W&L Alum Named Top Family Practitioner
Washington and Lee alumnus Hughes Melton, Class of 1989, was named the 2011 Family Physician of the Year by the American Academy of Family Physicians this week at its Annual Scientific Assembly. The award goes to an outstanding American family physician who provides compassionate and comprehensive patient care and serves as a community role model — professionally and personally — to other physicians, residents, medical students and health professionals.
Hughes certainly fits the bill for the award. A facinating story on the AAFP website provides plenty of details about the amazing work that he is doing in Russell County, in southwest Virginia. In 2000, he started a practice with another family physician that they called C-Health, for Complete Health. It opened in a rented trailer in Lebanon, Va. Today, the clinic serves 18,000 area residents and occupies a state-of-the-art facility that opened in 2006.
Although the clinic offers the full range of family medicine, Hughes was quick to realize that the area was being hit especially hard with substance abuse, and he has become known as an expert in the primary care treatment of addiction and chronic pain.
Among the special features of the clinic is its practice tithe fund, under which the clinic puts aside a portion of its profits to help needy community members pay their electric and fuel bills and cover the cost of food, shelter or medication. The tithe also supports mission partners in El Salvador.
Hughes began his work in rural Virginia after he left the Army, where he earned the Meritorious Service Medal for distinguished non-combat achievement in 2000. He went to medical school at the University of Virginia and did his residency in U.Va.’s Department of Family Medicine.
Alum's Nebraska Dispatches
When Christopher Cartmill, Class of 1984, returned to Washington and Lee in the spring of 2009 as the Flournoy Playwright, he produced five plays in six weeks. Included in that lineup was The Nebraska Dispatches, a solo performance by Cartmill based on a research trip he had made to his home town, Lincoln, Neb. He had gone home to write a play about Chief Standing Bear. He wrote the play, “Home Land,” but also came away with the fascinating insights about going home that are the basis of The Nebraska Dispatches.
Now, The Nebraska Dispatches has just been published as a book by the University of Nebraska Press. It compiles Christopher’s dispatches from his journey, offering what the publisher calls a “snapshot of a New Yorker’s travels into the heartland, insights into a very personal journey, and glimpses into a history that critiques and continues the American story.”
Christopher majored in Chinese and East Asian Studies at W&L and then received an M.F.A. in acting from the University of Virginia. His credits are lengthy and impressive, and you can find them all on his website. You can also keep up with his work on his Facebook page.
Del Clark '90 Loses Battle with Cancer
Sad news from Oregon last week, when Del Clark, of the Class of 1990, lost his long battle with cancer, at the age of 41. Del was the subject of an earlier blog item when The Oregonian newspaper featured him. A lawyer in the Portland suburb of Sherwood, Del was not only a city councilor but also had been a member of the Sherwood Urban Renewal Policy Advisory Commission and a past president of the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce.
Del’s W&L classmates will recall that in his sophomore year, he had a cancerous brain tumor and a prognosis of a year to live. After undergoing surgery and radiation, he came back to W&L in his junior year.
Todd Peppers ’90, Del’s roommate at W&L, writes: “During his final illness, Del displayed the same courage, serenity, faith, dignity and quiet humor that were so evident throughout his life. His brave struggle against cancer was an inspiration to the friends and family that were privileged to have known and loved Del.”
Todd goes on to note that Del had come to W&L as a basketball player: “While his athletic career at Washington and Lee was cut short by an earlier bout with cancer, Del was a notable presence on his college campus (not simply because he was 6′ 8″) and was involved in a host of campus activities — including the Student Recruitment Committee, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, director of Campus Intramurals, and a dorm counselor. It was at Washington and Lee that Del first became involved in community organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Lexington Bell Choir, and for the next two decades Del remained committed to working to give back to his local community.”
Del is survived by his wife, Krisanna, and their two children, Alaina and Declan Clark.
