Feature Stories Campus Events

Hall of Fame Realtor

Steve Van Amburgh, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1975, will be inducted into the North Texas Commercial Association of Realtors Hall of Fame next month. Steve is the chief executive officer of KDC Real Estate Development and Investments. He manages that firm’s strategic planning, coordinates all new business development efforts and oversees all acquisition and development activities for KDC’s regional offices.

Steve took over leadership of KDC in 2001, and since then the company has completed more than 100 corporate build-to-suit and speculative office and industrial projects valued at more than $2 billion and totaling more than 13 million square feet. The company had its best year ever in 2010.

“D Magazine” has just published a great conversation with Steve about his business philosophy. Among other secrets that he reveals is his belief in collaboration rather than combat. “We try to eliminate the combativeness the minute we start discussing the project. Our goal is to, as quickly as possible, sit on the client side of the table,” he told the magazine. “We don’t like to sit across the table and arm wrestle and negotiate with them. We like to state the economics, state what our fee and profit would be, and as quickly as we can, get to ‘Red rover, red rover, let KDC come over’.” Read the entire interview here.

The Preliminary Hearing

The eight students in Professor Toni Locy’s Journalism 280 course, Legal Reporting, put what they learned into practice last semester and created a website to show off their work.

The Preliminary Hearing showcases two separate investigations that the students undertook during the semester. As the description of the course says, “Courthouses make the best beats. Every day the curtain goes up and a drama is acted out. Criminal or civil, courts provide a window on what is important to the American people.”

One team of students — Brooke Sutherland, Tory Dickerson, Kelly Mae Ross and Stephen Peck — explored metamphetamine abuse and noted that “meth cases make up 50 percent of all drug arrests in the Rockbridge (County) area and 50 percent of all federal drug cases in southwest Virginia, according to law enforcement officials.” Through interviews with law enforcement and meth users, the students wove a fascinating story, which included both the written version and the video below:

Meanwhile, a second team — Anne Vesoulis, Ben Petitto, Findley Merritt and Wit Robertson — examined dating violence, focusing on the alleged murder of a University of Virginia woman’s lacrosse player last year by a member of the school’s men’s lacrosse team. Their report included interviews with officials at U.Va., the Charlottesville court system and staff members of W&L’s Student Affairs. You can read their story here or watch their video below:

In addition to Professor Locy, the students were assisted in their project by Michael Todd, manager of technical operations in the department of journalism and mass communications.

Fly Navy

Alvin Townley, a 1997 graduate of Washington and Lee, has traveled the world once before to produce books on the Boy Scouts, scouting and leadership. This month, Alvin’s newest book is out, and he has focused on the world of U.S. naval aviation as it celebrates its 100th year.

To write it, Alvin again went around the world, boarding five aircraft carriers in three oceans and on most major bases in the U.S. He met present-day Blue Angels, young crew chiefs and admirals, along with POWs and heroes from conflicts past. His vignettes illustrate what a former Top Gun instructor and Blue Angels commanding officer called “the colorful characters who share the common bond of gold wings and the excitement of aerial adventures from the sea. Fly Navy opens a window to this romantic, dedicated, and occasionally irreverent spirit.”

Tomorrow (April 28), Alvin will launch the book at the Naval Air Station (NAS) in Pensacola, Fla., where Jimmy Buffett will perform a private benefit concert for the National Museum of Naval Aviation. Buffett’s concert, along with Alvin’s book, are part of a larger year-long celebration taking place across the country.

Alvin will return to NAS Pensacola on May 5 to give the keynote address at a lunch at the Museum’s Centennial Symposium.

For more information, see Alvin’s own website, where you can also get copies of his two previous books, Spirit of Adventure  and Legacy of Honor.

Alvin will be in Lexington for reunion weekend and will signing books both Friday and Saturday around the lunch hour on Canaan Green.

