even if you or your son or daughter aren’t in the new class.

Here’s the link: For New Students.

Jack Goldsmith Elected to AAAS

Washington and Lee alumnus Jack Goldsmith of the Class of 1984 has just been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies.

Jack is the Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law at Harvard University. He was among 229 leaders in the sciences, social sciences, the humanities, the arts, business and public affairs elected this year. This year’s inductees include winners of the Nobel, Pulitzer, and Shaw Prizes; MacArthur and Guggenheim fellows; and Grammy, Tony, and Oscar Award winners. The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 9, at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

AAAS was founded by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and other scholar-patriots and has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the eighteenth century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the nineteenth, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the twentieth. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

A philosophy major at W&L, Jack presented the Founders’ Day/ODK speech at W&L in 2009. He is the author of The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment inside the Bush Administration and many other books and articles related to terrorism, national security, and international law. Before joining Harvard Law, Jack was assistant attorney general, Office of Legal Counsel, and as special counsel to the general counsel to the Department of Defense.

Carnegie Mellon Honors Chad Ellis '03

Chad Ellis, a 2003 Washington and Lee graduate and currently a Ph.D. candidate in chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University, has been named the recipient of CMU’s  Graduate Student Service Award, which recognizes “service to his fellow students at Carnegie Mellon, and to his colleagues around Pittsburgh and the nation.”

Chad, a chemistry major at W&L, served as 2009 Vice President of External Affairs for CMU’s Graduate Student Assembly.

An announcement of Chad’s award on the CMU news blog cited the work he did in arguing on behalf of international graduate student who face visa problems — an argument that he made to the U.S. Congress, where he met with legislators on the issue.

Chad was also involved in the fight to keep the city of Pittsburgh from taxing the tuition of all students at city universities, including Carnegie Mellon.

Rea Freeland, associate dean of the Mellon College of Science and associate head of the chemistry department, said of Chad: “In my 17 years of working with graduate students in many departments at Carnegie Mellon, including several past student leaders, I have never met anyone with such breadth of commitment to the Carnegie Mellon community in particular and to serving the broader society as a whole.”

Retiring After 253 Years

Washington and Lee celebrated the careers of seven retiring members of the University staff at the annual Employee Recognition Banquet on Thursday. Altogether, the seven have a combined 253 years of service to W&L. The winner in that category, by quite a distance, is Kathleen H. Dunlap, or Miss Kitty as she has been known to generations. She first joined the University in 1959.

The retirees are:

  • Dora B. Coleman, Marketplace cook, 1989–2010
  • John H. DeCourcy, director of financial aid, 1983–2010
  • Kathleen H. Dunlap, Washington Hall receptionist, 1959–2010
  • Emory W. Higgins Jr., HVAC/plumber, 1979–2010
  • Frances E. Moore, custodian, 1995-2010
  • Brenda D. Reese, textbook buyer, 1966–2010
  • Carole M. Shorter, executive assistant to the dean of the School of Law, 1983–2009
  • Kenneth F. “Digger” Swink, paint shop supervisor, 1972–2010

In addition, 55 employees were recognized for their years of service to the University:

Fifty Years Service

  • Kathleen H. Dunlap

Forty-Five Years Service

  • Linda H. Agnor

Thirty-Five Years Service

  • Raymond E. Bryant
  • Ernest R. Hostetter

Thirty Years Service

  • Bernard F. Butler III
  • Julia S. Cline
  • Emory W. Higgins, Jr.
  • Martha C. Rowsey
  • Wanda R. Scott
  • Judith S. Stinson

Twenty-Five Years

  • Eldridge H. Alderman
  • Linda G. Hall
  • Peggy C. Pugh
  • Larry W. Stuart

Twenty Years Service

  • William F. Clark
  • Ricky G. Clifton
  • Dora B. Coleman
  • Melissa M. Cox
  • Claude E. Floyd III
  • David C. Glassford
  • Deborah A. Hattersley
  • John B. Hellmuth
  • Larry D. Hostetter
  • Andrew L. Martin
  • Sheryl F. Salm
  • Deborah M. Stoner
  • Wanda K. Swartz
  • Michael H. Tolley
  • Michael F. Walsh

Fifteen Years Service

  • Lynda G. Bassett-deMaria
  • Lisa J. Dunlap
  • Patricia S. Johnson
  • Frances E. Moore
  • Judith W. Owens
  • Penny O. Patterson
  • Susan L. Thompson
  • Diederik A. van Assendelft
  • Denise M. Watts

Ten Years Service

  • Christopher G. Adkins
  • Elizabeth O. Branner
  • Thomas G. Contos
  • Gregory J. Cooper
  • Zola S. Goodbar
  • Nicholas D. Gualtieri
  • Adolph H. Humphreys
  • Janet Ikeda Yuba
  • James D. Kaster
  • Cynthia M. Lawson
  • Paul S. Merchant
  • Emily H. Nicely
  • Suzanne G. Noonan
  • Daniel R. Rexrode
  • Rhonda H. Rhodenizer
  • Dean E. Tallman
  • Charles L. Updike

A Canceled Check

During last weekend’s School of Law reunion, returning members of the Class of 1960, back for their 50th, received special recognition during a Saturday morning gathering in the Millhiser Moot Court Room. Once they had been received a commemorative medal and greetings from W&L President Ken Ruscio and Law Dean Rodney Smolla, one of the class members, George Anthou, from Canonsburg, Pa., asked to address the assembly.

It seems George had brought a rather unusual bit of memorabilia from his law days with him: a canceled check from the First National Bank of Lexington in the amount of $282.50, made out to Washington and Lee University. The check, written on Feb. 1, 1960, was his payment for his final semester of tuition, plus the charge for his Davis Hall room.

As George correctly noted in a letter written to classmates: “Today, perhaps it might not even cover the cost of a couple of law books.”

George, who spent 46 years in private practice in his hometown of Canonsburg (the home of both Perry Como and Bobby Vinton), had numerous fascinating stories in his letter to classmates. One, in particular, stands out. He recalls how law professor Charles P. McDowell lectured the students on what their grades would really mean. George quotes Prof. McDowell as telling them: “Don’t worry about what grade may result from your studies because the ‘A’ students become judges, the ‘B’ students work for the state or federal government and the ‘C’ students become trial lawyers and earn all the big fees.” Fees large enough, no doubt, to make that $282.50 in tuition and room fees worth the cost.

A Must Read

Denizens of pre-renovation Reid Hall from the mid-1980s can certainly relate to much of the portrait of Mike Allen (Class of 1986) that is painted in the fascinating cover story on Mike and Politico in the New York Times Magazine. You can read that piece online today, and it’s worth every minute you spend. Here is the link.

Literally within minutes of the story’s posting on the Times website, about half a dozen people had e-mailed to point it out. Among the many details that ring true in Mark Lebovich’s piece is the description of Mike’s “showing up out of nowhere, around corners, at odd hours, sometimes a few time zones away.” That was true back during his days as editor of the Ring-tum Phi, when Mike would appear suddenly, out of nowhere, in the doorway of the news office.  Instead of his now omnipresent BlackBerry, he had a legal pad under his arm and would be chewing on a pen.

Here are just a few of the other descriptions of Mike that you’ll find cited in the Times piece:

From Bob Woodward on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”: “You don’t have to do anything else, just read Mike Allen.”

From Democratic consultant Tracy Self: “ is part mascot and part sleepless narrator of our town. He is an omnipresent participant-observer, abundantly kind, generous and just unpredictable enough to make him an object of curiosity to even the most self-interested. Everything about him is literary.”

And from Mike himself, this anecdote that will no doubt resonate with his former journalism teacher at W&L: ” became animated when discussing a long-ago reporting job in Fredericksburg, Va. His favorite story there was headlined, ‘Hot Dog: A Meal or a Snack?’ The county board of supervisors was debating whether hot-dog sales should include a meal tax. ‘Every single thing that I’ve written since then,’ Allen said, ‘whether it’s about a mayor or a governor or senator or president, it all boils down to, “Hot Dog: A Meal or a Snack?” All great questions come from small questions.’ ”

W&L and Purchasing Power

Purchasing Power, an Atlanta-based company that has been ranked on Entrepreneur magazine’s list of the Top 100 fastest growing companies, has added to its Washington and Lee connections with the announcement that Chad Delp of the Class of 1993 is the new chief financial officer.

At Purchasing Power, Chad is joining fellow W&L alumnus Keith Calhoun, of the Class of 1979, who is the company’s CEO.

Prior to joining Purchasing Power, Chad was senior vice president in the consumer group of Stephens Inc., in Little Rock, where he executed client transactions, including mergers and acquisitions and capital raises. Chad is currently a director of Purchasing Power, Morrell Wine Group, 5 Star Sports Calendar and ACCESS schools, a non-profit organization that serves the needs of children with learning disabilities. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in economics at W&L, Chad went on to earn a master’s in business administration in finance with distinction from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was named a Palmer Scholar.

Keith, meantime, has been a member of the management team of Purchasing Power since it began in April 2000 and is credited with changing the business model of the company by developing the employee computer purchase program. Now the company helps employees purchase name-brand products with manageable monthly payments through payroll deduction and is licensed in all 50 states as a reseller of personal computers, consumer electronics, and home appliances and maintains relationships with major manufacturers, as well as resellers, distributors and other suppliers.

In 2008, Keith was named one of the Catalyst magazine’s “Top 25 Entrepreneurs & Ones to Watch” and, in a video you can watch here, described the way the company has evolved from the idea he originally had during a fly fishing trip.

W&L Alumna One of 15 Visionaries

Robyn O’Brien, the 1993 Washington and Lee alumna who has been labeled “food’s Erin Brockovich” by the New York Times, earned another significant honor this month when Planet Green, part of the Discovery Channel, named her one of its 15 visionaries — people who are providing “big ideas that will shape our world going forward.” Robyn is founder of AllergyKids.com, which aims to protect American families from the chemicals now found in our food supply.

Robyn is joined on the list by musician Moby, former Sierra Club president Adam Werbach and oceans advocate Phillipe Cousteau. You can see the entire list on the Planet Green site. Robyn is No. 13 on the slide show.

You can stay in touch with Robyn’s work by following her Twitter feed, @UnhealthyTruth, or going to her website, Shedding Light on the Food Industry. She also writes a blog for the Huffington Post.

Books in the Attic

You know how when you’re spring cleaning, you find all kinds of interesting stuff you didn’t even know you had? Well, that happened the other day in the attic of Washington Hall. Mike Carmagnola, executive director of facilities and capital planning, was rummaging around up there in preparation for the building’s eventual renovation, part of the ongoing project that will spiff up the entire Colonnade. He bumped up against four long, narrow wooden boxes—filled with a complete set of The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (OR for short). The multivolume reference work was published from 1880 to 1901.

A tag on the dusty boxes read, “Property of Dr. Bean.” That would be the late W.G. Bean, professor of history at W&L who arrived in 1922 and was one of the school’s signal personages until his death in 1974.

Carmagnola’s colleague Lucy Raney and her crew moved the boxes from the attic of Washington Hall to “the attic of the University”—that’s how Vaughan Stanley, Special Collections librarian, refers to his domain in Leyburn Library. He called up Prof. Bean’s son, William Bean Jr., who lives in Lexington and has been updating his father’s 1964 book, The Liberty Hall Volunteers: Stonewall’s College Boys. As best as Stanley (at left in the photo) and Bean (at right) can figure, the senior Bean must have stashed the books in Washington Hall’s attic when he retired in the 1950s, and they have been there ever since.

Since Leyburn Library already has several sets of the OR, Stanley is trying to find a good home for this one. He expects Special Collections will be the beneficiary of other discoveries, however, as attics and basements along the Colonnade get tidied up over the next few years. “Good things turn up that way,” says Stanley.

One of 40 Under 40 in Charlotte

Congratulations to Brian Clarke, a 1999 graduate of the Washington and Lee School of Law, who was named one of the Charlotte Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 last month. The annual feature in the special publication of the Charlotte Business Journal identifies 40 people under the age of 40 who are “making major strides in their careers and impacting their communities.”

Brian is a senior associate with Littler Mendelson in the firm’s Charlotte office, where he specializes in employment law and employment and employee benefits litigation. He has litigated cases throughout North Carolina as well as in George, West Virginia, Mississippi and elsewhere. Brian is also an experienced appellate advocate and has successfully represented clients in front of the North Carolina Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.

During the current academic year, Brian has been serving as an adjunct professor at W&L as part of the new third-year curriculum. He’s been teaching a labor and employment law practicum.

Flying Turtles

“When Turtles Fly” is the name of the fascinating blog written by Deborah Miranda, associate professor of English at Washington and Lee. Deborah teaches composition, creative writing (poetry and memoir) as well as Native American, American ethnic and women’s literature. She began the blog back in 2008 as a record of her sabbatical.

The blog’s name, she says, is a sort of an Indian version of the old saying, “when pigs fly” — “only in this case,” Deborah adds, “it is entirely possible for a turtle to fly, if it first transforms into an eagle. It’s about how transformation or adaptation is the key to survival.”

In addition, the turtle is the symbol of the Santa Ynez Chumash tribe. Deborah’s grandmother, Marquesa Robles Miranda, belonged to that tribe. Deborah is a member of the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation of the Greater Monterey Bay area, in California.

“When Turtles Fly” features a wide range of  material — poems, essays, historic photographs and excerpts from her current book project, “Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir,” portions of which have been published in several journals. Among the entries you’ll find on the blog is a poem of Deborah’s called “Jacinta’s Medicine.” It’s about the historical figure Jacinta Gonzalez, who is credited with saving the life of author Robert Louis Stevenson in 1879. Once she posted the poem, Deborah was contacted through the blog by Jacinta’s great-great-great-granddaughter. That led Deborah to a listing for Jacinta on the 1860 Monterey census — where she also found a listing for her own relative. Deborah weaves the stories together in a real and compelling way.

Read “When Turtles Fly” here.

W&L Catering Chef Brings Home a Bronze

In late March, Adam Bradberry, catering chef in W&L’s Dining Services, won a bronze medal in the Regional Taste/Customized Competition at the National Association of College & University Food Service (NACUFS) Mid-Atlantic Culinary Challenge. The event is sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation.

Adam, competing for the first time since 2001, was up against nine other chefs. They had an hour to prepare four portions of an original hot entrée, featuring the mandatory ingredient of a portobello mushroom, with a protein of choice, side dishes and sauces to create a balanced plate.

Adam conjured up Pan-Seared Filet of Emu with Broccoli and Local Apple Slaw, Portobello Mushroom and Potato “Oyster,” with Salsify and Wild Mushroom Broth.

“It was quite an intense process,” said Bradberry, “from sourcing out the different products and recipe testing, to nutritional analysis and countless test runs. It can be quite unnerving cooking in front of 200 people and three master chefs. I really enjoyed it, though, and am looking forward to next year to compete again, and perhaps bring home the silver or gold.”

Will W&L’s catering menu be adding Pan-Seared Filet of Emu anytime soon? “Probably not,” grinned Adam. “But you never know.”

W&L Basketball Great Mike Neer Retires

As a basketball player at Washington and Lee in the late 1960s, Mike Neer was part of some of the most successful teams in Generals’ history. As a coach at the University of Rochester for 34 years, Mike led one of the most successful programs, on any level, in the country.

Last week Mike announced his retirement, and accolades soon followed. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle wrote: “Neer treated his players like family and his sometimes tough-love approach earned players’ respect.” Another writer for that newspaper added that “Now the University of Rochester can do what it could have done years ago — make it Mike Neer Court at the Palestra.”

Some numbers from Mike’s coaching career:

  • 563 wins vs. 316 losses, the most wins in University of Rochester history
  • 9th best record among active Division III coaches.
  • 5 NCAA Division III Final Four appearances
  • 1 NCAA Division III national championship (1990)
In a piece in the Democrat and Chronicle, Mike, 61, said “I’m not sure I’m completely sure. I don’t think there is a right time to do this. I just know that there are other things I want to do.” In that same article, he talked about what it’s been like during the years since he started coaching in 1976. Read the article here.

Mike was inducted into W&L’s Hall of Fame in 1991. During his playing career, the Generals’ three-year record was 54-19. (He transferred into the University was a sophomore.) With Mike in the lineup, W&L won College Athletic Conference titles in 1968 and 1970, and he was one of only two players in school history to have more than 1,000 points (1,289) and 1,000 rebounds (1,003) in his career. His 29 rebounds in a game against Old Dominion in 1970 is still a record, as are the 403 rebounds he had during the 1969-70 season.

While Neer was known most for basketball, he did win numerous awards as a high jumper, too. He was an All-American in 1969 and 1970 and still holds W&L’s high jump record at 6′ 8″, which he set in 1969.

After he graduated from W&L as a sociology major, Mike was invited to camp with the NBA’s Cincinnati Royals. He didn’t make the team but later played in Europe before being commissioned in the U.S. Navy. From 1972 to 1976, he was coach of the U.S. Naval Academy’s freshman (plebe) team, which compiled a 41-18 record under his leadership.

ESOL + CKWL = Stronger Connections

Two Washington and Lee student organizations that serve the Lexington and Rockbridge County community have joined forces for an inventive new program.

The Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee and the University’s English for Speakers of Other Languages program are sponsoring “Lazos Más Fuertes” events this spring. Scheduled for the cafeteria of Waddell Elementary School in Lexington, the first of the programs is on April 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

According to Jenny Sproul, Campus Kitchen coordinator, Lazos Más Fuertes will provide free, nutritious meals to Spanish-speaking families in Lexington and the surrounding area. In addition to the great food CKWL serves, English tutors from ESOL will be available to teach classes, answer questions, and provide more information about ESOL’s services. Subsequent meals are scheduled for April 29, May 6, and May 20. The program will resume in the fall.

Daneille Briedung, a first-year student in ESOL, is spearheading the event. “‘Lazos Más Fuertes'” means stronger connections or linkages,” Danielle says. “Ideally, the partnership between ESOL and the Campus Kitchen will  strengthen relationships within the local Hispanic population, and enhance attendees’ English skills such that they are better equipped to communicate with the larger community.”

Volunteers are needed to serve the food, which will be prepared at the Campus Kitchen ahead of time; lead English classes for adults; tutor individuals one-on-one and answer questions; and play educational and fun activities with the children.

To volunteer, contact either Jenny at Campus Kitchen at 540-458-5035 or campuskitchen@wlu.edu or Daniel at breidungd13@mail.wlu.edu.

An Alum's Letter to Jackie

Within seven weeks of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on Nov, 22, 1963, Jacqueline Kennedy received more than 800,000 letters of condolence.

One of those letters, dated Nov. 25, 1963, came from a Washington and Lee student—James S. Legg Jr. of the Class of 1965. And now Jim’s letter is one of about 250 that historian Ellen Fitzpatrick chose to include in her new book, Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation.

According to the publisher, the letters capture “the extraordinary eloquence of so-called ordinary Americans across generations, regions, race, political leanings, and religion—in messages written on elegant stationery, scraps of paper, in pencil, type, ink smudged by tears, and in barely legible handwriting—the letters capture what John F. Kennedy meant to the country, and how his death for some divided American history into Before and After.”

Jim said that he wrote the missive after being emotionally moved upon seeing the Kennedy family grieving in Washington. His letter offers heartfelt condolences in the first paragraph. He continues by describing how George Washington and Robert E. Lee influenced both his life and our nation and how he considered John F. Kennedy to be among those great men.

Honor and Taxes

Readers of The New York Times may already be aware of the story in Wednesday’s Business section about Washington and Lee alumnus Charlie Freret  (Class of 1970), his federal income taxes and the Honor System. If you haven’t read the whole story, here’s the link.

The bottom line is this: Charlie discovered a flaw in the TurboTax software that incorrectly deducted expenses for health insurance premiums and wound up underpaying taxes. In Charlie’s case, the underpayment meant his tax refund would have been $600 more than it should have been.

Once Charlie spotted the error, he contacted Intuit, the software company that makes TurboTax, and reported the problem. In turn, Intuit reported the issue to the I.R.S. and the Treasury Department. But, as the Times’ story explains, auditors were unable to duplicate the error, so Charlie contacted media about it, believing others ought to be warned. And why worry? Why not take the $600? Here’s the essential paragraph in the Times:

“It seemed like the right thing to do,” said Mr. Freret, 63, adding that he has always tried to adhere to the code of conduct instilled at his alma mater, Washington and Lee University. “The honor code called for you to be a Southern gentleman: ‘Don’t lie, don’t cheat and don’t steal.’ ” he said.

Charlie, an all-conference defensive back for the Generals’ football team in his playing days, had worked as a lawyer with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs before retiring in 2004.

On Saturday, April 10, Charlie appeared on Fox News to discuss the matter. He added the fact, not in the Times, that he also could have saved $400 in state taxes.

You can watch Charlie’s interview on Fox at this link.

President Ruscio Talks Science with Journalists, Fellow Presidents

Washington and Lee President Ken Ruscio and 10 other college and university presidents from around the country participated in Arizona State University’s 10th annual Science and Science Policy Round Table, in New York last week. This was the second year that President Ruscio joined the select group for a wide-ranging discussion with national journalists.

This time, however, there was a distinct Washington and Lee flavor, since two W&L alumni — Kelly Evans of the Class of 2007 and the Wall Street Journal and Sean McManus of the class of 1999 and The Economist — were among the media who quizzed the presidents. Kelly writes the Ahead of the Tape column in the Journal and also hosts the live video News Hub each morning on wsj.com. Sean is s program director of the Ideas Economy Project at The Economist Group in New York and edits the Ideas Economy Web site.

The reporters’ questions ranged from how organic chemistry is taught, to how stimulus funds are being spent on research, to the obligation that higher education has to K-12 education.

In addition to Kelly and Sean, some of the other journalists on hand were Ira Flatow of NPR’s “Science Friday,” Robert Bazell, science reporter for NBC, and Claudia Dreifus of The New York Times, to name just a few.

Meantime, joining President Ruscio on the panel were, among others, Michael Crow, president of Arizona State host for the event; Duke President Richard H. Brodhead; University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer; Lehigh President Alice Gast and State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher.

W&L Professor Alison Bell's Work at Morven Highlighted

A story currently on the University of Virginia’s news site, UVA Today, documents the work that Alison Bell, assistant professor of archaeology and anthropology at Washington and Lee, has done at U.Va.’s Morven Farm site. Here’s a link to the story.

Alison began her work at Morven when she was a graduate student at U.Va. Her Ph.D. thesis was on the “middling class” in Louisa County and, as writer Brevy Cannon’s piece on UVA Today, explains, she continues to study the tenant farmers who were on the property in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The archaeology record for this class is difficult to track, Alison said, because they lived so light on the land and little was left behind.

“What’s most lacking in Virginia’s social history is an understanding of these people who formed a very broad middle ground,” Alison said in the UVA Today piece. “It’s extremely hard to locate the material remains of people whose houses are gone.”

Alison’s work at Morven Farm has connections to W&L’s dig at Monticello, which began during last year’s spring term and will continue this month. That work is at the home site of Jefferson’s overseer, Edmund Bacon, which also represents an effort to understand how the non-elite European Americans lived during this period. Here’s a story about that project.

Susan E. Tifft, Holder of Honorary Degree, Dies at 59

Attendees at the 2009 Washington and Lee commencement ceremony will remember one of the distinguished personages on the platform, Susan E. Tifft. The acclaimed journalist and educator, who received an honorary degree that day, died yesterday, April 1.

Tifft and her husband, Alex S. Jones (a member of W&L’s Class of 1968), co-wrote two books about journalistic families: The Patriarch: The Rise and Fall of the Bingham Dynasty and The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind the New York Times. She held a joint appointment, with Jones, as Eugene C. Patterson Professor of the Practice of Journalism at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, her undergraduate alma mater. A teaching award in her name will be given for the first time this year at Duke’s commencement.

Tifft’s career included stints at Time magazine, the Federal Election Commission and the Urban Institute in Washington. She held a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

It’s easy to see why W&L chose to bestow an honorary degree upon her. The citation read in part: “In our society’s understanding of how to parse the ever-increasing flow of information through news outlets, Tifft is an important voice. She brings to her readers remarkable insight into print and broadcast journalism, and a profound understanding of the media, their owners, and the influences that shape them.”

To read her obituary in the New York Times, see http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/02/business/media/02tifft.html

To read the full text of W&L’s honorary-degree citation for Tifft, see http://www.wlu.edu/x33019.xml

Former Rector's Widow Receives Congressional Medal

In Washington last month, about 200 women who served during World War II as Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPS, received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor given by Congress, in a ceremony on Capitol Hill. And one of those pioneering women was Patricia Nuckols, the widow of the late Marshall Nuckols, ’33, ’35L, who served as rector of W&L’s Board of Trustees from 1974 to 1981.

Nuckols and her fellow pilots were the first to fly U.S. military planes. The military, however, considered them civilians, and did not grant them military status until 1977.

A photograph of Mrs. Nuckols ran on the Associated Press wires and appeared in newspapers around the country, including the Rutland Herald in her home state of Vermont. You can watch her discuss the honor on WPTZ television at this link http://bit.ly/awWdMj.