Resolve to Return
Welcome in 2011 by signing up for Alumni Weekend 2011!
Scheduled for May 12-15, the event is for the classes of 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, and 1996. The Alumni Office has blocked hotel rooms and will notify alumni when these rooms are released for reservation. At the end of January, alumni will receive the Alumni Weekend information packet and will be notified of online registration .
In the meantime, you can whet your appetite for the activities by visiting the Alumni Weekend website, where you’ll find the schedule for the weekend and can participate in a straw poll to let people know you’re coming (and to see who else from your class is planning to attend).
And as long as you’re turning the page on a new year this weekend, don’t forget the W&L desktop calendars featuring photographs from the campus. You can have new computer wallpaper for every month of 2011. Just go to the Desktop Calendar page to download the images.
Have a safe and happy New Year!
Temple Cone's New Book of Poems
Temple Cone, of the Class of 1995, has published his second collection of poems. , which was published this fall, won the 2010 Old Seventy Press Poetry Series Contest. We wrote about Temple’s first collection, No Loneliness, in 2009.
Three of Temple’s poems have also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize by the magazines in which they were published: “Cleansing,” nominated by Off the Coast; “Offertory,” nominated by Poetry Kanto; and “Oneliness,” nominated by Beloit Poetry Journal
Temple is an associate professor of English at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
You can read some of Temple’s poems on his own website, Temple Cone, where he also blogs occasionally about topics ranging from Troy Polamalu’s Hair to Hip-Hop & Homer.
By day, Matt Strickler, of the Class of 2003, puts his Washington and Lee public policy major to work as the legislative assistant to Virginia State Senator Ralph S. Northam, a Democrat who represents District 6: the counties of Accomack, Mathews and Northampton and parts of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
But in his spare time, Matt has become an oyster farmer on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The Virginian-Pilotfeatured Old Plantation Oyster Company LLC, which Matt owns with a friend, Clark Mercer.
As the Pilot’s story relates, Matt studied aquaculture and sustainable development at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, a branch of the College of William and Mary. The oyster farm venture is putting that academic background into practice on Old Plantation Creek near Cape Charles, at a site on his grandparents’ estate.
Although Matt has taken a few samples of the oysters to special events in the area, Old Plantation has not sold any of its oysters yet. They anticipate that the 150,000 oysters in their first batch should reach market size this spring.
The short video below by Brian Clark of The Virginian-Pilot features an interview with Matt about his hobby. Have a look.
All in the Family
In a time when many daily newspapers are closing their doors, the Columbia Daily Tribune in Columbia, Mo., is staying open, and in the family. First published in 1901, the paper has been owned by the Waters and Watson families since 1904 and is currently owned by W&L alumnus Hank Waters, of the class of 1951. Earlier this month, the paper announced an agreement that keeps its ownership in the Waters family for the foreseeable future.
Under the agreement, Andy Waters, a 1991 W&L graduate, and his sister, Elizabeth — Hank’s two youngest children— are buying out four other family members to take full ownership of the newspaper and publishing company on Jan. 1, 2011.
Hank will become publisher emeritus and continue writing editorials while his wife, associate publisher Vicki Russell, will become publisher. Andy Waters gives up his current title as vice president for interactive media and becomes president and general manager. Hank’s two other children will retire.
Family newspapers don’t always stay in families. That fact was noted by the executive director of the Missouri Press Association in the Daily Tribune’s article on the ownership change. Doug Crews noted that “There are times when families, several individuals, can’t agree what to do in the future. The temptation is to throw up their hands and say, ‘Let’s sell the newspaper.’ ”
The decision clearly pleased Hank. In his column on Dec. 22, he wrote: “As the current reigning patriarch, I am proud of my descendants for working out a mutually agreeable transfer of Tribune ownership.” He went on to note that his columns will continue: “Through all of this, the owners have not been able to get rid of their aging meddler, the prolific if not always brilliant writer of this column.”
Andy, a journalism and mass communications major at W&L, had been a reporter with Associated Press prior to joining the family business in 1995.
