Feature Stories Campus Events

Rentschler Leads Social-Media Use

A company in Mason, Ohio, that deals with machine tools may not seem the likeliest candidate for a social-marketing initiative, but Washington and Lee alumnus Mark Rentschler, of the Class of 1982, has made Makino a leader in adopting the new technologies for an old-school industry.

Earlier this year, BtoB Magazine, which focuses on marketing, named Mark one of its 25 Top Digital Marketers for 2011.

Mark has been marketing manager at Makino for 11 years. Not only has he implemented Facebook, Twitter and YouTube strategies for the company, but he also developed a blog, EDM Matters, for keeping people current on the latest technologies and processes. He adopted the webinar format early on. Since Makino offered its first webinar in 2006, the company has offered 150 programs that 10,000 people worldwide have seen.

According to the story about his award, Mark is now experimenting with pay-per-click technology on Bing and Google and has a new LinkedIn program. He’s also getting Makino’s print publication ready for tablet and smartphone viewing.

Second Annual Nobel Symposium at W&L

The Second Annual Nobel Prize Symposium at Washington and Lee University, coordinated this year by Wayne Dymacek, professor of mathematics, will feature presentations by W&L faculty who will give background on the individuals who have won this year’s Nobel Prizes and the activities that earned those honors. All sessions are open to the W&L community and the general public.

“These sessions by volunteer members of the W&L faculty will help educate all of us about the content and significance of the work that earned the 2011 Nobel Prize winners this high honor,” said Hank Dobin, dean of the college.

The first session was held Thursday, Oct. 20, with Maryanne Simurda, professor of biology, presenting on the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, awarded jointly to Bruce A. Beutler and Jules A. Hoffmann “for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity” and to Ralph M. Steinman “for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity.”

Additional Nobel Prize presentations will be held as follows:

Turing Prize in Computer Science, Friday, Nov. 4, 12:30 p.m. in the Women’s Resource Room, Elrod Commons

Joshua Stough, assistant professor of computer science, will present on the prize awarded to Leslie G. Valiant, who teaches computer science and applied mathematics at Harvard University, “for his research that paved the way for computers that more closely mimic how humans think.” The Turing Award is considered the Nobel Prize of computing and is named after the famous British mathematician Alan M. Turing.

Nobel Peace Prize, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 12:30 p.m. in Hillel House                 

Dayo Abah, associate professor of journalism, will present on the prize awarded jointly to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

Nobel Prize in Physics, Thursday, Nov. 10, at 12:30 p.m. in the Women’s Resource Room, Elrod Commons

Bruce Boller, visiting professor of physics, will present on the prize awarded jointly to Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riess “for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe through observations of distant supernovae.”

Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences, Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 12: 30 p.m., in Hillel House

Mike Smitka, professor of economics, will present on the prize awarded jointly to Thomas J. Sargent and Christopher A. Sims “for their empirical research on cause and effect in the macroeconomy.”

Abel Prize in Mathematics, Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 12:30 p.m. in Hillel house

Jacob Siehler, assistant professor of mathematics, will present on the prize awarded to John Milnor “for pioneering discoveries in topology, geometry and algebra.”

Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 12:15 p.m. in Hillel House

Erich Uffelman, professor of chemistry, will present on the prize awarded to Dan Shechtman “for the discovery of quasicrystals.”

The presentation for the Nobel Prize in Literature has not yet been scheduled.

Sarah Tschiggfrie
News Director

Roger Strong Wins Elmes Pathfinder Prize in Psychology

Roger Strong, a Washington and Lee University senior from Rochester, N.Y., has been named the 2011 recipient of the David G. Elmes Pathfinder Prize in Psychology.

The prize recognizes a W&L senior who has shown extraordinary promise in psychological science or in the application of psychological science in the professions through outstanding scholarship in basic or applied psychology.

Strong, a neuroscience major, worked as a research assistant with Wythe Whiting, associate professor of psychology at W&L, with support from W&L’s Robert E. Lee Summer Research Fellowship program. He also served as a teacher’s assistant to Dan Johnson, assistant professor of psychology, for psychology statistics courses for the past two years.

In addition to his involvement in psychological research, Strong serves as a captain and a starting pitcher on the Washington and Lee baseball team. Strong was a member of the 2009 ODAC championship team and in 2010 was named to the ODAC All-Conference second team.

A member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, Strong plans to work in a research facility after graduation before applying to a graduate program in sensory neuroscience or a related field

The David G. Elmes Pathfinder Prize is supported by the The Elmes Fund, a permanently endowed fund established by alumni in 2007 in honor of David G. Elmes, emeritus professor of psychology.

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W&L Student Teams Compete in Computer Programming Contest

Two teams of three students from Washington and Lee University recently placed second and fourth in a computer programming contest at Longwood University in Farmville, Va.

A total of 16 teams, comprising 46 students from eight colleges and universities in Virginia, competed on Oct. 22 in the inaugural invitational contest sponsored by Longwood’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

The aim of the contest was to design programs for problems faster than opposing teams. The W&L teams were among only four teams that correctly solved five problems out of nine. A five-minute penalty was added for each incorrect solution to a problem. The winning team, from Longwood University, had a penalty time of 540 minutes, while W&L’s second-place team had a penalty time of 682 minutes.

“It was a grueling four hours,” said Joshua Stough, assistant professor of computer science and the teams’ coach. “But on the bright side it was a real geek-fest and you learned a lot about yourself. It’s for the glory of it and for sharpening your skills as a problem solver and coder/hacker.

“The problems, which were submitted by faculty from the participating schools, ranged greatly in difficulty and subject matter,” said Stough. “One example of a simpler problem was ‘Given a football quarterback’s statistics, compute the quarterback rating, for which a formula is provided.’ The problems varied right up to what are basically advanced math problems, from combinatorics to graph theory.”

The two teams were only recently organized by W&L sophomore Richard Marmorstein. “We should all thank Richard for marshalling interest, organizing the teams and making us proud,” acknowledged Stough.

The second-place team consisted of Lee Davis ’13, Garrett Koller ’14 and Anton Reid ’14. Members of the fourth-place team were Marmorstein, Alex Baca ’14 and Suraj Bajracharya ’14.

“Given their finishes, the teams are hungry for more competition,” said Stough. “They will compete again in the ACM regionals at Shippensburg, Pa., against the likes of Penn State, West Virginia and Dickinson College.”

Other colleges taking part in the Longwood contest were Bridgewater College, Hampden-Sydney College, Lynchburg College, Randolph-Macon College, Southside Virginia Community College and the College of William & Mary.

Williams School's NY Road Trip

Thirty students from Washington and Lee’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, along with members of the faculty and representatives of W&L’s Career Services, descended on New York City last week to get a sense of what might await them after graduation.

The Williams School Annual Investments Trip allows students to observe and talk with individuals engaged in the functions of financial markets and to explore the potential in advertising and marketing. Twenty students headed to Wall Street, 10 to Madison Avenue.

The Wall Street group visited and heard presentations from Bloomberg, Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan Chase, Lincoln International, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and the New York Stock Exchange.

Amy Perkins, career adviser and recruitment manager in the Career Services Office, snapped the shot below of the group on the floor of the exchange.

W&L Students Trending Toward Macs, Smartphones

When they arrived on campus this fall, members of Washington and Lee University’s entering class of 2015 continued the recent trend toward a preference for Macintosh computers and smartphones, according to a survey by the W&L Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

More than 97 percent of the entering class completed the survey, which identified the types of electronics the students brought with them.

According to the data on computers, 67.1 percent of the students brought Macs, compared with the 32.9 percent who brought Windows machines. The vast majority of those computers were laptops.

That represents a significant shift from 2008-09, when a survey found that 68 percent of the student body at W&L owned Windows-based computers, while only 34 percent had Macs.

Meantime, 98.4 percent of the entering class brought cell phones, with 76.8 percent of those being smartphones, including iPhones, Android-based phones and BlackBerries. By comparison, two years ago only 43.7 percent of the cell phones that the entering students brought with them were smartphones.

“There is little doubt that smartphones will approach 100 percent with next year’s entering class,” said Jeff Overholtzer, manager of strategic planning and communication with Information Technology Services.
Tablet computers began to make their presence felt for the first time with this entering class, leapfrogging the e-readers like Kindle and Nook. Almost 10 percent of the class brought a tablet—the overwhelming majority have Apple’s iPad—which represented a 400 percent increase over last year. Most tablet owners are not relying on them as their solo computing device; only four of the students who brought tablets did not also bring a laptop computer.

W&L Alumna Rebecca Makkai Reads from Her Novel

Washington and Lee University alumna Rebecca Makkai presented the Glasgow Reading at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 26, 2011, when she read from her novel, “The Borrowers.”

A member of W&L’s class of 1999, Makkai is currently a Montessori school teacher in Chicago. She has had a story published in Best American Short Stories for four straight years and is currently finishing a volume of her short stories while also working on her second novel. She earned her M.A. in English from Middlebury’s Bread Loaf School of English.

Beckley Named to Campus Kitchens Project's National Board

Harlan Beckley, the Fletcher Otey Thomas Professor of Religion and director of the Shepherd Poverty Program at Washington and Lee University, has been named to a three-year term on the Board of Visitors of the Campus Kitchens Project (CKP).

Beckley is one of nine new board members who CKP announced at its annual conference on Thursday (Oct. 27, 2011) in St. Louis. He is joined on the board by several celebrated chefs, food advocates and leaders from business and non-profit communities.

“We are extremely excited to have so many visionary leaders as part of the same group,” said Robert Egger, president of the Campus Kitchens Project and its parent organization, DC Central Kitchen. “Their skills and talents all share a common passion for fighting hunger and food inequalities.  As our Campus Kitchens continue to grow, such leadership is essential.”

The Campus Kitchens Project is the national food-recovery and hunger-fighting organization now active on 31 campuses in 21 states.

Washington and Lee has one of the most successful Campus Kitchen organizations. Founded in 2006 by Ingrid Easton, a 2006 Washington and Lee graduate, the W&L program provides hunger relief in Rockbridge County. It accomplishes this goal through recycling food, which comes as donations from the University’s Dining Services, Lexington’s Walmart and Kroger grocery stores, Aramark food services at VMI, fraternities and restaurants. Student volunteers serve about 600 meals a week during the academic year and often dine with the food recipients.

“I am honored to be invited to serve Campus Kitchens on the national level,” said Beckley. “We are immensely proud of our Campus Kitchen here at Washington and Lee, and I think we can do even more to use it as an opportunity to educate our students about community, hunger, nutrition and health.”

A member of the Washington and Lee faculty since 1974, Beckley helped create and became the first director of the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability in 1997. He was named the Fletcher Otey Thomas Professor of Religion in 1999 and, in 2002, received the Commonwealth of Virginia’s highest award for excellence in education, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Award. He has served as vice president and president of the Society of Christian Ethics and as acting president of Washington and Lee in 2005-06.

In addition to Beckley, the other new board members are Robert Egger, chair, founder and president, DC Central Kitchen and The Campus Kitchens Project; Jose Andres, owner of Think Food Group, which includes restaurants in Washington, Beverly Hills, New York and Las Vegas; Alice Waters, founder of Edible School Yard and owner of Chez Panisse restaurant; Gary Oppenheimer, founder and executive director of AmpleHarvest.org; Timothy Cipriano, executive director of food services for the New Haven (Conn.) Public Schools; Ken Meyer, vice president of Whole Foods’ mid-Atlantic region; Cathy Ahlschlager, community outreach director, The Ronald McDonald House of Eastern North Carolina; and Tony Geraci, food service consultant and former director of food and nutrition for the Baltimore City Public Schools.

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

Garrett Fagan to Discuss Infamous Roman Games in W&L Lecture

Garrett G. Fagan, associate professor of classics, history and ancient Mediterranean studies at The Pennsylvania State University, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on Monday, Oct. 31, at 6:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium in Leyburn Library.

The title of the talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Watching the Fighters: Exploring the Roman Fascination with Violent Spectacle.” It is presented by W&L’s History Department.

Sarah Bond, the Junior Faculty Fellow in Classics and History, at W&L, said, “In this talk, Fagan will draw on his recent book “The Lure of the Arena” to explore the psychological processes at work among the arena crowd, and so offers a new perspective on the infamous Roman games.”

Fagan also has co-written “From Augustus to Nero: An Intermediate Latin Reader,” edited “Archaeological Fantasies: How Pseudoarchaeology Misrepresents the Past and Misleads the Public” and has published numerous articles in international journals. He has an extensive research record in Roman history, Latin epigraphy and method in archaeology.

Fagan has held a prestigious Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship at the University of Cologne. He received his B.A. and M.Litt. from Trinity College, Dublin, and his Ph.D. from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.

Laura Brodie’s Book Surprise Hit in Germany, Possible Movie

“The Widow’s Season,” by Laura Brodie, visiting assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee University, has become a surprise hit in Germany. The book, which prominently features places around W&L and Lexington, was published by Berkley Books (part of Penguin Books) in 2009.

A German translation was published in the summer of 2010 and has since become a surprise hit, reaching number 11 on Der Speigel’s bestseller list (the German equivalent of the New York Times’ bestseller list). It stayed on the list for 24 weeks. Word of mouth among independent booksellers, combined with strong magazine and blog reviews, helped to make the book a success. This past summer, a new, mass market edition in German was published and it too reached the bestsellers list. To date, the German version of “The Widow’s Season” has sold over 120,000 copies.

An independent German film company has purchased the film rights to the book and negotiations are underway for a movie to begin production in 2012. “We have our fingers crossed that the movie deal will come through, but nothing is certain until everyone signs on the bottom line,” said Brodie.

Brodie’s third novel, “All the Truth,” is also set in Lexington and features a college similar to Washington and Lee. It will be published in both German and English in 2012.

For further details about “The Widow’s Season”:   http://www.amazon.com/Widows-Season-Laura-Brodie/dp/0425227650

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Payne Hall Ghost: Spooked by Renovations?

Sandy O’Connell vividly remembers the morning she saw the Payne Hall ghost.

It was about 8 a.m., a gray and overcast day, and she was stepping from the Colonnade into the first-floor hallway of Payne Hall. O’Connell, the administrative assistant to the English Department, was the first person to enter the building that morning—or so she thought.

As O’Connell started to flip on the light, something caught her eye. “Up the stairwell went a figure in a white shirt,” she said. “I’m thinking, this is a student who’s turning in a paper late. Didn’t hear any footsteps, but just saw the white shirt going up the steps.”

O’Connell dashed up the stairs to see what the student wanted. The second-floor hallway was dark—and empty. “Then I went up to the third floor. Dark as it could be up there. The professors hadn’t come in yet. Not a soul up there.” She turned on the lights, then returned to the second floor, even stepping into the men’s bathroom to see if there was anyone in the building. “There was not a soul.”

O’Connell is just one of many people who have reported ghostly encounters in and around Payne Hall. Built in 1830 as the Lyceum, its name was changed to Payne after a 1930s renovation; it now houses the English Department. Purported sightings include a dark presence moving swiftly down the back stairs, a person dressed in black swirling down the Colonnade, and a cape-wearing figure that whisks into the building.

Is there just one Payne Hall ghost? Or several? Or are the stories the stuff of a creative English Department coupled with the imaginations of impressionable students?

In a class a few years ago, Lesley Wheeler, the Henry S. Fox Professor of English, was discussing “The Book of Ephraim,” a poem by James Merrill that he wrote with the help of a Ouija board and séances. Several students asked if they could use a Ouija board to communicate with the spirits in Payne Hall. “I thought that sounded like the most questionable field trip ever,” said Wheeler. “So I said, I’ll do it with you, but it’s got to be really optional.”

About six students gathered on a spring evening in Payne 201, the large, second-floor classroom where Robert E. Lee took his oath of office as W&L’s president in 1865. It was dark outside, but light enough to read the letters on the Ouija board. “I assumed if I was in the room, nothing would happen,” said Wheeler.

The students and Wheeler each placed one finger on the planchette, the pointer that Ouija-board believers say spells out letter-by-letter messages from spirits. The planchette flew across the board.

