Feature Stories Campus Events

Another 40 Under 40 Honoree

Last month two Washington and Lee alumni, David Foster, of the Class of 1998, and Paul E. Wright, of the Class of 1995, were named to Philadelphia Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list. That caused us to start looking for other examples of alums who have been so honored recently.

So far, we have located one other — Billy Poynter, of the Class of 1998, in Norfolk, but we’re confident that there are more and invite you to let us know of others.

Billy was named to the list of Inside Business: The Business Journal of Hampton Roads in October. A partner in the Virginia Beach law firm, Williams Mullen, Billy specializes in intellectual property litigation, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. He’s been instrumental in making the firm a leader in intellectual property practice and is co-editor of the company’s blog, Rocket Docket IP Litigation.  Billy received a B.S. in chemistry and a B.A. in medieval and renaissance studies as an undergrad, then received his law degree from the University of Virginia.

In addition to the 40 Under 40 honor, Billy has also been named to the Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Stars in intellectual property litigation. He’s secretary of the board of the Virginia Opera.

Here’s a link to Billy’s listing in Inside Business.

Be sure to let us know of others on the 40 Under 40 lists.

W&L Student Wins 2nd in Video Contest

A video created by Garrett Koller of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2014 has won second place in a national contest to create awareness on information security.

The 30-second video is entitled “How to Create a Secure Password” and won second place in the public service category of the 2011 Information Security Awareness Poster & Video Contest. Koller earned $1,000 in the contest sponsored by EDUCAUSE/Internet 2 Higher Education Information Security Council, CyberWatch, and National Cyber Security Alliance.

The video provides practical guidelines for creating a secure but easy-to-remember password. The video is featured on YouTube channel of Information Technology Services, which has promoted secure passwords as a vital part of an overall strategy to keep data private and secure. Koller, a computer science major, is a member of the Information Technology Advisory Committee, which advises ITS at W&L, and also works for John Blackburn, senior academic technologist for ITS.

The video may be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPxPh-cYsgE
Additional background on the contest is here: http://www.educause.edu/SecurityVideoContest2011

Mapping the Future

Funny thing about Lexington and Washington and Lee — every year we’re shocked by how quickly the campus becomes deserted after the last diploma is awarded and the last mortarboard is tossed.

That was the case again yesterday, when 395 seniors received their degrees and headed out to, well, everywhere.

To keep track of them, the Office of Web Communications has developed a cool web page called “Where are They Going.” It’s a map where members of the Class of 2011 indicate where they’ll be going and what they’ll be doing once they leave Big Lex. The seniors (now graduates) complete an online form, and their location becomes a flag on the map. Click on the flag and find out who, where, what and, as a bonus, what they’ll miss about the University. Check back as more grads add their information.

And, if you want to know more about what the graduates will miss, we have a random sample of answers to just that question. When the class was assembling for Baccalaureate on Wednesday, News Director Sarah Tschiggfrie roamed around with a Flip camera to get their responses, which are on the video below:

What Will the Class of 2011 Miss Most About W&L?

Live Washington Post Chat Today with W&L's Beverly Lorig

Shortly after members of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2011 receive their diplomas this morning, Beverly Lorig, director of career services at W&L, was part of a panel talking about their job prospects — and the prospects of all of this year’s newly minted graduates — on the Washington Post’s website.

Beverly joined moderator Jenna Johnson, Post education writer, and Andrea Koncz, employment information manager for the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

You can read the chat archive at this link: http://live.washingtonpost.com/campus-overload-live-052611.html

An Alum Reaches Out to Home

Anyone who has seen the images of devastation from Joplin, Mo., cannot help but be affected by the magnitude of the disaster caused by Sunday’s tornado. For one Washington and Lee alumnus, Brent Beshore, of the Class of 2005, the scenes are personal. Joplin is Brent’s hometown. It’s where he was born and raised, and eight generations of his family have lived there.

Although he now lives in Columbia, Mo., about 250 miles northeast of Joplin, Brent had friends among the 124 residents who were killed and neighbors among the hundreds who lost their homes when the monster tornado ripped through the city.

