Feature Stories Campus Events

This is a Job?

Max Adler is on a road trip. He’s playing 60 golf courses in 60 days and writing about his travels for Golf Digest. And — they’re paying him.

This isn’t the first time that Max, a 2004 graduate and former member of the Generals’ varsity golf team, has combined his writing and playing skills to parlay a pretty nifty assignment. You may remember our blog entry from March 2009 that described his efforts to qualify for the U.S. Open (he fell short).

But this 60 Stories in 60 Days adventure is quite an assignment.  He started out on April 2 playing at Pebble Beach Golf Links and has taken a southerly path across the U.S. with stops at some of the most intriguing courses in the country. You need to look at the map on the Golf Digest website to appreciate just what kind of road trip it has been.

One of the more recent stops was in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., where Max actually spent two days. On one of those days, he played at the Greenbrier one morning and then had lunch with with 87-year-old Bill Campbell, winner of 33 straight U.S. Amateur titles. That came the day after Max was joined by fellow W&L alums Burr Datz ’75 and Will Huntington ’06 to play one of the more unusual courses anywhere, Oakhurst Links, billed as America’s first golf course., where players must use hickory clubs and “guttie balls” (look it up). Watch the video below from that visit and follow Max’s travels (he has about 10 stops left) at the Golf Digest site.


Parents and the Job Search

Beverly Lorig, director of career services at Washington and Lee, offered sage (and timely) advice for parents of students graduating this month. In a column that she wrote for the Wall Street Journal’s blog, “Hire Education,” she addressed comments directly to parents, telling them not to believe that, come commencement, their son or daughter will be the only member of the class without a job offer.

And, as Beverly wrote, this economy makes that search all the more difficult and requires what she termed “polite persistence.”

Read her column, Attention, Nervous Parents in the Audience.


Commencement Connections

It’s that Pomp and Circumstance time of year, and several Washington and Lee connections are cropping up in commencement exercises here and there.

• W&L alumnus Tom Wolfe, of the Class of 1951, was the principal speaker at the University of Alabama-Huntsville last Friday. He told the graduates that America is “in astonishingly good shape.” Tom was joined in the festivities by fellow alumnus Ralph H. Smith II, of the Class of 1974, who is general counsel for the University of Alabama System and distinguished lecturer of law at the University of Alabama School of Law. You can read about Tom’s speech in the Huntsville Times.

• In Parkersburg, W.Va., meantime, West Virginia University-Parkersburg held its commencement on Saturday, May 15, and the principal speaker for that event was Richard M. “Rick” Adams Jr., president of United Bank Inc., executive vice president of United Bankshares Inc. and a 1993 graduate of the School of Law. Rick’s speech was covered in the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

• On Sunday, May 23, Elon College’s School of Law held its commencement, and Jeb Brooks, of the Class of 2005, was selected by his fellow graduates to speak on their behalf. Elon’s website has a story about the event, and you can also read Jeb’s notes on his personal website. We’ve blogged about Jeb’s site before because he’s got some cool photography plus his fortune cookie wisdom. While he’s been completing his law degree, Jeb has also been working as Executive Vice President at The Brooks Group (“TBG”), his family’s sales training company based in Greensboro, N.C.


Generals Win 7th Straight All-Sports Title

For the seventh year in a row, Washington and Lee’s varsity sports teams have captured the Dan Woolridge Cup as the overall sports champion in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. W&L has won the cup 14 times in its 16-year history.

Sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance, the cup goes to the ODAC member institution with the best all-around athletic program based on points awarded for regular season standings in team sports and championship team finishes in individual sports. Each institution has a total number of possible points they can collect based on their individual sport sponsorship. The total number of earned points is then divided by the total number of possible points in order to come up with a ranking for each institution.

W&L had 132.0 points out of a possible 187.0 for a 0.706 rating in claiming the trophy for the 14th time in the 16 years that it has been awarded. Lynchburg College came in second.