Law Alum Helps Investors Join Forces
Washington and Lee law alumnus Talcott Franklin, of the Class of 1995, was the subject of a couple of articles in the financial press last week. The focus was on the clearinghouse that he created to allow investors in residential mortgage-backed securities that went bad to pool their claims and, as Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported, “potentially create the necessary legal clout to force mortgage lenders to buy back improperly made loans at the heart of the securities.”
Before Talcott established RMBS (“residential mortgage-backed”) Investor Clearing House, individual investors in such securities had no way of knowing who other investors were.
In addition to the story on Bloomberg, Talcott’s new venture was spotlighted in the Wall Street Journal, which said he now represents investors holding 2,300 mortgage bonds. As Franklin, a Dallas-based attorney, told the Journal, when he started, he expected to get about 25 percent of investors in 200 deals. He never imagined he would wind up with a third of the market.
Talcott is co-author of the “Mortgage and Asset-Backed Securities Litigation Handbook.” He had been a partner with Patton Boggs, Washington’s biggest lobbying firm, but resigned to begin this new effort. In explaining the clearinghouse, which uses a software system created specifically to match investors, Talcott told the Journal that some investors “had no idea that their money was being invested in mortgage-backed securities. And yet somehow these people are now the ones being punished, and that’s just not right.”
Picking Up (Basketball) Where He Left Off
Hamill Jones, a 2004 Washington and Lee alumnus and former captain of the Generals’ basketball team, will soon be starting his second season as head varsity basketball coach of his prep school alma mater, St. Christopher’s School, in Richmond, Va. His first team finished 9-9. Hamill is also teaching history there. But his St. Christopher’s job is not the only thing on Hamill’s plate these days.
An article in Richmond BizSense this week described the new business that Hamill has started. And — no big surprise — it’s based on basketball.
Hamill has developed a pick-up basketball league. It consists of eight teams of Richmonders who still love to play the game. He rented the upstairs gym, hired officials and got T-shirts made. According to the BizSense story, it’s a varied group of young professionals — lawyers, bankers, teachers, etc. — aged 22 through 45.
As Hamill explained in the article, “I received a lot of calls from young professionals asking for a pick-up league and alumni who wanted to get back into the gym. It started with me reaching out to guys that I knew who I wanted to be captains, and they talked to people they knew, and it just came together through networking.”
The league’s first season runs through mid-October, but a winter season is apparently in the offing, if anybody in the Richmond area is interested. But you might want Hamill on your team. He still holds W&L’s school record for shooting percentage in a game. He made 15 out of 16 from the field in a loss to Emory & Henry in 2002.
What's a Musicologist?
As he tells the story, Ron Pen, a 1973 Washington and Lee alumnus, was enrolling in graduate school at the University of Kentucky in 1983 and was interested in pursuing music composition. But after his entrance exams, Ron was told that he’d done exceptionally well on the history portion. “They said, ‘You should be a musicologist, and we’ll give you a fellowship and throw money at you if you do that. ‘ I said, ‘What’s a musicologist?'”
That story was part of a feature about Ron that appeared last week in the Lexington Herald Tribune. Although the story heralds the publication of Ron’s long-awaited book on balladeer John Jacob Niles, it also captures the way that Ron has approached his work on Niles over the years since he became a musicologist.
The book is titled (The University Press of Kentucky, $35) and is, as one of Ron’s U.K. colleagues said, the product of a lifetime of work. Ron wrote his doctoral dissertation on Niles and used the next 25 years to look at the world through Niles’ eyes.
An associate professor of musicology at Kentucky, Ron directs the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music and is coordinator of the Division of Musicology and Ethnomusicology. While at U.K., he has won both the University of Kentucky Great Teacher Award and the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Bill Miller, a 1972 alumnus of Washington and Lee and chairman and chief investment officer of Legg Mason Capital Management, gained the esteem of the financial world for his 15-year string of beating the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. That streak finally came to an end in 2006. Earlier this week, AsiaOne, the website that publishes content from Singapore Press Holdings’ publications, did a profile of Bill in which they examined his strategies for that record-breaking run. You can read it here.
One of the interesting nuggets from the piece is about the way Bill’s approach of valuing companies and not market trends led him to Google’s initial public offering in 2004.