Last November, Youngentrepreneur magazine referred to Brent as “a 27-year-old serial entrepreneur” for his innovative work in new media. So it’s hardly a surprise that Brent has been using his expertise in social media and his membership on the board of the Heart of Missouri United Way to help his hometown recover. He created a Facebook page, Joplin, MO Tornado Recovery, which had 147,000 “likes” by last night. The page provides valuable information of all kinds, including how to donate to the United Way. Brent also took to his Twitter account with updates on the fund-raising efforts. At one point Tuesday, Brent’s Twitter account was trending in the Kansas City area, indicating how many people were following and re-purposing his Tweets about the situation.

Brent explains, “We set up a Joplin Tornado Relief Fund through the United Way, which agreed to 100% of funds going directly to Joplin with zero overhead. By midday Tuesday, we had raised about $115,000 in the last 40 hours through the Facebook page and the donation information. We’re launching a telethon on Thursday night.”

In a story on KOMU-com, Brent’s role in the work was cited, and he made this observation about the disaster: “I have images in my head of what those places used to look like when I was a kid. Looking at the images, I can picture myself there, and it doesn’t look anything like what I have in my head.”

If you want to help, you can pledge to the Heart of Missouri United Way for Joplin Tornado Relief Fund by calling (573)443-4523, by going online to http://uwheartmo.org/, or by texting JOPLIN to 864833 to make a $10 donation.

Ohio State Coach Goes with a Pro

College football fans know who Jim Tressel is. And they probably know that the embattled former Ohio State coach is charged with hiding information about players receiving impermissible benefits and with lying to the NCAA about his knowledge of those violations. They may not necessarily know, however,  Gene Marsh, the man who will be sitting beside Tressel when the Buckeye coach, who resigned late last month, faces an NCAA hearing later this summer.

Gene, a 1981 graduate of Washington and Lee’s School of Law and perhaps the leading expert on NCAA compliance issues, has seen cases from both sides. He served as the University of Alabama Faculty Athletics Representative to the Southeastern Conference and the NCAA from 1996 through 2003. He also chaired the University’s compliance committee. He has extensive experience in the NCAA infractions process: he belonged to the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions from 1999 through 2008 and chaired it from 2004 to 2006.

So when Tressel found out he would need his own lawyer for the Aug. 12 hearing with the NCAA, he chose Gene, who practices with the Birmingham law firm Lightfoot, Franklin & White L.L.C. and has considerable experience in a variety of these cases. In fact, just last year Gene and a fellow lawyer from the firm represented the University of Michigan in its case with the NCAA. What’s interesting is that Gene is a Dayton, Ohio, native who received his B.S. and M.S. from Michigan’s bitter rival, Ohio State University. In stories about his decision to represent Tressel, Gene said that he was never a rah-rah Buckeye fan and didn’t even attend a football game while he was a student.

Perhaps a headline in the Birmingham News summed up the way many see Gene’s experience: “Jim Tressel brings out big guns for NCAA hearing: Gene Marsh.” And a columnist for CBS Sports wrote that “Gene Marsh is a pro. Gene Marsh has seen every angle of the NCAA enforcement process.”

That same columnist referred to Gene’s sense of humor, recalling what he once told an audience on academics and athletics: “Being a faculty athletic rep at a big Southern university is like working at a high school as the vice principal in charge of chastity. It’s a tough job.”

Vote Early for Literary Awards

Voting is now open for the 2011 Library of Virginia Literary Awards People’s Choice, and one of the five finalists in the nonfiction category is The Horse in Virginia: An Illustrated History, by Julie Campbell, the associate director of communications and public affairs at Washington and Lee.

Online voting can be done here. Voters may also cast their ballots at public libraries around the state.

In the book, Julie traces Virginia’s horse tradition back 400 years and tells the stories of such familiar names as Triple Crown champion Secretariat, Misty of Chincoteague and, of course, Robert E. Lee’s Traveller.

The Library of Virginia Literary Awards are given to outstanding Virginia authors in the areas of poetry, fiction, nonfiction (and, in the case of nonfiction, also by any author about a Virginia subject) and literary lifetime achievement.

Two years ago, W&L alumnus Roger Mudd won the People’s Choice Nonfiction Award for his book, The Place to Be: Washington, CBS, and the Glory Days of Television News.

W&L Alum Named Fort Lauderdale City Manager

Lee Feldman, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1984, was named the city manager of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., this week. Lee, who was selected from a competitive field of 90 candidates, will oversee 2,500 employees and a $600 million budget.