Access to Justice

Earlier this month, members of the Washington and Lee School of Law’s Access to Justice: Liberia Practicum provided a synopsis of its work during a trip to Monrovia, Liberia, with law professor Speedy Rice. Here is how the four W&L 3L students — Simon Herr, Massie Payne, Anna Katherine Moody, and David Brooks — described their work:

“Traveling and working here has been a great way to wrap up law school and has certainly been a learning experience and a challenge for all of us. It has been great to put some of our professional skills to use while helping a legal system rebuild and the rule of law develop.”

“The bulk of the Access to Justice Project involves preparing and running training sessions for various criminal justice actors here in Liberia. Liberia has been rebuilding since their devastating civil war,s and a lack of resources and corruption prevents the justice system from operating effectively and efficiently. Unfortunately, prisons are overcrowded and detainees can be held for years without trial. We focus on the rights of these citizens caught in the criminal justice system and try to give all involved the educational tools to work towards making systemic justice a reality. We have already held successful workshops with the Monrovia City Police and the Liberia National Police. Over the coming days, we will work with corrections officers from the Monrovia Central Prison and city solicitors, who serve as misdemeanor prosecutors. So far the police have been receptive to our ideas and have been open and active participants in our discussions and activities. While we know that real change in Liberia is going to take years of hard work, we take comfort in the fact that we are influencing the thoughts and work practices of the individuals we come in contact with and that we doing our small part to make a difference.”

“Our class is partnered with local students from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law here in Monrovia. They participate in our classes throughout the semester courtesy of the U.S. Embassy public library videoconferencing system and help us with all trainings. It is great to have a Liberian perspective in everything we do, and it makes people even more receptive to our ideas. We have had several opportunities to socialize with our Liberian colleagues, so it has been a pleasure to develop personal and professional relationships with these young lawyers, who represent the future of the profession in Liberia.”

“The trip hasn’t been all work, however. Liberia is a beautiful country and the people are warm and welcoming. Life and culture is radically different from Lexingto,n and it has been a blast to explore Monrovia. Since he has been working in Liberia for years, Professor Rice has been able to introduce us to many different people in Liberia who do a variety of jobs. We have been able to have drinks and informal chats with people from all over the world working in many different government departments. This helps us to really understand life in Liberia and the future of its institutions. We have also found time to enjoy the beach and several great restaurants in Monrovia. The trip here has been exhausting and exhilarating, but it has certainly been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!”

On Target

In the two years since he graduated from Washington and Lee, Isaiah Goodman has been establishing his career as a business analyst for Target at the company’s headquarters in Isaiah’s home state of Minnesota.

Isaiah’s video is prominent in a series on the Target website that features members of the Target team talking about their careers. In his case, Isaiah is focused on frozen meals. In the video spot, he says: “The biggest surprise to me since I came on as a full-time team member is really the influence that I have. Just straight out of college, I can actually make some decisions, and an international vendor will make decisions based on some things that I recommended.”

To watch Isaiah’s spot, click on the photo above or on this link.

Anyone who watched Isaiah, a business administration major, during his four years in the classroom and on the basketball court at W&L, will not be surprised at his fast start with Target, or with his poise in the video segment. In fact, as the chair of the NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Isaiah described the benefits of playing on the Division III level in a video on the organization’s website. You can see it here.

Kimberly Cole Selected for 2011 NPI

Kimberly Cole has been selected to participate in 2011 New Professional Institute. NPI is the preeminent professional development opportunity for new student affairs professionals in the south. Co-sponsored by NASPA region III and SACSA, NPI is an intensive and interactive week of learning, sharing, networking and professional and personal development. The unique residential opportunity allows student affairs professionals to draw on their first years of experience to improve their effectiveness and to learn from others. It is a time of renewal and assists new professionals in the development of their careers. Many institutions have used this Institute not only as a training ground for rising stars in the profession, but as a form of recognition for outstanding new professionals on their campus. Participants come from all areas of student affairs.

Dittman Receives President's Awards from SACRAO

Washington and Lee Registrar Scott Dittman received one of two “top session” awards at the annual meeting of the Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (SACRAO) in February in Atlanta. Scott’s session, titled “The IT Razor: What’s New on the Bleeding Edge,” was given the SACRAO President’s Award for Outstanding Professional Presentation. SACRAO has more than 400 institutional members and more than 3,000 individual members from Texas and Oklahoma to Virginia.