Stories of the Semester
As new Iowa Governor-elect Terry Branstad fills positions in his new government, it’s clear that we’ll need to establish a Washington and Lee alumni chapter in the state capitol in Des Moines.
First, Gov.-elect Brandstad announced that he is retaining Donna Mueller, a 1979 graduate of the W&L School of Law, as chief executive officer of the giant Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System. Gov.-elect Brandstad is keeping Donna in the post she has held since 2003. The IPERS system is a public pension fund for state and local government workers. It has more than 300,000 members, 2,200 participating employers, and assets in excess of $21 billion. The director of the independent agency is responsible for overseeing operations, investments and benefits paid through the program. Donna previously headed the Boston Retirement Board. In addition to her W&L law degree, she is a graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Program for Senior Executives at Harvard University.
Then, one day later, the governor-elect named Sam Lanholz, a member of the Class of 2002, as the Iowa State Public Defender. A politics major at W&L, Sam received his law degree from the University of Iowa, where he was managing editor of the “Iowa Law Review.” He is the Founding President of the Iowa Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society and an active member of the Iowa State Bar Association. He has previously served as a prosecuting intern in the Muscatine County Attorney’s Office and judicial law clerk based in Des Moines for Judge Steven M. Colloton in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Prior to law school, Sam served as Chief Floor Assistant for then-U.S. House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO). He is currently an associate attorney at Davis, Brown, Koehn, Shores & Roberts, P.C. in Des Moines.
The Iowa State Public Defender coordinates legal representation for those who come under arrest and cannot afford their legal representation. Either the State Public Defender’s offices or private attorneys who are contracted by State Public Defender’s office provide the representation for these individuals.
Six Million Barrels
Earlier this month, Heaven Hill Distilleries, in Bardstown, Ky., celebrated its 75th anniversary on the same day that it filled its six-millionth barrel of bourbon. Presiding over the celebration was Heaven Hill president Max L. Shapira, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1965.
Max is the third generation of his family to own and operate the distillery, which is the nation’s largest independent, family-owned, distilled-spirits producer, and the world’s second-largest holder of aging Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey.
In an interview with Fox 41 TV in Louisville, Max admitted that the decision the five Shapira brothers made to start a company in the middle of the Great Depression was risky, but he also said that the benefits of running a family business are significant.
Said Max: “It provides us with the flexibility to run our business as we think it should be run over the long term. We are indeed here for the long term. The bourbon industry is all about thinking into the long term and the future. We age our product years and years, so the long-term perspective is what’s important to us.”
Max represents the third generation of Shapiras in the business. Three years ago, a fourth generation entered the picture when Max’s son, Andy Shapira, of the Class of 1996, joined Heaven Hill as director of sales analysis.
Heaven Hill produces and markets national brands in every category of distilled spirits. You can see their category leaders on the website. The company was also voted best distiller in the U.S. in both 2008 and 2009, the first time a distillery had won that award from Whisky Magazine in consecutive years.
It's the Real Thing
For Washington and Lee alumnus William Frank Barron Jr., things always did go better with Coke.
A member of W&L’s Class of 1952, Frank belongs to a family that was the Coca-Cola bottler in Rome, Ga., for 85 years. His grandfather started the company in 1901, and, according to “Your Friendly Neighbor”: The Story of
Georgia’s Coca-Cola Bottling Families, the Barrons’ operations in Rome and Cartersville once boasted the highest per-capita consumption for Coca-Cola in the country.
Frank joined the family business in 1956. When the franchise was sold in 1986, he kept a treasure trove of Coke memorabilia. Earlier this year, he gave much of that material to the Rome Area History Museum, where it has become part of a permanent exhibit that documents not only the history of Coca-Cola but also the history of one of Rome’s preeminent families. A feature story in the Rome News-Tribune describes the exhibit as containing “hundreds of old glass bottles, chairs, signs, hats, a camera, radio, toys and a slew of other products bearing the distinctive Coca-Cola colors and logo.” In all, the collection boasts more than 1,000 items. Frank did set aside a few special items for himself.