Based on his track record, Lee is up to the challenge. He goes to Fort Lauderdale after a nine-year tenure as city manager of Palm Bay, Fla. Prior to that he was city manager of North Miami Beach.

In Palm Bay, Lee was credited with building the county’s first municipal charter school, helping to reduce city taxes to their lowest rate in eight years, and overseeing annexations that expanded the city’s borders from 66 to about 72 square miles. In a story in Florida Today announcing the appointment, Palm Bay Mayor John Mazziotti said that “losing [Lee} is a big blow to the city.”

A public policy major at W&L, Lee was named city manager of the year in 2006 by the Florida League of Cities.

A Presidential Scholar

One member of Washington and Lee’s entering Class of 2015 has won a singular honor. Thomas Day, of Nashville, is one of 141 Presidential Scholars in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Chosen from more than 3,000 candidates on the basis of superior achievements, leadership qualities, personal character and involvement in community and school activities, the scholars are invited to Washington, D.C., for several days in the second half of June to receive the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion and to participate in various events held in their honor.

Thomas graduates from Battle Ground Academy next month. He ran cross country for BGA and plays on the Wildcats’ soccer team. He received the Battle Ground Academy Board of Trustees Scholarship all four years, and W&L has awarded him a Robert E. Lee Scholarship.

The son of W&L alum Roger Day, of the Class of 1985, he has toured with his father, a two-time Parents’ Choice Award-winning singer-songwriter of children’s music. Thomas is a vocalist and plays ukulele, djembe, keyboards and guitar.

Fallen But Not Forgotten

This week the Wheaton edition of the Chicago Tribune related the story of Washington and Lee alumnus James Howard Monroe, of the Class of 1966, whose Medal of Honor will soon have a new home in a Chicago area middle school that bears his name.

Known as “Jimmy” or “Jimbo” by his family, Monroe was in the second semester of his senior year at W&L when he asked for some time off (voluntary withdrawal) to “provide the time for my attitude to mature.” He was drafted and went to Vietnam where he was a medic. According to the Medal of Honor citation,  Jimmy was treating an injured radio operator during an attack on Feb. 16, 1967, when he saw a live grenade fall in front of his position and smothered the grenade’s blast with his body. He was recognized for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.”

The story was retold in October 2008 by John Rutherford, a classmate of Jimmy’s at W&L, a decorated Vietnam veteran and a producer for NBC. In a column titled “Fallen but not forgotten: Pfc. James Monroe” that introduced a PBS documentary on the medal of honor, John wrote about his former classmate and the circumstances under which he won the Medal of Honor.

As the Tribune story explains, the medal itself has been in the possession of Jimmy’s niece, Michelle Gattas. But she recently determined it belongs in James Monroe Middle School in Wheaton. The school was officially renamed in 1969. On May 27, there will be a dedication ceremony on the football field of Monroe Middle School.

The DA

The Ledger-Enquirer newspaper in Columbus, Ga., published a major feature story this weekend on the first female prosecutor of the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit — Washington and Lee alumna Julia Slater, a 1993 graduate of the School of Law. The story was based, in part, on a guilty verdict that Julia had won in a 25-year-old murder case back in April.

Julia had been an upset winner for district attorney in her home town of Columbus, Ga., in 2008, and she told the Ledger-Enquirer that she intends to run for re-election. She had served as an assistant district attorney, specializing in juvenile crimes, from 1994 to 2003. Now, as DA, she is very much in the spotlight and has been particularly active in prosecuting so-called “cold cases” that have been brought to her by police. Such cases, she said, are not only important to the families of the victims but also to the community.

Given the nature of the job, she is not without her critics, according to the media, and Julia admits that she doesn’t fit the model of the DA to which the community has been accustomed. In the interview with the Ledger-Enquirer, she said: “It’s not a perception carried by everybody, and I wouldn’t even say the majority of people. But there are some that think the DA should be a man, that all lawyers should be men. Some people just come from that school, from that way of thinking that decision-makers and those in charge should be men. I’ve faced some challenges with people that believe that way.”

The newspaper story includes a video at the bottom of the page in which Julia talks at length about her work.

Four Seniors in Japanese Honor Society

Three members of Washington and Le’s Class of 2011 have been named to the Japanese National Honor Society. They are Hannah Kollef from Summit, N.J., Lu Li from Tianmen, China, Paul Matteo from Philadelphia and Susan Taylor from Atlanta. This national collegiate honor society recognizes and encourages scholastic achievement and excellence in the study of the Japanese language.

2 of Philly's 40 Under 40

Later this month, the Philadelphia Business Journal and the Fox School of Business at Temple University will honor 40 people under the age of 40 for their professional accomplishments and community involvement. Two of the 40 winners are Washington and Lee alumni: David Foster, of the Class of 1998, and Paul E. Wright, of the Class of 1995.

Foster is president and CEO of the Greater Camden Partnership, a nonprofit economic development company dedicated to the revitalization of the City of Camden, N.J. He was an attorney specializing in real estate development and investment in the Philadelphia office of Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll L.L.P. Prior to that, he was a commercial real estate development associate with the Hutchison Whampoa Property Group in Shanghai, China.

Foster was profiled for his work with the Greater Camden Partnership in the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of the W&L alumni magazine. You can read that story here.

Wright is vice president for strategy for Fusebox, Inc., an Atlanta-based company that provides digital marketing, social media and technology consulting and video production services. He is an executive producer for Fusebox’s documentary, “Submit: The Virtual Reality of Cyber-Bullying.” Previously, he worked in corporate finance for the media and entertainment industry, for Bear Stearns and in corporate development for Imax Corp.

According to the Journal, there were more 300 nominations for the awards, which are now in their 21st year.

Athletic Hall of Famers

Four alumni who distinguished themselves on the fields, courts and courses of W&L compose the 24th class to be inducted into Washington and Lee’s Athletic Hall of Fame. They will be honored on Sept. 9 at the annual Athletic Hall of Fame dinner and then will be introduced at halftime of the Generals’ football game on Sept. 10 against the University of the South. The four new members will bring to 112 the total number of athletes, coaches and administrators in the Hall of Fame.

The honorees:

• Jack Vardaman ’62, a four-year letter winner and captain of the golf team. As a freshman, Jack helped W&L claim the Virginia State Intercollegiate Championship. That tournament was held at the Cascades in Hot Springs, and 50 years later, Jack won the Virginia State Golf Association’s Super Senior Amateur tournament on that same course. He was ranked as one of the 10 best senior amateur golfers in the United States in 2001 by Golf Digest. Jack is a member of the University’s Board of Trustees.

• Kevin Weaver ’87, a standout on the football field and the track. A running back who also played on defense from time to time, Kevin was ODAC Player of the Year in football as a junior, when the Generals won the league title. Kevin still holds school records for touchdowns in a season (17) and points in a season (110). On the track, he helped W&L win four ODAC titles in the indoor and outdoor seasons combined and was part of five conference-champion relay teams.

• Brooke Glenn Mullin ’97, a four-year letter winner in lacrosse and a one-year winner in volleyball. On the volleyball court, Brooke played in her sophomore and junior years, and she helped the Generals win their first ODAC championship in 1995. On the lacrosse field, she was a record-setting goalie who still holds four school records. She was a three-time All-ODAC selection in goal and a Second Team All-America selection. Brooke was  the ODAC and VaSID College Division Player of the Year and an IWLCA Academic All-American following her senior season.

• Mikel Parker ’99, one of the top defensive players in Generals’ soccer history. He was the second W&L player to win All-America honors when he earned third-team status as a sophomore. In his senior year, Mikel was the ODAC and VaSID College Division Player of the Year. He played in all 68 games during his four seasons, finishing with 14 career points (four goals and six assists) and helping the Generals’ defense allow an average of just 1.47 goals per game in his four seasons.

Milliken Plant Named for Ashley Allen '65

Ashley Allen, a 1965 graduate of Washington and Lee, spent his entire working career with Milliken & Company in Spartanburg, S.C. When he retired in 2008, Ashley was president and CEO of the textile and chemical company, which is probably best known for its carpet but has a varied portfolio of products.

A chemistry major at W&L who went on to receive a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Cornell, Ashley was the first person not in the Milliken family to head the company in its 146-year history.

Earlier this week, Milliken rededicated its Cypress Plant in Blacksburg, S.C., as the “Allen Plant” in recognition of Ashley’s leadership. During his career, Ashley spent time in Milliken & Co.’s manufacturing-development and business-management segments. He was president of the chemical and packaging division, the industrial specialities division and Milliken Research. He was president and chief operating officer when he was elected CEO in 2005.

And Eat It, Too

Washington and Lee’s 2012 Republican Mock Convention had a successful Spring Kickoff last weekend, with performances and presentations from the Capitol Steps, Mary Matalin and Karl Rove. And we already blogged about the Presidential Issues Panel.

But one of the biggest hits of the weekend had to be the Colonnade Cake. It was created by Charm City Cakes of Baltimore, Chef Duff Goldman’s custom bakery that is the focus of the Food Network’s program “Ace of Cakes.”

Given the construction currently underway on Payne Hall, Duff’s cake provided one of the clearest views of the Colonnade that we’ve seen in a while. And given the conversations of the weekend, when none of the speakers was willing to speculate about a clear front runner for the Republican nomination, the decision to include figurines of potential candidates Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels, Mitt Romney and Donald Trump was as good a guess as any.

And reports are that it tasted pretty good, too.

ITS Featured in National Magazine

The June/July 2011 edition of EDTECH Magazine focuses on the work that Washington and Lee’s Information Technology Services on the University’s wireless network. The piece, “Wireless Insight,” features interviews with Tom Tinsley, director of network and telecommunications, and Mike Courtney, network engineer, who describe how ITS is using Aruba’s Airware software to support an averge 1,000 students, faculty, staff and guests who are accessing the wireless system at any time. You can read the article as a pdf.

Earthquake, Tsunami Relief Fund-raising Concert Tonight

Washington and Lee’s departments of music and East Asian languages and literature will present a concert in Wilson Concert Hall at 5:30 p.m. today to raise funds for the victims of the  Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Julia Goudimova, cello, and Shuko Watanabe, piano, members of the W&L music faculty, will present works by Bach and Beethoven as well as Japanese composers.

Goudimova was born in Moscow and has performed in recitals and chamber music concerts around the world. She now teaches cello privately as an adjunct at W&L and performs with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, University-Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra and Rockbridge Community Symphony Orchestra.

Watanabe received her early musical training in Japan, attending the Kunitachi School of Music under Noriko Kanayama as well as studying privately with the renowned Japanese pianist Shuku Iwasaki. She later studied at Peabody Conservatory of Music and earned a doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Maryland at College Park. She is frequently engaged as a soloist, chamber-music performer and lecturer. She has appeared in Japan and throughout the United States. At W&L, she teaches courses in applied piano, aural skills (ear-training and sight-singing) and supervised accompanying, and is director of the accompanying program.

This free concert is open to all and will be followed by a reception of Japanese food donated by the Japanese community in Lexington. Donations will be collected or can be sent by May 23 to Dymph Alexander, c/o Music Department, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA 24450. All donations will be sent to the Japanese Red Cross. Cash and check donations will be accepted. Please make out all checks to “Washington and Lee University (memo: Japanese Red Cross).”

Earlier this semester, four W&L organizations raised more than $1,800 to provide relief for victims of the disasters.

Three W&L Sophomores Win Shirley Hurt Brand Scholarships

Three members of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2013 have won Shirley Hurt Brand Scholarships from the Cabell Brand Center for Global Poverty and Resource Sustainability Studies of Salem, Va. The $1,000 scholarships were awarded on the basis of essays the students wrote on what they plan to do with their studies and lives “For the Common Good.”

The winners are:

  • Johanna Cho, a politics major from Wilmette, Ill.
  • Kathryn Marsh Soloway, a journalism and art history double major from Woodbridge, Conn.
  • Danielle Breidung, a sociology major from Waunakee, Wis.

Law Grad Competing on The Bachelorette

When ABC-TV’s popular series The Bachelorette begins its new season on May 23, one of the bachelors will be West Lee, a 2007 graduate of the Washington and Lee School of Law.

West is one of 25 who will vie for the affections of Ashley Hebert, the 26-year-old bachelorette from Philadelphia who was a former contestant on The Bachelor.

A Clemson graduate, West had been practicing as an assistant attorney general in the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office from September 2008 until he entered the competition in March.

Here is West’s official bio on The Bachelorette’s website.

New Edition of Elmes' Book Published

David G. Elmes, professor emeritus of psychology, has published the ninth edition of Research Methods in Psychology (Wadsworth, Cengage Learning) with his co-authors Barry H. Kantowitz, professor of psychology and professor of Industrial and operational engineering at the University of Michigan, and Henry L. (Roddy) Roediger III ’69, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. Kantowitz, Roediger, and Elmes have also co-authored Experimental Psychology, which appeared in its ninth edition in 2009. The 10th edition of Experimental Psychology is planned for 2013. Elmes taught at W&L for 40 years and was active in the Council of Undergraduate Research, serving as president of the organizaiton.He is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and the Virginia Academy of Science.

Ed Wasserman Elected to Executive Board of APPE.

Ed Wasserman, the Knight Professor of Journalism Ethics at Washington and Lee, has been elected to a four-year term on the executive board of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE). The organization encourages interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching of high quality in practical and professional ethics by educators and practitioners who appreciate the practical-theoretical aspects of their subjects. The association facilitates communication and joint ventures among centers, schools, colleges, business and nonprofit organizations and individuals concerned with the interdisciplinary study and teaching of practical and professional ethics. In addition to Wasserman, the other newly-elected executive board members were  Lisa Parker, Center for Bioethics and Health Law , University of Pittsburgh and Rosemarie Tong, Center for Professional and Applied Ethics, University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Mock Con Kickoff Conversations

Washington and Lee’s 2012 Republican Mock Convention is 279 days away. Thursday night, as part of the quadrennial event’s Spring Kickoff, and just before the first GOP presidential debate aired on TV, four seasoned political observers offered some valuable advice to the student conventioneers during a panel discussion in Wilson Concert Hall.

The conversation was as fascinating as it was wide-ranging. The panelists were Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics; Rhodes Cook, a political analyst who is a freelance contributor to the Washington Post and was previously a senior writer for Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report; Kellyanne Conway, founder and president of the polling company Inc./WomanTrend; and Mike Allen, of W&L’s Class of 1986, chief political correspondent for Politico.

Here is just a sample of the commentary:

• From Sabato: “I wish every college and university in Virginia had a mock convention. If they did, I think we would have a much higher average voter participation.”

• From Cook: “One thing to watch is, will there be a move from primaries to caucuses in 2012? Back in 2008, we had about 40 state primaries and maybe a dozen caucuses. Next time around there could be a substantial increase in the caucuses…. That would make a big difference in the process, because caucuses generally operate differently. Primary tests vote-getting appeal, while a cause tests your ability to organize and to energize.”

• From Conway:  “The most obsessive question, particularly in the Republican Party, is ‘Who can win?’… When people focus on who can win, they look at the wrong metrics. The average voter does not ask himself, ‘Who can win?’ He asks, ‘Who can lead?’ “

• From Allen: “To make a decision that you will not agonize over, trust your gut and stick with it. Washington and Lee students have good instincts. Back in 1984 — this will surprise you all, but W&L was pretty Republican in 1984 — we had a speaker come that year who was a Democrat and whom the students loved. They thought this was a person doing serious things. It was Joe Biden. W&L students loved Joe Biden, because they have good instincts.”

And finally, this exchange between Sabato and Allen:

Sabato: “You couldn’t have made it more difficult for yourself in 2012 with this unformed field, and then you’ll be picking the nominee between Iowa and New Hampshire. What were you drinking? Mike, did you tell them to do this?

Allen: “Washington and Lee never takes the easy way out.”

Of Poets and Blogs

Need some poetry today? If so–and really, any day is a good day for poetry–here are two semi-new blogs worth a visit.

First, “Fresh, Local, Wild: The Poetics of Food” is the blog of  a Spring Term poetry workshop at Washington and Lee, taught by English professor Deborah Miranda. As the title suggests, the subject of the students’ poetry is food. And the range of topics is wide: Strawberry Smoothie to A Drop of Honey. It’s not all been slaving over their quill pens for the students. For inspiration, they have taken field trips, including one to Wade’s Mill in nearby Raphine. Deborah explains that the students write two poems a week—one comes through the poetry workshop in class, the other goes up on the blog for group critique. Consequently, the poems that you’ll find along the right side represent only about half of the work. Check back for audio of close readings of poems.

Second, Lesley Wheeler, professor of English at W&L, is spending half the the year in New Zealand on a Fulbright grant. She is at Victoria University in Wellington conducting research on a new scholarly study, “Poetry and Community in the 21st Century.” Lesley is also blogging about her work at “the cave, the hive,” which takes its name from a poem by  Bill Manhire, founder of New Zealand’s first creative-writing course, at Victoria University, and director of the International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) there.

A Bright Light on Broadway

Congratulations to Rob Ashford, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1982, for the two Tony nominations he received Tuesday. The director of the current Broadway revival of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” won nods for best direction of a musical and best choreography.

And there’s more — two of his stars were nominated in the musical category as well, Tammy Blanchard for best actress in a featured role, and John Laroquette for best actor in a featured role. You may have heard of another performer in the show — Daniel Radcliffe. The actor who portrays Harry Potter on film is making his musical comedy debut under Rob’s guidance.

“How to Succeed” also won nominations for best revival of a musical, best costume design of a musical, best lighting design of a musical and best orchestration.

It’s not Rob’s first acquaintance with Tony. He’s received nominations for his work on earlier productions, including “Cry Baby” and “The Wedding Singer,” and he won one for his choreography of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in 2002. He’s also been nominated for the Oliviers, Britain’s equivalent of the Tonys. He’s got an Emmy at home too, for his choreography of the 81st Academy Awards.

Watch the Tony Awards on June 12 to see if Rob and company take home the prizes. And to see just why he’s won such acclaim, watch this video:

Retiring from The Hill

Congratulations to David R. Dougherty, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1968, who has announced his retirement as headmaster of The Hill School, a 160-year-old prep school in Pottstown, Pa. David will step down in June 2012, which will be his 19th year as the school’s headmaster. He made the announcement last month.

Among the many achievements cited in announcements of David’s decision, one that resonates is his leadership of the school’s move to coeducation in 1998. Today, 44 percent of The Hill’s 503 students are girls. He also completed a successful capital campaign that raised $84.5 million for the school.

Before he went to The Hill, David had been headmaster of North Cross in Roanoke and had spent 21 years at his alma mater, The Episcopal School in Alexandria, where he taught English, coached baseball and served as assistant headmaster and dean of the faculty.

Another Good Draft for Law Alumnus

Sports agent Malik Shareef, a 2006 graduate of the Washington and Lee School of Law, had an interesting few days last week as he waited to see where one of his clients, Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams, would go in the National Football League draft.

In a story published this past Saturday, The Washington Post chronicled Williams’ experience and included Malik’s observations on the process. Among other insights into the relationship between a sports agent and a football star, the Post piece said that Malik had slept in his client’s room on the night before the draft to make sure he didn’t miss any of his appointments the following day. Not only that, but apparently Malik even ironed Williams’s shirts for him — not exactly something he would have studied in Lewis Hall. (Malik is pictured with Williams in the first photo of a Post slideshow.)

This was the second year in a row that Malik and his partner, Joshua Hare, who have a firm called Dimensional Sports, have had one of their players invited to attend the draft in New York. Such an invitation is based on whether or not it appears that the player will be a high selection and will walk onto the stage at Radio City Music Hall once his name is called. Last year Malik’s client, Joe Haden of the University of Florida, was the No. 7 choice in the first round by the Cleveland Browns. Last July, Malik completed negotiations with the Browns that resulted in a five-year, $50-million contract.

Williams wasn’t as fortunate as Harden; he was not drafted on the first day. But the Post article still captures the excitement that those around Williams felt when the Arizona Cardinals picked him on the second night of the draft. He was the 38th player selected.

Malik set the stage of the draft from an agent’s perspective with a piece that he wrote for Politic365.

W&L's Molly Michelmore on Virginia Insight

Molly Michelmore, assistant professor of history at Washington and Lee, appeared on NPR affiliate WMRA’s Virginia Insight show Monday (May 2) to discuss her research into the way that liberals have gone out of their way to avoid raising taxes how, over the past 50 years. Molly’s new book, “Tax and Spend: Welfare, Taxes and the Limits of American Liberalism,” is due to be published next year by the University of Pennsylvania. You can listen to Michelmore’s appearance on Virginia Insight here..