Honoring Staff

Washington and Lee held its annual Employee Recognition Banquet on Thursday (April 21) and paid tribute to eight retiring staff members, plus those staffers who were celebrating employment anniversaries.

The retirees, who have a combined 230 years of service to W&L:

• George Carras, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations (1997-2011)

• Jacqueline A. Davis, Non-Book Manager, University Store (1971-2010)

• John P. Doyle, Associate Law Librarian (1986-2011)

• Leon W. Fields Sr., Custodian (1988-2011)

• Carolyn W. Hammett, Administrative Assistant, Williams School (1987-2011)

• Leonard J. Reiss Jr., Technical Services Specialist (1985-2010)

• Joan N. Robins, Director of Hillel (2001-2011)

• Thomas M. Sloan Jr., Custodian, Fraternities (1976-2011)

• Charles E. Ware, Utility Worker, Dining Services (1976-2011)

The service anniversaries:

35 Years

  • W. Scott Beebe
  • Darlene T. Moore
  • Granville T. Sweet
  • Thomas W. Tinsley

30 Years

  • Robert P. Bane
  • Jerry G. Clark
  • Patrick Hinely
  • Keith J. Irvine

25 Years

  • Mary B. Coffey
  • Scott Dittman
  • John P. Doyle
  • Ted D. Hickman
  • Betty Hickox
  • Sandra H. O’Connell
  • Jacqueline H. Sandidge
  • Beverly J. Shotwell
  • Scott M. Wines

20 Years

  • Trixie J. Acey
  • Jennifer J. Ashworth
  • David L. Copeland
  • Melissa G. Gualtieri
  • John N. Jacob
  • Russell S. Joynes
  • Beverly Tarpley Lorig
  • Dale Lyle
  • Robert W. H. Mish, III
  • Sidney A. Nicely
  • Arthur R. Perry
  • Jill Gilmore Straub
  • Sue D. Woodruff

15 Years

  • William R. Armstrong, Sr.
  • David L. Arthur
  • Kimberly S. Austin
  • Beverly N. Bowring
  • Wayne E. Bradley
  • Frances W. Brown
  • Diane H. Cochran
  • Lynn B. Fitch
  • W. Berkeley Harner
  • Calvin E. Higgins, Jr.
  • Henry M. Hostetter
  • William E. Kibler, II
  • Vernagail Mencer
  • Betty B. Moore
  • Michael S. Roberts
  • Leanne M. Shank
  • Rodney T. Smith
  • William C. Stroud
  • Sean E. Suggs
  • Gregory S. Tomlin
  • Susan E. Wager

10 Years

  • Stephanie J. Arbanas
  • Paul Burns
  • Rebecca Cooper
  • Mark Q. Craney
  • Latha B. Dawson
  • Sidney S. Evans
  • Laura E. Hewett
  • Jerry L. Hostetter
  • Andrea Hilton Howe
  • Peter T. Jetton
  • Janis G. Kaufman
  • Thomas D. Lovell
  • Joan N. Robins
  • Daniel J. Roland
  • Cree Sherrill
  • Joan E. Swisher

Vote (Daily) for Michael

Washington and Lee sophomore Michael McGuire wants your vote. (Or votes.)

As of today (April 21), Michael is the second leading vote-getter out of 100 contestants in an online contest in which entrants record a video of themselves singing Toni Braxton’s hit song “Unbreak My Heart.”

Voting in the ” ‘Unbreak My Heart’ Cover Contest” continues through June 14, then the Braxton sisters themselves will choose the winner, who receives a $2,500 prize and the chance to hang out with the family.

To see Michael’s performance and cast your vote for him (and you can go back and vote every day), go to this page on the contest site.

Michael is a journalism and Spanish double major and a member of the University Chamber Singers. Earlier this year, as part of the Introduction to Digital Journalism class, Michael did a first-rate audio story on the Chamber Singers tour.

Once you’ve watched his performance and voted for him, you can see some of Michael’s other performances on his YouTube channel. Be sure to listen to “Playing Our Song” with Michael and Desireé Flores.

Retirees Honored at Recognition Banquet

Nine retiring Washington and Lee employees with a combined 230 years of service to the University were honored at the annual Employee Recognition Banquet on April 21, 2011.

The retirees are:

• George Carras, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations (1997-2011)
• Jacqueline A. Davis, Non-Book Manager, University Store (1971-2010)
• John P. Doyle, Associate Law Librarian (1986-2011)
• Leon W. Fields Sr., Custodian (1988-2011)
• Carolyn W. Hammett, Administrative Assistant, Williams School (1987-2011)
• Leonard J. Reiss Jr., Technical Services Specialist (1985-2010)
• Joan N. Robins, Director of Hillel (2001-2011)
• Thomas M. Sloan Jr., Custodian, Fraternities  (1976-2011)
• Charles E. Ware, Utility Worker, Dining Service (1976-2011)

In addition, the University recognized individuals for years of service. Four staff members who have 35 years of service are W. Scott Beebe (Facilities Management), Darlene T. Moore (School of Law), Granville T. Sweet (Facilities Management), and Thomas W. Tinsley (Information Technology Services).

See the complete list of years of service (pdf).

W&L Law Alumna Leads American Inns of Court

Throughout her 28 years as an officer-lawyer in the U.S. Army, Brigadier General (Ret.) Malinda Dunn, a 1981 graduate of the Washington and Lee School of Law, has broken ground in several areas. She was, for instance, the first female staff judge advocate of the 82nd Airborne Division, with which she did two tours; she was  the first female chief of personnel for the Army JAG Corps, the first female staff judge advocate of the XVIII Airborne Corps, and the first woman selected as a general officer in the active-duty Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

Earlier this month, Malinda accepted a new challenge: the executive directorship of the American Inns of Court, which comprises judges, practicing attorneys, law professors and students who meet regularly to discuss and debate issues of legal ethics and professionalism.

Justice Donald W. Lemons, of the Supreme Court of Virginia, is president of the American Inns of Court. He is also Distinguished Professor of Judicial Studies at W&L Law. In the announcement of Malinda’s appointment, Justice Lemons called her “precisely the right person at the right time for the American Inns of Court.”

For her part, Malinda said that the position is the next logical step in her career: “The Inns of Court movement espouses the same model that the JAG Corps does—teaching young lawyers to practice with professional integrity, civility, and fairness. We’re all trying to achieve the same goals.”

Say, Isn't That the Colonnade?

More than one Twitter user wondered aloud (or is actually “aloud” when you Tweet?) about a scene from Sunday night’s episode of “The Cleveland Show” on Fox.

During one of the bizarre asides that are routine in the animated series, the scene flashes to a college commencement ceremony in front of a familiar-looking set of buildings. In fact, if the W&L Colonnade, replete with an Old George-like figure on top of the cupola on the center building, is not the model, there’s got to be a double out there somewhere.

And when you consider that Mike Henry, a member of W&L’s Class of 1988, is one of the show’s creators, well, it seems pretty clear.

In fact, Mike was back on the W&L campus just last May, when he talked at the Contact lecture series about the show for which he voices the main character, Cleveland Brown. That appearance is what prompted some careful viewers of “The Cleveland Show” to take to Twitter to ask whether Mike’s “semi-recent” trip back to his alma mater had inspired the college scene from Sunday night.

You be the judge.

Another W&L-Atlanta Fed Connection

Soon after we noted the recent appointment of Washington and Lee alumnus T. Lee Robinson, of the Class of 1985, to the New Orleans Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta last week, readers brought to our attention that a second W&L alumnus is also serving in an advisory capacity to the Atlanta Fed.

In January, David Stovall, of the Class of 1969, president and chief executive officer of Stein Mart Inc., was appointed to the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Jacksonville Branch.

David’s position with Stein Mart was the subject of another previous blog post back in 2009.

The Atlanta Fed territory covers the Sixth Federal Reserve District, which includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Tracking Labor Issues

Anyone who has been following the largest class action suit in history, Dukes v. Wal-Mart, has likely heard the views of Washington and Lee alumnus Gerald “Jerry” Maatman.

The 1978 graduate, a senior partner at Seyfarth Shaw L.L.P.,   in Chicago, has filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of Walmart on behalf of Costco and the Society for Human Resource Management. Jerry’s primary practice is defending employers sued in employment-related class actions and EEOC-pattern or -practice lawsuits brought in federal and state courts throughout the United States. He is credited with pioneering employment-practices audits in order to help employers devise policies that will reduce employment-related class-action suits. He co-authored a 2002 book, “The Manager’s Guide to Preventing a Hostile Work Environment.”

Jerry is a popular media-interview subject on these issues, and his perspectives on the Walmart case have been widely quoted, from an article in The Economist this past January to an appearance on the National Public Radio program “On Point with Tom Ashbrook” last month.

In the NPR segment, the discussion came on March 31, two days after arguments were made at the Supreme Court. Jerry said he thought that the court’s decision in the case may determine how future class-action suits are treated, but that it will depend upon the language the court uses. “There are many different combinations of alliances on the court. I don’t think it will be a unanimous decision,” he said.

You can also listen to a podcast of his views on how the Walmart decision could impact corporate recruiting on ERE.net.

Jerry also shares his expertise on another hot topic — workplace bullying. A recent story on PropertyCasualty360.com cited his views on that issue.

His W&L classmates will recall Jerry’s expertise on the golf course more than in the courtroom. He was a two-time All-American in the sport. It wasn’t until 2008 that W&L had another golfer with those credentials. That’s when Nathaniel James earned back-to-back recognition on All-American teams.

W&L Magazine, Winter 2011: Vol. 86 | No. 1

In This Issue:

  • It’s All About the Students: Student Health at W&L
  • His Best Role Yet
    By Emily Allender ’11

By the Numbers

  • Smartphones, Electric Vehicles, a Microbrewery and the Annual Fund


  • Rufus Kinney ’69
  • Rob McMichael ’78
  • Corrections
  • A Letter from the Editor

Along the Colonnade

  • Beau Knows
  • A Cup of History: Reeves Center Debuts New Collection, Gallery
  • Honor for Us
  • Roger Mudd Donates $4 Million for Study of Ethics
  • Early Start: Matching Alumni With Student Internships
  • Noteworthy
  • Outstanding in Their Fields
  • Books and DVDs

Generals Report

  • A Joyful Responsibility: Gordon Reistrup, Riding Coach
  • Varsity Women’s Golf
  • TD Club of Richmond Honors Coach Miriello

W&L Law

  • Klein ’83L New Chair of the ABA
  • Professor David Millon Explores Medieval English Law


  • A Salute to Chapter Leaders
  • What’s the Difference?

President Ruscio’s Message

  • Educating for Integrity

Last Look

  • Founders’ Day/ODK Convocation with Roy Blount Jr.

Help for Japan

Four Washington and Lee organizations raised more than $1,800 in a Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Campaign. Mary Knighton, a visiting assistant professor of Japanese, coordinated the effort.

Student Association for International Learning (SAIL), Pan Asian Association for Cultural Exchange (PAACE), and the East Asian Languages and Literatures Department (EALL) partnered with the Nabors Service League to conduct the month-long drive, which included the construction of origami peace cranes that they will send to Japan.

“The generosity of the community in the face of the sudden call for volunteers to sit at the tables, as well as the generosity of contributors with nickels, dimes and some $100 checks, in three short weeks, is truly remarkable,” said Mary.

Proceeds from the drive have been sent to the Japan Red Cross Society.

Mary has a personal connection to Japan. Her husband, Scott Gold, works in Tokyo and sent the photograph here that shows the Tokyo Tower, normally a well-lighted landmark, as it now appears — in the dark, as a way of saving electricity. The lone message on the tower reads “Ganbaro Nippon,” which means “Hang Tough, Japan.”

W&L Alum Advising Atlanta Fed

Earlier this month, the Mobile Press-Register posed five questions to Washington and Lee alumnus T. Lee Robinson. One was what he’d be doing if he weren’t president of OHC, Inc., a hardwood lumber importer. Lee’s answer?  He’d want to teach history at his alma mater.

A 1985 graduate of W&L, Lee was recently named to the board of directors of the New Orleans Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. In that role, he will be part of a seven-member panel that advises the Atlanta Fed about economic conditions in an area running from Baldwin and Mobile counties west across the southern halves of Mississippi and Louisiana. He started a three-year term on Jan. 1.

In the Press-Register interview, Lee described his role this way: “We provide an on-the-ground link to what business people are currently thinking and doing in their own businesses.”

Lee’s company, OHC, imports hardwood lumber and then mills or sells it for truck-trailer floors, crossbar supports for utility poles, and outdoor decking and furniture, among other things. Lee is the second generation to lead OHC, which was founded in 1967. He became president of the firm in 2000, and is also a member of the board of directors of International Shipholding Corp. and co-chairman of trade for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. He is also a past member of the local Wells Fargo Bank advisory board.

More on Liz

Our blog post about the visit that Elizabeth Taylor made to Lexington with then-fiancé John Warner, of the Class of 1949, generated lots of traffic and a few comments about a less-publicized visit to the Beta house. But here’s a story about the couple that we hadn’t heard until it popped up last week in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The story involves Atlantan Rodney Cook Jr., of the Class of 1978, about whom we blogged almost two years ago when he featured in a New York Times story about Atlanta’s Millenium Arch. Rodney is president of The National Monuments Foundation.

Back to Liz. Rodney told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week how he was the driver who often picked the Warners up at the airport and delivered them to Lexington for meetings of the board of trustees. Sen. Warner is an emeritus member of the board (1968-1980). Rodney’s father, Rodney Sr., a 1946 graduate, had been at W&L with Sen. Warner.

On one such airport run, they made a detour to the Natural Bridge and entered the property by an unauthorized route.

“We, of course, were apprehended,” Cook said. “All these guards came, but the two of them turned around, and seeing that it was their senator and Cleopatra, off they went.”

Gary Franke Authors Oped on D3 Wrestle

Washington and Lee wresting coach Gary Franke is the author of an opinion piece, “A True Display of Sportsmanship,” that ran on D3Wrestle.com on March 24, 2011. The story was based on a display of sportsmanship that Gary had seen at the NCAA Division III tournament. Read the piece at http://www.d3wrestle.com/?p=3965

In Search of the Truth

Since 1994, R. Plater Robinson, of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1978, has been investigating the civil rights era murder of Louis Allen in Liberty, Miss.  His research was cited by “60 Minutes,” which aired a segment titled “Cold case: The murder of Louis Allen,” on Sunday night.

Plater is education director of the Southern Institute for Education and Research at Tulane University, where he designs and implements workshops for middle and high school teachers on the topics of the Holocaust and the history of race and civil rights. The goal of the institute is to improve ethnic relations in the Deep South through tolerance education and communications training.

After earning an M.A. in European history from LSU and prior to joining the Institute, Plater worked as a freelance journalist in public radio. He first earned recognition for his reporting on the various 50th anniversaries of events connected to World War II and later did a series of award-winning stories about the rise of David Duke, the neo-Nazi and former Klansman who ran for the U.S. Senate and for governor of Louisiana. That reporting earned him a National Headliner Award along with National Community Broadcaster and New Orleans Press Club awards. He produced a public radio documentary on the 40th anniversary of the lynching of Emmett Till in Mississippi.

On the Southern Institute of Education and Search website, you can view several interviews that Plater has conducted with Holocaust survivors who live in New Orleans.

As for the “60 Minutes” segment, Plater’s research into the Allen killing included a taped interview with a man who claimed that his son-in-law had seen the former sheriff, Daniel Jones, kill Allen in 1964. He spoke on camera with Steve Kroft, who conducted his own 18-month investigation into the story. On the “60 Minutes” website, you can read about the investigation and can also view the entire video. Plater’s portion of the story begins at the 9:30 mark.

Highs and Lows in Jordan

We just discovered another fascinating student blog from a study abroad experience and recommend it highly.

Last time, we described Washington and Lee junior Shiri Yadlin’s blog from Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Shiri’s classmate Megan Dailey is spending the winter term in Jordan, and posting to her 100 Arabian Nights blog.

Megan, an Medieval Studies major and a varsity volleyball player, began spinning her study abroad story on the blog before she left her home town of Birmingham, and has shared some wonderful insights and interesting anecdotes. For instance, she writes about the chicken heart moment during her rural homestay in the Badia area of Jordan. She lived with a Bedouin family and experienced  the daily life, culture and traditions of a Bedouin community. She also ate a somewhat squishy chicken heart that she and her four-year-old host brother had been throwing at one another. (We’re not making this up.) What’s cool is that Megan says the moment of the chicken heart was when she firmly established herself as part of the family.

That’s one of the many stories that Megan relates with great insight and humor. We especially liked “Fog, Gunshots, and Swords: A Wedding Story” and “Spring Break East Vs. West,” in which Megan compares her 2010 spring break trip to the Gulf of Mexico with her 2011 spring break trip to Oman and the Persian Gulf.  We highly recommend sharing her trip vicariously.

Beverly Lorig Elected to Board of EACE

Beverly Lorig, director of career services at Washington and Lee University, has been named to the board of the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers (EACE). She will assume responsibilities of director, public relations and communications in early June.

Greensboro's Atticus Finch

One night last month, members of the Greensboro, N.C., Bar Association gathered for the organization’s annual meeting and honored 18 of their group with induction into the Herb Falk Society. Membership in the society is based on the amount of pro bono work that the attorneys have done during the previous year. Anyone who has 75 hours or more is eligible to become a member.

It’s a remarkable tribute to late Washington and Lee alumnus Herb Falk, a history major and ZBT member from the Class of 1953. A Greensboro attorney until his death in 2002, Herb was known for taking on pro bono cases. In a column in the Greensboro News & Record (unfortunately, a subscription is required), writer Jere Rowe recounts a story of how Herb once worked 303 hours for free to help a four-year-old child receive Social Security benefits after the death of his father. At the time, Herb had told the Greensboro News-Record that it was the case he would remember most when he was lying on his deathbed looking back over his life. The News and Record’s Rowe dubbed Herb Greensboro’s Atticus Finch because of his unflinching integrity.

But it was not just his own volunteer work that made Herb special. He also came up with a novel idea to promote volunteer work by others while he was president of the Greensboro Bar Association. He decided to call all seven North Carolina Supreme Court justices to see if they would help build a home for a family in need. The justices agreed. Since then, lawyers in Greensboro continue to help build houses for Habitat for Humanity.

The Collector

Washington and Lee alumnus Bill Falvey, a member of the Class of 1969 and a Memphis physician, had always been intrigued by the comic book versions of classics known as Classics Illustrated.  Featuring such titles as Moby Dick, Hamlet and The Iliad, the series began publication in 1941 and produced 169 issues by 1971. The issues were characterized by their original cover art.

According to an article in the Memphis Commercial Appeal that alumnus Milburn Noell ’51, ’54L spotted, Bill is one of the world’s leading collectors of original Classics Illustrated cover paintings and interior illustrations. An exhibition of his collection is currently on display in the Goodwyn Gallery at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library in Memphis.

Bill began collecting Classics Illustrated material when he saw some of the issues he remembered from his childhood at a Memphis flea market. In the 37 years or so since then, he has collected about 2000 pieces of material related to the series, including early pen-and-ink line-drawn Classics covers as well as oil paintings of the covers.

As the newspaper story notes, the exhibition is in advance of two upcoming auctions of material from the collection to be handled Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas. “Obviously, I have a house full of this artwork, and I can’t display it all, so it’s time to sell the part I can bear to part with,” Bill told the reporter.

To see examples of some of the covers, go to the Commercial Appeal story.

Sara Sprenkle Wins Best Paper Award

Sara Sprenkle, assistant professor of computer science, won the Best Research Paper Award, with co-authors Lori Pollock (University of Delaware) and Lucy Simko ’11 at the IEEE International Conference on Software Testing, Verification and Validation in Berlin, Germany in March.

Alumni Take Over Magazine's Pages

The April/May 2011 edition of Garden & Gun magazine includes feature stories about not one, but two, Washington and Lee alumni.

“Appalachian Spring” is the story of the Southern Highlands Reserve, a private native-plant garden and research center founded by Robert Balentine, of the Class of 1979, and his wife, Betty. Robert confesses in the story that he hated gardening as a kid, but his parents were award-winning horticulturalists and set him to work “digging holes” in the summer.

Today, the story notes, the Balentines spend three weekends a month on the 120-acre Southern Highlands Reserve, which is located in western North Carolina on the top of Toxaway Mountain at an elevation of 4,500 feet, outside of Cashiers, N.C. Among the many features that make the Reserve special are one of the largest known natural stands of Rhododendron vaseyi, rare pinkshell azaleas, hundreds of hybrid azaleas and the red spruce seedlings that researchers have raised, in part to help the endangered Carolina northern flying squirrel.

In addition to being chairman and founding partner of Balentine L.L.C. in Atlanta, Robert is founding president of the board of the Southeastern Horticultural Society. He’s also a member of W&L’s Board of Trustees.

“The Wedding Belle” is the story of Calder (Britt) Clark, a member of the Class of 1999, an event planner in Charleston, S.C.  As the story notes, Calder moved from Washington, D.C., to Charleston in 2003. She began Calder Clark Designs earlier this year, a wedding planning firm whose focus, according to the magazine, “is on handmade personal touches, unfussy flowers, family recipes, and nostalgic details.”

Worlds Collide

Last week, the @wlunews Twitter feed received this message from Sam Perkins, of the Classes of 1980 and 1983 Law: “Did you see this political cartoon by John Cole (W&L ’80) re: Michael Krancer (W&L Law ’83)? Worlds collide…” Earlier, Sam had tweeted this: “My W&L undergrad classmate creates political cartoon re: W&L Law classmate (both honorable).”

Naturally, we followed the links and found the editorial cartoon that John Cole, of the Class of 1980, had published in the Scranton Times-Tribune about Michael Krancer, a 1983 Law grad. John has been the cartoonist for the Times-Tribune since 2005, and we blogged about him back in May 2005. His full-color cartoons are available on his blog at the newspaper.

We don’t know whether or not John and Mike are aware of their common W&L roots. Mike became Pennsylvania’s secretary of environment protection in January, after previously serving as a judge on the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB). Last week, according to reports in both the Harrisburg Patriot-News and the Philadelphia Inquirer, Mike issued a controversial order requiring all inspectors in Pennsylvania to stop issuing violations against drillers in the Marcellus Shale, a gas-rich formation in northern and western Pennsylvania.

That was the basis of John’s cartoon, which criticized Mike’s policy. But, as Sam Perkins’ tweet reminds, both are honorable. And, if nothing else, the small-world story is one more reminder of the way social media are keeping us connected.

Recognition for a Rodney Dangerfield

In his 30-year legal career, Washington and Lee alumnus Rob Wendt, of the Class of 1978, has specialized in issues involving the environment, mental health patients and the disabled. He has become a specialist in Social Security disability issues.

Rob recently described his work this way to a reporter for a major feature in The Post and Courier of Charleston: “I guess I’m like a lot of lawyers out there–the Rodney Dangerfield lawyers of the world–people who are doing a lot of hard work and believe in what they are doing but don’t always get much attention for it.”

The Post and Courier’s feature was sparked by a major award that Rob won this month. He was one of 10 attorneys that South Carolina Lawyers Weekly presented with a Leadership in the Law award.

Getting such recognition, Rob added, “is not your principal motivation, of course, but it’s nice to have some recognition for what you’re doing.”

Rob is one of only two nationally certified specialists in Social Security disability law in South Carolina. He also served as that state’s first environmental crimes prosecutor from 1990 to 1994 and has served two terms as chairman of the Charleston Area Mental Health Center board.

In the profile accompanying the South Carolina Lawyers Weekly’s story on the awards, Rob was asked what he thinks is the most important attribute for a good attorney to have. His answer? Integrity.