After all, he and his family had a special relationship with the beverage. As he told the Rome News-Tribune, “Coca-Cola is such a unique product. There is almost a love affair that people have with it. It reminds people of their youth. It was cold and tasted so good. It was a treat. It’s a great memory for so many people. These things . . . this stuff . . . it takes you back.”
Who Is Alexis Hawley?
The answer: A Washington and Lee law alumna who competed on “Jeopardy!” earlier this month.
The question: Who is Alex Hawley, a 2009 graduate of the W&L School of Law?
She finished second on the “Jeopardy!” program that aired on Dec. 15, 2010. An associate in the Labor & Employment Practice Group of Seyfarth Shaw L.L.P., in Chicago, Alex received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth and is from Winter Park, Fla. Alex (named for television villain Alexis Carrington of “Dynasty,” as we discovered in her introduction) was leading her two opponents at the first commercial break but finished third, $1,000 out of second place, after Double Jeopardy! The eventual champion correctly answered the Final Jeopardy! answer, while neither Alexis nor the third competitor was correct with their responses.
Believe it or not, you can see the entire play-by-play of Alex’s appearance online at a website devoted to “Jeopardy!” But before you peek, see whether you would have answered the Final Jeopardy! question correctly. The category was British Royalty. The question: “From the Latin ‘the greatest,’ this form of address was introduced by the narcissistic King Richard II.”
When Hermés New York began looking for a different design for the holiday windows of its Madison Avenue store, they turned to Washington and Lee alumnus Charlie Baker, of the Class of 2004. Charlie’s work, which uses twigs and felled trees from the beaches of Long Island, is featured in an article in Thursday’s New York Times. (Thanks to Caitlin Hagan ’05 for her tweet calling attention to the story.)
Charlie, who studied landscape design at the New York Botanical Garden, has his own company, Baker Structures, which specializes in patios, gazebos, arbors, pergolas, gates and decks. He has become known for using unpeeled cedar sculptural driftwood, reclaimed lumber, stone and plant materials to create his designs. After his work was featured in Connecticut Cottages and Gardens last summer, Hermés called.
The assignment, according to the piece in the Times, was to create a design based on a line of porcelain plates and teacups. That led Charlie to develop what he called a “crazy everything-growing-together-into-something way.” You can see two of the windows on the Times website at this link and this link. Anyone who happens to be shopping in New York this season, please snap a photo of the windows and send it our way.
A Spanish major at W&L, Charlie comes by his artistic talents honestly: his father is a New York-based fashion and fine-art photographer, and his mother owns and operates Martha Baker Landscape Design in Greenwich, Conn.
Sleigh Bells Ring…and Hand Bells, Too
It is the perfect seasonal story — a company that makes bells, all sorts of jingling bells, surviving at a time when iPhones and iPads can replicate the sounds electronically. But Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Company, of East Hampton, Conn., presses on under the guidance of Matt Bevin, of the Class of 1989, the sixth generation to operate the company.
Earlier this month the saga of Bevin Brothers (and Matt) was chronicled in both a hometown newspaper, The Hartford Courant, and in American Profile, a weekly magazine that is inserted in many newspapers, including Lexington’s News-Gazette.
As the story in the Courant notes, Matt was asked to take over the company “after other family members concluded he was the only member of his generation with both the business know-how and capital to save the firm.” Matt has operated a large asset management firm, Integrity Asset Management, in Louisville, Ky. That firm was sold earlier this month to Munder Capital Management.
Since taking over the bell business that his great-great-great-grandfather started, writes the Courant, Matt has reorganized the shop floor and rebuilt relationships with customers.
The company markets 700,000 sleigh bells every year. Those bells are often attached to straps and then hung on doors, either to symbolize the season or, in the case of one pet product company, to allow dogs to alert their owners that it’s time to go out. But when it comes to the product line, sleigh bells are just the start.