If you want to hear Bill’s theories unfiltered, you can go to the Legg Mason Capital Management site , where you’ll see a short video feature, “In Our Own Words,” or a report from this summer’s 2010 Morningstar Investment Conference, for an interview with Bill about what has been described as the “behavioral edge” that Legg Mason portfolio managers bring to the portfolios.
Judging Corporate Boards
The Atlanta Journal Constitution published an engaging question-and-answer session with Washington and Lee law alumna Lizanne Thomas, of the Class of 1982, last week. The primary topic was corporate governance, an area in which Lizanne has a wealth of experience. She not only practices and teaches in the area, but she also has hands-on experience.
Lizanne is partner-in-charge of the 150-lawyer Atlanta office of Jones Day. She also heads the firm’s global corporate governance team. In addition, she is a member of the board of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., so her understanding of corporate governance issues is broad. At Krispy Kreme, for instance, she co-chaired a special committee whose investigation led to governance changes at the company in 2004.
Lizanne’s take on the current climate in corporations? Here’s what she told the AJC: “I believe that the sins of the few have been visited upon the many. The vast majority of our nation’s corporations are not out of control. Yes, there were a few companies–and leaders–that were greedy, but this was not the central cause of the financial crisis. The business leaders we have come to know and respect do not conduct business in a cavalier way.”
The interview goes on to discuss Lizanne’s view on her own career, including being one of the first women to join what the AJC terms “a bluestocking Atlanta law firm.” Her advice to young lawyers is particularly insightful: “Tell them to love the work and if they don’t, go find work they do love. Their work needs to be thoughtful on the big issues and dead right on the small ones. Beat expectations. If it’s due on Friday, get it in on Thursday. Be interested in and well read on our clients’ businesses, not just the subjects they will face. Build bridges in all possible ways, with those who are senior, with peers, subordinates and especially staff. Act with manners and always take the high road. Be a gracious loser and an even more gracious winner. Have a sense of humor.”
Washington and Lee history professor Ted DeLaney, a member of W&L’s Class of 1985, was a keynote speaker for an unusual event this past weekend in the small Ohio River town of Gallipolis, Ohio. Every year since 1864, the people of Gallipolis have celebrated the Emancipation Proclamation in September, because the preliminary issue of the proclamation came on Sept. 22, 1862. The official announcement came from President Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863.
Gallipolis is the only place in America where there has been a longtime celebration. This year’s event was No. 147. The theme was from “From Chains to Change,” and Ted gave his address during Saturday’s afternoon session. The two-day celebration featured Civil War re-enactors and impersonators of historic figures.
“What I found especially fascinating about this event is the continuous history of the celebration,” Ted said. “That and the biracial nature of the participants. I think what they are doing is important.”
Congratulations are also in order for Ted on his election to the board of trustees of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, in Charlottesville. VHF supports research, education and programs to assist individuals and communities to understand the past and its influence, to question and resolve issues in the present, and to shape a future committed to the common good. W&L alumnus Rob Vaughan, of the Class of 1966, is the president of VHF. And the foundation’s director of media programs, Andrew Wyndham, is a member of the Class of 1971.
Is The Constitutional System Broken?
In his new book, James Madison Rules America: The Constitutional Origins of Congressional Partisanship, Washington and Lee politics professor William F. Connelly Jr. takes exception to Woodrow Wilson’s interpretation of Madison’s institutional framework. Discussing his views on Wilson and Madison this summer in an interview with alumna Amy Balfour ’89, ’93L, Connelly said that “what Wilson did not seem to appreciate is that the separation of powers both limits the abuse of power and provides for the effective use of power.”
This issue may well arise in Washington today, Sept. 17, when Bill participates on a panel of scholars at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The session is titled “Is Our Constitutional System Broken?” Bill will be joined by journalist and political scientist Kevin O’Leary, University of Miami political scientist Gregory Koger, and former congressman and current Aspen Institute vice president Mickey Edwards. Don Wolfensberger, director of The Congress Project, will be the moderator.
You can watch the panel live on the web beginning at 4 p.m. today by going to this page on the Woodrow Wilson site.
If you missed it, Bill’s book received a great plug in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, where author John Pitney Jr. wrote: “As political scientist William F. Connelly Jr. reminds us in his splendid new book, ‘James Madison Rules America,’ no party in the U.S. Congress is ever simply the ‘opposition.’ Like it or not, a Republican majority will have to work with the president to pass budgets and conduct the routine business of government.”
New Book Studies Alum Who Ran for President
By day, Garland Tucker, a member of W&L’s Class of 1969, is the president and CEO of Triangle Capital Corp., a specialty finance company in Raleigh, N.C. By night, however, he is the author of a new book, (Emerald Book Co.). He focuses on President Calvin Coolidge and his opponent, John W. Davis—who was a member of Washington and Lee’s Classes of 1892 (undergraduate) and 1895 (law).
Garland says, “My primary motivation in writing the book is the heartfelt conviction that Coolidge and Davis, especially Davis, have been undeservedly ignored by historians and consequently are unknown to most Americans. It is particularly sad that W&L alumni know so little about John W. Davis.”
Taylor Sanders, professor of history, agrees: “Every W&L alum needs to know this story.”
To learn the result of the 1924 Mock Convention at W&L, check out pp. 85-87 of The High Tide of American Conservatism. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
m is for Mobile
If you’re hearing more and more about mobile applications for your smart phone, so are we. In case you were unaware, Washington and Lee already has a full-featured mobile site, including schedules, directory search, news, video, events, maps/directions and more. You can find it by going to m.wlu.edu on your smart phone’s browser.
Now we’re in the process of enhancing this presence. Rather than develop an app that will only work on iPhones, we intend to roll out additional applications that will be available on all platforms — Blackberries, iPhones, iPads, Androids, etc. As we develop these enhancements, we’ll be adding features specifically geared toward our major audiences, including alumni, prospective students, current students, faculty/staff, parents and visitors.
So we’re asking for your help as we continue with our design. What would you like to be able to do with your smart phone when it comes to a W&L app? Find directions and view maps? Access course schedules? See slide shows and videos? Leave a comment here, and we’ll see what we can do.
Journalist Charley McDowell Adds to the Archives
Famed journalist Charley McDowell, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1948, has a special place in the history of W&L, for he grew up on campus as the son of Charles McDowell, professor of law, and Catherine McDowell, secretary to the law dean. During his illustrious 49-year career with the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper, Charley reported on his share of historical events as a reporter, syndicated columnist and TV panelist.
Now his papers are part of history as well, for he has donated them to the Library of Virginia. The collection, which will no doubt keep researchers busy for years to come, comprises such material as columns, invitations, correspondence, subject files, press credentials, books and videotapes.
You can read an article describing the collection on pp. 2-4 of the latest issue of Broadside: The Magazine of the Library of Virginia.
The article also contains bonus W&L content: reproductions of congratulatory letters to Charley from fellow newsman Roger Mudd, Class of 1950, and Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., Classes of 1929 (undergrad) and 1931 (law). There’s even a photograph of McDowell’s fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, in 1941.
And there is the charming text of a 1996 “roast and toast” of Charley at the National Press Club by Andy McCutcheon, Class of 1948. Andy and Charley were classmates at W&L as well as roommates in Richmond at the start of their journalism careers. “In his graceful, low-key way,” Andy said of his old friend, “he educated readers on life in general, making us all feel better with the reassurance that he was as confused as we were by the world around us.”
Jerusalem Stone in Hillel House
When it opened earlier this month, it was evident to everyone that Washington and Lee’s handsome new Hillel House contains some special features. One of them is the Jerusalem stone that installed on a wall in the entryway.
The stone, which features an unfinished split face, was manufactured by Haifa Inc. and consists of limestone from the A. Grebelsky & Son quarries. The stone was shipped to the U.S. through Israel’s Ashdod Port. Each piece of stone is 12”x24” and weighs 45 pounds.
Joan Robins, director of Hillel at W&L, says that not only is the stone a beautiful design feature but it also symbolizes the Jewish people’s link to the land of Israel. Joan added: “In the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), there are many references to this land and its centrality to Jewish history and national identity. In any Jewish prayer book anywhere in the world, references in the liturgy to Zion, the land of Israel, are endless. Dating back to King David, who lived approximately 3000 years ago, and who established Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Jerusalem has represented not only the geographical center of the Jewish people, but also the spiritual heart of their faith and identity. No matter where Jewish pray, they always face in the direction of Jerusalem.”
Alums' Self-Proclaimed BroFest
Readers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution were already acquainted with the writing of Washington and Lee alum Jeremiah McWilliams, a staff reporter for the newspaper. But they were more accustomed to seeing his byline under stories about such Atlanta-based companies as Coca-Cola, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (based in Atlanta — really), or Great American Cookies.
Then, one day recently, Jeremiah’s by-line showed up in the travel section, where he introduced readers to his three W&L roommates and described a West Coast journey the quartet made. The headline, One car + two weeks + four friends = ‘BroFest’, pretty much said it all.
In addition to Jeremiah, an ’05 graduate, the fellow travelers were Ian Dickinson ’06, Andrés Amerikaner ’05 and Chris Alderman ’05. As Jeremiah and Ian (who got a credit on the story) explain, they started the tradition of summer mini-reunions in 2008. This one started in Seattle and ended in Napa, Calif., and included a night on Mount Hood that you’ll definitely want to read about.
And here’s a coincidence: One stop noted in the travelogue and through photos was at the Robert Sinskey Vineyards in Napa. If that name is familiar, it’s because Dr. Robert M. Sinskey is a 1945 Washington and Lee alumnus and a pioneering ophthalmologist who began planting grapes in Napa in 1982 and built his own winery in 1987. The winery has developed a reputation for producing quality pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon and heavier Bordeaux-style award-winning red wines. W&L awarded Bob an honorary doctor of science degree this past May.
Small world made smaller by such a “BroFest.”
Still Practicing Law at 95
The Clovis, N.M., News Journal, published a wonderful piece last week with Washington and Lee law alumnus Lynell Skarda of the Class of 1941. The story calls Lyn the oldest practicing lawyer in New Mexico. He turned 95 last month.
Lyn followed his late brother, Langdon, a 1938 law school graduate, to W&L, and his son, Jeff, is an undergraduate alumnus in the Class of 1966.
As the article notes, Lyn was born in Clovis and worked as a bellhop at the Hotel Clovis. After law school, he began to work at his family’s bank, The Citizens Bank of Clovis, where he is the chairman of the board and one of the bank’s three directors. The bank has been part of the Skarda family for 90 years. Lyn’s father was one of a group of investors that established the Farmers State Bank of Clovis, which merged with Citizens in 1924.
The News Journal story, which includes a slide show of photos, takes the form of a series of questions posed to Lyn, and it’s worth a quick read. Among other things, you will discover that he enjoys reading on his Kindle after a day at the office and, when asked to talk about a happy time, he responded: “All the time.”
When Patricia Lopes Harris, a member of Washington and Lee University’s Class of 1991, began preparing the Convocation speech she will deliver at her alma mater this evening, Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 5:30 p.m., she dug into her own family’s history. And, in a probable first for a Convocation speaker, she also turned to Facebook.
W&L’s Convocation greets the new first-year students and marks the final year for the undergraduate seniors and the law third-year students. Faced with the task of offering useful advice to the 472 first-year students of the Class of 2014, Pat, the media relations director at San Jose State University, in California, reviewed the road that brought her from Hawaii to Virginia. And through her Facebook page, the Rhodes Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa graduate asked W&L classmates, friends, acquaintances and colleagues for advice they would offer to a brand-new college student.
JAZZIZ on Terry Vosbein CD
Washington and Lee music professor Terry Vosbein’s recent CD, Progressive Jazz 2009, got a nice boost recently when it was the subject of a feature story in the August edition of JAZZIZ Magazine, considered one of the premier publications covering the jazz world.
The CD, which was the subject of a previous blog post here, is a live performance of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra of mostly unknown Stan Kenton scores. Terry discovered them in the archives at North Texas State.
The CD includes some of Terry’s own compositions, too, and you can listen to some of those when you go to the web-based interactive version of JAZZIZ.
Running for Stuart
Former Washington and Lee tennis stars Robby (Class of 1994) and Chris (Class of 1996) MacNaughton are teaming up on Nov. 7 to run in the ING New York City Marathon, part of a group raising funds for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The MacNaughtons have a personal reason to support this cause: Stuart, the three-year-old son of Robby and Dana (Cornell, of the Class of 1995) is battling a malignant brain tumor and undergoing treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.
Robby and Chris are running with Fred’s Team. You can read details of the team’s efforts and about Stuart’s disease here on the Memorial Sloan-Kettering website. You can also help support Robby and Chris in their run through this site. According to the latest information, Robby has raised more than $160,000, far and away the most of any member of Fred’s Team.
Over on Stuart’s Caringbridge website, you can also read the details of his condition, see photos, and write a tribute. Briefly, Stuart was diagnosed with stage IV medulloblastoma in January, when the MacNaughtons, including brother Bo, 5, were skiing in Utah. After emergency brain surgery in Salt Lake City, the family returned home to New York City, where Robby is a managing director with Credit Suisse. At Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Stuart has been undergoing chemotherapy plus a stem cell harvest/transplant and is currently waiting to participate in a clinical trial this month.
Campus Kitchen by the Numbers
As the new academic year begins, The Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee tallied up its work from the last, and the numbers are impressive.
The students served 19,471 hot buffet meals and cold individual meals. The most popular meal? Meatloaf.
VMI and Wal-Mart joined other organizations in donating 59,934 pounds of food, of which 20,278 were donated to food pantries.
Student volunteers donated 5,278 hours of their time — an increase of 1,500 over a year ago. And, of course, CKWL served its 50,000th meal in March.
Aside from the numbers, CKWL began a partnership with the Rockbridge Area Free Clinic last year and introduced its Weekend Backpack Snack Program with county schools, which is set to expand this year.
So what’s new for this year? Look for the students to begin teaching “Healthy Cooking on a Budget” classes with partnership agencies.
W&L Alum Treating Nationals' Strasburg
Washington Nationals fans should be heartened to know that when pitcher Steven Strasburg has surgery on his prized right arm in Los Angeles on Friday, a Washington and Lee alumnus is assisting in the operation.
Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, of the Class of 1992, is medical director for the Nationals and will be working with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum when Strasburg undergoes ligament replacement surgery, commonly known as “Tommy John surgery,” to rebuild his right elbow.
For the non-baseball fans, Strasburg, 22, was the overall No. 1 pick in the 2009 baseball draft and moved up through the minor leagues this year to make his major league debut in June. In his first game, he struck out 14 and energized baseball fans in the nation’s capital and around the country. He was injured in a game against Philadelphia.
Wiemi, a lacrosse All-American for the Generals, has been treating Strasburg throughout the rookie righthander’s season, including conducting the extensive MRI that revealed the extent of his injury last week.
He is director of sports medicine for Washington Hospital Center’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. In addition to the Nationals, Wiemi is team physician for the United States Judo Team and a consultant for the University of Maryland athletics teams.
A chemistry major at W&L, Wiemi went to the Medical College of Virginia and also did a sports fellowship at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in L.A. That clinic is named, in part, for Dr. Frank Job, who performed the first successful ligament replacement surgery on a professional athlete — pitcher Tommy John — in 1974.
Wiemi specializes in arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder, elbow and knee, with a particular emphasis on new, minimally invasive, reconstructive surgical procedures. In addition to the Nationals, he has also served as an assistant team physician for the Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Angels and Anaheim Mighty Ducks, as well as for the teams of Loyola Marymount University.
If you’ve followed the Nationals closely this season, you will already know that last month Wiemi did the knee surgery on left fielder Josh Willingham. More than just National fans will be interested in the outcome of Friday’s procedure on Strasburg.