In addition, the Washington and Lee women’s teams claimed the women’s sport trophy for the seventh year in a row, with a 0.85 rating, getting 83.0 of a possible 98.0 points. Roanoke College finished second. In the men’s standings, W&L finished sixth overall, with a 0.55 rating. Lynchburg College was first.

The Generals’ record in all conference contests was 181-118-7 (.603). W&L won ODAC Championships in women’s soccer, women’s basketball, women’s swimming, women’s lacrosse, men’s tennis and women’s tennis.

The all-time cup standings can be seen on the ODAC website.

Since the ODAC’s founding in 1976-77, W&L has won 158 championships — 80 by the men and 78 by the women.


Where in the World is the Class of 2010?

A new interactive map is tracking the plans of the Class of 2010, as its members prepare to receive their degrees next Thursday and scatter to begin their post-W&L lives: class of 2010: post-graduation plans.

Constructed by Eric Owsley and Jessica Carter of the University’s Web team, the map allows members of the class to complete a simple form. It provides information about where they’re going, what they’re intending to do and what they will miss most about W&L and Lexington. Users can click on spots on the map or on the graduates’ names, and can also view students by major.

Seniors, please provide us your information. Everyone else, enjoy.


W&L's Cruciverbalist

Washington and Lee alumnus Bob Doll of the Class of 1974 had always been a fan of crossword puzzles. About five years ago he decided to try his hand at constructing the crossword puzzles that he’s always enjoyed solving. And he’s been more than a little successful at it.

If you’re a New York Times crossword puzzle junkie, you might already know that Bob was the author of Wednesday’s puzzle, For the Record, which featured clues from the Guinness World Records 2010. If you haven’t gotten around to the puzzle yet, this is a spoiler alert. But here are the Guinness-themed answers:

  • 17a heaviest pumpkin {2010 Guinness world record at 1,689 lbs.}
  • 29a longest mustache {2010 Guinness world record at 11 ft. 6 in.}
  • 39a largest meatball {2010 Guinness world record at 72 lbs. 9 oz.}
  • 57a highest high dive {2010 Guinness world record at 115 ft.}

Bob was cited in the Times’ blog, Wordplay, which deconstructs the day’s puzzle. The blog writer, Patrick Merrell, began: “Robert A. Doll can now claim he has a record-breaking crossword in The New York Times.” He went on to note that this was Bob’s fourth Times’ puzzle in just over a year.

“Most cruciverbalists consider the NYT puzzle to be the gold standard, so any puzzle sold to the NYT is a special sale,” Bob e-mailed on Wednesday. He’s had success with other outlets, too, including the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and the Washington Post, among others.

“There was a learning curve in terms of crossword-construction rules and protocol, but I gradually have had some success,” wrote Bob, who majored in interdepartmental science at W&L. He managed his family’s grocery business in Louisville, Ky., for three decades before moving to Hattiesburg, Miss., in 2005, and devoting his time to crossword construction and marketing.

“The time to construct a good daily size (15X15) puzzle, including creating a theme, would on average require eight to 12 hours. Sunday-size puzzles (21X21) usually take several days,” Bob wrote. “I have sold both themed and themeless puzzles, but I personally prefer themed puzzles because constructing a theme allows me to be more creative. Since I sell to many different outlets and editors, my biggest challenge was learning what is acceptable to each outlet and editor. For instance, some editors will accept certain words that another editor would not accept.”

So next time you start in on a puzzle, be sure to check the author. Maybe you’ll even find a familiar clue now and then.


Thinking Big for Spring Term

When the Washington and Lee faculty was reimagining the University’s Spring Term, one of the planning principles was to think big. And James Mahon, associate professor of philosophy and head of the department, took that admonition to heart.

The course that Mahon has been teaching, Philosophy 370, is titled “Roe v. Wade and the Abortion Question.” Mahon and 16 students have been examining the ethical arguments for and against abortion and the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court that concern abortion. In most respects, that would seem to be a fairly straightforward course.

But this spring, Mahon has implemented at least a couple of innovations.

One of the primary texts for the course, “A Defense of Abortion,” was written by David Boonin, associate professor and chair of the department of philosophy at the University of Colorado. After they went through the book in great detail, the students quizzed Boonin during a Skype teleconference. “Professor Boonin answered their questions at length, and I simply moderated,” said Mahon.

In the next part of the course, the class examined Supreme Court rulings that are relevant to the debates and listened to audio recordings of oral arguments. But Mahon wanted to bring home the importance of the Supreme Court’s role in the national debate over abortion.

“The best way to do this was to take the class to D.C. to sit in on a meeting of the Supreme Court, which we did,” Mahon said. The class bused to Washington on Monday, where they stood in line for tickets and got to see seven of the Justices, including several who ruled on cases that they had been examining. The session was not a meeting of the Court for oral arguments, but they did hear Justices Breyer and Kennedy deliver rulings on the detaining of sex offenders past their sentences (U.S. v. Comstock), the sentencing of juveniles not guilty of homicide to life without parole (Graham v. Florida), and the “right of custody” in the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Abbott v. Abbott).

“Sitting in the hushed marble and wood courtroom, and listening to the Justices speak from the bench, was an unforgettable experience,” said Mahon. “I believe the students have a much better sense of the seriousness of the Court and the enormous importance of its rulings for the nation. I was also impressed at the fact that any member of the public may sit in on a meeting of the Court, for free. All they have to do is get there early to queue to get a ticket, and be prepared to go through various security checks. I think it speaks well of the Court that anyone may observe it in action.”

Added Mahon: “Quite honestly, I would not have been able to pull off this trip to the Supreme Court outside of a Spring Term class. I would not have been thinking big, which is exactly what the Spring Term encourages us to do.”


W&L Alum Leading Afghan Surge

On the final day of his four-day visit to the United States last week, Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited Fort Campbell, Ky., where one of the people he met was Col. Arthur Kandarian, a 1986 Washington and Lee graduate who commands the U.S. Army brigade that will lead the coming U.S.-led offensive in Kandahar.

Art commands the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, which is one of the most prestigious and decorated divisions in the U.S. Army. The so-called Screaming Eagles were first activated in 1921 and, during World War II, parachuted into Normandy on D-Day. The 2nd Brigade Combat Team is known as the “Strike Brigade,” and Art took over its command in March 2009. He had previously earned a Silver Star in Iraq.

A Wall Street Journal story on May 5 described the plans for the brigade’s deployment, quoting Art as saying “It’s not a bumper sticker. The mission is to secure the people of Kandahar.” The Journal story goes on to describe how, as part of the battalion’s preparations to go to Afghanistan, Art invited four World War II veterans to address his soldiers, noting that many of the battalion’s members had never met anyone who fought in the conflict.

Initially, the brigade was planning to deploy in an advisory capacity to Iraq, but changed its focus halfway through its dwell period, the time units have between deployments. It now finds itself on the road to Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, currently the hotbed of insurgent activity and the focus of the fight there.


Courtney Penn Featured in Roanoke Times

This morning’s Roanoke Times has a major feature piece about Washington and Lee alumnus Courtney Penn of the Class of 1992. Courtney is a special assistant to the president at Roanoke College, but today’s feature is all about Courtney’s six years of service on the Roanoke School Board.

As the story notes right up front, Courtney’s vow to “vote with his conscience” when he joined the board meant that he wound up being in conflict with his fellow board members on a good many issues. But, as he acknowledges, he’s content with all the decisions that were made during his tenure–even if he was a dissenting voice on some.

It’s a good read, examining several of the major issues like redistricting and setting minimum standards for student athletes.

Congratulations to Courtney on his service, which you can read all about in the Roanoke Times.


Spring Term in Yellowstone

Four Washington and Lee undergraduates have spent 12 days in Yellowstone National Park this month, but they are not your run-of-the-mill tourists. The four, along with W&L biology professor Bill Hamilton, are conducting some serious scientific research as part of their spring term course, which has the rather unromantic title “Plant Functional Ecology.”

This is the fourth trip that Bill and W&L students have made to this site.

Once again, you can join their travels and follow their work on their blog, their Facebook page or both. In either case, you’ll find some interesting and varied commentary on everything from the weather (yes, it’s snowed) to their travel problems (naturally, the flight from Roanoke was delayed by a mechanical problem),  the science (what are the potential nitrification rates?) to the sights (grizzlies and bison and bighorn sheep).

So check out the  blog or become a Facebook fan of the course. Both pages have some cool video of a couple of grizzlies. Or look at the photos on their Picasa page.


Broadway Leads Va. Employment Commission

John R. Broadway Jr., a 1974 graduate of the Washington and Lee School of Law, is returning to government service in the administration of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. John had been named to a four-year term as head of the Virginia Employment Commission.

As the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported, John “takes over the agency at a time when the state is facing continuing joblessness and is borrowing federal money to pay unemployment benefits.”

Previously, John had been an aide to Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, and he was also a lawyer for the General Assembly in the 1980s. Most recently, John had been vice president of law and policy and general counselor for the Virginia Association of Realtors.


Moment in Time

Where were you at exactly 11 a.m. (EST), or 15:00 (UTC), on Sunday, May 2? Janet Ikeda, associate dean of the College at Washington and Lee, was at the University’s Japanese Tearoom at that moment. She had a camera, and the photograph she took became part of the New York Times’ Moment in Time project.

The Times had invited anyone and everyone to capture a “singular moment” and to see the images to its “Lens” page to create “a Web-built image of one moment in time across the world.”

The tearoom had been set up to celebrate a traditional Boys’ Day, a Japanese national holiday that is actually held on May 5 and is known now as Childrens’ Day. At W&L on this day and time, the University was also still celebrating alumni reunions. The photo that Janet submitted can be viewed by going to this link on the Moment in Time page.

If any readers of the What’s News blog had a photo displayed as part of the Times’ project, please send the URL and we’ll add it to this post.


W&L's Sanders Leads New Elementary Program in South Carolina

W. Ansel Sanders, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2004, is embarking on another fascinating chapter in his work as a young leader in public education. Ansel is program director for the A. J. Whittenberg Elementary School in Engineering, which will open this coming fall in Greenville, S.C.

After graduating from W&L, Ansel joined Teach for America and spent two years teaching at a Roland Park Middle School in Baltimore. He also co-founded Baltimore’s Athletes and Authors Summer Academy, which aims to teach the positive values shared by academics and athletics. You can read about that program and some of the other experiences Ansel had in Baltimore on the Teach for American alumni site.

After leaving Baltimore, Ansel became an assistant principal at Mauldin Middle School but has been working to develop the program at the A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School, which is the first elementary school in South Carolina with a school-wide engineering curriculum. A.J. Whittenberg will initially serve up to 300 children in 4K through second grade.  A grade level will be added each year through fifth grade. The instructional program is centered on engineering processes, real-world skills and technology, and various engineering fields of study. The building itself, on the Reedy River in downtown Greenville, will serve as a lab by virtue of its “green” roof and solar energy panels.

An English major at W&L, Ansel was the ODAC Player of the Year and Scholar Athlete of the Year in lacrosse as a senior. He also won the Frank J. Gilliam Award for his contribution to student affairs. In 2009, he received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award.


Prize Publications

The Office of Communications and Public Affairs (C&PA), which brings you this website, the alumni magazines, programs for Alumni Weekend and other pieces you have seen and used, is going to brag about itself and its colleagues a bit.

If you attended Parents Weekend last fall, you had a useful booklet in your packet. The Printing Industries of Virginia recently deemed that booklet worthy of an Award of Excellence for printing and graphics. Denise Watts, a graphic designer in C&PA, created it in partnership with Nellie Rice, executive assistant in the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs.

The same organization gave another Award of Excellence for a brochure that attendees to the 2009 25th Law Reunion found helpful. Mary Woodson, assistant director of C&PA and head of its publications area, designed the brochure, working closely with Elizabeth Branner and Sarah Hughes, director and assistant director, respectively, of Law School Advancement.

And the 2007-08 Annual Report, which alumni received with the Winter 2009 issue of the alumni magazine, won recognition on April 23 from Virginia Press Women—first place for general reports. It will go on to compete in the National Federation of Press Women’s contest. The CP&A members who produced the report were Billy Chase, graphic designer; Julie Cline, office manager and writer; Louise Uffelman, managing editor of the undergrad alumni magazine and editor of the law alumni magazine; Patrick Hinely ’73 and Kevin Remington, University photographers; Julie Campbell, editor of the alumni magazine and associate director of the office; and student MaKenzie Hatfield ’12, who works in the department.

If you’re interested in learning more about what the Office of Communications and Public Affairs does, see http://www.wlu.edu/x29089.xml.


A New Production of “Hair”? No, It’s the Moustache Society

Members of the campus community may have noticed that some of their male colleagues, student, staff and faculty alike, are sporting a new crop of facial hair. That’s unusual for this warm time of year—it can get hot underneath all that fuzz—but it’s a tradition, and it’s for a good cause: The annual fund-raiser for Project Horizon.

Project Horizon, a Rockbridge County organization, helps women and children who are dealing with domestic violence. The members of the society grow a moustache for a few weeks, and in return accept donations for Project Horizon from their colleagues. They also raise awareness for the organization in a fun and visible way.

The leader of this year’s effort is John Grigsby ’12. He’s a peer counselor and a member of One in Four, a student organization devoted to preventing sexual misconduct. This fund-raiser will help Project Horizon underwrite educational outreach, amenities for clients and daily operations.

The deadline for donations is next Wednesday, May 12. To make your donation, send cash or a check (made out to “Washington and Lee University,” with “Moustache Society” in the memo line) to one of the temporarily (or maybe not) hirsute members listed below. Organizer Grigsby can be reached at grigsbyj12@mail.wlu.edu.

  • Scott Diamond ’13
  • James Dick, director of campus recreation
  • Peter Ervin ’11L
  • Eric Gehman ’12
  • Eric Hamscher ’11
  • Anthony Kirby ’13
  • Daniel Kramer, assistant professor of German
  • Simon Levy, associate professor of computer science
  • Alexander Newell ’11
  • Benjamin Oddo ’12
  • Rome Perlman ’10
  • Jason Rodocker, director of the Elrod University Commons and Campus Activities
  • Alex Sturges ’12
  • Adrian Tapia ’11
  • Robert Uhlman ’12

New Alumni Dashboard

If you haven’t noticed it already, please take a look at the newly created Alumni “dashboard” on the wlu.edu website. Click here to go to the page, which combines information tailored to individual alumni under the Colonnade Connections heading on the right site. Alumni with login information will be able to search the directory, submit and view class notes, see their giving history and register for upcoming events, among other things. If you don’t have your login data, you can email, call or conduct a live chat.

Meanwhile, tabs on the upper left lead to content in three areas: Alumni Events, the newly designed electronic Alumni Magazine, and the Alumni College. There are news feeds for announcements and chapter events, plus links to stay involved in a variety of ways.

At the moment, the feature on the dashboard is a video of Emeritus Professor Sidney Coulling’s wonderful speech to the opening assembly of Reunion Weekend last Thursday. That, in itself, is reason to try out the new site.


Vote Early, Vote Often

Christopher Rucker, a 2009 Washington and Lee graduate who is an admissions counselor at W&L, describes himself this way: “I’m Button-Down collar, Four-in-Hand tie, regular button cuff, Slim cut, two button suit, Classic black toe cap shoes, Silver with Leather Strap Watch, iPhone, Mac, Mix and Match, Something Practical kind of guy.”

Actually, that probably isn’t the way Chris describes himself every day, but it is part of his profile on Esquire magazine’s website, where he is a semifinalist in the magazine’s “Best Dressed Real Man” contest.

You can help Chris in the competition by going to his profile and casting a vote for him. Click here for the link. You’ll see the vote button the black bar just below his name.

Chris’s fashion sense is on display in this blog, “Dapper Demeanor.” Have a look to see what Chris is recommending at Dapper Demeanor.

If Chris prevails in the Esquire competition, he will become the second W&L alum this year to make a mark with his fashion. You’ll recall that internationally renowned artist Cy Twombly, of the Class of 1953, was named earlier this year to Vanity Fair’s International Best Dressed list.


Hall Brothers Honored by William & Mary

The College of William & Mary is honoring brothers Channing and Lesslie Hall, Washington and Lee alumni who are lifelong Williamsburg, Va., residents, with the college’s annual Prentis Award.

The Prentis Award is given to those people whose civic involvement benefits the community and the College. The award is named in honor of the Williamsburg family whose 18th-century shop on Duke of Gloucester Street was a hub of colonial life.

In announcing the award, William & Mary President Taylor Reveley referred to the Hall brothers’ “selfless service” to their community.

In fact, as Channing noted in the news release about the award, he and Lesslie represent the fourth successive generation of Halls to be actively involved in the affairs of the Williamsburg community and the College of William & Mary. “Although we have done little to deserve this award compared to  them,  we are indeed pleased and flattered to receive this  honor on  behalf of  all the Halls,” Channing said.

Channing graduated from W&L in 1981; Lesslie in 1986. Both majored in politics and both were members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

Channing is an attorney who worked for the Senate of Virginia in the office of the  clerk, served as a clerk for the Hon. Laurence J. Whalen in the United States Tax Court, and then went into private practice in Williamsburg. He later served as founder and partner in the law firm Hale & Hall, P.L.L.C., and returned to his own practice in 2000.

Lesslie has been a realtor for The Wood Agency Inc. and, currently, Hornsby Real Estate Co.

Together, the Hall brothers have been involved in almost every conceivable civic organization in Williamsburg. Channing has been a member of  the Williamsburg City Council and has also served as the vice mayor of the City of Williamsburg. He has been on and chaired numerous boards and committees, including Bruton Parish Church, Williamsburg Landing, Doctor’s Hospital of Williamsburg, Williamsburg Music  Association (Williamsburg Symphonia), Kiwanis Club and the Williamsburg YMCA. Lesslie has served as a member of the Williamsburg Volunteer Fire  Department and as president for 21 years. Lesslie has also  served in various roles in groups such as the Williamsburg Jaycees, the   Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg, the United Way of Greater Williamsburg,   Williamsburg Area Association of Realtors and numerous other  organizations.

The award will be presented on May 11.


Randolph Hare Reelected to National Post

Randolph Hare, director of maintenance and operations in Facilities Management, has just been reelected vice president of information and research for APPA: The Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers, the 4,800-member organization for facilities management professionals in colleges and universities.

With more than 30 years of experience in facilities management administration, Randolph sits on the board of APPA and chairs the organization’s Information and Research Committee, which develops and disseminates data and information relevant to educational facilities management. Among the committee’s areas of oversight are the APPA’s website, the annual Facilities Performance Indicators Survey and books and publications produced by the organization, including Facilities Manager magazine.

Randolph is also a member of the Association of Facilities Engineers and serves as a Discrimination Policy Advisor (DPA) for W&L. Congratulations to Randolph.