Bevin Brothers’ bells are especially prevalent in this season because the company supplies the bells used by the Salvation Army and Macy’s Santas. The 200 varieties of Bevin Brothers’ bells also include bicycle bells, doorbells, and ice cream bells. And then there are the cowbells that can be customized with school colors and logos to be rung at football games. In fact, when you look at the customization options on the Bevins Brothers’ website, you might just see a familiar-looking bell.
W&L Magazine, Fall 2010: Vol. 85 | No. 2
Choose the Photo of the Year
Every week during the academic year, we create the “Scene on Campus” slide show of images taken by Washington and Lee photographers Patrick Hinely ’73 and Kevin Remington. Each week those shows range from 20 to 40 images, give or take, so that’s a lot of photos.
We’ve asked Patrick and Kevin to choose 44 of their favorites, and now we’re leaving it up to you to select our Scene on Campus Photo of the Year.
To cast your vote, go to our Facebook site and follow the directions.
What’s in it for you? By casting your vote, you’re automatically entered in a drawing to receive a signed print of the winning photo.
Two Stars for Tony
An announcement from the Department of Defense last month included the news that Tony Ierardi, of the Class of 1982, has been promoted to the rank of major general (two stars).
A business administration major, Tony was a member of W&L’s ROTC unit and was commissioned at his graduation. He has held a wide variety of posts during his 28-year career and is currently the director of force management for the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff in Washington.
Among his recent assignments, Tony was deputy commander of the transition command in Afghanistan. He has also served on a group charged with examining ways to respond to the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan. He discussed that issue this fall in .
Alum Receives Award for Gifted Curriculum
Michael Clay Thompson, a creator of curriculum in poetics, writing, grammar and vocabulary, and a member of Washington and Lee University’s Class of 1969, has received the Richard W. Riley Award from the South Carolina Consortium for Gifted Education. “The award reflects the unique place Thompson’s language arts curriculum has come to have in gifted education,” says the consortium’s release. “While others have attempted to produce curriculum for gifted children, none has had the success or the longevity of Thompson’s curriculum. Its pedagogic effectiveness has been recognized increasingly by educators and homeschoolers alike, and now the curriculum is being eagerly embraced by parents who are teaching their children at home.”
Michael, who has an M.A. from Western Carolina University and has studied gifted education at Mars Hill College, has taught at schools in Tennessee, North Carolina and Indiana. When he was teaching middle school, he formulated a vocabulary curriculum; a professor at Mars Hill nudged him toward a publisher. Royal Fireworks Press now publishes six levels of Michael’s curriculum, which reaches students all across the country.
Michael and his wife, Myriam, with whom he has collaborated, live in Durham, N.C. He teaches language arts online through Northwestern University and travels to present his work to educators around the U.S.
You can read more about Michael and his work at his website.
Alumnus Takes VP Helm at Wilderness Society
The Wilderness Society, the organization that works to protect public lands, now has a W&L alumnus as one of its top executives. Fred Silbernagel, a member of the W&L Class of 1976, is the society’s new senior vice president for finance and administration. He comes to his new post after 14 years at the Brookings Institution as the vice president for finance and administration, chief financial officer and treasurer.
At W&L, Fred earned his B.A. in accounting and business administration.
The Wilderness Society was founded in 1935 and now boasts more than 500,000 members and supporters. With headquarters in Washington, its large staff works out of nine regional centers across the country.
Big Changes in Big Lex
Lexington’s always on the move. For proof, consider that within just a month’s time, a new micro-brewery has opened up and 3D movies are coming to the State Theatre.
Blue Lab Brewing Company opened for business just before Thanksgiving. The craft brewers are Bill Hamilton, associate professor of biology, and Tom Lovell ’91, associate director of alumni affairs. Right now their hours are limited, based on what’s brewing — they’re open two nights a week (Wednesdays and Fridays at the moment) and on Saturdays in the early afternoon. Bill says, though, that if the light’s on, knock, and you can check them out on Facebook, too. Blue Lab is located at 123 South Randolph St.