“I’m not claiming this is real, but we had a series of apparent conversations,” said Wheeler. The group determined that the first spirit to communicate with them was a Civil War veteran. “The questions eventually led us to the idea that he was a guy who died at 40. He was from North Carolina,” said Wheeler, who kept notes about the encounter in an early draft of a poem. The spirit seemed to idolize one of Stonewall Jackson’s daughters. “I vaguely remember that. It was a strange little detail.”

(Jackson and his second wife, Mary Anna Morrison, had two daughters: Mary, who died soon after her birth in 1858, and Julia, born in 1862. As Jackson’s only surviving child, Julia was a public figure until her death in 1889.)

Stonewall Jackson himself may have been in the room. “What’s supposed to happen is that the planchette slides off the board and then comes back on, and that means it’s a new voice,” said Wheeler. The new spirit identified himself as a veteran who had taught at the neighboring Virginia Military Institute. “We asked him, ‘Are you Stonewall Jackson?’ and he said yes. And we asked him what his favorite book was, and he spelled out B-I-B-L-E.”

(A devout Presbyterian, Thomas Jonathan Jackson lived in Lexington from 1851 to 1861. Before the Civil War, he taught at VMI. He lived on the W&L campus with his first wife, Elinor Junkin, the daughter of the college’s president at the time, in what is today called the Lee-Jackson House. In 1854, Elinor died there after delivering a stillborn son. Stonewall Jackson died in 1863 at Guinea Station, Va., of complications from wounds he received at the Battle of Chancellorsville.)

For Wheeler, the spookiest moment occurred after a student asked one of the spirits to name the most haunted building on campus. “The letters spelled out B-I-O, and we thought, “bio”? The Science Center?  How could that be haunted?” The Science Center addition on campus opened in the late 1990s.

At a reception the next day, Wheeler discussed the incident with a colleague—who told her that biology used to be taught in Payne Hall, back when it was called the Lyceum. “It gives me goosebumps every time I talk about it,” said Wheeler.

Suzanne Keen, the Thomas H. Broadus Professor of English and chair of the English Department, used to have an office on the second floor, near the front stairwell. “I would hear footsteps coming up the stairs real slow, like an older person,” she said. “When I would go out to see if it was a colleague, there would be no one there.”

Keen says no one should disrespect the Payne Hall ghost. “I did have a weird experience once years ago teaching in Payne 201, on the second floor. I was telling the students about the Payne Hall ghost and I was, I am sad to say, making disparaging remarks,” said Keen.

“Up on the ceiling was one of those big old light fixtures for fluorescent bulbs, double, five feet long. It sprang off the ceiling,” said Keen. “And then it was dangling. Luckily it didn’t hit any of the students. And we were all frozen.”

The question today is whether the ghost, or ghosts, stuck around after the 14-month Payne Hall renovations, completed in July. During that time, the English faculty and staff relocated to Baker Hall. “Last summer when we were packing up, getting ready to move out, I did keep seeing this shadow out of the corner of my eye,” recalled Wheeler. “It looked like the shadow of a man kind of leaning forward, but I just kept telling myself, ‘It’s the books, it’s the stack of books.’ ”

But the figure wouldn’t leave. “It was eerie, but I also kept explaining it to myself as a trick of the shadows,” said Wheeler. “I have a vested interest in not quite believing in the ghost because I work in this building.”

Jim Warren, the S. Blount Mason Jr. Professor of English, said that pre-renovation, the door to Payne 201 would occasionally swing open or shut while he taught. Was it a cross-current from open windows or a communicative spirit? With Payne’s new heating-and-cooling system—and closed windows—that question may soon be answered.

“I don’t think the Payne Hall ghost is sinister, except for knocking out the light fixture. A bit poltergeist-y, but he certainly seems benevolent. Like an old professor who forgot to retire,” said Keen. “We just hope we didn’t scare him off with all the renovations, because basically it’s still the same building.”

— by Amy C. Balfour ’89, ’93L

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

Carve Your W&L Jack-O-Lantern

Before you carve the usual scary face on your jack-o-lantern this year, consider using one of our stencils to make this a Washington and Lee Halloween.

You can choose from one of four symbols — the W&L logo, the Trident, Old George and the Bob and George silhouettes.

Just click on one of the images below, download the stencil, print and carve. If you feel so moved, e-mail a photo of your creative effort to wlunews@wlu.edu, and we may post a few for viewing. 

iPad for Eating

Congratulations to Crawford Rhyne, a sophomore at Washington and Lee University from Gastonia, N.C., who won a new iPad last month in the Dining Services Great iPad Give-Away.

Any student who signed up for one of the six meal and flex plans in Dining Services was eligible for the prize. Approximately 70 percent of W&L’s student body participate in one of the plans.

Paul Renzi, director of auxiliary services, was joined by Dennis Fowler, director of dining services, and Fontanne Bostic of auxiliary services in making the presentation.

University of Georgia Philosophy Professor to Lecture at W&L

Richard Dien Winfield, Distinguished Research Professor in Philosophy, University of Georgia, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on Monday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. in Northen Auditorium,  Leyburn Library.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is titled “Is Phenomenology Necessary as Introduction to Philosophy?”

In his talk, Winfield will argue that philosophy, unlike the natural and social sciences, must begin without presuppositions about its subject matter.  However, he will also argue that phenomenological investigation, of the sort that the 19th-century German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel carried out in his Phenomenology of Spirit, is the only viable introduction to a systematic philosophy without presuppositions.

Winfield is the author of over a dozen books, including The Just Economy; The Just Family; The Just State: Rethinking Self-Government; Modernity, Religion, and the War on Terror; Stylistics: Rethinking the Artforms After Hegel; and The Living Mind: From Psyche to Consciousness.

Winfield is the past president of the Hegel Society of America and the current president of the Society for Systematic Philosophy.

He earned a B.A. from Yale College; studied at the University of Paris and the University of Heidelberg, where he received a magister artium (M.A.); and also earned a Ph.D. from Yale.

News Contact:
Julie Cline
News Writer

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W&L Film Wins Gold Dolphin at Cannes Awards

“Echoes of the Past, Voices of the Future,” a film created to support Washington and Lee University’s current fund-raising campaign, won a Gold Dolphin at the 2011 Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards at Cannes, France, on Oct. 13, 2011.

The six-minute film, produced by Tribe Pictures, of Chatham, N.J., featured Washington and Lee students. They recited quotations from past presidents and notable alumni and performed an arrangement of “Shenandoah,” composed for the film by Washington and Lee music professor Terry Vosbein.

The Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards had more than 400 submissions from over 25 countries this year. Fewer than 25 percent of the entrants were found deserving of a Dolphin by the international jury of specialists, and “Echoes of the Past” was the only American-made film to receive a Gold Dolphin in any of the 30-plus categories.

“This is a wonderful recognition for what we think is a remarkable film that has been warmly received by those who have viewed it thus far,” said Dennis Cross, vice president for University advancement at W&L.

The film had its premiere in October 2010 at the kickoff event for the campaign, “Honor Our Past, Build Our Future.” The University is screening the film only at campaign events. It has played at campaign gatherings during the past year and will be featured at similar meetings over the next three years. Cities in which W&L will show it through June 2012 are Philadelphia, Richmond, New York, Baltimore, Washington, Atlanta, Charlotte and Birmingham.

A team from Washington and Lee’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs worked closely with Tribe to develop the unusual concept, which took the form of a music video. Jeff Hanna, executive director of communications and public affairs, was joined by Julie Campbell, Eric Owsley and Jessica Willett of W&L.

“We were delighted to work with the Washington and Lee team on this film,” said Vern Oakley, founder and CEO of Tribe Pictures. “At Tribe, it’s our job to trigger emotions and draw the viewer in, so it’s always gratifying to see our work recognized as one of the best of its kind by a panel of distinguished judges.”

Tribe is a boutique communications firm specializing in strategic digital-video and film solutions for Fortune 500 corporations as well as leading colleges, universities and non-profits.

The film features readings by Catherine Carlock, Brian Devine, Meredith Freeman, Kenneth Hopkins, Kevin Mannering, Stephanie Mansey, Michael Morella, Elizabeth Van Leer and Jenna Worsham, all of the Class of 2010; Charlie Yates, a 2006 graduate and a 2010 law graduate; and Estefania Estrada and Keaton Fletcher, of the Class of 2013.

The student performers who played Vosbein’s score, which he wrote for their particular talents, were Alicia Bishop ’13, clarinet; Vera Higgs ’13, piano; Anna Hill ’11, harp; William Johnson ’12, violin; Karen Roth ’14, flute; MaryAnne Vardaman ’13, cello; and the Washington and Lee Chamber Singers, conducted by Shane Lynch, director of choral activities.

The Gold Dolphin from Cannes was one of four prizes that the film has received this year. It has also won a platinum EMPixx Award from the American Pixel Academy, a bronze Telly Award, and an Award of Excellence from District III of CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education).

News Contact:
Sarah Tschiggfrie
News Director

W&L Law Symposium to Look at Financial Services on the Fringe

The economic downturn and banking system overhaul have led to a boom in so-called “payday” loans, short-term, high-interest loans that help tide borrowers over between paychecks. As reported recently by the Wall Street Journal, shares in companies that provide these services have jumped in recent weeks as even more consumers have been turned away from traditional lending sources.

Financial services like these are the focus of an upcoming symposium on Nov. 10-11 at Washington and Lee School of Law in Lexington, Va. In addition to payday loans, participants will examine auto title loans, for-profit college loans, and refund anticipation loans. Legal scholars, economists  and lending company representatives will also explore emerging regulatory efforts, as both states and the federal government are poised to intervene in the fringe credit market to protect consumers from what some see as a predatory business practices.

The symposium, titled “Regulation in the Fringe Economy,” will take place in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall. A full schedule and registration information is available at law.wlu.edu/fringe. The symposium is free and open to the public. Virginia CLE credit is available.

Margaret Howard, a Washington and Lee law professor and bankruptcy expert who will moderate one of the symposium panels, notes that loans of any kind are hard to get right now from a bank.

“If you want a short-term loan, there’s no easy way to get one from a regular bank,” says Howard. “So there is a market for these loans, and if there were no market, these businesses would dry up of their own accord. But it is an extremely expensive way to borrow money. Ten dollars a week doesn’t sound like much, but when you add the percentage rate up over a year, it can be staggering.”

Participants in the symposium will also look at the growth in private loans for education, especially for-profit colleges. A recent report from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics showed that between 2004 and 2008, private loans directed at for-profit colleges grew nearly 30% and private loans for private nonprofit colleges increased 14%. The report noted also that fewer than half of those who utilized private loans had borrowed the maximum from federal loan programs, which offer better rates than private lenders.

“There is a question here about whether consumers who use these devices have all the information they need to make the best choice,” adds Howard. “We’ve seen this in the mortgage industry, where people who could have qualified for a traditional mortgage were pressed into high-risk mortgages because agents would get better commissions.”

States across the country are responding to consumers’ use of these products, but in very different ways. Some states have banned these businesses altogether while others have embraced them with little or no regulations.  The federal government is also responding, poised to intervene into fringe credit markets for the first time through the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The symposium is sponsored by the Washington and Lee Law Review, the Frances Lewis Law Center, Consumer Credit Research Foundation, The Washington and Lee Class of 1963 Scholar-in-Residence Fund, and the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges.*

For more information, visit the symposium website (law.wlu.edu/fringe) or contact Mallory Sullivan at sullivan.ma@law.wlu.edu.

*In partially funding the project, the Endowment does not endorse or express any opinion about the approach used by the project, or any conclusions, opinions, or report of any research results expressed in or disseminated by the project.

News Contact:
Peter Jetton
School of Law Director of Communications
(540) 458-8782

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Big Dog, Best Boss

Mike Wienick is called “Big Dog” by many of his employees at QualitySmith.com in Portland, Ore. Now they can call Mike something else — “Portland’s Best Boss.”

A 2002 graduate of Washington and Lee, where he majored in computer science, Mike is president of QualitySmith.com, a website that connects homeowners with contractors. In celebration of National Bosses Day earlier this month, the Portland-based newspaper Willamette Week asked its readers to nominate bosses and chose the best based on the responses.

According to the article on the winning entries, nine members of Mike’s 14-person marketing team contributed rave reviews. One read:

A year and a half ago, the future of the company was unsure, and losing money daily. Mike was hired as the sole member of the marketing team and turned it around—we now have 14 employees and counting, and Mike has been promoted to the president of the company.

Another nomination noted that Mike allows his employees to bring dogs to the office, play Halo, ride razor scooters, watch TV and have pizza parties. No wonder the photo of Mike accompanying the story shows him surrounded by his marketing team armed with game-console controllers.

Before he became the “Big Dog” at QualitySmith, Mike had developed internet marketing campaigns for several businesses and had launched an e-commerce company, which he sold in 2009.

Congratulations to the Big Dog.

Name of W&L’s Japanese Tea Room Unveiled at Ceremony

“Senshin’an” or “Clearing-the-Mind-Abode,” was announced as the name of the Japanese Tea Room at Washington and Lee University in a dedication ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 25, in the Reeves Center’s Watson Pavilion. The ceremony was attended by special guest Kayoko Hirota, chief of administration at the Urasenke Chanoyu Center in New York, along with members of the W&L community.

After the tea room’s name was unveiled on a plaque installed outside the tea room, students served traditional sweets and tea to the guests. “This is very much the protocol for this kind of simple ceremony,” said Janet Ikeda, associate professor of Japanese in W&L’s Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures.

The name “challenges us to dispel the distractions in our everyday lives,” said Ikeda. “It is a wonderful name and a great phrase for today’s students.”

The tea room opened in a formal ceremony, but without a name, in February 2007. Ikeda explained that tea room names are special gifts, although there is very little written on the tradition. This name was a gift from Sen Genshitsu, the 15th-generation Grand Master of the Urasenke Tradition of Tea.

Ikeda said it was a special honor to receive a name chosen by someone of such high esteem. “His lineage goes back to the first generation in the 16th century and now, 400 years later, Sen Genshitsu is 88 years old and his son is currently the Grand Master,” she said.

“I am delighted and am very grateful to him,” she added. “I see this as recognition of our tea room and our efforts to have a university course on the Way of the Tea, which I teach in a cultural context. It gives the tea room a cultural and historical significance, and I see it as a lasting legacy that will outlive my time here. The name will stay with the tea room for ever.”

Ikeda recalled that she had been a scholarship student of Sen Genshitsu. “I have kept contact with him over the years, sending reports and photographs. He’s very proud of what I’ve done here.”

Ikeda said that Sen Genshitsu spends much of his time offering tea ceremonies in the pursuit of peace and believes that something as simple as a bowl of tea can bring people together.  He has made tea for world leaders and has spoken before audiences in more than 60 countries about achieving world peace by applying the wisdom of the Japanese tea ceremony.

In his remarks, W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio said, “In the wake of the March 2011 tsunami, our hearts have been with the Japanese people as they rebuild and renew their vision and purpose.  The Japanese art of tea remains an important way for us to broaden our global view, deepen our appreciation of art and find meaningful connections with each other.”

The Urasenke School of Tea has been a leading advocate for the continuing relevance of the art form in the modern era, transforming it from a cultural practice with ancient roots unique to Japan into an international phenomenon with branches, chapters and study groups around the world.

W&L’s Japanese Tea Room, or Clearing-the-Mind-Abode as it is now called, is used by W&L students learning the Way of the Tea as well as for outreach events.

News Contact:
Sarah Tschiggfrie
News Director

New Math Center Adds to Tutoring Options for W&L Students

Students at Washington and Lee University who are stumped by a math assignment can now seek a solution at the University’s new Math Center, where trained tutors will be available for assistance.

“This is for any student taking Math 101 or Math 102,” said Alan McRae, professor of mathematics and director of the Math Center. “It’s located in Robinson Hall 6 and is open Sunday through Thursday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.”

To ensure that the tutoring is as effective as possible, McRae and Greg Dresden, professor of mathematics and department head, recruited their top math students and trained them as tutors. “The Math Center is staffed by some of our best upper class math majors who can really help these students,” said Dresden. “But they won’t just present the student with the solution to a math problem. They’ll have students work out the problem on their own and guide them toward finding the right answer. It’s not about showing them a clever solution but showing them how they can get to that clever solution.

“So our message to anyone struggling with math is, as soon as you realize you’re having difficulty, come and get help. Of course you can always see your professor during office hours, but faculty aren’t usually around in the evening. So just turn up at the Math Center. No appointment necessary. Just drop in. Stay for a few minutes or the full two hours, whatever you need.”

Writing Center

While the Math Center is the latest addition to tutoring options at W&L, the Writing Center has offered a similar resource for decades to students struggling with writing assignments. It will open for the semester on Sunday, Sept. 25, and is located in Leyburn Library M11. Hours are Sunday through Thursday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“We try to hire the best junior and senior writers to help other students,” said Kary Smout, associate professor of English and director of the center. “Faculty from all different departments nominate the student tutors, and we hire as widely as we can to represent all the different disciplines.”

Students seeking help with a writing assignment can fill out an appointment sheet, which is posted on the door to the room, or they can sign up online. “We do encourage students to make an appointment, but they can also drop by and we’ll fit them in,” said Smout, pointing out that it’s easy to make an appointment through the center’s website.

“The Writing Center is open to all undergraduates, and they can come at any stage of their writing on any college assignment,” he said. “The ideal is for a student to bring a draft and allow sufficient time to work on it. But they need to be aware that the tutors don’t proofread, and they don’t edit. This is a teaching center where students can learn to be better writers, not to have someone else do it for them. We love to help students improve.”

Williams School Communication Center

For struggling writers in W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, writing consultants are available to provide help in the Williams School Communication Center (WSCC). The center’s website notes that these are professionals with extensive experience in writing, editing and teaching college writing.

Like the Writing Center, the WSCC does not provide a proofreading or editing service but can provide help, as necessary, in the following areas: organization; logical flow; thesis and purpose; support for and development of ideas; articulation of ideas; documentation and citation; audience awareness; effectiveness of presentation; format and grammar and mechanics.

The center is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Students can reserve an appointment by signing up on the time sheets on the door of Huntley Hall 118. Further details can be found at the center’s website.

News Contact:
Sarah Tschiggfrie
News Director

Alum Named Alexandria's Business Leader of the Year

Peter Converse, a 1972 graduate of Washington and Lee and president and chief executive officer of the Virginia Commerce Bank, was named 2011 Business Leader of the Year by the Alexandria (Va.) Chamber of Commerce earlier this month.

The Chamber’s selection was based on Peter’s dedication and exemplary leadership in the business community. From the time Peter joined VCB as its CEO in 1994, the bank has grown from two branches with $54 million in assets to what is now Northern Virginia’s largest community bank with more than $2.9 billion in assets, 28 branches, a residential mortgage lending office and a wealth management services department. A May 2010 article in the Washington Business Journal chronicles the way that the bank, under Peter’s leadership, rallied after the sustaining major losses in the real estate collapse. Peter joins a distinguished list of honored business leaders since the awards program began in 1994.

Peter, who has more than 37 years of banking experience in the Washington Metropolitan Area, completed banking programs at the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University and the American Bankers’ Association National and Graduate Compliance Schools.

Two Former W&L Coaches Lead MLL Teams

Two former Washington and Lee lacrosse coaches have recently taken over head coaching duties in Major League Lacrosse.

Jim Stagnitta, who coached the Generals from 1990 to 2001 before leaving for Rutgers, is now leading the Denver Outlaws. Jim becomes the fifth head coach in the history of the Outlaws, who finished in a tie for second place last year and lost in the semifinals. Prior to joining the Outlaws earlier this month, Jim had coached Rutgers for 12 seasons. He was named NCAA Coach of the Year in 2003 after leading Rutgers to the largest turnaround in college lacrosse. As a college coach, Jim compiled an overall record of 194-124 (.610 percentage) and led his teams to seven NCAA Tournament berths and two Final Fours. His W&L record was 136-42 (.764 percentage).

Mike Cerino, who succeeded Jim as W&L’s head coach in 2002, is the first head coach of the new Charlotte Hounds. Mike had been vice president for intercollegiate athletics at Limestone College in South Carolina before being hired by the Hounds. He is Limestone’s all-time wins leader, with a record of 128-66, and was the first coach in the school’s history. In five seasons at W&L, Mike’s teams won 53 and lost 24 and advanced to the NCAA Division III semifinals in 2002. He was ODAC Coach of the Year twice and received the Jim “Ace” Adams National Sportsmanship Award three times.

Major League Lacrosse is an eight-team league, with Charlotte and Ohio the newest members.

W&L's Morel Lectures at Roanoke College

Lucas Morel, the Lewis G. John Term Professor of Politics and acting chair of the Politics Department at Washington and Lee, will lecture on “Lincoln and Race” at Roanoke College on Nov. 2 at the Wortmann Ballroom of Roanoke College.

Morel has written extensively on Lincoln and civil rights and is author of Lincoln’s Sacred Effort, among other works.

The event is co-sponsored by the Fowler Program and the James C. and S. Maynard Turk Pre-Law Program at Roanoke. Tickets are free but required and available on October 3 at the Colket Info Desk or online at www.roanoke.edu/tickets.

New Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope at W&L for Regional Use

A new confocal laser scanning microscope at Washington and Lee University aims to increase research and training across the sciences, not only at W&L but also at two nearby institutions, Virginia Military Institute and Mary Baldwin College.

The microscope will be acquired through a $366,000 Major Research Instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The proposal’s principal investigator (PI), Fiona Watson, assistant professor of biology and neuroscience, led the grant-writing effort with co-PIs Fred LaRiviere, assistant professor of chemistry, and Bob Stewart, associate professor of psychology and department head. Stewart emphasized that Watson “really drove the process.”

Eleven additional faculty at W&L, VMI and Mary Baldwin provided brief research project descriptions that detailed how the confocal microscope could be used to enhance and expand research and teaching at the three schools. The instrument is expected to be delivered by the end of the calendar year.

Confocal microscopy is a technique developed by Marvin Minsky in the 1950s, explained Stewart. “But it is widely used now and has become ‘de rigueur’ technology,” he said. In conventional microscopes, the entire specimen is illuminated at the same time, which results in a substantial out-of-focus light scatter.  The resulting image can lack detail and appear fuzzy. Stewart explained that a confocal microscope avoids out-of-focus scattered light by using a combination of high-powered lasers, a small pinhole and special mirrors to illuminate only a thin, optically-defined plane, or slice, through the specimen at a time. The technique allows an entire physical specimen to be examined as a series of optical slices that can be reconstructed using computer software to produce a three-dimensional image. The end result is an exceptionally clean, high resolution, three-dimensional representation of live or fixed biological specimens.  In fact, the image is so clean that it can even reveal the presence of a single molecule.

LaRiviere emphasized that the confocal microscope will enable diverse research projects. “For example, my research is at the molecular level, and I’ll use it to visualize proteins and nucleic acids,” he said. In contrast, the separate research projects of Stewart and Watson are at the organismal level. Stewart studies the development and physiological function of the mammalian taste system, and Watson researches optic nerve regeneration using live frogs. Stewart said, “I’m looking at how the system is put together at the outset, whereas Fiona is looking at how the system gets reconnected following injury. So the three of us really span a wide range of levels of biological organization, and we each bring a unique sort of expertise in terms of level of analysis. With the confocal microscope we hope to hatch fruitful collaborations where we can capitalize on one another’s strengths.”

The confocal microscope will be used by W&L’s departments of biology, chemistry, psychology, physics and engineering, and computer science, along with the programs of neuroscience and environmental sciences at W&L, VMI and Mary Baldwin.

LaRiviere said that W&L plans, in time, to reach out to other small liberal arts colleges in the area who might want to use the confocal microscope. “Hollins University, Roanoke College, Sweet Briar College, Lynchburg College and Randolph College all have faculty who engage undergraduates in research. So we view this instrument as a regional resource to be used by those faculty and their students,” he said

LaRiviere described the collaborative, multi-institutional angle as one of the proposal’s strengths. “It indicates that an instrument awarded to one institution can have a much broader impact,” he said.

While most universities and research centers charge an hourly fee for use of such an instrument, use of W&L’s confocal microscope will be free of charge in order to encourage research from faculty and students at small liberal arts colleges. LaRiviere added that there will also be a request for voluntary contributions that will be put into a cash account to maintain the equipment over time.

A further strength of the proposal was that it requires a detailed management plan for the microscope, including an online sign-up system. “Rules about the usage will be put in place to safeguard time-sensitive experiments using live specimens, and those users that include a travel time to get to W&L” said LaRiviere.

Stewart recalled that he started using confocal microscopy in 2003, but had to drive 75 minutes to the University of Virginia to use its equipment. “I took some students with me, but the number of students who were exposed to the instrument was limited. I’m incredibly pleased that an estimated 25 percent of all W&L science majors will now be able to have substantial time sitting at this microscope, learning the technology and the theory behind it. They will realize the fruits of the technological precision that we will bring to bear on problems we’re working on in the laboratory,” he said. “This is a major event for the sciences at Washington and Lee and will bring substantial benefits.”

Watson pointed out that her interest in gaining a confocal microscope for W&L began when she first arrived at the University. “One of the projects I wanted to do required a confocal microscope. So my only options were to travel for 75 minutes each time I wanted to use it, try and get one at W&L or collaborate with someone at another institution,” she said.  “So for the last three years, while we’ve been writing this grant, I changed the focus of my research until we could get a confocal microscope.”

Watson added that she knows from her own experience that the microscope will draw a lot of interest. “Confocal microscopy is critical for the study of biological structures and will allow us to compete better in recruiting new faculty,” she said. “It will also allow W&L to compete with other universities that are using high-end technology in their research. This will, in turn, allow W&L to train our undergraduates to compete for admission to graduate school, summer research internships and other competitive post graduate and professional programs ”

Stewart added that, in crafting the proposal, an important selling point was that they envisioned the confocal microscope as part of the core of a suite of instruments in computational facilities that will create a collaborative nucleus for the sciences at W&L called the Integrative Quantitative Science Center (IQ Center). “The IQ Center will promote student and faculty collaborations both within and between departments at W&L and at the institutions that surround W&L,” he said.

News Contact:
Sarah Tschiggfrie
News Director

How Five Members of W&L's Class of 2015 Filled Their Gap Years

Going to college can be quite the adventure, but more and more young people are choosing to have an entirely different type of adventure first.

Throughout the country, increasing numbers of high school graduates are choosing to take a “gap year,” also known as a sabbatical, and traveling or working for a year before settling in at a college.

According to a recent story in the New York Times, there are even independent gap year advisers who help students design their year.

Washington and Lee has always had the occasional request from a student who wants to defer admission for a year while he or she explores some activity, often involving service.

“Our position has always been neutral,” said Jonathan Webster, associate dean of admissions. “That is, we neither encourage nor discourage students who are interested in doing this.”

But when the admissions offices does receive a request for a deferral, said Webster, they do ask some probing questions of the petitioners.

“Essentially, we want to have three questions answered to our satisfaction,” said Webster. “We want to know how the student will benefit. But we also want to know how the people the student is planning to be with will benefit. Finally, we are interested in how they think W&L will benefit from their experience.”

As far as Webster can remember, the five members of the Class of 2015 who entered this fall after a gap year represent the largest contingent that W&L has had. They spent their years in very different ways and have now settled into Lexington to begin their college careers.

Hamlet T. Fort
Hartsville, S.C.

Taking a year off to travel and answer questions, Hamlet Fort split his time between classes at the University of Paris la Sorbonne and traveling across Asia. Traveling Europe on the weekends, Fort took classes in French, art history and French civilization through the American Institute of Foreign Study.

After leaving France, Fort followed the Mekong River from southern Cambodia through Thailand and into Southwest China, living in small villages and a Buddhist monastery along the way. Spending a little over four months in Asia, Fort filled a black journal with his adventures to remind him of the experience and keep his head clear.

“I came to know myself on a much deeper level before college starts, which was my goal,” Fort said. “I have experiences now that will shape how I go through school and the rest of my life, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity that I had to travel and see the world.”

James McCullum
Hallowell, Maine

Over the course of his gap year, James McCullum had two entirely different experiences, both abroad and stateside.

Starting in the fall, McCullum participated in a gap year program called CarpeDiem Education in South America. With a group of 10 other students and two group leaders, he spent time working on an organic farm, volunteering, taking Spanish classes, exploring ruins and hiking in remote villages in Ecuador and Peru.

After spending the winter at home, McCullum began a five-month journey on the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain, Ga., to Mt. Katahdin, Maine. Finishing in August, he traveled 2,181 miles, hiking around 25 miles a day with people he met along the way.

“I think one of the most profound lessons I learned along the trail is to let go,” McCullum said. “I began to let go of little annoyances or feelings of guilt, jealousy and frustration. I felt lighter inside like I wasn’t trying to hide anything.”

Josy Tarantini
Morgantown, W.Va.

Josy Tarantini spent her year giving back through volunteering in both South America and at home. Spending her first three months in Peru, she taught English and played and spent weekends exploring. Coming home for a few months, she did a volunteer internship with the Hoss Foundation Gift Project, which provides Christmas gifts to needy families.

Afterwards, Tarantini went abroad again, this time to Honduras, where she lived with missionaries. She served a teacher, taking over Sunday school classes as well as English lessons and arts and crafts. During the week, she helped care for the family’s children and things around the house.

Once she returned for the summer before she came to W&L, Josy volunteered with Upward Bound, the non-profit organization that works with low-income high school students planning to become first generation college students by assisting them with standardized test preparation and guiding them through the financial aid process. She performed administrative tasks and requested charitable donations.

“My outlook on money, poverty, materialism and life in general was turned completely upside down,” Tarantini said. “I saw people living joyfully with practically nothing, but I also saw people suffering. It showed me how grateful I should be for what I have, and more importantly, it taught me that I can make a difference.”

Stewart Cory
Louisville, Ky.

Stewart Cory took the year off to travel, study abroad and better appreciate the college experience she would have.

“After the pressure of high school and the college process, I was lacking the enthusiasm that I thought I should have had going into my freshman year of college,” Cory said. “I thought that a break from my normal environment would help me to be more motivated and ready to take advantage of all of the opportunities that would be available to me in college.”

Cory spent her first three months in Morocco, traveling and studying before coming home for two months to work. In the spring, she traveled to Paris where she had an internship and also blogged about the city.

Like the other gap-year students, she is excited to start college at W&L.

“I’m looking forward to being back in a routine and being in a social setting,” Cory said. “Over the course of my year, I missed the normalcy of a schedule and seeing my friends on a regular basis.”

Wilson Hallett
Charlotte, N.C.

Wilson Hallett spent his gap year in England, participating in the English Speaking Union, an exchange program that allowed him to enroll as a full time student at Bromsgrove School in Worcestershire, England.

“As well as living in England, it gave me an advantage to travel and experience different cultures,” Hallett said. “I knew that college would always be there for me, and W&L was gracious enough to let me defer my acceptance to do a gap year.”

Besides taking British A Level courses, Hallet was able to travel on breaks across the United Kingdom as well as around Europe and North Africa. His adventures included running with bulls in Pamplona and riding a camel in the Sahara.

Once Hallett returned stateside, he was ready to bring his experiences and newfound love of rugby to W&L. But mostly, he said, he was just happy to be home in the land of free refills, Cheerwine and driving on the right side of the road.

“It was an incredible year, but being back home is the best part about leaving.”

— by Campbell Massie

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

David Harbor, Jeffrey Rahl Present Findings at Geology Meeting

David Harbor, professor of geology, and Jeffrey Rahl, assistant professor of geology, both of Washington and Lee, presented the results of their summer research to approximately 6,000 geoscientists at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in October.

Their work was supported by the Lenfest program and two alumni funds in the geology department, and took them to northwestern Argentina for a second year. There, they extended their collection of samples of the region back in geologic time in order to establish reliable records of its geologic history and test the relative influence of tectonic, climatic and geomorphic processes on the erosion of orogenic plateaus.

Accompanied by students Ryan Hartman ’12 and Doug Sberna ’13, they also used a differential GPS system and laser surveying tools to create a detailed profile of a river channel and mapped the distribution of sediments and bedrock exposed in the modern river valley.

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Cruzan Lawyer to Discuss Right to Die at W&L Law Lecture

Bill Colby, the lawyer who represented the family of Nancy Cruzan in their family’s right-to-die case, will speak at the Washington and Lee University School of Law on Friday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall.

The title of Mr. Colby’s talk is “From Nancy Cruzan to Terri Schiavo: The Right to Die in America Today.” The lecture is free and open to the public.

“We are thrilled to have Bill Colby here speaking about the poignant story of Nancy Cruzan’s long dying,” said W&L law professor Robin F. Wilson, whose research includes a focus on bioethics. “His role in her family’s lawsuit offers a real lesson for young lawyers seeking to have rich and long careers, in whatever filed they may choose.”

In describing his talk, Colby notes that because of advances in medical technology, the U.S. will soon have 80 million people over the age of 65.

“Modern medicine can deliver amazing results.  But sometimes we use medicine and machines because we can, with no one asking whether we should,” says Colby.  “How can those in healthcare today best navigate this brave new world where the law, medicine, technology and demographics intersect?  And in 2010, twenty years after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Nancy Cruzan case, what is the proper role of the law?”

From the late 1980s into the 1990s, Colby represented several Missouri families in disputes over an issue that is popularly known as the “right to die.”  Most well known was the case of Nancy Cruzan, which Colby argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. This case ultimately established the federal constitutional right to refuse unwanted medical treatment.

Colby is the author of two books, Unplugged: Reclaiming Our Right to Die in America (2006) and Long Goodbye: The Deaths of Nancy Cruzan (2003). Mr. Colby has appeared on LarryKing Live, CNN, NPR and The TodayShow. Mr. Colby is now the GeneralCounsel of Truman Medical Centers inKansas City, Missouri.

Bill Colby began his law practice in 1982 in Washington, D.C., as a clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals and then in the D.C. office of Davis Polk & Wardwell.  In 1985 he moved to Kansas City and joined Shook, Hardy & Bacon.  Over the years, he has represented large corporate clients as well as individuals in a wide variety of matters in courts across the U.S.

News Contact:
Peter Jetton
School of Law Director of Communications
(540) 458-8782

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W&L Economists Find Link between Unemployment, Mental-Health Problems

Two Washington and Lee University economists leading a group of researchers have found that individuals who have suffered from long-term unemployment in the past year — those unemployed for longer than 25 weeks — are three times more likely than people employed throughout the past year to experience mental-health issues for the first time.

The study also concluded that people with more than a high school education suffer greater adverse psychological impacts of long-term unemployment than those with less education.


Arthur Goldsmith, the Jackson T. Stephens Professor of Economics at Washington and Lee, conducted the study with colleagues Timothy Diette, assistant professor of economics at W&L and the lead investigator on the study; Darrick Hamilton, associate professor of urban policy at New School University; and William Darity, Arts & Sciences Professor of Public Policy at Duke University.

Goldsmith reported on the findings on Wednesday, Oct. 19, when he participated in a congressional briefing on the psychological benefits of employment and the impact of joblessness, sponsored by the American Psychological Association.

Goldsmith said the new study isolated a population of resilient people — individuals who either had never had a bout of clinically defined emotional-health issues in their life or had their first bout of problems in the most recent year.

“In looking at this group of resilient individuals, we compared the psychological health of those who were fully employed with those who were exposed to short-term unemployment or less than 25 weeks of involuntary joblessness, and with people who were exposed to long-term unemployment over the past year,” Goldsmith explained.

“The reason we focus on this group is that if you’re 55 years old, and you’ve never had a bout of poor emotional well-being that would be described clinically in that way, and have your first bout in the past year when you are exposed to unemployment, it’s very unlikely that your poor mental health led to the unemployment rather than your unemployment leading to the poor mental health. Thus, we are able to address the issue of causality that has plagued prior studies of the link between unemployment and mental health.”

Goldsmith said that their data show that individuals who were either fully employed or suffered short-term unemployment show little difference in the likelihood of first-time mental-health issues.

“On the other hand, we found that people exposed to long-term unemployment were three times as likely as employed people over the past year to be exposed to their first bout of psychological distress in a clinically defined way,” he said.

Goldsmith noted that one of the defining features of the past four years of the American economy has been an abnormally large number of individuals exposed to long-term unemployment. “This is extremely different from any other period we’ve had other than the Great Depression,” he said.

Goldsmith said the study revealed that there are two primary pathways or sources of poor mental health due to long-term unemployment, depression and general anxiety. “When people are exposed to long-term unemployment, they obviously feel that they’ve lost control of their capacity to earn a living and take care of their families,” he said. “They worry about their futures.”

Minority groups were also found to suffer larger psychological impacts than non-minority groups in the study. Goldsmith said that is likely because it compounds their concerns about their capacity to do well in the labor market when there is already a history of discrimination based on race and ethnicity.

The increased incidence of psychological impact on more highly educated workers is, Goldsmith observed, particularly noteworthy given the kind of recession that the United States has experienced.

“This started on Wall Street, which is characterized by highly educated individuals. Consequently, these findings bode badly for the overall costs of the Great Recession” that started in 2007, he said. “People with a lot of education tend to believe that they have control of events in their lives and are self-blamers. That is really damaging to emotional well-being.”

In his remarks before the committee on Wednesday, Goldsmith emphasized that in addition to these psychological impacts on individuals, unemployment damages the social fabric of society.

“We see divorce rates are higher during recessions; marriage rates fall during recessions; children growing up in families with unemployed parents perform more poorly in school and tend to have more behavioral problems,” he said. “Unemployment is tearing at the very fabric of our society, and I would suggest that we look at this with a greater sense of urgency.”

One recommendation that Goldsmith offered to address what he called a “stubborn labor market” is an initiative that would focus on young Americans.  He argued for a public-private partnership to create a summer mentorship program for youths of high-school age to give them a better sense of the skills they will need for success in the labor market over the course of their lives

“The idea,” he said, “is to connect youths to meaningful work, for them to see the implicit and financial rewards associated with good work, to recognize the skills needed to succeed in a global workplace, and to begin developing the relevant skills for success.”

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

Lynn Symansky Goes for the Equestrian Gold

When Lynn Symansky talked to the W&L alumni magazine back in 2005, she described her passion for what she called “an extreme sport” — the equestrian pursuit known as eventing. That passion has led the 2005 graduate of Washington and Lee University to a berth on the U.S. eventing team that’s competing this weekend in the XVI Pan American Games, in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Lynn and her horse, a Thoroughbred named Donner, are one of five horse-and-rider pairs on the U.S. team. According to this story from the United States Equestrian Federation, she joined the team only about a week ago, when another rider withdrew. In 2002, she and No It Tissant (aka Fergus), the horse she rode during her W&L years, made the short list for the 2003 Pan American Games CCI*** (Concours Complet International, with three stars denoting advanced level) and rode as an individual alternate, finishing 10th.

• UPDATE: The U.S. Eventing Team won a historic Gold Medal in the competition.

The three days of competition start today, Oct. 21, when Lynn and the others tackle dressage, which is comparable to ice skating’s compulsory figures. On Oct. 22 comes the demanding cross-country portion, where horse and rider gallop across a countryside studded with large, solid jumps. On Oct. 23 they will jump a course in an arena, the final test. As you can imagine, such intense and prolonged exertion requires the fittest and keenest athletes, both horses and humans. The Pan American Games have individual and team competition for the eventing, and Lynn and Donner are listed in both categories.

Lynn has been riding since she was three, winning events at such venues as the Virginia Horse Center here in Rockbridge County, and such honors as the 2002 National Advanced Young Rider Award from the United States Eventing Association. She kept up a demanding schedule during her four years at W&L, graduating with a B.S. cum laude in business administration while also competing around the country, studying in the barns when she wasn’t on horseback. “It’s hard,” she told the magazine. “I could only do it here, with the Honor System.”

You can follow Lynn and Donner’s progress at the Pan Am Games’ website. Good luck to the duo.

Past President of Minneapolis Fed to Give H. Parker Willis Lecture

Gary H. Stern, past president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Minn., will give the H. Parker Willis Lecture at Washington and Lee University on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 5 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

The title of the talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Challenges for Economic Policy: 2012 and Beyond.”

Stern is chairman of the board of directors of the National Council on Economic Education and of the Northwest Area Foundation, and he serves on the board of trustees of Hamline University and of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He also serves on the board of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, and he is the treasurer of the Minneapolis Club.

In 2004, Stern co-authored with Ron J. Feldman, Minneapolis Federal Reserve senior vice president, “Too Big to Fail – The Hazards of Bank Bailouts,” published by the Brookings Institution in 2004. The foreword was written by Paul A. Volcker, past chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Stern served as president of the Minneapolis Fed from March 1985-August 2009, joining the bank in 1982 as senior vice president and director of research. Prior experience included seven years at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The H. Parker Willis Lecture series, started by John M. Gunn ’45, emeritus professor of economics at W&L, was named to honor the first dean of the School of Commerce at W&L, H. Parker Willis (1874-1937).

The previous series’ lecturers have been Dr. Roger W. Ferguson Jr., a member of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System; Dr. Robert McTeer, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System; Dr. Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Board of Governors of the United States Federal Reserve; Dr. Marvin Goodfriend, professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business; and J. Alfred Broadus, past president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Va.

News Contact:
Julie Cline
News Writer

Goshen Pass Photo Puzzle

While taking a walk in Goshen Pass earlier this month, Washington and Lee Spanish professor Mónica González snapped a photo of the brilliant fall colors. She then submitted it to “National Geographic,” which has turned it into an online jigsaw puzzle.

Mónica, whose undergraduate training was in journalism, has continued her interest in photojournalism. Four of the images she took during her trip to Cuba last summer (thanks to a Lenfest Grant) are going to be published in a book by her former professor at the University of California, Berkeley. She’s submitted photos twice to “National Geographic” before the publication accepted this latest one for the puzzle.

To test your puzzle prowess on the Goshen Pass image, go to this link on the National Geographic site: http://bit.ly/nX1mUX

W&L Alumna Rebecca Makkai Presents Reading

Washington and Lee University alumna Rebecca Makkai will be reading from her first novel, “The Borrower,” on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 4 p.m. in the Hillel House Multipurpose Room. The reading will be followed by a book signing and refreshments will be served.

The reading, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Glasgow Endowment.

Makkai’s novel is the story of a children’s librarian named Lucy Hull and her favorite reader, Ian Drake, age 10, who run take to the open road. The book has drawn praise from “Publisher’s Weekly” (“fast-paced, suspenseful, and thoroughly enjoyable”), “Good Housekeeping” (“delightfully quirky”), “Booklist” (“splendid first novel”) and “The New York Times” (“surprisingly moving”), among other publications.

According to the June 28 blog titled What’s News on the Washington and Lee University website, Makkai is featured in the list of summer reading in the July issue of “O: The Oprah Magazine.”

Makkai, a member of W&L’s class of 1999, is currently a Montessori school teacher and has had a story published in Best American Short Stories for four straight years. She earned her M.A. in English from Middlebury’s Bread Loaf School of English.

An interview with Makkai appears in the current (first) online issue of Shenandoah and can be found by at shenandoahliterary.org.

News Contact:
Julie Cline
News Writer

W&L Community Grant Proposals Due Nov. 15, 2011

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee is soliciting proposals for its Fall 2011 evaluation period. Community Grants Proposals may be submitted at any time, but are reviewed semiannually: at the end of the calendar year and at the end of the fiscal year. The deadline for submitting a proposal for the Fall 2011 evaluation is Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011.

Established in the spring of 2008, program supports non-profit organizations in the Lexington/Rockbridge community. It began its first full year on July 1, 2008 and will award $50,000 during the program’s 2011-12 cycle.

During the second round of the 2010-11 evaluations held in June 2011, 30 organizations submitted proposals for a total of $165,578 in requests. The University made $24,500 in grants to the following 12 organizations:

  • Boxerwood (Project NEST)
  • Care Box Project
  • Community Action Network
  • Lexington Police Department Foundation
  • Lylburn Downing Middle School (Kids Growing Food Project)
  • Project Horizon
  • Rockbridge Area Conservation Council
  • Rockbridge Area Community Services
  • Rockbridge Area Transportation System
  • Rockbridge County Public Schools Foundation
  • The Rockbridge Area Shop for Tots, Inc.
  • Rockbridge Regional Library – Youth Literacy

Interested parties may access the Community Grants Committee Website and download a copy of the proposal guidelines at the following address: http://go.wlu.edu/communitygrants.

Please call (540) 458-8417 with questions. Proposals should be submitted as electronic attachments (word or pdf) via email to kbrinkley@wlu.edu. If an electronic submission is not possible, materials may be faxed to (540) 458-8745 or mailed to:

Washington and Lee University Community Grants Committee
Attn: James D. Farrar Jr.
Office of the Secretary
204 W. Washington Street
Washington and Lee University

News Contact:
Julie Cline
News Writer

Lexington, VA  24450

W&L Student Arts League Recreates Warhol’s “Screen Tests”

“Bring a prop, wear a hat, or come up with your own way of portraying your personality on video,” declare posters inviting students, faculty and employees to take part in The Warhol Screen Test Project at Washington and Lee University.

W&L’s Student Arts League is spearheading the project as part of a forthcoming three-part exhibition of Andy Warhol’s work at Washington and Lee, Roanoke College and Hollins University in 2012. The three institutions were among the 180 across the country to receive Warhol photographs from the Warhol Foundation in 2008.

“This project is very exciting because it invites the entire W&L community to participate in an art work that explores the ideas set forth by one of the most important artists of the 20th century,” said Clover Archer Lyle, director of W&L’s Staniar Gallery.

Warhol created hundreds of film portraits of individuals he called “screen tests,” inviting them to sit in front of a neutral background and look into a video camera for several minutes. “I was actually unaware of Warhol’s screen tests until Clover approached the Student Arts League about doing our one-minute version of them,” said Emily Rigamer, president of the league and a senior art history major with a minor in museum studies. “After looking at his work, I think it’s very artistic and a really interesting study of human nature and how different people react when they’re in front of a camera.”

She estimated that in the first hour of the screen tests on October 6, the league filmed 14 people, mostly students and faculty in Wilson Hall. “Some people just sat and stared at the lens for the full minute. Others avoided looking at the camera the entire time. We’ve had a lot of people talking during their turn and it almost looks like they’re having a conversation, because the videos are black and white with no sound. I’m curious to see how people will interpret them,” said Rigamer. “And it’s funny how some people think the one minute goes quickly but for other people it seems like five minutes.”

Rigamer said that the league hopes to get at least 50 screen tests. “When you come into the exhibition, you’ll see a continuous stream of videos with lots of different faces, so people don’t see the same faces over again,” she explained. “It’s an interesting way to capture a little taste of the personalities of different people.”

Rigamer noted that since she is more inclined toward art history than visual art “this has been really interesting and educational in that I’ve learned a little bit about lighting. That’s the one difficulty we face. We do have to pick somewhere that doesn’t have a lot of light coming in. It has to be a pretty dark space for us to make it work properly.”

The schedule for the screen tests includes two sessions in the living room of W&L’s Elrod Commons on October 18 and 19. “We want people to come and sit for us,” said Rigamer. The league then plans to travel to events, sororities, fraternities and student groups. “We’re hoping to target other groups to get more people. Now that we’re experts at setting up the set and moving it, we can go just about anywhere,” she added.

The Student Arts League aims to promote and encourage art, especially student art, across campus. “This is easily the biggest project the league has ever done,” said Rigamer, “so we’re very excited about it.”

Archer Lyle said “The project resonates with their mission to broaden the scope of the arts here on campus by involving participants in both creation of the work and the exhibition of the final video when it is shown in the Staniar Gallery.”

When W&L received the Warhol prints, a stipulation was that the collection should be exhibited once every 10 years. “There have been a number of exhibitions of these polaroid collections,” said Archer Lyle. “We wanted to do something a little bit different with this exhibit. So we are collaborating with Roanoke College and Hollins University, which allows us to pull from all three collections and strengthen some themes we are presenting. We also decided to include other works by contemporary artists who were inspired by or reference Warhol in their work, as well as the students’ recreation of Warhol’s screen tests.”

The collaborative exhibition, titled “In the Event of Andy Warhol,” will preview at Washington and Lee’s Staniar Gallery from Jan. 9 to Feb. 4, 2012, then travel to Roanoke College’s Olin Hall Galleries from March 1 to April 1, 2012. The exhibition will end at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University from May 31 to Sept. 15, 2012.

News Contact:
Sarah Tschiggfrie
News Director

Bronze Star Medal for Patrick Hall '99

Patrick Hall, a 1999 graduate of Washington and Lee and a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, has been awarded a bronze star medal for his service in Afghanistan from August 2010 through February 2011.

According to the citation, Pat’s “actions during the deployment single-handedly resulted in more lives saved, more enemy killed, and more helicopter borne raids planned and conducted than any other single person in the battalion, directly impacting every Marine and Sailor in the battalion’s area of operations.”

Pat served as Air Officer, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) Afghanistan. In that role, he successfully controlled more than 1,105 aircraft as they supported the battalion, including 96 close air support missions during high intensity combat and counterinsurgency.

At W&L, Pat majored in business administration and was a tri-captain for the Generals’ baseball team. A second baseman, he held career program records for hits (142), runs scored (93) and RBI (90) after his senior season, when he was named first-team All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference.

Lauren Ashley Tipton, Kelton Buchanan Named Generals of the Month

Washington and Lee University students Lauren Ashley Tipton and Kelton Buchanan will be recognized at the second Generals of the Month presentation of the academic year on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 12:10 p.m. in the Marketplace in Elrod Commons.

Lauren Ashley Tipton, a senior from Myrtle Beach, S.C., is majoring in neuroscience. She is the president of Active Minds; chair of Rockbridge Alliance for a Healthier Community; a member of the Student Recruitment Committee; and the chair of PR and Marketing for Chi Omega Sorority. She is a member of Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society and Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society.

Kelton Buchanan, a junior from Powder Springs, Ga., is majoring in sociology with a minor in women’s & gender studies. He is co-chair of General Activities Board (GAB); is coordinator for a  Volunteer Venture pre-orientation trip; and is a student assistant to the W&L president’s and Board of Trustees’ offices. He also participates in intercollegiate basketball.

Generals of the Month is coordinated by the Celebrating Student Success (CSS) initiative and sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs to inspire engaged citizenship at Washington and Lee University.  CSS seeks to recognize students who are not typically or sufficiently touted for the depth and breadth they add to our campus community.

Tipton and Buchanan were selected by the CSS Committee, which is composed of students, faculty and staff. Any member of the campus community can nominate a W&L student at any time with the online form at go.wlu.edu/css.

Future CSS presentations during the 2011-2012 academic year will be held during lunch in the Marketplace in the Elrod Commons on Nov. 16, Dec. 7, Jan. 25, Feb. 15, Mar. 21, Apr. 11 and May 9.

News Contact:
Julie Cline
News Writer

Alex Jones Inducted into Prestigious Academy

Washington and Lee alumnus Alex S. Jones, of the Class of 1968, director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, was among 177 of the nation’s most influential artists, scientists, scholars, authors and institutional leaders who were inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences earlier this month.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious learned societies, and an independent research center that draws from its members’ expertise to conduct studies in science and technology policy, global security, the humanities and culture, social policy and education.

Since its founding by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and other scholar-patriots, the American Academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates, some 100 Pulitzer Prize winners and many of the world’s most celebrated artists and performers.

A 1987 winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Alex covered the press for The New York Times from 1983 to 1992. In 1991, he co-authored (with his late wife, Susan E. Tifft) The Patriarch: The Rise and Fall of the Bingham Dynasty. In 1992, he left the Times to work on The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind the New York Times (also co-authored with Tifft), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award. In 2009, he wrote Losing the News, an examination of the current state of the news media, in which he argues that the loss of local newspapers and a sharp decline in investigative reporting is dangerous for America.

Alex received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from W&L in 2009. He has also been a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, a host of National Public Radio’s On the Media and host and executive editor of PBS’s Media Matters.

Documentary “Mississippi Innocence” to be Shown at Law School

A film screening of the documentary “Mississippi Innocence” will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room in Lewis Hall. It will be followed by a Q&A session with the co-producer of the film and director of the Mississippi Innocence Project at the University of Mississippi, Tucker Carrington, and a defendant from the film, Levon Brooks.

The event is co-sponsored by four law student organizations: the Southwest Virginia Innocence Project, the Black Law Students Association, and the W&L chapters of the American Constitution Society and the National Lawyers Guild.

“Mississippi Innocence” is a 56-minute documentary that tells the story of the Noxubee County, Miss., convictions and exonerations of Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer. These men, who together spent a combined 32 years in prison for crimes they did not commit, were released in the spring of 2008 through the work of innocence project lawyers from New York and Mississippi, as well as a host of other lawyers who had worked on their cases for years.

Both were extraordinarily fortunate: the DNA evidence in Brooks’ case had, over the years, become too degraded to test; the material in Brewer’s case went missing for years. Without the intervention of their lawyers and the DNA analyst who became involved, this would have had a completely different outcome. DNA testing led law enforcement to the real perpetrator, who was free and living in the community.

John Grisham, author of The Innocent Man and himself an advocate for improvements in the criminal justice system, as well as Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck, co-founders of the Innocence Project, are interviewed during the film.

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Coloring October Pink — A Marketing Perspective

To Washington and Lee University marketing professor Amanda Bower, October means two things: the arrival of Christmas catalogues in the mail and the predominance of pink.

“Everybody looks around at all the pink — from batteries to the White House — and wonders what is this and does it work,” said Bower, referring to the month-long campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Does all that pink make for an effective campaign?

“If you define effectiveness as fund-raising, then yes, it’s effective,” said Bower, associate professor of business administration at Washington and Lee. “The American Cancer Society last year raised just about twice what the Komen Foundation raised. If you think about that, the American Cancer Society is raising money for all the cancers, and Komen is raising money for just one. So proportionately speaking, Komen is doing a pretty good job.”


In Bower’s view, one reason that the pink campaign is successful is that the campaign does not focus on the horrible nature of the disease as opposed to, say, some campaigns for cruelty to animals in which photos of the abused animals predominate.

“The Susan Komen ads are bright and cheery and pink,” said Bower. “They have made it a sign of empowerment and love and support and positive reinforcement. The brand that Komen has created is not a depressing, sad brand; it’s a very positive, encouraging brand.”

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

W&L's Jost Elected to Institute of Medicine

Timothy S. Jost, Robert L. Willett Family Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law and one of the nation’s leading voices in health care law, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

Election to the IOM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. The IOM elected 65 new members this year, announced in conjunction with its 41st annual meeting. Jost is the only lawyer among the newly elected members.

“It is a great pleasure to welcome these distinguished and accomplished individuals to the Institute of Medicine,” said IOM President Harvey V. Fineberg.  “Each of them stands out as a professional whose research, knowledge, and skills have significantly advanced health and medicine, and their achievements are an inspiration.”

New members are elected by current active members through a highly selective process that recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health.  Jost, the author of numerous books and articles on health policy, including the nation’s leading casebook on the subject of health law, has been a fixture of the health care reform debate since it began.

“We heartily congratulate Tim on his election to membership in the Institute of Medicine,” said Interim Dean Mark Grunewald. “This prestigious honor is well-deserved recognition for Tim’s widely respected work in the field of health care law and policy and his stature nationally and internationally as a legal scholar.”

Jost first drew the attention of policy makers for his comparative health system research and analysis of early failed health co-op systems. Whether the subject was so-called “death panels,” the timing of legislative triggers, the function of health exchanges, potential constitutional challenges to a health care mandate, or provisions regarding federal funding of abortion, Jost has been a frequent commentator in the print and broadcast media.

In 2010, Jost received a $300,000 grant from the Commonwealth Fund to research implementation issues involved with the Affordable Care Act.  Subsequently, Jost authored numerous substantive articles and opinion pieces exploring facets of the various aspects of the health legislation in an attempt to make this complex issue accessible to everyday Americans. His most recent work looks at the various legal challenges the law will face as it heads to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I am greatly honored to be elected to this distinguished body,” said Jost, who also serves as a consumer representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.  “I have served the IOM before as a committee member, reviewer, and visiting scholar, and look forward now to working with them as a member as well.”

Established in 1970 as the health branch of the National Academy of Sciences, IOM has become recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues.  With their election, members make a commitment to volunteer their service on IOM committees, boards, and other activities.  Projects during the past year include studies on calculating people’s vitamin D and calcium needs; improving the process for clearing medical devices for the market; preventing obesity among infants and toddlers; improving American’s access to oral health care; preparing for the future of HIV/AIDS in Africa; ensuring the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people; and enhancing nurses’ roles in improving health care.

Timothy S. Jost is the Robert L. Willett Family Professorship of Law at the Washington and Lee University School of Law. He is a co-author of the casebook Health Law, used widely throughout the United States in teaching health law, and of a treatise and hornbook by the same name. He is also the author of Health Care Coverage Determinations: An International Comparative StudyDisentitlement? The Threats Facing our Public Health Care Programs and a Rights-Based Response; and Readings in Comparative Health Law and Bioethics. His most recent book is Health Care at Risk: A Critique of the Consumer-Driven Movement from Duke University Press.

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Campbell's Book Wins People's Choice Award

Julie Campbell, associate director of communications and public affairs at Washington and Lee University, was honored on Saturday, Oct. 15, when her book, The Horse in Virginia: An Illustrated History, won the People’s Choice Award for Nonfiction at the Library of Virginia’s 14th Annual Literary Awards, in Richmond.

At the same event, Lesley Wheeler, the Henry S. Fox Professor of English at Washington and Lee, was one of three finalists for the Literary Award for Poetry for her collection, Heterotopia. A panel of judges chooses the finalists in that category. Wheeler, who recently completed a Fulbright Scholarship in New Zealand, previously won the Barrow Street Poetry Book Prize for that work.

The Library of Virginia established the People’s Choice Awards in 2004 to let readers share their enthusiasm for favorite works by Virginia authors. A panel of independent booksellers and librarians selects the finalists from the books nominated for the library’s Literary Awards. Winners are chosen by readers who cast their ballots online and in public libraries and bookstores. The winners, one for fiction and one for nonfiction, each receive a cash prize and an engraved crystal book.

The University of Virginia Press published The Horse in Virginia in 2010. It is the first book to cover the entire 400-year history of the horse in the commonwealth. Among the subjects are famed Virginia horses Secretariat, Misty of Chincoteague, Robert E. Lee’s Traveller and Stonewall Jackson’s Little Sorrel; well-known horsemen and horsewomen such as Olympians Karen and David O’Connor; breeds developed in Virginia, like the Thoroughbred and the Quarter Horse; sports such as foxhunting and steeplechasing; and the role of horses in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

The book also depicts Virginia horses through extensive illustrations: photographs, paintings, broadsides and prints, plus images of sculptures and artifacts.

Here’s the story we ran when the book came out in March 2010.

Campbell is the second person with Washington and Lee ties to win this particular prize. In 2009, renowned news correspondent and W&L alumnus Roger Mudd, of the Class of 1950, received it for his memoir, The Place to Be: Washington, CBS, and the Glory Days of Television News.

Prestigious Panel of Federal Judges to Decide Davis Competition

A distinguished panel of senior judges from three different federal circuit courts will decide the 2011 John W. Davis Appellate Advocacy Competition at the Washington and Lee School of Law. The finals will be held Friday, October 21, beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall.

The competition will be judged by the Honorable Judge Bobby Ray Baldock, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; the Honorable E. Grady Jolly, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; and the Honorable Emmett Ripley Cox, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

The judges will also be available on Friday for a Q&A discussion with students. This session is scheduled for noon in Lewis Hall Classroom C.

The Davis Competition is an appellate advocacy competition held annually at the School of Law.  The competition consists of two components: the submission of an appellate brief and the presentation of oral arguments before a panel of judges. This year’s problem was based on US v. Jones, a case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court involving warrantless GPS tracking.

The finalists in oral advocacy for this year’s competition are Anthony Roddy Flynn ’12L, Steven Harkins ’12L, David Miller ’13L, and Matthew Rasmussen ’12L. The best brief finalists are Steven Harkins ’12L and Rudy Burshnic ’12L; David Miller ’13L and Ashley Ludlow ’13L; Nathan Jensen ’13L and Peter Choi ’12L; and Anthony Roddy Flynn ’12L.

During the competition, students write briefs individually or in teams of two, and all participants argue alone.  Competitors advance from the initial rounds based upon their performance on the brief and their oral advocacy skills, both on-brief and off-brief.  Advancement in later rounds is based purely on oral advocacy. 70 students participated in this year’s competition.

The Davis Competition is named in honor of alumnus John W. Davis, who joined the law school briefly as its third faculty member in 1896. Widely regarded as one of the finest advocates of the 20th century, Davis argued before the U.S. Supreme Court 139 times before his death in 1955.

NPR's Uri Berliner Coming to W&L for Public Talk

Uri Berliner, a deputy national editor at National Public Radio, will give a public talk at Washington and Lee University on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 5 p.m. in Huntley Hall 327. The title of his talk is “Risky Business: Bankers, Governments and Debt Bubbles.”

Unemployment, mortgage crisis, rising debt, looming Euro disaster. The current economic news is depressing, troubling and, to many, completely murky. W&L hopes to shed light on the topic by bringing Berliner to campus.

Berliner oversees NPR’s business and economics coverage. In addition to working on such topics as the financial crisis, the auto industry, energy and unemployment, Berliner also supervises Planet Money, the radio network’s prize-winning multimedia team that covers the global economy.

Berliner’s  talk will touch on credit, excessive borrowing and what Berliner calls the “delusional confidence about the future” that were central factors in both the 2008 financial crisis and today’s sovereign debt crisis in Europe. He plans to incorporate some audio and video segments from Planet Money and other NPR stories. The talk is sponsored by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications and the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

Planet Money has won praise for taking complex subjects and making them understandable and even enjoyable. “The Giant Pool of Money,” an exploration of the housing bubble by two Planet Money correspondents, was honored last year by New York University as one of the top ten works of journalism of the past decade.

Berliner, at NPR since 1999, has been a long-time listener.  “I’ve always admired NPR for the intelligence of its coverage and its thoroughness,” he says. “I have memories of waking up to NPR or being in the car and hearing NPR.”

One of the strengths of radio news, he said, is that people respond to the human voice. “Voices help drive stories, help build narrative,” he says. “It pops, it’s accessible, it’s human. More than a written story.”

Berliner says that making complex business concepts lively listening is his toughest job. For example, explaining in 2008 how bad mortgages were connected to the slumping world economy. “It was incredibly hard,” he says. “It had to do with assets called ‘mortgage-backed securities’ – toxic assets. Even when you say them people want to go to sleep.”

The Planet Money team decided to keep its audience awake by telling the story of “Toxie,” a  toxic asset that the team bought to better understand the financial crisis. “Toxie” was full of mortgages gone bad and the team interviewed several people behind the mortgages, including an 81-year-old Florida man with a dog named Muffin.

Before heading the seven-member Planet Money team, Berliner edited NPR’s sports coverage and helped win an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Berliner came to NPR from the San Diego Union-Tribune where he was the paper’s economics correspondent.  In 1998, Berliner was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where he studied business, history and economics.

Originally from New York City, Berliner received his undergraduate degree from Sarah Lawrence College, and went on to receive his Master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., it is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.

News Contact:
Julie Cline
News Writer

Philosophy Professor Lectures on “Equality Without Documents”

Michael Blake, associate professor of philosophy and public policy at the University of Washington, will give a lecture on Friday, Oct. 21, at 5 p.m. in Huntley Hall 327 at Washington and Lee University.

The title of his talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Equality without Documents: Political Justice and the Right to Stay.”

Blake has a joint appointment in the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington.

Blake’s first book, under contract with Oxford University Press, is currently titled “Liberal Equality and Foreign Policy.” He is also the author of over 20 publications and five book reviews.

Blake holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Stanford University and a B.A. in economics and philosophy from University College, University of Toronto. He did his legal training at Yale Law School.

While at W&L Blake will talk to the Ethics of Globalization class being team taught by  Angela Smith of the philosophy department and Sandy Reiter of the business administration department.

I-Hsiung Ju Returns to W&L for Staniar Gallery Exhibit

Journey Home, an exhibition of paintings by Washington and Lee Professor Emeritus of Art I-Hsiung Ju, will be on view in Staniar Gallery from October 12 – November 2, 2011. Ju will present an artist’s talk in Wilson Hall’s Concert Hall before the exhibition reception on Oct. 19 at 5:30 p.m.

Over the twenty years that he was on the faculty at W&L, Ju won numerous awards as an educator and an artist. During his time in Lexington, Ju also established the Art Farm Gallery where he conducted painting workshops and presented art exhibitions from 1975-1999. Since retiring from W&L in 1989, he has developed courses and workshops on Chinese brush painting and regularly lectures on the subject. Ju’s teachings have been published in several books and can be seen in a series of lessons available on video.

Journey Home at Staniar Gallery features Ju’s Yangtze River brush painting series and his scroll painting series of Huangshan Mountain. The exhibition highlights Ju’s ability to blend style and technique to produce a form of painting that is simultaneously modern and traditional. According to Ju, “a Chinese artist is not only a painter, but also a poet and a philosopher.”

The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. Staniar Gallery is located on the second floor of Wilson Hall, in Washington and Lee University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please call 540-458-8861.

News Contact:
Julie Cline
News Writer

Author, Conservationist Terry Tempest Williams to Speak at W&L

Author Terry Tempest Williams, an environmental conservationist and fierce advocate for freedom of speech, will give a reading with commentary at Washington and Lee University on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. in Lee Chapel. It is free and open to the public.

The reading will be immediately followed by an audience Q&A with a book signing.

Williams is the author six books, one of which was co-authored, three poetry collections and  four essay collections including the environmental literature classic, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place. Also An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field; Finding Beauty in a Broken World; and The Illuminated Desert (for children), among others.

Williams received the Robert Marshall Award from The Wilderness Society, its highest honor given to an American citizen.  She also received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western American Literature Association and the Wallace Stegner Award given by The Center for the American West. She is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in creative nonfiction.

Williams’ writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Orion Magazine, among others, and numerous anthologies worldwide as an impassioned voice for ecological consciousness and social change. She is currently the Annie Clark Tanner Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah.

Williams will be meeting with several classes who have been studying her work including classes in environmental studies, American literature and first-year writing.

Williams’ visit to W&L is sponsored by the Glasgow Endowment, Environmental Studies and the Class of 1963 Scholar-in-Residence Fund.  The Class of 1963 Scholar-in-Residence Fund is used to bring speakers and artists to campus for extended visits which include both a public event and meetings with students.

News Contact:
Julie Cline
News Writer

Blue Lab Brewers on WMRA

When Bill Hamilton, associate professor of biology, and Tom Lovell, Class of 1991 and associate director of alumni affairs, appeared on WMRA radio last month to talk about their Lexington micro-brewery, Blue Lab Brewing, the show on which they appeared hadn’t even been given a name yet. It was being called “The Not Yet Named News Show.”

Now that the weekly one-hour talk show has been christened “The Spark,” the brewers’ appearance makes perfect sense. According to host and producer Martha Woodroof, the idea is to showcase people who follow their passion.

Bill and Tom were certainly following their passion when they opened their brewery almost a year ago. The wide-ranging interview included everything from the brewing process to how they came up with the name, Blue Lab. The answer to the name? Blue combines the Blue Ridge Mountains and W&L’s colors, and lab combines Bill’s biology background and the Labrador Retrievers that both the brewers owned.

Have a listen to the show:

W&L Law Alumna Honored by ODU

Angelica D. Light, a 1975 graduate of Washington and Lee’s School of Law, is being honored this Friday as an honorary alumna of Old Dominion University.

Angelica is president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation in Tidewater. She joined the foundation (originally The Norfolk Foundation) in 1999, after 20 years as an attorney with Norfolk Southern and Shenandoah Life in Roanoke, where she had helped establish a community foundation for the Roanoke Valley.

The Hampton Roads Community Foundation has thrived under her leadership. Assets and annual grants and scholarship distribution have more than doubled to $244 million, and the foundation awarded more than $12.3 million in grants and scholarships last year.

One of the first programs that Angelica helped develop when she got to the foundation responded to a study that showed one out of five kindergartners in the area was unprepared for school. The foundation helped get Smart Beginning South Hampton Roads off the ground, and Light chairs the program.

Other initiatives during Angelica’s tenure have been the Academy for Nonprofit Excellence and the Charters Basic Needs Relief Program. Angelica has received previous awards for her work from LEAD Hampton Roads, the YWCA of South Hampton Roads and “Inside Business.”

In a June 2011 interview with “Inside Business,” in which she talked of her plans to retire, Angelica talked about her shift to nonprofit work: “With my experience in law, I knew my expertise would be beneficial to the nonprofit sector. I enjoy working for nonprofits because I knew you could have an impact on the quality of life. Working in nonprofits allowed me to work in all fields, including arts, human services organizations and environmental groups, and help support those organizations in the work that they do.”

W&L's Lucas Morel Lectures on Lincoln

Lucas Morel, the Lewis G. John Term Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee, was a featured lecturer for the Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series in Springfield, Ill., on Oct. 13. the theme of the series, held at the University of Illinois at Springfield, was “Lincoln and the Civil War.”

Morel’s speech was titled “War and Remembrance in Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.” He noted that Lincoln, in his second inaugural, faced the problem of “a defeated but determined South” and used the address “to propose a common public memory of both the war and American slavery as the basis for restoring national unity.”

Morel shared speaking duties at the event with Michael Burlingame, Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Order of Coif Award to Richard Middleton '73, '76L

Remembering the Manhattan Project

When he graduated from Washington and Lee in 1943, Bill Wilcox discovered that he was in demand. He had majored in chemistry, and the Tennessee Eastman Co. was in the market for young chemists.

As Bill told the St. Petersburg Times in 2010: “In May of 1943 they grabbed up all the graduating chemists from around the country and hired us. We said, ‘What for?’ They said, ‘We can’t tell you.’ Eastman Kodak hired 50 or so of us and we spent the summer working behind locked doors. They said, ‘You’ll be working with uranium, but you’re not allowed to speak that word until the end of the war.’ “

That is how Bill found himself working on the Manhattan Project to create the first atomic bomb. Years later, still living in Oak Ridge, Tenn., Bill retired as technical director for Oak Ridge Laboratories’ Y-12 and K-25 plants. He is now the Oak Ridge city historian, keeping alive the stories of those days he spent purifying uranium. For instance, he penned this Facebook page on Oak Ridge’s role in the Manhattan Project.

Just last weekend, Bill was interviewed for a BCC program called “Witness,” during which he described in wonderful detail how he got from Washington and Lee to Tennessee. You can listen to the program at this link, and it’s well worth your 10 minutes.

Bill has received numerous honors and award, including The Secretary’s Appreciation Award in 2008 from then Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman. And just last month, the William J. Wilcox Conference Room was dedicated in the MCLinc Conference Facility at the Heritage Center (formerly known as the K-25 Site) in Oak Ridge.

Solar Project on Parking Deck

Fishing Guide Turned Life Saver

The other day, we blogged about two alumni of Washington and Lee who run a lodge and fly-fishing shop in Idaho and had a close encounter with a grizzly bear. Turns out they’re not the only graduates to be pursuing a career in the wilds of the West, and not the only one to have recently experienced a brush with danger out there. Meet Derek Hutton, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1993.

As recounted in the Driggs, Idaho, Valley Citizen, this summer Derek and two fellow guides from WorldCast Anglers, a fly-fishing outfitter in Idaho and Wyoming, were working on the Teton River when they spotted a man and woman paddling a kayak straight into trouble: a bridge that was closer to the water than usual due to a high, fast-flowing river. As one of Derek’s companions yelled at the couple to alert them, the kayak spilled them into the water. The man floated free of the danger, but the woman was stuck underneath the bridge in an air pocket, water rushing all around her. Hutton secured himself to the bridge with a rope, threw a line into the river and took the plunge.

When he reached the panic-stricken woman, he said, “My name is Derek, and I’m going to get you out of here.” Thanks to the quick thinking and life-saving skills that both Derek and his two companions possessed, the story has a happy ending. You can read the newspaper account here in all its pulse-pounding excitement.

According to Derek’s bio on the WorldCast website, it was a W&L geology field trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone that introduced him to that part of the world. In 2005, he left behind life as a stockbroker and headed west. In the winter, he teaches alpine skiing at the Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyo.

Graybeal-Gowen Poetry Contest for Virginia Writers

Virginia writers are invited to participate in the annual Graybeal-Gowen Prize sponsored by Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee Review

The contest is open to writers born in or with a current established resident of at least one year in Virginia. The writer who submits the best poem will win the $500 prize.

Past winners have been Kevin Hart of Charlottesville, Va., for “March”; Jennifer Key, currently of Dallas, Texas, for “Jefferson’s Daughters”; and Elisabeth Murawski of Arlington, Va., for  “Emma Hardy Speaks from the Grave,” which will appear in the next issue of Shenandoah. Past judges have included Betty Adcock (winner of The Poet’s Prize) and Brendan Galvin (finalist for the National Book Award).

The Graybeal-Gowen Prize is dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Priscilla Gowen-Graybeal’s father, Howerton Gowen, a 1930 Washington and Lee alumnus and a lifelong lover of poetry. The prize is donated by Mrs. Graybeal and her husband James, a member of the Washington and Lee Class of 1949.

Entrants are invited to submit up to three previously unpublished poems. Two copies of each poem, one with name and address and one without, should be submitted withe a self-addressed stamped envelope and a brief biographical note, which should confirm the basis for eligibility. Entries must be postmarked between Oct. 1 and Nov. 15, 2011. There is no entry fee.

Entries should be sent to:
The Graybeal-Gowen Prize
17 Courthouse Square
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, VA 24450-2116

For more information contact
R.T .Smith
E-mail: rodsmith@wlu.edu

W&L's Mock Convention Assembles State Delegations

Senior Zach Wilkes is bound and determined to start a new streak when Washington and Lee University’s 2012 Mock Republican Convention nominates its presidential candidate on February 10, 2012.

In its last attempt to predict the presidential nominee of the party out of power, the W&L conventioneers incorrectly chose Hillary Clinton in 2008 to win the Democratic nomination. That ended a string of eight consecutive correct predictions, dating back to 1976, when Jimmy Carter was the Democratic nominee. Overall, the convention has been correct on 19 of 25 occasions.

Wilkes, a politics major from Farmerville, La., is the convention’s political chair, who oversees the copious research that makes the event one of the most realistic of its kind.

This week, the Mock Convention held its State Delegation Fair, when W&L students signed up to be part of a state delegation.

As part of the fair, the convention also staged a straw vote, asking the delegates to indicate for which of the Republican presidential candidates they would vote. Mitt Romney was the runaway winner, with 40.5 percent of the votes; Rick Perry was second, with 17.3 percent. Meantime, 17.5 percent indicated they had no idea. The rest of the field, in order, was Ron Paul (9.4 percent), Herman Cain (7.6 percent), Jon Huntsman (4.8 percent), Michele Bachmann (1.2 percent), Newt Gingrich (0.8 percent) and Rick Santorum (0.6 percent).

Wilkes found those results only mildly interesting. In fact, “we have tried to ignore the polling,” said Wilkes. “Instead, our individual state chairs have been making contacts in their states, talking to people in those states, reading newspapers from those states, and working primarily to determine what the key issues are going to be in those states.”

“If you get too concerned about what you read in the national press, you can forget that people are actually voting by state.”

Wilkes said that while the students have thus far focused most of their research on issues, “now we’re turning to which candidate is going to do well” because of his or her positions on those issues.

When the Mock Convention committee set its date, the goal was to place the event between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, which would likely have made the prediction of a nominee especially challenging. Now that states have begun to move up their primaries, it means that the student conventioneers will have the benefit of the results of those primaries.

“We had wanted to make this as challenging as possible to make as much of a statement we could. Once the shifting of primary dates began, there wasn’t much we could do. The logistics of our event make it impossible to move from the original date,” Wilkes said.

Still, Wilkes expects the research that he and the state chairs have been doing will pay off in the end.

“At this point, it appears that it may not be quite as challenging as we had hoped,” he said. “But there is a lot that could happen between now and February, and I can envision scenarios that would involve pretty much a two-way dead heat by then. So we still have our work cut out in order to make the right decision.”

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

Former U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Yalowitz to Speak at W&L

Former U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Yalowitz, currently the The Norman E. McCulloch Jr. Director of the John S. Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College, will give a lecture on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leybury Library.

The talk is open to the public.

Before his time at Dartmouth, where he also is an adjunct professor of government, Yalowitz served for 36 years as a career diplomat and a member of the Senior Foreign Service. He retired from the Foreign Service in 2001.

Yalowitz served twice as a U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Belarus (1994-1997) and Georgia (1998-2001) and also had foreign assignments in Moscow, The Hague and Brussels, as well as domestic assignments working with Australia-New Zealand and the Soviet Union.

Yalowitz previously taught political science at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, was the area studies chair on the former Soviet Union (1993-94), and was dean of the senior seminar (1997-98) at the Foreign Service Institute, the U.S. government’s training institution for preparing American diplomats and other professionals for the Foreign Service.

Yalowitz is the recipient of the Ambassador Robert Frasure award for peacemaking and conflict prevention.

In Memoriam: Trustee Tom McJunkin '70, '74L

Washington and Lee alumnus Thomas N. McJunkin, a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, died at his home in Charleston, W.Va., on Saturday, Oct. 8. He was 62.

Tom received his B.S. in business economics in 1970 and his J.D. from the School of Law in 1974.

“Tom epitomized the loyal alumnus,” said Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio. “Throughout his life, he worked tirelessly on behalf of W&L in any number of roles. As a trustee, he was engaged in the life of the University, and fellow members of the board and I valued his judgment immensely. On behalf of the University community that meant so much to him, I send our sympathies to his wife, Callen, and their family.”

An attorney with the Charleston firm Jackson Kelly P.L.L.C., Tom was a member of the firm’s corporate business practice group. He focused on energy, natural resources and business law. Before joining Jackson Kelly in 1984, he clerked for the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, worked for the D.C. law firm of Hogan & Hartson, and served as general counsel and later president of Amherst Coal Co.

Tom served his alma mater as a passionate and dedicated volunteer, including, in the last decade, as a member of the board.

As an undergraduate, Tom was elected to Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership fraternity, and captained both the football and tennis teams. He served as president of the Varsity Club and as a member of Phi Delta Theta social fraternity. As a law student, he was editor in chief of the Washington and Lee Law Review.

Tom was an active member of the University’s Alumni Association, serving as a class chairman for the Annual Fund and as a member of the Washington Society, the Law School Capital Campaign Committee, the Law Alumni Council and the Alumni Board of Directors. He was on the board of the Charleston Chapter of the W&L Alumni Association. In 2000, the Alumni Association presented him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award. He also served on the Alumni Advisory Board of W&L’s Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability.

In 2010, he made a gift to the University to establish The McJunkin Endowment for Student Engagement, which supports students in curriculum-related projects that engage them in addressing the greatest social and policy issues of their time.

In addition to his wife, Callen, Tom is survived by son Jameson and daughters Allison ’04L and Jennifer ’04, his mother, three brothers and two granddaughters.

The family will hold a public visitation on Thursday, Oct. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences of West Virginia, 1 Clay Square in Charleston. A memorial service to celebrate Tom’s life will be on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 11 a.m. at St. Matthews Episcopal Church, 36 Norwood Road in Charleston.

Memorial gifts for Tom may be made to The McJunkin Endowment for Student Engagement. Gifts may sent to: Ms. Sandy Beverly, Development Office, Washington and Lee University, 204 West Washington St., Lexington 24450. Please direct questions to Director of Development Tres Mullis at 540-458-8165 or tmullis@wlu.edu

Charleston Gazette Obituary
• Charleston Daily Mail Obituary

W&L Economics Professor Wins Allan Nevins Prize

Katharine (Katie) Shester, assistant professor of economics at Washington and Lee University, has won the 2011 Allan Nevins Prize for the best dissertation on American and Canadian economic history.  The prize was awarded by the Economic History Association, and Shester was selected from three finalists.

Her dissertation, “American Public Housing’s Origins and Effects,” examines the diffusion and effects of public housing in the United States between 1940 and 1970.

Shester, who joined the Washington and Lee faculty this year, recalled that her interest in public housing began while growing up in a small southern town, where both her primary and middle schools were adjacent to public housing projects. “I was used to seeing them,” she said. “Also, early on in graduate school I watched the HBO series “The Wire,” which is about the drug trade in public housing in Baltimore, and I found it absolutely fascinating. That encouraged me to take a closer look as well.”

Public housing was built from only the 1930s through the 1970s. While there is a relatively large literature that looks at the effects of public housing during the 1990s and later, Shester’s dissertation is one of the first empirical studies to look at the effect of public housing across the entire United States during the period of the program’s expansion.

Her data set included all of the approximately 3,000 counties in the United States, of which almost half had adopted public housing by 1970. Shester’s research shows that counties that had high intensities of public housing also had lower property values, lower family income, lower population density, a higher percentage of low income families and and a higher percentage of female-headed households in 1970 than if they had never built public housing.

“I certainly didn’t go into this project looking for the negative effects of public housing,” said Shester. “If anything, I naively hoped to find positive effects of public housing earlier on in the period and then maybe those effects would disappear over time. But it turned out to be more negative.”

Shester found negative effects of public housing in only 1970 and not in 1950 or 1960. “That means that whatever caused the negative effects occurred in the 1960s,” she said. “I looked at whether it could be explained by what I call changes in human capital, which means education. But I didn’t find that people with low human capital were migrating into counties with a lot of public housing. If anything, it looks as if people with high human capital, those with high school degrees and college degrees, were leaving more quickly than people with lower education. It looks like everyone was leaving. It’s just a matter of who was leaving faster.”

Shester said that she plans in her future research to examine several theories that may explain the negative effects of public housing more clearly.

One theory is that, over time, counties built more high-rise and less scattered-site housing, giving rise to what Shester described as the “concentration of poverty effect.”

“When you build a high rise there are a lot more poor people living on top of each other,” she explained. “They also changed the regulations over time. Instead of public housing being a temporary place meant for working class families who had fallen on hard times, it became a place for the chronically poor with more single mothers and people who had lived there all their lives. Another theory is that public housing could have interacted with a decade-specific effect, such as the drugs trade.”

She conceded that it was difficult to assess exactly what was going on by looking at county-level aggregates and hopes in the future to include more data on public housing tracts — groups of approximately four thousand people. “By looking at public housing at the neighborhood level, I can tell, for example, the effects on surrounding property values and labor market outcomes for much smaller areas than the county level,” she said.

In the meantime, Shester said she is breaking up her dissertation into papers for possible publication.

In 2008-09, Shester received the Rendig Fels Award for Excellence in Teaching as a graduate student at Vanderbilt University.

“W&L and the Williams School take pride in the teacher-scholar model of faculty development,” said Robert Straughan, professor of business administration/marketing and associate dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics.

“We want faculty whose scholarship expands our understanding of the world and whose passion for sharing that with bright, motivated students creates enthusiasm for the subject in and out of the classroom,” Straughan added. “Though very early in her career, Katie has already garnered awards for both her scholarship and her teaching, demonstrating excellence in both of these areas. As she starts her career at W&L, this bodes very well for her students and for the university.”

News Contact:
Sarah Tschiggfrie
News Director

40 Years of the Anti-Headache Machine

This Saturday night at 8 o’clock, or thereabouts, Doug Harwood, of the Class of 1974, will sit down at the controls of WLUR-FM for yet another Saturday night. Since 1971, the Saturday nights stretch beyond 2,000. He will spend the next four hours playing music that may be accurately described as eclectic, though it is not any any sense random. One track leads to the next and then the next and on and on through the night. He will make the briefest of welcomes at the start, and the only spoken words thereafter will be to identify “WLUR, Lexington” on the hour, every hour.

This is “The Anti-Headache Machine,” and the program and its creator will celebrate the 40th anniversary Sat., Oct. 8.

There will be no celebration, on air or off, on Saturday, but WLUR will pay tribute to Doug and his show with a reception on Wednesday, Oct. 12, in the Elrod Commons Living Room.

“The Anti-Headache Machine” was born during Doug’s W&L student days. Although there is hardly a doubt that it is the longest-running radio program of its kind in the U.S. (since there is nothing else quite like it), and almost certainly the longest-running on a college station, Doug has a ways to go to catch the leader when it comes to all types of programming. That honor belongs to “Music and the Spoken Word,” the weekly, 30-minute program featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir that began in 1925.

Five years ago when Doug, who is editor of the Rockbridge Advocate, celebrated the 35th year, University Photographer Patrick Hinely, of the Class of 1973, described the show this way: “While the links he senses from one piece to the next can occasionally leave even the most open-eared among his listeners scratching their heads, he lets the music itself, whether obvious or obscure, tell its own story.”

Among the many changes since “The Anti-Headache Machine” first aired is the expansion of WLUR’s reach by virtue of the Internet. That means you can listen to the 40th Anniversary show on-line at wlur.wlu.edu.

Pamela Hemenway Simpson, 1946-2011

Pamela Hemenway Simpson, an art historian who was one of the most influential figures of the last four decades at Washington and Lee University, died at her home in Lexington, Va., on Oct. 4. She was 65.

“She was a dear friend and colleague,” said W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio. “Washington and Lee is a different place and a much better place because of her. And Lexington and Rockbridge County are better places, too.”

During her 38 years on the faculty at W&L, Simpson made myriad contributions, both in the classroom, where she was “the embodiment of W&L’s teacher-scholar” model, as Ruscio described her, and in countless other formal and informal positions.

Simpson was the first female tenure-track professor at W&L and the first female professor to receive an endowed chair, when she became the inaugural Ernest Williams II Professor of Art History in 1993. Not only did she pave the way for women faculty at W&L, mentoring them and serving as a role model, but she also played a critical role in the University’s transition to coeducation in the mid-1980s. From 1984 to 1986, she chaired the Co-Education Steering Committee, which implemented the University’s decision to admit women; the W&L community credited her leadership with the smooth transition.

Simpson discussed her pioneering role in a 1981 article in the Roanoke (Va.) Times & World-News announcing her appointment as assistant dean of the College at W&L. She recalled a student who came to her at the end of a semester to say that he had enjoyed her course. “Then he said, ‘I didn’t think I could learn from a woman, but I did,’ ” Simpson related.

Born on Sept. 8, 1946, in Omaha, Neb., to Dr. Myrle E. and Leone Hemenway, she earned a B.A. in art from Gettysburg College in 1968; an M.A. in art history from the University of Missouri in 1970; and a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Delaware in 1974.

Simpson spent her entire teaching career at Washington and Lee, except for a 1973 stint as an instructor of art history at the Penn State Extension Campus in Media, Pa. She arrived at W&L in 1973 as an instructor, becoming assistant professor in 1974, associate professor in 1979 and full professor in 1985.

Simpson taught courses in American art and architecture, English art and architecture, modern European art and architecture, women artists, African-American art and vernacular architecture.

Even after being diagnosed with cancer this summer, she had begun this fall term by team-teaching three courses, explaining that “as long as I’m sitting, I can talk all day long.” That attitude, Ruscio noted, was typical. “Pam was once again exemplifying strength of courage, character and humanity,” he said.

Simpson received recognition for her effectiveness in the classroom with several major awards, including the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) in 1995, and the Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC) in 2010.

In addition to her teaching, Simpson served as head of the Department of Art and Art History on two occasions, and as assistant and then associate dean of the College from 1981 through 1986.

Simpson wrote three books. Cheap, Quick and Easy: Imitative Architectural Materials, 1870­-1930 was published in 1999 and won several awards, and The Architecture of Historic Lexington, co-authored with the late Royster Lyle Jr., came out in 1979. Her most recent book, Icons of Abundance: The History of Corn Palaces and Butter Sculpture, will be published by the University of Minnesota Press.

She also co-edited (with Cindy Mills) the book Monuments to the Lost Cause: Women, Art and the Landscapes of Southern Memory (2004). In addition, she authored numerous exhibition catalogues, articles in both the academic and popular press, and book reviews.

A popular speaker at academic conferences, she was equally in demand by lay audiences and W&L alumni chapters. She gave many talks on the architecture of Lexington and Washington and Lee to groups in Lexington and Rockbridge County.

As an art and architectural historian, Simpson served as president of the Vernacular Architecture Forum, president of the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians and board member of the Society of Architectural Historians. She was active with the Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC), participating in every annual meeting since 1976 and serving as president and as editor of the organization’s peer-reviewed journal, the Southeastern College Art Review, from 1979 to 1992.

As a member of the community, Simpson held leadership posts in, and volunteered for, the local chapter of the National Organization for Women, Project Horizon, the Historic Lexington Foundation, the Rockbridge Historical Society, the Rockbridge Area Coalition against Sexual Assault, the Rockbridge Regional Library and the R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church.

In September, the University announced the establishment of the Pamela H. Simpson Professorship. It will be held by a member of the undergraduate faculty who, like Simpson, exemplifies the highest standards of teaching, scholarship and service.

On Sept. 7, Simpson gave W&L’s traditional Fall Convocation address to first-year students, seniors and the campus community. She titled her talk “Reflections on White Columns.” It was originally scheduled to be held outdoors between Lee Chapel and the Colonnade, where the audience would have been able to observe the actual buildings that she described. But rainy weather forced the event inside the Warner Center, where she transformed the vast gymnasium into an intimate classroom by using slides to illustrate her address.

She began by noting that “among art historians, a standard professional joke is that we tend to ‘work in the dark.’ It is true; we usually talk about our subjects with slides in a darkened room.”

Simpson then discussed the way W&L’s historic campus had developed over the decades, concluding that the distinguished buildings were a symbol. “This is who we are,” she said. “When we think of our most deeply held values — academic excellence, collegiality, civility and, most of all, honor, all of them are embodied here.”

Simpson is survived by her husband, Henry H. Simpson; her son, Peter Simpson, and his wife, Laura; her grandson, Henry Simpson, 6, and granddaughter, Helen Simpson, 4, all of Lexington; her brother, Robert Hemenway, of Lawrence, Kan.; and her father, Dr. Myrle E. Hemenway, also of Lawrence, Kan.

Simpson’s memorial service will be on Monday, Oct. 10, at 4 p.m. at the R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church, followed by a reception at W&L’s Evans Hall.

The family has requested that those wishing to make memorial donations direct them to the Rockbridge Valley Chapter of the National Organization for Women (P.O. Box 1848, Merrifield, VA 22116-1848); Project Horizon (120 Varner Lane, Lexington, VA 24450); the Historic Lexington Foundation (22 W. Washington St., Lexington, VA 24450); the Rockbridge Area Free Clinic (25 Northridge Lane, Suite 3, Lexington, VA 24450); and the Rockbridge Historical Society (101 W. Washington St., Lexington, VA 24450).

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

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Historian Focuses on Three Months in Robert E. Lee's Life

Civil War historian James I. Robertson Jr. addressed what he called “three forgotten months” in Robert E. Lee’s life during his lecture, “Lee and the Mobilization of Virginia Forces 1861,” at the annual Remembering Robert E. Lee program in Lee Chapel on Oct. 10, 2011.

The event commemorated the 141st anniversary of Lee’s death on Oct. 12, 1870.

“So much has been written about Robert E. Lee that I decided to take three forgotten months in his life that were critical to him and the Confederacy and the commonwealth of Virginia,” Robertson said. “They were the three months in which he cast his lot against the country that his forebears had created.”


Robertson is the author or editor of more than 20 books, including Civil War!; America Becomes One Nation; General A.P. Hill; Soldiers Blue and Gray; and The Untold Civil War, to be published in October by the National Geographic Society. Robertson has received every major award given in the field of Civil War history.

He was executive producer of the PBS documentary “Virginia in the Civil War,” and his biography of Stonewall Jackson was the foundation for the movie “Gods and Generals.”

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

Robertson is retired from Virginia Tech after 44 years of teaching and was named the Alumni Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus. He taught the largest Civil War history class in American higher education, with an average of 300 students per semester.

W&L Expands Poverty Study in School of Law

Thanks to a new effort by faculty and students, Washington and Lee University law students interested in studying poverty issues as part of their legal education now have any even greater array of opportunities to explore.

Partnering with the University’s Shepherd Program on Poverty and Human Capability, the law school has identified law courses, clinics, externships, and third-year practicum courses that address poverty and justice from a variety of perspectives. A new law student organization, the Shepherd Poverty Law Organization, will promote these opportunities to students and represents student interests in this area to the law school and the University.

W&L law professor Joan Shaughnessy led the effort on behalf of the law school.

“We believe educating students about poverty and the role of law in perpetuating or alleviating it will help them be better leaders, wherever their legal career takes them,” said Shaughnessy. “I am grateful to the students who launched the Shepherd Poverty Law Organization and helped bring attention to the learning opportunities here in the law school.”

Among the courses students can take is the Poverty Seminar, taught by Harlan Beckley, Fletcher Otey Professor of Religion, lecturer in religion and law, and director of the Shepherd Program.  Beckley’s class brings undergraduates and law students together in pursuit of a shared interest and is taught in an interdisciplinary style. In addition to studying the law, readings in this class consider philosophical conceptions of justice and explore social sciences pertinent to research on law and poverty.

In addition, courses in bankruptcy, immigration law and policy, and non-profit organizations as well as participation in one the school’s many clinics that serve low-income clients will allow students to explore the intersection of poverty and law while preparing them for legal work in any area.  Students can also pursue paid legal internships in poverty and law, many of them arranged through the Shepherd Program.

Several law students had Shepherd Alliance Internships this summer. For example, Claire Hagan, a second-year student, interned in Atlanta at the Georgia Justice Project. “My time at the Georgia Justice Project taught me the importance of doing excellent legal work is, whether you’re working for a big firm or an impoverished criminal defendant,” she said.

Another second-year student, Curtis Wilson, spent his internship with the Chester Upland School District Youth Court in Chester, Pa. Reflecting on his experience, Wilson said: “The most impressive lesson that I learned through my experience is that in order to combat poverty, self must be much less important than society.”

Recently, other students have worked with the Virginia Poverty Law Center, the Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment and the Legal Aid Justice Center, as well as with area legal aid and public defender offices.  Similarly, law students can fulfill their third-year service requirement through projects targeted at the disadvantaged, such as work in local domestic violence shelters or advocacy for abused and neglected children as a Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).

“These kinds of experiences allow law students to discover how their work as professional and civic leaders can have a positive impact in diminishing poverty,” said Beckley. “Such personal and professional development is only possible at a law school like W&L, where students work in close collaboration with faculty members who understand and support each student’s individual aspirations.”

To learn more about poverty study at W&L Law, visit http://law.wlu.edu/povertylaw.

News Contact:
Peter Jetton
School of Law Director of Communications
(540) 458-8782

More First Tee Honors for Warren Stephens '79

Back in June, we wrote about President George W. Bush’s trip to Little Rock, Ark., to honor Warren Stephens, a 1979 Washington and Lee graduate, for his work on First Tee, the national organization that gives young people free access to golf courses, equipment and instruction.

Last month, Warren received yet another honor for his work with the program when officials at the First Tee in Fort Smith, Ark., announced that they have renamed the course the Warren Stephens Golf Course, and that they will build a pavilion dedicated to the Stephens family on the grounds.

Both a story and a column in the Times Record of Fort Smith recorded the Stephens family’s history with First Tee, which began when Warren’s father, Jack Stephens, the chairman of Augusta National, was approached by PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem about supporting a youth program.

As Warren related, ” wasn’t there to ask for money, but my father asked if he needed any. Tim said, ‘Sure, that’d be great.’ And my father said, ‘How does $5 million sound?’ Finchem almost fainted. After he composed himself, he asked what he could do in return, and my father said, ‘I wouldn’t mind if a couple of those facilities were built in Arkansas — in Little Rock and Fort Smith.’ ”

Kester's Paper Honored at National Conference

George Kester, Martel Professor of Finance at Washington and Lee, received a Financial Education Association 2011 Conference Competitive Paper Award for his paper, “Reflections on Thirty Years of Using the Case Method to Teach Finance,” which he presented at the conference.  In this paper, which will be published in Advances in Financial Education, he discusses his experience, reflections, challenges, and lessons learned using the case method to teach finance.  He also discusses course design, including his approach to using group reports and presentations to teach cases in his W&L spring term course on Corporate Mergers, Leveraged Buyouts and Divestitures.

His spring term course is also the focus of his article, “Barbarians in the Classroom: The Case of RJR Nabisco,” which will be published in the Journal of Financial Education.  In this article, he describes how he uses a variety of teaching materials related to the takeover battle for RJR Nabisco, including a Harvard Business School case, best-selling book, selected articles and readings, and a movie to provide students with a multidisciplinary and multimedia perspective on one of the largest leveraged buyouts in history.

W&L Concert Celebrates Stan Kenton Centennial

Washington and Lee University celebrates the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of jazz icon Stan Kenton in a musical extravaganza conducted by Washington and Lee music professor Terry Vosbein.

The concert, featuring the University of Tennessee Studio Orchestra combined with the trombones of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, will take place in Wilson Hall at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 8. It is free and open to the public.

Stan Kenton was an innovative band leader who started his career in the fading days of the Big Band Era. He went on to push the limits of large ensemble jazz music.

“He was never satisfied, always chasing the future,” according to Vosbein, who has spent decades studying and performing music from the Kenton oeuvre. This performance will showcase some of Kenton’s most well known titles, but in not-so-familiar string settings. In addition, the concert will feature the world premiere of a long lost composition for strings written in 1950 by the experimentalist Bob Graettinger.

Vosbein recently spent the summer in Paris, composing additional music for this concert. The centerpiece of this new material is a suite written for his friend and stellar trombonist, Tom Lundberg, lead trombonist for the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. Featuring a string section and New Orleans style drummer in the accompaniment role, this three movement work is driving, passionate and jazzy.

The University of Tennessee Studio Orchestra, under the direction of Rusty Holloway, is an exciting ensemble that combines combinations of strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion and rhythm section players.The group’s repertoire includes both jazz and commercial music and is taken from both the established repertoire as well as student and faculty compositions and arrangements.

The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra has been garnering increasing acclaim with a string of first-rate performances and recordings. The orchestra’s powerful trombone section joins the UT players in this concert, adding their precision ensemble stylings and creative soloing to the mix.

A reception follows the performance, offering the audience a chance to meet and greet the performers.

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

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Civil War Scholar to Present “Remembering Robert E. Lee” Address

Lee Chapel & Museum at Washington and Lee University presents noted Civil War historian Dr. James I. Robertson Jr. lecturing on “Remembering Robert E. Lee,” a program commemorating the 141st anniversary of Lee’s death. The talk will be on Monday, Oct. 10, at 12:15 p.m. in Lee Chapel auditorium.

Lee died in Lexington on Oct. 12, 1870.

The title of Robertson’s talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Lee and the Mobilization of Virginia Forces 1861.” A book signing will be held before the talk at 10:30 a.m. in Lee Chapel Museum Shop. Copies of his books will be available for sale.

Robertson, a native of Virginia, is the author or editor of over 20 books including Civil War!; America Becomes One Nation; General A.P. Hill; Soldiers Blue and Gray; and The Untold Civil War, to be published in October by the National Geographic Society. He is the recipient of every major award given in the field of Civil War history.

Robertson was executive producer of the documentary, “Virginia in the Civil War,” which aired on PBS. Robertson’s biography of Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson was the foundation for the Ted Turner/Warner Bros. movie Gods and Generals. He appears regularly in Civil War programs on the Arts & Entertainment Network, the History Channel, C-Span and public television.

Robertson was appointed by the Virginia Senate as a charter member of the state’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and serves on its Executive Committee.

Robertson is retired from Virginia Tech after 44 years of teaching and was named the Alumni Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus. Before retirement, he taught the largest Civil War history class in American higher education, with an average 300 students per semester.

News Contact:
Julie Cline
News Writer

La chevalière de Philippe Labro

Washington and Lee alumnus Philippe Labro, of the Class of 1958, has been in the news in his native France these past several weeks, largely because of a new documentary on his life, “Philippe Labro, Entre Ombre et Lumiere,” which appeared on France 5 television last month. Parts of the documentary were filmed in Lexington last year, and Philippe and the film crew spent several days on campus.

Philippe’s love for W&L was evident throughout the filming. He visited his freshman room, walked along the Colonnade, participated in a journalism class, rode in a Cadillac convertible, and attended a football (American football, that is) game.

So it was not surprising to find one of the news items that popped up in connection with the documentary–a relatively short story appearing in M le magazine du Monde, all about Philippe’s Washington and Lee ring and its significance to him. Thanks to W&L French professor John Lambeth for the translation below. To read the story in the original French, go to the M website.

The Totem – The journalist/writer shows us his ‘fetish’ object, a college ring received as a student in the United States. Symbol of his commitment to America, the gold class ring set with a lapis lazuli is always with him.

by Emilie Grangeray

“I have a lot of fetish objects – I’m an avid collector of  pencils and pocket knives – but this is the only one I keep with me all the time. With my high school diploma in hand and a scholarship, I had the opportunity to study at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, a magical place of beauty – which is the setting for my novel “The Foreign Student” (1986 Interallié Prize, Folio). This college ring, now worn by time, is so heavy that it has deformed my finger and, because of it, I wear my wedding ring on my right hand.

“When I look at it, I don’t feel nostalgia, but the memory of two incredibly formative years that were more like ten years of experience. It was there that I learned to mercilessly trim adjectives and adverbs. And it was there that my curiosity about this country, its literature, its cinema and its politics blossomed – which meant that when I started chasing after editors demanding a job, Pierre Lazareff (then at the head of France-Soir, where I started) and others kept sending me back to the United States because of all the experience I had gained there.

“Back in those days, with this ring and my cowboy boots I had brought back from Colorado, Parisians didn’t quite know what to make of me! This ring has a story: during the Algerian War I lost it on a beach. I was so distraught over losing my talisman that I wrote to Lexington asking them to send me another one just like it, which they did within a week.”

Payne Hall Restoration: A Marriage of Old and New

At first glance, Room 201 in Payne Hall looks much like it did 100 years ago: slate blackboards, plaster walls, large windows. It’s only after you step inside that you notice the recent upgrades, which include central air, overhead projectors, a high-definition ceiling-mounted document camera and a recessed screen. It’s also fully wired for Internet access.

“That’s the room where Lee was inaugurated, and there’s a little plaque commemorating that,” said Suzanne Keen, professor of English and chair of the English Department, which is housed in the building. “That room is effectively the same , except that it’s temperature controlled and there are modern smart tools for teaching.”

Payne, built in 1830, is the second building completed in the multi-phase rehabilitation and restoration of the Colonnade, which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1972. The building closed for construction in May 2010 and re-opened the week of July 25. During the 14-month project, the English faculty worked in Baker Hall, a residence hall that has been serving as temporary swing space for faculty and staff displaced from the Colonnade during the work.

To qualify for state historic tax credits with the project, the University had to adhere to preservation and rehabilitation guidelines set by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. “The exterior should look fresh and renewed,” said Tom Kalasky, director of design and construction at W&L. “The interiors, we call that a historic rehabilitation, where we’re very sensitive to maintaining as much of the historic fabric as possible.”

This means that the improvements should not destroy the building’s historic character. “The challenges are always, ‘How do you get modern systems into a building while still maintaining the historic fabric?’ ” said Kalasky, who compared the rehabilitative work to surgery. Most skillfully inserted were the building’s data centers. W&L is currently building a so-called fiber freeway across campus, and the wire- and connector-filled data centers – tucked into closets on the first and second floors – serve as exits from that freeway.

The Payne Hall project also adhered to W&L’s strategic plan. “One of the points in our strategic plan is to provide an education for the 21st century,” said Kalasky. “We want to build out space that meets the programmatic needs of the University.”

Because the building’s warren of hallways and small offices did not encourage interaction between students and teachers, Kalasky’s team of architects and engineers decide to “right-size” Payne’s offices and classrooms. To improve the flow of people throughout the building, the team completely removed the back staircase. The first-floor corridor now extends unimpeded across the building. On the second floor, the stairwell has been converted into a sitting area.

Payne’s book-filled seminar room, located down the hall from the sitting area, is the first classroom on campus with a ceiling-mounted document camera. “It’s a live video of what you’re projecting, so I can put down a student paper and mark it up,” said Keen. “It’s super convenient if you want everybody to be looking together at something.”

Faculty offices have also been improved, and many have been enlarged. “My office was a third of the size, so it was tiny. I couldn’t get enough people in to have conversations,” said Lesley Wheeler, an English professor who’s been teaching in Payne since 1994. “The ceiling used to leak, so if I left papers in a specific spot I’d lose them. And I couldn’t see out the window because there was an air-conditioning unit in it.”

Offices now have new furniture, storm windows and, in most cases, nearly 200 linear feet of bookcases, complete with rolling ladders to reach the highest shelves. Eco-friendly smart lighting brightens the rooms.

The building’s eco-minded upgrades have not gone unnoticed. “It’s a huge improvement. The old building was an energy waster of massive proportions,” said Jim Warren, the S. Blount Mason Jr. Professor of English, who has taught in Payne Hall since 1984. “In the middle of winter all the windows would be open because it would be insufferably hot, and so now, with the central air and heating, it should become a much more efficient building.”

Payne is in the process of earning Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, a designation granted by the U.S. Green Building Council. As a historic preservation site, Payne does not have to fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. To accommodate disabled visitors, however, the construction team added an accessible entrance behind the building. It also built an accessible meeting room with a television monitor on the first floor.

Most of the English Department faculty, which comprises 12 full-time professors and five adjuncts, has returned to Payne. A few professors will have offices in the adjacent Washington Hall, now being renovated and scheduled for completion in December 2012.

“We have all this technology, but it’s all in service of discussions about literature and writing. Those are still our priorities,” said Keen. “We’re hoping that students will find the place and think of it as a center for the literary arts.”

— by Amy C. Balfour, ’89, ’93L

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

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Running with the Homeless

During her summer internship at “D Magazine” in Dallas, the Washington and Lee senior Kelsy McCraw, from Greenville, S.C., interviewed chefs and professional women bowlers, wrote about advertising  and did a video with Dallas’ best children’s entertainer.

But maybe her most memorable assignment — and most compelling story — was one that she did on the run. Literally.

Kelsy, a journalism major who played soccer for the Generals, joined the Back on My Feet organization for a run and wound up running with the group for five weeks. Back on My Feet describes itself as “a nonprofit organization that promotes the self-sufficiency of homeless populations by engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength and self-esteem.”

The piece that Kelsy wrote for “Frontburner,” a “D Magazine” blog, not only describes the organization but also offers an insightful profile into one of the participants.

Here is an excerpt:

“Tears well in her eyes as she tries to describe what the first few days in the shelter were like. She can’t verbalize those feelings, but the crumbling of her emotional stronghold shows just how scary the experience must have been. Right then, she proudly shows me her travel coffee mug that has a printed out picture of her pride-and-joys’ smiling faces on it. She wants a better life for them, but worries what they will think of their days in the shelter 10 years from now.”

Read Kelsy’s entire piece on Back on My Feet on the Frontburner blog.

Jennifer Strawbridge '01 Named Distinguished Young Alumna

Washington and Lee University’s Alumni Association has bestowed its 2011 Distinguished Young Alumna Award on the Rev. Jennifer R. Strawbridge, of the Class of 2001.

Announcement of the award was made on Friday (Sept. 30) during the annual Young Alumni Reunion on campus.

Rev. Strawbridge is chaplain of Oxford University’s Keble College in England, where she is responsible for the day-to-day life of the chapel, including conducting daily services, teaching and organizing various Chapel activities.

At the same time, she is pursuing a DPhil. degree in New Testament and classics at Oxford.

The citation honoring Rev. Strawbridge read, in part: “The leadership, scholarship and service Jenn Strawbridge exhibited as a student has flourished and brought credit to her alma mater.”

A summa cum laude graduate in physics and religion, Rev. Strawbridge was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma and Omicron Delta Kappa. She was a University Scholar, a R.E. Lee Research Scholar and a member of the lacrosse and tennis teams.

She was a student leader in the Shepherd Poverty Program and spent two summers as an AmericCorps volunteer in Kentucky during her undergraduate career.

After graduating from W&L, she earned a master’s in New Testament theology from Keble College, a master’s in divinity from Yale University and a diploma in Anglican studies from the Berkley Divinity School at Yale.

She was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in 2004 and began her ministry as curate at Christ Church Episcopal in New Haven, Conn. She also served as an oncology and hospice chaplain at Bridgeport Hospital in nearby Bridgeport, Conn

Immediately prior to her current position, Rev. Strawbridge was associate rector at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, Va., for five years and also served as curate at Christ Church Episcopal in New Haven, Connecticut.

In 2009, Rev. Strawbridge presented the Baccalaureate Address at Washington and Lee.

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459


Two members of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1993, now partners in a Idaho fly shop and lodge, had a close encounter with a bear last month, while they were bow hunting for elk in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

According to both media reports and a first-hand blog post, the men, Rich Paini and Jon Stiehl, were on their way back to Paini’s cabin in the Last Chance area of Island Park, Idaho, when they were attacked by what officials say was likely a grizzly bear feeding in the area.

The bear charged Rich, biting his left hand and right arm. It might have been far worse, but Jon waved his arms and jumped up and down with bear spray in hand to distract the bear and chase it away.

After evaluating Rich’s injuries, the two kept walking in the opposite direction of the bear after calling 911 and a nearby state park. Rich’s trip to the hospital was harrowing, too, and included ramming a jeep through a fence gate before getting to an ambulance and then a helicopter.

Rich’s injuries were extensive. He had to have half of his ring finger amputated, and the bear’s bite broke two bones in his forearm.

Rich and Jon are partners in TroutHunter on Henry’s Fork, a  fly shop, art gallery, bar, restaurant and lodge.

Jon wrote a first-person account of the event that you can read it in its entirety on the TroutHunter website. Here is an excerpt that describes the actual attack:

We were about 10 yards apart on a small game/cattle trail when we heard what I had thought to be elk crashing out of some heavy timber to the west. In an effort to see what was going on I took a few steps in the direction of the commotion putting a small stand of aspen between Rich and myself. Almost immediately, I heard Rich yell “BEAR!”  By the time I was able to get out my pepper spray, Rich and a very large dark bear with a buff face came flying into view. The bear was 3/4’s erect and Rich had managed to stick up his right arm to protect his face. The bear clamped down on it and threw Rich to the ground, completely breaking his right arm below the elbow.  It looked like a hit from an NFL Linebacker. Rich thrust his left arm and recurve bow towards the bear’s face in an attempt to free himself.  The bear chomped that hand splintering the arrows in the bow quiver in the process. I ran to the collision just in time to fire off a cloud of pepper spray at the bear’s huge ass and watch it tear off into the woods. If the entire encounter was more than 15 second I would be shocked.

We’re happy to report that Rich was released from the hospital and, as the photo above demonstrates, is recovering.

Johns Hopkins' Douglas Mao Is Shannon-Clark Lecturer

The Shannon-Clark lecture this fall features Douglas Mao, professor of English and chair of the Department of English, Johns Hopkins University. The lecture will be on Thursday, Oct. 6, at 8 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of the talk, which is free and open to the public, is “An Address to the Academy of Fine Ideas.”

A specialist in modernist fiction and poetry of Britain, Ireland and the United States, Mao is the author of Solid Objects: Modernism and the Test of Production and Fateful Beauty: Aesthetic Environments, Juvenile Development, and Literature 1860-1960. He is also the co-editor of Bad Modernisms and the editor of the Longman Cultural Edition of E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End.

Mao has been president of the Modernist Studies Association and held a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship; he currently serves on the Faculty Editorial Board of Johns Hopkins Press and on the editorial board of Textual Practice, Britain’s principal international journal of radical literary studies. Mao’s courses have treated a range of topics in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literature, from gender in modern writing to the aftermath of literary naturalism, from narratives of utopia to authority in modern writing.

Mao received his B.A. from Harvard and his Ph.D. from Yale. He taught in the English departments at Princeton, Harvard and Cornell before Johns Hopkins.

News Contact:
Julie Cline
News Writer

Vosbein's Composition Part of Environmental Project

Terry Vosbein, professor of music at Washington and Lee, was one of seven composers from Associated Colleges of the South institutions commissioned to set poems to music as part of a project at Southwestern University of Texas. Vosbein’s composition became part of a song cycle that focuses on the environment, particularly the importance of water to creating and sustaining life. Read about the project here.

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