Meanwhile, the State Theatre has installed digital 3D technology in one of its auditoriums. According to information that the theatre provided, 34 features are scheduled to be released in 3D during 2011. The first 3D movie at the State will be “The Chronicles of Narnia,” which will begin showing in 3D on Dec. 17. Other features on the way are “Gulliver’s Travels 3D” and “The Green Hornet 3D.” There will be an additional charge of $2.50 for adults and $1.50 for children and senior citizens in the 3D auditorium.
And finally, an update on a Lexington favorite. We reported this summer on the fire that swept through the Southern Inn on the morning of July 9. Its familiar neon sign was removed for safekeeping, which gives Main Street a very different look. The restaurant, now calling itself Southern Inn II, has temporarily relocated to 465 East Nelson Street, former home of a Chinese restaurant. Never fear, it will be back in its usual location—work is underway to repair the building on Main Street.
Congratulations to Kelly B. Herd, of the Class of 2003, who has won a national prize for her Ph.D. dissertation in marketing.
Kelly will complete her degree at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business next May and is set to join the faculty at Indiana University. She won honors in business administration at W&L.
Kelly’s dissertation, “Identity Representation in Customization,” won the Alden G. Clayton Dissertation Proposal Competition of the Marketing Science Institute. Her research focuses on customers’ ability to customize products and the implications for firms that offer such customization.
Earlier this year, the results of studies that Kelly conducted, with associate professor C. Page Moreau, were published in the Journal of Consumer Research. “To Each His Own? How Comparisons with Others Influence Consumers’ Evaluations of Their Self-Designed Products” created a buzz in the marketing press. The studies examined the way in which consumers are becoming the designers of their own products and the way that they compare their work with that of the professional designers. One of their studies looked at the way consumers approached creating their own “skins” for MP3 players at a website. It found that they enjoyed competing against professional designers, suggesting a way for firms to increase the interaction of consumers with their products.
Kelly started her program at Colorado after working at Brodeur Worldwide, in Boston, and at New Media Strategies, in Arlington, Va.
By the Numbers
Next time you see a story based on polls or polling and distributed by the Associated Press, be sure to check the byline. There’s a good chance it will have been written, in whole or in part, by Jennifer Agiesta, a 2000 Washington and Lee alum.
In late August, Jennifer began her new position as deputy director of polling for the AP. A politics major, she had previously been a polling analyst for the Washington Post.
In her new position, Jennifer led the AP’s coverage of exit polling of the 2010 electorate, and she’s managing the AP’s in-house polling on a wide range of topics:
- Are holiday shoppers going to be more cautious this year when using plastic to pay for purchases? Yes.
- When it comes to stemming budget deficits, do Americans prefer cutting federal services or raising taxes? Cutting services.
- What percentage of pet owners have taken a vacation with their animals in the last two years? About 25 percent.
Twitterers can follow Jennifer’s observations on polling (and New York pro sports) at @jennagiesta.
W&L's Smitka Discusses Unions on NPR Affiliate WMRA
Mike Smitka, professor of economics at Washington and Lee University and an expert on the automobile industry, discussed the rise and fall of America’s labor movement on NPR affiliate WMRA’s “Virginia Insight” on Monday, Dec. 6, at 3 p.m.
Here is the audio from the program:
Smitka not only conducts research on the industry and writes a blog on autos and economics, but he also belonged to the United Auto Workers union when he worked at the Chrysler Corporation in the 1970s. He was joined on the program by Bob Roberts, professor of political science and public administration at James Madison University.
Together, they discussed why approval of America’s labor movement has dropped off dramatically in recent years.
Connecting Via the Human Touch
It’s a given that Washington and Lee alumni love to get together long after graduation, whether they’re seeing classmates on campus during reunions, or meeting alumni of all generations in their communities at chapter events. A new twist on that tradition has a singular purpose: to connect the women of W&L through informal gatherings around the country.
Why hold such events? After all, it’s been 38 years since women began studying at the School of Law, and 25 years since undergraduate women filled the classrooms. Given the school’s predominantly male alumni base, however, “women account for less than 20 percent of our alumni population,” says Susan Cunningham, director of major gifts. These events, which are planned by local W&L alumnae, mothers, friends and trustees, take place in private homes. The first occurred in New York two years ago, followed by receptions in Atlanta, Washington and Charlotte, N.C. This past month, Texans took the stage, with parties in Dallas (hosted by Stacey Sim Walker ’90) and in Houston (hosted by Mary Stanton Smith ’91).
“Our purpose in hosting these gatherings is to engage women who graduated from W&L and to do so in a meaningful way,” Alston Parker Watt ’89 told The Bridge, a newsletter about W&L’s new capital campaign. “These events bring together doctors and lawyers, stay-at-home moms, philanthropists and business owners in a way that adds a human touch to networking that we as women crave.” Watt is a member of the W&L Board of Trustees.
Dallas Hagewood Wilt ’90, another trustee, notes that these events are not intended to supersede regular alumni chapter events but to reinforce connections. “Women give for different reasons than men, and we give differently,” she said in The Bridge. “As donors, we want a connection to our gift and continued involvement in its success. As an institution, we want to give something back to our donors, and these gatherings are one way of doing that.”
Sandy Reiter on NPR affiliate WMRA Today
Sandy Reiter, assistant professor of business administration at Washington and Lee and a former plant manager for Honeywell International, will discuss U.S. corporations w on NPR affiliate WMRA’s Virginia Insight show this afternoon (Thursday, December 2) at 3 p.m.,
More than a hundred years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations should have the same rights to due process that American citizens are granted under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Less than a year ago, the Court granted corporations extensive rights to free speech under the First Amendment. Sandy will be joined by University of Virginia history professor Brian Balogh to look at how rights, responsibilities, and power have evolved for American corporations.
Listerns can join the conversation by calling 888-967-2825, or 888-WMRA-TALK. WMRA is at 89.9 in Lexington, 90.7 in Harrisonburg, and 103.5 in Charlottesville, and the program is also streamed live at http://www.wmra.org/.
W&L Alums Team Up
Two generations of Washington and Lee theatre majors will team up next week for a performance in New York when Jenna Worsham, a 2010 graduate, directs a performance of The Nebraska Dispatches featuring Christopher Cartmill, a 1984 graduate.
We wrote about Chris’s memoir, The Nebraska Dispatches, earlier this year. Chris and Christine Marie Brown adapted the play. The performance will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 9, at 1 Washington Place (on the corner of Broadway and Washington Place). (Facebook users can find details here.)
You can also catch Chris at the Art Institute of Chicago this Friday (Dec. 3). He will be giving separate performances in Fullerton Hall — a 12:30 p.m. performance of Tennyson’s Holy Grail and a 6 p.m. reading of Cameron’s Idylls of the King.
Keep up with Chris’s schedule on his website.
Law Alum Speaks Out About Stutter
Eddie Neufville, a 2003 graduate of Washington and Lee’s School of Law, describes what it’s like to live with a stutter during an interview that aired on the NBC Nightly News this week.
“You feel a knot in your stomach and you feel like your chest is very compressed and your heart is racing,” is the way Eddie characterized his feelings when faced with speaking aloud.
The interview was part of a segment on a new motion picture, “The King’s Speech,” in which actor Colin Firth plays King George VI, who struggled with a stutter. Eddie was also interviewed on a segment of Fox News.
Originally from Liberia, Eddie is an Olympic runner who represented his country in the 1996 Games. He passed up a chance to run in the 2000 Olympics in order to attend law school. He is the founder of The MoraisNeufville Law Firm in Silver Spring, Md. The firm specializes in complex immigration litigation matters before U.S. federal and immigration courts. One of the cases that Eddie handled involved a Cameroon native who fled torture in his own country. That case was featured in a story in the Washington Post earlier this year.
In addition to watching Eddie on the Nightly News spot, you can view this extended, web-only interview: