Feature Stories Campus Events

Jingle Bells

A little more than a year ago we blogged about Washington and Lee alumnus Matt Bevin, of the Class of 1989,and his family business — Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Company, maker of 200 varieties of bells. We noted then that bells were especially relevant given the time of year. National Public Radio apparently agrees.

Earlier this week, Matt and his company’s were featured on New England Public Radio, and today NPR’s Morning Edition had a segment on Bevin’s bells.

Located in East Hampton, Conn., known as “Belltown” because it was once the heart of U.S. bell-making with 30 bell factories there at one time. Only Bevin Brothers survives. It was started in 1832 by Matt’s great-great-great-grandfather and manufactured the first bicycle bells and first automobile foot bells (a pre-horn care safety device). Today Bevin Brothers is the only company in North America than specializes in making bells. The company has produced 750 million bells.

Matt established a highly successful investment company, Integrity Asset Management, in Louisville where he was CEO and principal from 2003 to this past November. When his uncle was consider closing down the bell company in 2008, Matt agreed to step up and keep it going even though, even he admits, that there are plenty of easier ways to make bell sounds nowadays.

So why try to save the company? Here’s what he told New England Public Radio: “The ability to literally walk across the same floorboards as my ancestors, for six generations, these same worn, weathered boards. This factory was built in the 19th century and we’re still making bells in the same spot in the same building as we have been for decade after decade, after generation after generation.”

So when you hear sleigh bells in the coming days or when you watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”  and hear the bells that give an angel its wings or when you see a Salvation Army bell ringer or when you see some football fans ringing cowbells in the stands during a bowl game, think of Matt Bevin. His company made those bells.

Click this link to download the audio from New England Public Radio’s show or use the player below to hear the story:

Click this link to download the audio from Morning Edition or use the player below to hear the story:


We're on Google+

Anyone who has made the move to Google+ can now find Washington and Lee’s official presence there now. Search for Washington and Lee and add us to one of your circles or  go directly to our custom URL: gplus.to/wlu.

We’ve begun adding stories, videos and photos to Google+ page and hope that you’ll join us there. We’d also like to hear from Google+ users about what kinds of stories or information that they would like to see there.

And don’t forget that you can also find the University’s official social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn (for alumni).


Quite a Career

A blog entry on the Roanoke Times’ “So Salem” site today features the career of Washington and Lee law school alumna Llewellyn Hedgbeth of the Class of 1980. And quite a career it’s been, too.

A Salem native, Llew was a drama major at Hollins and then earned both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in theatre history and dramatic literature before she even got to the W&L law school in 1977. It was during her last year of law school, she told the Times, that a friend told her in the snack bar that she should take the test for foreign service.

She took the test and, with a background in both the theatre and the law, spent 28 years on numerous assignments, mostly abroad, for the U.S. Department of State. Included in her posts were chargé d’affaires for the American Embassy in Mongolia, management counselor for the American Embassy in Beirut, and, from July to October 2010, chargé d’affaires at the American Embassy Bandara Seri Begawan in the Sultanate of Brunei. There, among other activities, she assisted with a disaster management training exercise.

Some of her other assignments were a one-year position as project director for China 2000, two years as director of operations for the Bureau of Administration during which she implemented Y2K readiness plan, and three years as executive director of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Llew compared preparing for work overseas to “learning to swim without a pool” and told the Times’ blogger that she wished she had studied more foreign languages as preparation for her career.


Nora V. Demleitner Named Dean of Washington and Lee School of Law

Nora V. Demleitner will be the new dean of Washington and Lee University’s School of Law. She becomes the first woman to hold that position and is the 17th dean in the 145-year history of W&L’s law school. She will also hold the Roy L. Steinheimer Jr. Professorship in Law.

A highly respected scholar on issues of criminal, comparative and immigration law, Demleitner is currently dean and professor of law at Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University.

Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio announced Demleitner’s appointment, which will be effective July 1, 2012, and culminates a national search for the successor to Rodney Smolla, who left in 2010 to become president of Furman University. Mark Grunewald, James P. Morefield Professor of Law, has served as interim dean.

“Dean Demleitner emerged from what we believe was an extraordinarily strong pool of candidates. Everyone who met with her was impressed with her energy and enthusiasm and vision,” said Ruscio. “In addition, she has a splendid reputation throughout the legal community for her scholarship and accomplishments.

“I want to thank the members of the search committee for their excellent work throughout this process and am also very appreciative of Mark Grunewald’s service as interim dean.”

A native of Germany, Demleitner received her law degree from Yale after earning a bachelor’s degree from Bates College. She also earned a master’s degree with distinction in international and comparative law from the Georgetown University Law Center. Following law school, she clerked for the Honorable Samuel A. Alito Jr., then a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and now a justice on the United States Supreme Court.

When she was named dean at Hofstra in 2008, Justice Alito told the New York Times: “She had a wonderful academic record and came highly recommended to me by people at Yale Law School. I was immediately impressed by her poise and intelligence.”

Under Demleitner’s leadership, the Hofstra law school has made impressive strides in a number of areas, including the creation of important partnerships both locally and internationally. The school has developed a closer relationship with the Nassau County (N.Y.) Bar Association to enhance collaboration between the law school and the legal profession and to increase the opportunity for law students to work directly with the bar association.  In addition, she has led efforts to build new partnerships with institutions in Asia and Europe, to strengthen summer offerings by partnering with elite institutions in Europe and to establish innovative spring break programs in Ecuador and Cuba. Hofstra has been cited as one of the nation’s most diverse law schools by U.S. News & World Report.

As Washington and Lee’s law dean, Demleitner will be working with a talented faculty with proven commitments to scholarship and teaching and an excellent student body whose members have chosen to study at a small law school with an innovative curriculum.

“I am deeply honored to have been chosen as Washington and Lee’s next law dean.  Its faculty and student body impressed me immensely during my visit,” said Demleitner.  “W&L’s innovative curriculum challenges traditional legal education by merging high-caliber scholarship with the best legal practice has to offer.  I could not be more excited about serving an institution that is on the forefront of the major changes legal education will have to undergo in the next few years.”

Demleitner’s first academic position came in 1994 when she joined the faculty at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, where she also served as the director of LL.M. programs. She joined Hofstra in 2001 as a faculty member.  After serving as academic dean in 2006 and interim dean in 2007, she became that law school’s first female dean in January 2008.

She has special expertise in sentencing and collateral sentencing consequences. She is the lead author of Sentencing Law and Policy, a major casebook on sentencing law. She also is an editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter, and serves on the executive editorial board of the American Journal of Comparative Law.

She has extensive international experience, having lectured and served as visiting professor at the University of Freiburg, Germany, and the Sant’ Anna Institute of Advanced Research in Pisa, Italy.  She has been a research fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Germany.  She has also been a visiting professor at the University of Michigan Law School and St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami.

Demleitner is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

“The law school community is looking forward with pleasure and excitement to Nora’s deanship,” said Joan M. Shaughnessy, W&L professor of law who chaired the search committee. “Her experience and her dedication impressed the search committee when we met her earlier this fall, and her positive energy filled Lewis Hall when she came to campus.  I am confident that the law school will become even stronger during her tenure.”

In addition to Shaughnessy, members of the search committee were law professors Johanna Bond, Christopher Bruner, Mark Drumbl, David Millon and Mary Natkin; John Keyser, associate dean of the School of Law; Sidney Evans, the University’s vice president for student affairs; Stacey Gould Van Goor of San Diego, a 1995 graduate of the School of Law and immediate past president of the law council; and two members of the University’s board of trustees, Robert Grey of Richmond, a 1976 law graduate, and Jack Vardaman of Washington, D.C., a 1962 college graduate.

News Contacts:
Peter Jetton
School of Law Director of Communications
pjetton@wlu.edu
(540) 458-8782

Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
jhanna@wlu.edu
(540) 458-8459


Art & Science of Investing

In an interview for the website JustLuxe earlier this month, Washington and Lee alumnus and trustee Robert Balentine, of the Class of 1979, repeats a motto that his father used: “If you listen to your clients, they will tell you how to run your business.”

That, Robert tells the interviewers for JustLuxe, remains a guiding principle of Atlanta-based Balentine, which he co-founded with his father in 1987.

In the insightful “Thought Leader” interview, Robert discusses the distinctive nature of his investment counseling, which is based, in part, on the company’s motto, “The Art and Science of Investing.” Asked to describe what intuition and creativity have to do with successful investing, Robert says: “Intuition is a very strong element in the investment world, as it is based on greater understanding, and on that understanding, solid judgment. By adopting an intuitive, art based approach to investment management, we can recognize opportunities that aren’t always reflected in our scientific models.”

Robert began his investment career with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith. He was the youngest vice president in Merrill Lynch history. A French major at W&L, Robert joined the University’s Board of Trustees in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010.


W&L Alum Named CEO of the Year

Washington and Lee alumnus and trustee emeritus John Klinedinst, CEO and shareholder of Klinedinst P.C., has been named Most Admired CEO by the San Diego Business Journal.

John, a member of the undergrad Class of 1971 and the law school Class of 1978,  won the award in the Journal’s private company/medium category. This marked the first time that the publication had recognized the chief executive of a law firm, although John had been a finalist in the past.

In announcing the award, Randy Frisch, president and publisher of SDBJ, observed: “The practice of law, especially in this down economy, has demanded tighter, tougher management. Increasingly, we are seeing well-deserved recognition from those inside law firms where good management has been practiced.”

“This is truly an incredible honor, for which I am very grateful,” said John, who founded the firm in 1983. “To be singled out by your peers within the business community is very meaningful. However, this is a true team achievement, to be shared among the entire Klinedinst family of employees.”

John served as a trustee of the University from 2001 to 2010.

Related //
Tagged //

W&L Holds Second Annual Business Plan Competition

Businesses targeting college students and young professionals figured prominently among the business plans presented at the fall semi-final round of Washington and Lee University’s Business Plan Competition (BPC). Teams of W&L seniors presented their ideas to a panel of judges, mostly University alumni, with experience as entrepreneurs, in private equity or venture capital.

The students’ ideas included a business that facilitates buying and selling textbooks online, a smart phone application for an interactive campus map, tailored suits for college students and a mobile vendor of low-calorie breakfasts and lunches.

“I think all the business plans are very good ideas,” said Jeffrey Shay, the Johnson Professor of Entrepreneurship and Leadership at W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics and the organizer of BPC.

Members of the team that presented a business plan for The Helm said that their idea came from a desire to do something with technology in an area they know best—education. Their aim is to use GPS technology to provide a smartphone-friendly alternative to a university’s website, providing students, visitors and members of a university community with an interactive campus map as well as up-to-date information about campus events.

“Like the name implies, it really is everything you need for college life in a single application, and it’s specific to each campus,” said team member Nicholas Lanoue, a business administration and German double major. “There isn’t anything like this currently out there. There are some apps that have basic information, or just the university’s website, but nothing that lets you pick and choose content and gives you an interactive map.”

Alex Shabo, a business administration and psychology double major, said that the team used Lanoue’s financial expertise to push the process forward as well as the presentation abilities of Corinne Smith, a business administration major who plans to work in marketing. “I think we all learned group dynamics and how to work best in a team, capitalize (I don’t think she means monopolize) on our strengths and get a great business plan out there,” said Shabo.

Another business plan that targeted college students was Sharra, a virtual service network for student textbook sales. It allows students to purchase or sell used textbooks online, eliminating the cost and inconvenience of both shipping and high transaction fees. In presenting its idea, the team called attention to students’ frustration with the high cost of textbooks and the inability to resell them for an amount close to the purchase price.

The business plan for Patrick Anthony Suits targeted college students and recent graduates by offering custom-made professional apparel through a website. The students laid out the case for the business by citing a market research survey that showed that more than 63 percent of young collegians stated that they only owned one suit or did not have one at all, and that 73 percent anticipated being required to wear suits in their future employment.

Lo Cal Wraps, an express mobile vendor providing low-calorie breakfasts and lunches, targeted the 129,300 young professional adults living in Boston. The business plan showed that young working people had, on average, 35.5 minutes for lunch during their workday, and often choose where they eat based on how much time it will take.

The proposed business name To Do Less also focused on career professionals with minimal leisure time and high disposable income by bundling three commonly used services—delivery dry cleaning, delivery grocery goods and home cleaning—while keeping prices well below those of concierge services.

One of the business plans that did not target college students and young professionals was Bullseye Tracking — a GPS tracking chip in a shoe insole that allows parents to track young children or caregivers to track people with Alzheimers. “Based on the feedback we received from the judges, we think it is actually a viable business plan,” said Austin Gideon, an accounting and business administration double major, and a member of the Bullseye team. “We all had faith in it from the very beginning, but it’s nice to hear from judges who are a step away from the business that they also support the idea.”

The team included Katie Hatfield, a business administration major, who pointed out that every 40 seconds a child is reported missing in the United States and that 5.2 million citizens have Alzheimers. “So out of our two customer bases, millions of people could benefit from this product. I think it’s definitely viable,” she said.

Matt Gossett, a business administration and French double major and the third member of the team, agreed and said that in preparing their business plan they talked with a manufacturer of insoles in China, a GPS chip manufacturer in San Francisco and a distribution warehouse in Missouri. “There’s no product out there that addresses the need for tracking in a discrete manner, so we would apply for a patent from day one,” he said. Hatfield agreed that the patent would be a deciding factor in whether they would choose to enter the market.

Shay said he would be surprised if any of the plans were actually launched as businesses because W&L’s entrepreneurship program is in only its second year. “Typically, you start to see students launch businesses when an entrepreneurship program has been around for four years,” he said. “That’s because the seed needs to be planted when students are in their first or sophomore year so that by the time they get to their senior year they have a notebook of ideas. They keep working on one idea, take the entrepreneurship class and then go out and try to launch the business. These students in the competition are fairly passionate about their ideas, but being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean every idea is going to be the golden one. Otherwise everybody would do it.”

The Business Plan Competition is part of the capstone course on entrepreneurship. and Shay explained that the main purpose is for students to learn how to integrate everything they’ve learned into a cohesive argument for the viability of a particular business idea. “It’s certainly opened their eyes as to how much they really know — whether it’s organizational behavior, human resource management, marketing, finance or other areas,” he said.

BPC judge Courtney Stovall, a 1999 W&L alumna who founded BounceBack.com, said “whether or not the students actually put their own money into working on these businesses, their passion is amazing. They’ve clearly put a lot of time into it and, watching these presentations, I’m just blown away at the level of detail. The teamwork they’ve shown and the different industries they’ve taken on have been really impressive. I think the ideas are great too.”

The final business plan, Clean Screen, addressed the need for convenient access to sunscreen at golf clubs, sailing clubs, resorts, etc., by providing innovative refillable large capacity dispensers. “The product also includes a dispenser that neutralizes sunscreen so the consumer’s hands aren’t left slippery, making it difficult to play sports like tennis and golf,” said Shay.

In describing the students’ work, Shay said he was enthusiastic about fusing a liberal arts education with a business school education. “On the one side you have the creativity and innovation from the liberal arts, and on the other you have the analytical tools, models and everything else you learn from the business school. You put them together and it should be the perfect formula for great business ideas and great teams,” he said.

A second semi-final of the Business Plan Competition will be held in April.  Shay will post online ten-minute videos of the final business plans selected and will ask alumni to select three winners who will be announced during the William’s School annual awards ceremony before graduation.

Details of the Business Plan Competition can be found at  http://entrepreneurship.wlu.edu/entrepreneurship_program/co-curricular/business-plan-competition/

Details of the judges are at http://entrepreneurship.wlu.edu/entrepreneurship_program/co-curricular/business-plan-competition/distinguished-judges/

News Contact:
Sarah Tschiggfrie
News Director
stschiggfrie@wlu.edu
540-458-8235

Decrease in U.S. Executions Points to Eventual Abolishment, Says W&L Law Professor

The steady downward trend in the use of the death penalty in the United States represents a “fairly irreversible decline” and suggests a time when the death penalty will be abolished, says David Bruck, a Washington and Lee University law professor.

Statistics released this week by the Death Penalty Information Center indicate that the number of executions in the U.S. has decreased by 75 percent since 1996 and is at its lowest level since capital punishment was reinstated in the United States in 1976.


AUDIO


Bruck, clinical professor of law at W&L and director of the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse, cites several reasons for the decline.

States that still use the death penalty, he says, now provide an option for juries to sentence defendants to life imprisonment without parole. And, he adds, juries that do sentencing in capital cases must be told about that option.

“So juries understand that society is protected either way and the death penalty is generally not necessary as a way of protecting society against dangerous murderers,” said Bruck.

Another reason for the decline, in Bruck’s view, involves the number of people on death row who have been shown to be convicted in error, sometimes by use of DNA testing.

“Since the 1990s, the American public has received something of a shock about the fallibility of the criminal justice system,” he said. “For a long time, it was thought that the only mistakes the system ever made was failing to convict or failing to imprison dangerous people.

“Now, largely because of DNA, we have found that the system makes a lot of mistakes. That has led to a broad readjustment in people’s attitudes. The public still tends to favor capital punishment, but public support is much more nuanced. There is more anxiety that the death penalty runs the risk of causing disastrous errors that cannot be undone.”

Bruck said that the substantial increase in the quality of defense that is available to indigent clients is another reason for the decline.

“We recognize that who goes to death row and who doesn’t is more a case of who your lawyer is than of what you did, or even who you did it to,” he said.

Bruck believes that the 75 percent decrease in the number of death sentences over a 15-year period “tells us that we are headed in the same direction as the rest of the democratic world, and that, in the fullness of time, the United States will abolish the death penalty just as all of western Europe, all of the western democracies have already done.”

News Contact:
Peter Jetton
School of Law Director of Communications
pjetton@wlu.edu
(540) 458-8782

Related //
Tagged //

Unconventional Taste

A New York Times piece this week extols the “unconventional taste” of Washington and Lee alumna Hollister Hovey, of the Class of 2000, and her business partner and sister, Porter Hovey, who have recently established Hovey Design.

As the story in the Home & Garden section of the Times notes, Hollister and Porter had been considering pooling their talents and tastes into an interior design firm. They made the big move after they were hired to decorate a penthouse in The Edge, high-rise condominiums in New York’s Williamsburg area.

The sisters’ taste in things “unconventional” was already known by way of an earlier New York Times article, “The New Antiquarians,” back in 2009. Their own loft in Williamsburg is decorated with “late 19th-century relics like apothecary cabinets and dressmakers’ dummies.” Have a look at their personal space on the Design Sponge blog.

This is not a new interest for Hollister, a journalism major whose day job is as senior director at Lazar Partners, a health-care communications firm. As early as 2007, Hollister had started a design blog to “help the classics have a place in this cyber-world filled with ubiquitous modern design.” Although the blog now redirects to Hovey Design, you can still find Hollister’s picks on her Tumblr site, titled simply Hollister H. Hovey, and featuring images of some very cool stuff. That blog was cited way back in 2008 by the New York Times in a “Shopping with Design Bloggers” feature.


W&L Magazine, Fall 2011: Vol. 86 | No. 3

In This Issue:

  • Higher Education
    The Cost, The Price, The Value
  • From Words to Windows: Elizabeth O’Byrne ’00
    By Campbell Massie, Photos by Kevin Remington
  • Welcome Home
    Five-Star Generals | Homecoming, Young Alumni | Awards

By the Numbers

  • Energy, Larry Peppers, Shenandoah and Class of 2015

Letters

  • Alma Mater
  • Coeducation and the Law School

Along the Colonnade

  • Remembering 9/11
  • Let There Be Light:
  • Energy Education Specialists Spread the Word
  • ITS Staff Members Become QR Billboards
  • Civil War Diaries
  • Noteworthy
  • By the Rules – 120 Years of Student Handbooks
  • Fresh Water for Bolivia
  • Books and CDs
  • Shakespeare Center Donates Collection
  • Pamela Hemenway Simpson, 1946-2011

Generals Report

  • Hall of Fame Honors

W&L Law

  • Order of the Coif Honors Richard H. Middleton Jr. ’73, ’76L
  • Law Students Revive Tradition of SBA Service Day

Milestones

  • A Bridge Between Alumni and W&L
  • W&L Traveller
  • Helping W&L Libraries Keep Pace With Technological Change

President Ruscio’s Message

  • Our Debt to the Future

Last Look

  • Mock Con Signups

Welcome Home to a Veteran

Throughout the country this month, emotional homecomings are occurring every day as members of the United States military return from Iraq. Although it did not involve Iraq, one homecoming this week caught our eye. A story in the Statesville, N.C., Record & Landmark is about the celebration in that town when an Army officer, Maj. Gen. James B. Mallory III, of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1977, came back from Afghanistan, where he has spent the past year as the deputy commanding general for the NATO training mission at Camp Eggers in Kabul.

You can read about the giant American flag flown across Statesville’s main street in James’ honor, and you can watch a video that shows the people lining the street and waving flags as James drove up to his house.

James was commissioned as a second lieutenant after graduating from W&L and served four years in the 82nd Airborne. In 1981, when he entered law school at Wake Forest, he joined the Army Reserve and rose through the ranks to his current post with the 108th Training Command, which is the sole nationwide reserve command for initial military training.

In May, James was featured on C-Span’s “Washington Journal,” discussing the training of the Afghan army and police forces. You can watch that video on the C-Span “Washington Journal” site.

James’s law practice in Statesville focuses on solving money issues, including helping people stop foreclosures, repossessions, wage garnishments, judgment executions, IRS levies and creditor harassment.

Welcome home, James.


Dancing with the Professors II

Last week was Washington and Lee’s second edition of Dancing with the Professors. Not only is it a good fund-raiser for the W&L dance program, but it’s proven a big hit with the audiences, too. In fact, it was voted best new event on campus by students last year.

Eleven professors participated in 10 dances this year, showing off their moves in everything from Backstreet Boys to Hannah Montana to an interpretive piece with a flashlight.

Jenny Davies, assistant professor of dance and organizer, praised the faculty contributions against this time: “The professors contribute ideas and choose songs; some choreograph and all work collaboratively with the students. It gives the student dancers a chance to work with their professors in a new way — they get a chance to teach their professors — and it gives the student body a chance to see their teachers in a new light. All of the W&L professors were such great sports. They gave it their all. One of my favorites was Dean Tammy lip syncing to Beyonce’s Countdown with the W&L dancers as her backup.

Audience members “voted” for their favorite act with money to help the W&L Dance Company attend the American College Dance Festival. In the case of students, of course, many “swiped home” donations (Thanks, mom and dad.)

The winners were the team of Paul Bourdon, professor of mathematics, with junior Erin Sullivan and senior Blair Gillespie. (Theirs was the team with the flashlight.)

The second place award went to a team that has now become a YouTube sensation. It’s the performance by Hank Dobin, dean of the College; Jenny Davies, assistant professor of dance and the event’s organizer; and juniors Jennifer Ritter and Astrid Pruitt. Together, the quartet replicated the popular online video by the band OK Go where band members dance on treadmills.

So here is a link to the original OK Go dance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTAAsCNK7RA

And here is the video of the W&L Dancing with the Professors’ performance. Let us know what you think about this terpsichorean quartet. http://youtu.be/RwlMfWacars


W&L Physics Professor Explains Higgs Boson Particle

Imagine that you’ve been working a jigsaw puzzle for 50 years—and you can’t find the one piece that will allow you to finish at least one portion of the puzzle.

The possibility that this piece might have finally been found is why physicists are so excited about this week’s announcement that scientists believe they are at least closer to finding the elusive Higgs boson particle, says H. Thomas Williams, the Morris Professor of Physics Emeritus at Washington and Lee.


AUDIO


“From a physicist’s point of view, the news out of Switzerland this week is important for a couple of reasons,” said Williams. “There has been a theory around for 50 years, the Standard Model of particle physics, which is the best understanding we have of why there is such a variety of elementary particles, how they play together, what forces they put on each other and so forth. That model predicted a lot of effects and a lot of new particles, all of which have been found but one.

“The Standard Model is not the theory of everything,” he continued. “To me, it’s like you’re working a jigsaw puzzle and you’ve got thousands of pieces yet to put in but over in the left-hand corner is the palm tree that is finished except for one piece, and you get obsessed with it. You’ve got to find that one piece and plug it in there.”

That one piece, said Williams, would validate the Standard Model but would also provide a mechanism by which the other particles in the universe have mass at all, and why some have more mass than others.

“There was a time when the conclusion of many was that mass is was it is. Some things are heavy and some things are light and some things have no mass, and that’s just the way it is. Physicists don’t like that kind of answer,” Williams said. “Every time you can answer a question, they want to know what’s the next deeper question you can go after.”

Researchers using the world’s largest particle accelerator, at the European laboratory CERN, near Geneva, have suggested that data show they may be on the right track in the search.

But, Williams cautions, this week’s announcement points to more work ahead.

“What has happened is that they have done this experiment searching over this wide range of possible energies where this thing could be,” Williams said. “They have seen hints at a particular energy, which means they can focus on that part of the sky, if you will, and do some very directed experiments in that direction. That’s why they are reasonably confident that in 12 months they are going to have this cornered.”

Williams said that the particle’s discovery could have some practical impact 50 years in the future. “But right now it’s like searching for the South Pole,” he said. “It’s a quest. The longer you look for something without finding it, the more important it seems to become.”

Although the Higgs boson has been nicknamed the “god particle” in the popular press, Williams said that most physicists reject the name because it overstates the importance of this piece of the puzzle.

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


Superheroes Blog to the Rescue

Chris Gavaler, visiting assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee, is the author of two novels as well as numerous award-winning short stories and plays. He’s also got one of the more intriguing blogs that you’ll find, particularly if you grew up, as he did, reading comic books.

Every Monday, Chris posts a new item on The Patron Saint of Superheroes that explores such intriguing questions as “Who Would Win in a Fight: Captain America or Archie Andrews?” (from this week) or Spider-Man vs. the Superman (Or, Why Bono Is God).

Chris taught a course called Superheroes during Spring Term 2010 and will be offering it again this coming spring. The blog title is also the working title of his latest novel-in-progress, and he’s preparing a collection of scholarly pieces on the early superheroes.

He explains his abiding interest in both comic books and superheroes in his first blog post, “School for Superheroes,” from last July. As he writes: “While I was promoting my second novel, School for Tricksters, ThreeGuysOneBook.com asked me what books made me a reader for life: This is embarrassingly unliterary, but comic books started me reading.  I remember my first: The Defenders #15.”

The post goes on to note his parents’ involvement in the civil rights struggle in Pittsburgh, when authorities tapped their phone and vandals targeted their house. He writes, “I was too busy studying superheroes to take much notice. . . . I was seven and more concerned with the Defenders’ battle against Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.”

Anyone who is interested in the real relationship between Batman and Robin or the latest in superhero fashion should stop by the blog on Mondays and see what Chris has to say.


W&L’s Bystander Programs Educate to Prevent Violence, Alcohol Abuse

The programs go by various names. Green Dot. Red Flag. Some don’t have a name yet. They all share one important trait, however: the education of bystanders about when, and how, to intervene and therefore prevent sexual violence and alcohol abuse in the Washington and Lee community.

“Bystander education is an important part of our development as a community,” said Sidney Evans, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “It equips us with tools to help others when they may not be in a position to help themselves. It teaches us how to become involved in a meaningful and effective way, and in a way that works for us as individuals.

”From orientation programs for the entering class to work with Greek organizations and varsity athletic teams,” said Evans, “the bystander model has become a key part of the educational efforts that the W&L Office of Health Promotion operates.”

“We have shifted a lot of our thinking and programming to the bystander model,” said Jan Kaufman, director of health promotion at W&L. “The bottom line is helping members of the campus community understand that part of their responsibility as a community member is to look out for their friends.”

Kaufman said that the University’s shift to bystander education was spurred by Green Dot, a national program based at the University of Kentucky. Green Dot operates on the notion that “No one has to do everything. Everyone has to do something.”

A Green Dot represents a moment when a student chooses to dissuade sexual violence. It is, for example, pulling a friend out of a high-risk situation, organizing Green Dot training for one’s student group, posting something about one’s commitment to the program on Facebook, or writing a class paper on violence prevention.

The opposite symbol, a red dot, represents the tolerance of violence in any way. The program asks participants to visualize a computer-generated map covered in red dots, each one representing an individual case of sexual assault, dating violence, stalking or an individual’s decision to do nothing in the face of a high-risk situation. The program’s goal is to replace the red dots with Green Dots. Since the program was established at W&L in 2010, Green Dots have been showing up all over campus— from Facebook statuses to e-mail signatures to lacrosse helmets. The men’s lacrosse team, in fact, became the first varsity athletic team in the country to receive Green Dot training, and the men’s swimming team has recently followed.

“We’re trying to shift community norms from a culture of inaction against sexual violence to one where students are active in preventing the escalation of a situation where someone could be hurt,” said Jennifer Sayre, director of training and development for the national Green Dot organization and a former counselor at W&L. “Just based on the numbers, we should be really close by the end of this year to reaching a critical mass that the diffusion-of-innovation theory tells us we need for the diffusion to become inevitable. If you get enough people in your community to learn the new behavior, then that behavior will become the new behavioral norm. It’s a community mobilization strategy.”

Sayre considers W&L a perfect place for the Green Dot program. “We’re a unique community in terms of how connected most folks are to community values, honor and trust,” she said. “But we’re certainly not immune to the problem of sexual violence experienced by colleges around the country. Nationally, statistics show that approximately one in four college women will be sexually assaulted. It’s been well studied in the literature and is consistent with findings from surveys at W&L.

“But we also know, statistically, that the folks who commit this kind of violence are a small percentage of the population. The vast majority are our allies on this issue and outnumber the people doing it by 20, 30, even 40 to 1.”

That, Sayre says, means that the bystanders are not acting because they may not know how to intervene in a situation. Green Dot seeks to change that.

Since the program’s inception at W&L, 35 percent of the undergraduate student body has heard an overview talk, and 185 students have received the full, six-hour Green Dot training.

“Most students understand what a Green Dot is, and I think it has very much become a part of the culture at W&L,” said junior Jack Apgar, a member of the lacrosse team.

“The men’s lacrosse team is invested in finding ways to make a difference in our community,” said head coach Gene McCabe. “This seemed like the perfect way for us to do that. This is a small campus, and our guys are helping make the Green Dot program more visible. I think the word’s getting out.”

Only two weeks after the team heard the overview, lacrosse player Brian (Mac) Means and his friend Jack Switala, both juniors, extracted a female student from a situation they recognized as high risk. “They hadn’t had the full training yet, but a potentially bad situation was averted,” said Sayre. “When Mac went to the next lacrosse team meeting, he was invited to share the story. When he finished, they gave him a standing ovation.”

As Sayre observed, data show that it is difficult for individuals to do or say something when it might result in a group to which they belong ostracizing them. “But if the group, as a whole, chooses to say that Green Dot is one of its values, it’s a lot easier because all your friends are doing it too,” she said.

“The training gives you a sense of confidence that you know you’re doing the right thing,” said senior Bryan Stuke. “You’ve been taught by qualified and dedicated people. All the solutions they offer are incredibly pragmatic and doable. You don’t necessarily have to get in someone’s face and cause some sort of confrontation. You can distract them from the situation or delegate responsibility to someone of higher authority—there are a number of resources at Washington and Lee to do that.”

W&L students have also embraced the Red Flag Campaign, which promotes the prevention of dating violence on college campuses by encouraging friends and other campus community members to say something when they see warning signs (“red flags”) of dating violence in a friend’s relationship.

“Where Green Dot is an active program that requires students to come to a training session and engage in dialogue, Red Flag is a more passive awareness campaign,” said Kaufman. “Through posters, the presence of red flags, public service announcements on the radio and other promotional activities, we get the message out.”

While both Green Dot and Red Flag primarily focus on sexual misconduct, Kaufman said that bystander education is now a staple of programs that her office offers for alcohol and mental health issues as well.

“We do a round of three programs for the entering class: one on alcohol, one on sexual misconduct and one on mental health. Some of those are conducted by peer advisers — that is, teams of students who are trained to provide information to the students — and others are conducted by professional staff,” she said. “In all cases now, there is a bystander-education component.”

Kaufman said that the anecdotal results of the new emphasis are positive, with students reporting about specific instances when they have stepped in or have witnessed someone else stepping in to help a friend.

“This approach makes sense for us on several levels,” she said. “We talk a lot about the values that we have as an institution and how it’s part of everyone’s responsibility to look out for members of the community.”


Introducing Chris Moose

For more than 29 years was stuck away in one of Allen Northcutt’s drawer.

Allen, a 1963 graduate of Washington and Lee, had conceived of his character on Christmas Eve in 1982. Although he’d never written a book before, he was looking for a way to supplement his income and took just three hours to create “the Ugliest/Most Beautiful Moose in the World.”

Over the years Allen would pull the manuscript out of the drawer, dust it off and think about taking it to a publisher. Finally, two years ago, he actually did.

Published this month by Weber Publishing and illustrated by Christie Morris, the story of Chris Moose reflects Allen’s experiences as the father of a learning-disabled son, addressing issues of name-calling and exclusion while teaching a poignant lesson about the spirit of Christmas.

Allen’s day-job is as a senior vice president with Hilliard Lyons in Louisville, Ky. You can order The Legend of Chris Moose from AtlasBooks or Amazon.com.


WILL is Harris' Hero

WILL, the Wilderness Leadership and Learning Program headed by Washington and Lee alumnus Steve Abraham, was recognized this week on WJLA-TV in Washington as one of Harris’ Heroes, a special segment from anchor Leon Harris.

WILL helps D.C. teens grow and learn in order to help them become leaders and achieve their goals. Or, more simply, Steve says, “At WILL, we believe in unlimited horizons.”

Steve received his bachelor’s degree from W&L in 1980 and his law degree in 1983. A D.C. native, Steve was practicing law in his hometown when he decided to start working full-time with high school students. His development of the WILL program grew out of his involvement in volunteer activities at high schools, as well as tutoring and coaching in D.C.

Watch the Harris’ Heroes video from WJLA.


W&L's Claud Wins VFIC/Norfolk Southern Scholarship

Harrison Claud, a Washington and Lee University junior from Richmond, has been named a winner of the 2011-12 VMIC/Norfolk Southern Scholarship.

Claud, a graduate of Collegiate School in Richmond, is majoring in economics and is a Deans List student. He is also a member of Kathekon, the student-alumni organization, and is on the White Book Review Committee.

The scholarships are administered by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges and are made possible by generous gifts from Norfolk Southern, one of the nation’s premier transportation companies.

The Norfolk Southern Scholarship recipients are selected in a statewide competition open to first semester junior-year applicants from the 15 member colleges and universities in the VFIC consortium who are seeking degrees in economics, business, finance, accounting or related fields and interested in careers in a corporate setting.

Claud was one of three students awarded the scholarships this year.

This prestigious award provides $10,000 in scholarship funding — $5,000 for each student’s junior year and an additional $5,000 for their senior year, contingent on continuing to meet or exceed the original scholarship requirements.

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

W&L’s Anna Brodsky Pens Column for Major Russian Newspaper

The millions of readers of the major Russian newspaper can now turn to the “Lifestyle” column to read essays by Anna Brodsky, associate professor of Russian at Washington and Lee University.

Brodsky, who is Russian and immigrated to the United States in her early 20s, began writing her column this summer and said that this is the first time she has written in Russian for publication. She added that the newspaper is considered in Russia to be among the most liberal and fair-minded publications. “Because I write the cultural column I probably have a little more leeway in what I write than people who write straightforward or political news,” she said.

She noted that the subjects she writes about mostly follow her scholarship. “I write about a variety of rights and social justice and sometimes include other rights such as animal rights,” she said. One subject the newspaper commissioned her to write about was the introduction of the law allowing gay marriages in New York. “It was nice that they were interested in the expansion of the rights of people in the distant United States,” she said.

Brodsky also writes pieces concerning her work as a literary historian, such as theater and film criticism. One such essay dealt with a play being performed in Paris. “The play was based on a story by the early 20th century writer and Nobel Prize laureate Ivan Bunin.  It is about white émigrés—people who fled communist Russia—and this allowed me to introduce the subject of contemporary Russian refugees, particularly those from Chechnya,” she said.

Since Brodsky is freelancing for the newspaper, she can write the column at her own pace and is currently working on her eighth column. “I’m having a blast!” she said.

The opportunity to write the column came Brodsky’s way after she wrote a series of letters to her friend Olga Dunaevskay, a well-known Russian journalist and professor of journalism at Moscow State University, about her experiences collecting signatures to protest the Confederate flag in Lexington. “As I was writing those letters I began to get a feel for the journalistic writing style. My friend sent a couple of my pieces to the newspaper, and they just offered me the column,” she explained.

Currently on sabbatical for the fall term, Brodsky expressed concern that she will be able to keep up the pace of writing the column when she returns to teaching. “At this point I would like to keep doing this for the foreseeable future because it’s an exciting opportunity for me to reach millions of readers,” she said.

W&L's Cumming on WMRA's “Virginia Insight” Today

Letters to the editors of Rockbridge County’s newspapers–200 years’ worth–was the subject of conversation when Washington and Lee journalism professor Doug Cumming appeared on NPR affiliate WMRA’s “Virginia Insight” program on Dec. 8, 2011. He discussed the new book that he edited, The Lexington Letters: Two Centuries of Water Under the Bridge.

Cumming, a former newspaper reporter in Atlanta, Providence and Raleigh, collected about 400 letters to the editors of the local newspapers. W&L students and community researchers initially read 8,000 letters and transcribed 1,367 of the most interesting ones. The epistles cover a wide range of topics and, as Cumming has indicated, make local history come alive through local voices. The project that led to the book also featured in a play written and directed by Kimberly Jew, associate professor of theater at W&L,  that was produced at the Lime Kiln Theater in Lexington last May.

Listen to the program below:


W&L Law Student Wins Asylum Case for Political Refugee

It seems like an easy decision. Grant political asylum to a Congolese man or send him back to the country where he suffered unspeakable abuse in prison, where his family members were attacked and forced into hiding.

The reality, says Aaron Haas, who directs the Immigration and Citizenship program at Washington and Lee School of Law, is much more complicated.

“These cases always come down to credibility,” he says. “It can be very difficult to ascertain whether what our clients claim actually happened. Immigration officers see hundreds of cases just like this. We have to have proof in order to prevail.”

And proof is just what third-year law student Elisabeth Juterbock delivered. Following three months of investigation, legal research, and an arduous interview process, Juterbock was able to get political refugee status for her client. He is now able to get a work visa and move on with his life.

“I can hear it in his voice when I talk to him now,” says Juterbock, who received her undergraduate degree from W&L in 2006. “He has gone from having no options to having a path to the future.”

Juterbock’s client, who wishes to remain anonymous, is from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where he worked for a non-governmental organization that helped farmers understand how small businesses operate. When DRC military forces stole money and livestock the organization used for seed projects, killing the villagers who resisted, the man reported these acts to the heads of his NGO.

The story was picked up by the media, and the government responded by putting him in jail, where he was beaten and denied access to attorneys. He managed to escape during a prison transfer and ultimately made his way to the U.S. The government then attacked his family, and those who survived fled the country.

“If there is any reason asylum exists in this country, it is for people like him.” Juterbock adds.

The Immigration and Citizenship program, which W&L Law launched in 2010, took on the case over the summer, and Juterbock got the assignment when classes began in September. During the fall, she worked with her client to solicit letters and other paperwork from friends and family members abroad that corroborated his story. She also helped her client through the difficult task of recounting some very painful and traumatic events, a process that would be repeated during a lengthy interview with an immigration officer.

But Haas notes that the mere fact that bad things happen to people is not enough to establish grounds for political asylum, so Juterbock also had to prove that her client fit into one of five protected classes the government recognizes. In this case, Juterbock argued that her client’s reporting of the military violence constituted a political opinion for which he was persecuted.

Juterbock and Hass were at the client’s side during the three hour interview, which Juterbock describes as tough but fair, as the immigration office turned over every stone in an effort to test their client’s story. But Juterbock knows that this is an important part of the process.

“For every honest person who comes in with a story that needs to be heard, there are many more who embellish the facts, so she has to ask tough questions,” Juterbock said of the immigration official. “But she made the right call.”

For Juterbock, who has focused much of her legal education on business law, working on this case was unlike anything she has done in law school. She plans to continue her work with the Immigration and Citizenship program next semester.

“You can hear everything in the world about the burden of proof, but until you actually have to come forth and meet that burden for a client before the court, you don’t realize how difficult and important meeting that standard is,” she says. “It was an eye-opening experience for me.”

News Contact:
Peter Jetton
School of Law Director of Communications
pjetton@wlu.edu
(540) 458-8782

Related //
Tagged //

Carville-Coulter Debate, Huckabee Speech Open Mock Con

A debate between Democratic strategist James Carville and GOP pundit Ann Coulter will be followed by a speech from former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, on the opening night of Washington and Lee University’s Mock Republican Convention, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012.

That event will be open to the public and held in the Warner Center on campus. Tickets will be available online at mockconvention.com/2012 in January.

Huckabee rose to fame during the 2008 primary cycle, in which the former pastor placed second to John McCain.  He hosts the hit weekend TV show “Huckabee” on Fox News, and is syndicated on almost 600 radio stations by the Citadel Media Network.

Carville is one of America’s best-known political consultants. He is widely credited for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential victory. He is the author of nine books and is a talk-show host and frequent CNN contributor. He is a member of the political science faculty at Tulane University

Coulter, one of the most recognizable faces of conservatism, is known for her biting wit and polarizing delivery. She has written seven New York Times bestsellers and is frequently featured on television shows such as “Good Morning America,” “Today,” “Hannity” and “The O’Reilly Factor.”

On Feb. 9, the Carville-Coulter debate will begin at 5 p.m., and Huckabee will speak at 7 p.m.

The program opens the 2012 Mock Convention, which will feature additional speeches by other distinguished politicians and analysts, including a keynote address by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. The event will culminate in the students’ final prediction of the Republican presidential nominee.

W&L’s Mock Convention is a quadrennial tradition in which students pick the presidential nominee for the party out of power.  Nearly the entire W&L student body, roughly 99 percent of all students, works for three years researching potential candidates, tracking polls and gathering on-the-ground data.  With only two incorrect predictions since 1948, and an overall accuracy rate of over 75 percent, Mock Con has been called “the most realistic” exercise of its kind by Newsweek magazine.

After incorrectly selecting Hillary Clinton as the 2008 Democratic nominee, the students are eager to make an accurate prediction in the upcoming convention. The organizers hope that speakers like Huckabee, Carville and Coulter will solidify the convention’s credibility and will ensure that the 2012 Mock Convention will reaffirm its place as “the biggest and boomingest” of student political organizations (TIME Magazine).

Mock Convention Media Contacts:
Kali McFarland ’12
mcfarlandk12@mail.wlu.edu
(757) 404-1214

Katy Stewart ’13
stewartk13@mail.wlu.edu
(704) 560-2120

W&L News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
jhanna@wlu.edu
(540) 458-8459


W&L Professor Examines Ethical Issues for Media on Sexual Abuse Stories

The intense media coverage of the allegations of child sexual abuse at Penn State and Syracuse universities has raised questions about various ethical issues that media must confront.

For Edward Wasserman, the Knight Professor of Journalism Ethics at Washington and Lee University, one of the most interesting questions concerns the proper relationship between media and the police.

This question has arisen in the Syracuse case, where two news organizations, ESPN and the Syracuse Post-Standard, have drawn criticism for not turning over information to the authorities regarding Syracuse University associate basketball coach Bernie Fine


AUDIO


In 2003, both organizations had an audiotape on which Fine’s wife seemed to confirm some allegations made by one of the alleged victims. After apparently concluding that they lacked sufficient information to proceed, neither ESPN nor the Post-Standard published stories eight years ago. But neither did they turn the tapes over to law enforcement, and that decision is now in question.

Media reach dead ends on stories all the time, and for all kinds of reasons, Wasserman said, adding that it’s unfair to second guess a decision not publish.

“But I think it is a very legitimate question to ask, ‘If you’ve dead ended on this story and you have indications of this wrongdoing, then if you can’t pursue the story, why not give it over to someone who can?'” Wasserman said.

“The question is this: Is there some matter of professional ethics that absolutely forbids the collaboration between the media and the police that turning this information over would have required?” Wasserman said. “And I would say the answer is no. When it comes to this separation between the media and the authorities, I think you have to look more closely at why it’s a good thing, and when it might not be a good thing.

“There are good, solid, public-policy reasons for the press to defend zealously its independence from the police. That said, this was a situation where the media were not doing anything with the information. If there was no way that their own efforts would be compromised, it seems wrong, on a visceral level, for the media not to hand over information to people who might be able to do something with it.”

There is, he said, a tendency in the media to fall back on ethical formulas and rules rather than to look harder at what those formulas and rules are supposed to protect.

“When you look more closely at the principles here,” he said, “you find that this refusal to cooperate isn’t just a rule you invoke to forbid that kind of exchange across the board. Instead, it is important to look at the particulars of this situation and determine where the greatest benefit lies.”

Added Wasserman: “A major reason why news media keep their distance from police is to protect their informants and to ensure that other informants feel secure that they can come forward without being exposed. So a natural question arises in this case: What did the informant say? Would he object to having his information handed over to the police? Here, the answer seems to be no.”

He added that another reason for media to maintain their independence is so they can conduct their own investigation, gathering evidence of public importance regardless of whether it will be usable in court. “But here,” said Wasserman, “the media had dropped the investigation. So its claim to independence was really an insistence on its right to sit on evidence that, if developed, might have curtailed further harm.”

Both the Syracuse and Penn State cases have had other difficulties, Wasserman noted. In both cases, he said, cautioning people “that the jury is out and that nothing has been proven is a weak response to the natural criticism that you’ve just destroyed somebody’s reputation by repeating these charges that may turn out to be groundless.

“At least in the Penn State case, the most damaging allegations are contained in a document (from a grand jury) that the press is free to draw upon. That puts a tremendous stamp of plausibility on it,” said Wasserman. “The Syracuse story is trickier since it was based, at least at the outset, on an unsubstantiated allegation that had not been investigated by the police.”

Moreover, the very nature of the stories raises the stakes considerably, Wasserman said. “When it comes to sexual abuse of minors, abuse of office for sexual advantage and the various kinds of things that are being alleged here, the possibility of doing harm without adequate basis is strong,” he said. “And that, of course, is a tremendous deterrent to the media, because whatever people might think about the press, reporters aren’t in the business of needlessly destroying people.

The stories both have what Wasserman terms an “ick” factor. “They’re squalid, they’re nasty, they have pitfalls,” he said. “These are not the kinds of stories that reporters see and go, ‘Oh, boy, I can’t wait to write about this.'”

W&L’s Campus Kitchen Teams up with Shop for Tots

This year, children taking part in the annual Rockbridge Area Shop for Tots program received a little something extra. They got to eat a full dinner provided by Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee University (CKWL) at the American Legion in Buena Vista before they set out to do their Holiday shopping.

More than 145 school children aged 6 to 12 years took part in the event on Monday, Dec. 5, designed to give lower income students in the community the opportunity to shop for their families. “We had four volunteers serving dinner,” said Jennifer Davidson, coordinator of student service learning at W&L and director of CKWL. “We know some of these children through other Campus Kitchen programs, so to see them in a different environment was really fun.”

Davidson said she was thrilled that Shop for Tots knew about Campus Kitchen and reached out to the organization for help. “It means that Campus Kitchen is becoming better known in the community, which is great,” she said. “It was a really good experience for us and we’ll partner with them again in the future. We may even help by advertising Shop for Tots through our Backpack Program, which provides backpacks filled with food for lower income elementary school children in the area.”

Mary Woodson, assistant director of communications and public affairs at W&L who has volunteered for Shop for Tots for 15 years and is an officer in the organization, said that involving Campus Kitchen not only provided a nutritious meal for the children but also saved the organization money. “We have had to purchase food for the children for the past few years,” she said. “So we used the money we saved on food to give to the children to spend on gifts for their family. Each child receives between eight and 10 dollars per family member they purchase gifts for. But it’s all based on how much funding we have available.”

It all contributed to what Woodson described as the best year yet for Shop for Tots. “We spent $2,945 and had about 40 volunteers who helped the children shop at the Dollar General and Family Dollar stores and then wrap their gifts,” she said. “What makes Shop for Tots special for me is the happiness on a child’s face as they select gifts for their family. My favorite shopping trip was when a small child purchased seed to feed Santa’s reindeer. These are children that just need a little help to make Christmas special for their family. A lot of former children of Shop for Tots are volunteers with us now.”

Shop for Tots raises funds for the event throughout the year. “Our biggest struggle right now is funding,” said Woodson. “Thankfully, Washington and Lee has given our organization grants for the past two years. Without those funds, the program would not have been possible.”

News Contact:
Sarah Tschiggfrie
News Director
stschiggfrie@wlu.edu
540-458-8235


W&L’s Mock Trial Team Wins Major Event

Washington and Lee’s Mock Trial team won first place at the Sixth Annual Tobacco Road Invitational Tournament in Durham, N.C., earlier this month.

The Tobacco Road Invitational, one of the biggest invitational tournaments in the Southeast, was hosted by Duke University this year.

Washington and Lee competed head-to-head against Furman, Emory, and Columbia.

Abbie Caudill ’12, internal vice president, found that the most challenging part of the invitational was the youth of the W&L team.

“Of the nine people who competed for us, six are new to Mock Trial, and five of those are first-years,” she said.  “It is amazing to watch my teammates who have so little experience compared to the people we are competing against go out and be able not only to hold their own, but also to be successful at what they are doing.”

Competing for the W&L team were first-year students Naphtali Rivkin of Teaneck, N.J., Jackie Yarbro of Suwanee Ga., Samantha Sisler of Worcester, Pa., Elizabeth Elium of Garretsville, Ohio,  John Houser of Chaptico, Md., sophomore Christina Lowry, juniors Abbie Caudill of Urbana, Ohio and Nate Reisinger of Urbana, Ohio, and senior Chris Schneck of Chaptico, Md.

During the two-day tournament, W&L participated in four rounds, where two practicing attorneys scored how well they either cross-examined or how strong their closing argument was.  Seven out of eight attorneys scored W&L higher than their opponent.

This was the second time in as many years that the W&L Mock Trial team has finished first in The Tobacco Road Invitational.

Christopher Schneck ’12, president of W&L’s Mock Trial, was happy about this year’s win. “This win was a bit sweeter, because we lost so many people from last year’s team and have so many freshmen. All of them have continued to exceed our expectations,” he said.

The team will compete next at the University of Richmond on the weekend of January 21-22.

To learn more about the Mock Trial team at Washington and Lee, visit their Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/wlumocktrial, or follow them on Twitter, mockeybalboa@twitter.

— by Heyward Brockinton ’12


W&L Students Present at Major Geology Conference

Four Washington and Lee University geology majors presented their research at the world’s largest geoscience meeting to be held in San Francisco this week (Dec. 5-9).

Makenzie Hatfield, a senior from Charleston, W.Va., Elizabeth Mann, a senior from Hamilton, Va., Maria Reimi, a senior from Caracas, Venezuela, and Lauren Schultz, a junior from California, Md., made presentations at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting.

In addition to the students, five members of the W&L faculty and four alumni will be among the researchers, teachers, students and consultants in geology and related sciences to participate in the event. This year’s meeting will host more than 5,800 oral presentations and 11,500 poster presentations.

Hatfield’s research will help staff archaeologists at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest reconstruct the ornamental plantings at Jefferson’s personal retreat near Forest, Va. Paper mulberry trees planted by Jefferson were moved by subsequent landowners, and part of the current restoration effort includes planting trees in the precise locations that Jefferson planted similar trees during his design of the property. Hatfield is employing X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF) and Intercoupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) geochemical analysis to determine whether the presence of the original nursery soil from the root bulbs of the replanted trees can be identified and used to determine the location of the paper mulberry trees. Hatfield is collaborating on this project with Paul Low, visiting assistant professor of geology at W&L, and Sean Devlin, staff archaeologist and anthropology instructor. Click here for the full abstract.

Mann has been studying the effects of tree throw, the bowl-shaped cavity or depressions created by trees in the subsoil, along a climosequence of sites on shale in the Appalachian Mountains. These sites are associated with the Susquehanna-Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory (SSHO), and Mann is using GPS location, tree girth, relative tree age, tree type, dimensions of pit, azimuth of fall, and slope and azimuth of maximum slope.  These observations of tree throw have been made as part of a broader effort to characterize rates of erosion on shale hill slopes. Mann has collaborated with Timothy White, a 1984 graduate of W&L and currently a research scientist at Penn State University, on this project. Click here for full abstract.

Reimi has been working in the geology department’s experimental geochemistry lab on research that she began last summer in Peter Burns’ lab at University of Notre Dame where she was studying a novel aqueous synthesis that leads to the formation of calcite (CaCO3) crystals, up to 500 micrometers in diameter. This work is part of her senior honors thesis on the incorporation of toxic metals such as lead and arsenic into calcite. Click here for the full abstract.

Schultz’s project involves mantle xenoliths, which are pieces of mantle rock brought to the surface by volcanic activity.  While a large degree of the variation between sampled xenoliths can be explained by melting processes, other differences suggest significant heterogeneity present in the mantle where the xenoliths originated. Her work, “Geochemical heterogeneity in mantle xenoliths of the Western Grand Canyon,” asks questions about the source of this heterogeneity in the rock of the upper mantle, emphasizing that xenoliths can provide important insight into compositional and other characteristic variances in the deep Earth. Click here for the full abstract.

In addition to the student presentations, David Harbor, professor of geology at W&L, was invited to present a paper titled “Episodic and long-lived river incision along geologically heterogeneous passive margins,” in a special session entitled “The Long Road To Flat: Toward Understanding the Drivers and Quantifying Change in Orogens.”  Harbor will present research related to nonuniform river erosion caused by drainage capture, through the study of river profiles and deposits from the Appalachians and the Eastern Ghats of India. Click here for the full abstract.

Lisa Greer, associate professor of geology, and Robert Humston, assistant professor of biology, will be joined by two Washington and Lee alumni — Stevenson Bunn, of the Class of 2011, and Allen Curran, a 1962 graduate and Professor Emeritus of Geology at Smith College, to present research on the relative influence of the Suess Effect on carbon isotope chemistry of a Belizean Montastrea faveolota coral. The Seuss Effect refers to the influence that burning of fossil fuels has on carbon reservoirs. Recent work has shown that the geochemistry of coral skeletons can reflect large-scale changes in the ocean carbon isotope budget as influenced by the anthropogenic influx of fossil fuel carbon to the atmosphere (the Suess Effect). Yet not all coral carbon records reflect only atmospheric controls on carbon.  Click here for the full abstract.

Visiting Assistant Professor Low is presenting a poster created with the help of both Schultz and senior Natalie Stier of Alexandria, Va. Titled “Iddingzitized olivine in mantle xenoliths: evidence for (really) early alteration,” the poster reports on research questioning whether there is evidence that high-temperature iddingsite (a mineral assemblage that replaces olivine in oxygen and/or water-rich environments) has occurred in the mantle beneath the Western Grand Canyon, and what this might mean for understanding compositional heterogeneities in the Earth’s upper mantle. Click here for full abstract.

Research conducted by Elizabeth Knapp, associate provost and associate professor of geology, is partly behind the presentation titled “Landscape Dissection in the Alakai Swamp on Kauai by Groundwater Enhanced Weathering and Surface Water,” which focuses on the Alakai Swamp on the high western-side of the shield volcano that created Kauai, Hawaii, some 5 million years ago. Click here for the full abstract.

Harbor, Schultz, and Chris Connors, associate professor of geology, are coauthors on a presentation by former Visiting Assistant Professor Romain Meyer, now of the University of Bergen, Norway. They studied the emplacement and petrogenesis of the geologically youngest igneous rocks in Virginia. Their presentation is titled “Central Appalachian Valley and Ridge Province Cenozoic igneous activity and its relation in space and time with the Late Jurassic rift-to-drift-related alkalic dikes.” Click here for the full abstract.

Whitney Doss, a 2006 W&L alumna and now a graduate student at the University of Colorado, is presenting the poster titled “Paleo-ΔCO32- history of the Panama Basin: New insights into glacial deep ocean carbon storage from benthic foraminiferal B/Ca ratios. Click her for the full abstract.

Bill Barnhart, a 2008 alumnus who is now at Cornell University, is first author of the poster “High-Resolution (0.5m) Optical Imagery and InSAR for Constraining Earthquake Slip: The 2010-2011 Canterbury, New Zealand Earthquakes.” Click here for the full abstract.

Barnhart also co-authored the oral presentation “Recent Intraplate Earthquakes: The Trinidad, Colorado, M5.3 and Mineral, Virginia, M5.8 Events,” which reports geophysical investigations of the Mw 5.8 Virginia earthquake of August 23, 2011, based on the rapid post-seismic deployment of novel high density-seismic arrays using instruments from the Earthscope Flexible Array provided by IRIS/PASSCAL. Click here for the full abstract.

Alexander Burpee, a 2008 graduate currently affiliated with Penn State University’s Geosciences Department, will present “Relationships between sediment caliber and delta shoreline geometry and stratigraphy.” Click here for the full abstract.

Research by former W&L student John Hornbuckle, a 2011 graduate, did as part of a Keck Research Experiences for Undergraduates contributed to the poster “Constraining Lithospheric and Asthenospheric Structure in the Bighorn Mountains: Analysis of Frequency Dependence in Shear Wave Splitting.” Click here for the full abstract.

Other alumni who presented at the conference included Katelyn Olcott, of the Class of 2008, now working toward her Ph.D. at Penn State; Amanda Hughes, of the Class of 2006, now working on her Ph.D. in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard; Barrett Salisbury, of the Class of 2007, who received his M.S. from San Diego State and is now in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State; and Meredith Townsend, of the Class of 2011, who is in graduate school in Stanford’s Department of Geological & Environmental Sciences.

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

Related //,
Tagged //

W&L Alums Throw Hats in AG Rings

At the same time that Washington and Lee alumnus Dave Freed, of the Class of 1992, has announced his candidacy for attorney general of Pennsylvania, another W&L alumnus, Mark Obenshain, a 1987 graduate of the School of Law, is considering a run for the same office in Virginia.

Dave, who has spent 14 of his 17 years as a prosecutor, has served since 2006 as Cumberland County district attorney. A Republican, he made his announcement Wednesday at the Cumberland County Courthouse in Carlisle, Pa., and said he would drop out of the race if another candidate wins the Republican State Committee’s endorsement in January.

He has been in the district attorney’s office in Cumberland County since 1998 and was the youngest district attorney of a fourth-class county in Pennsylvania when he was elected in 2006. He has received endorsements from 20 fellow Pennsylvania DAs. Dave’s campaign website is here.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, the commonwealth’s current attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, just announced his intention to run for governor in 2013. That news was followed quickly by stories that Mark Obenshain may mount a campaign for that post.

A Republican, Mark has been a state senator since 2003. He is a founder of the law firm Lenhart Obenshain, P.C., in Harrisonburg, where he has practiced for the past 23 years. Until Cuccinelli’s announcement, speculation had been that Mark was considering a run at lieutenant governor in the next cycle. Mark’s website, which he calls exploratory, is here.


Lynchburg Alum Continues Community Service

His hometown newspaper, the Lynchburg News and Advance, featured Washington and Lee alumnus Robin Wood a few weeks back, when he announced he was leaving the board of the YMCA there.

A 1962 graduate of W&L, Robin is an attorney with Edmunds & Williams and has worked with numerous local organizations, ranging from United Way to Legal Aid to the Greater Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce. His efforts for the Y have been particularly impressive — and personal. As he told the News and Advance, he grew up with the Y in Lynchburg, playing basketball and swimming there. The former director of the facility credited Robin and his fund-raising with “almost singlehandedly saving us from bankruptcy back in the mid ’80s.”

A former Atlantic Coast Conference football official, Robin serves as an adjunct professor in the W&L School of Law, where he focuses on Virginia practice and procedure. While he’s stepping down from the Y’s board, he’s just joined the board of the Virginia Legal Aid Society and is serving as the campaign chair for the Academy of Fine Arts.


New W&L Law Faculty Member Develops Legal History through Maps

In the margins of a nearly 300 hundred year old map Washington and Lee law professor Jill Fraleyhas studied during one of her many visits to library and government archives, she finds a note that tells when the Kanawha River was discovered by the French.

This note, says Fraley, is not merely a statement of historical fact. It’s the beginning of a legal argument.

“People are often surprised to see old maps, some ten feet tall, covered with handwriting,” says Fraley. “These notes may detail discovery or first possession or event habitation, and they form the basis of legal arguments for ownership. These old maps set in place property law schemes that are still at work today.”

Fraley joined W&L this fall as an assistant professor of law, and specializes in legal history, property, and environmental law. She earned undergraduate degrees in history and religion, a J.D. from Duke, as well as LL.M. and J.S.D. degrees, from Yale University, after which she practiced law for 8 years, handling mostly toxic tort cases.

But her interest in history remained, and after a project she was working on while still practicing was solicited for publication by an academic press, she decided to return to Yale to further hone her historical research skills. The project, a study of the history of Appalachia with a focus on law and geography, became her dissertation. She is currently revising it into book form for one of five academic presses that are interested in publishing the volume.

“My book traces how the federal government created the identifiable region we know as ‘Appalachia’ through the mapping practices of the Tennessee Valley Authority and later the Appalachia Regional Commission,” Fraley explains. “I also explore why these regional governing bodies were established and what the challenges are to governing an area based on land features rather than state lines.”

Fraley notes that the TVA was created in 1933 with the stated goal of operating for the “common good” but that it was unclear from the outset just what that meant. This lack of clarity meant that political circumstance dominated policy, and after the outbreak of World War II, the TVA militarized and developed land use practices that maximized resource extraction at the expense of the land. This, in turn, created conflicts between the TVA and the Environmental Protection Agency that exist to this day.

“The TVA created an unfortunate model of what regional government meant,” says Fraley.  “It meant dealing with natural features in a way that furthered the common good on the scale of the nation even while acting on the scale of the region.”

An avid map collector, Fraley’s possesses thousands of print and digital maps, the largest portion of her collection devoted to maps that illustrate the colonial process and boundary development.  Fraley says she uses them to help her understand how land, property and territoriality were understood centuries ago, how allegiance is represented, and how territory is claimed. That, in turn informs her research into what role the federal government should have in telling landowners how to manage their land.

“I guess you could say I’ve always seen property as integral to environmental questions because control and ownership of land is the central question in most environmental claims,” says Fraley. “Lawyers tend think of geography as fixed–there is the federal and there is the state–but the reality is that we often govern in ways that don’t match up with that dichotomy.”

News Contact:
Peter Jetton
School of Law Director of Communications
pjetton@wlu.edu
(540) 458-8782

Related //
Tagged //

W&L Staging Different Dance Events

Washington and Lee’s dance program will stage two very different kinds of concerts this week with student dancers and choreographers taking the Keller Theater stage for two performances of “W&L Dancers Create” before turning it over to faculty and staff for the second “Dancing with the Professors” performance.

“W&L Dancers Create” will be held on Dec. 6 and 7 at 7 p.m. in Keller Theater of the Lenfest Center for the Arts. The entire concert is choreographed, designed and danced by students. Twelve dances will demonstrate ballet, contemporary, hip hop, modern, swing and native Indian dance styles.  “The students have been amazingly creative,” said Jenefer Davies, assistant professor of dance. “They are experimenting with lifts in a new way and this massive group flocking where dancers move together as a group then split off and do different things before coming back together. It’s really interesting.”

The concerts are open to the public at no charge, though contributions will be accepted.

On Thursday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m., it will be the professors’ turn. Last year’s first edition of “Dancing with the Professors” was voted “Best New Event on Campus” by the student body. “We’re hoping for a big turnout,” said Davies. “Last year’s concert was like a pep rally. The audience was screaming, laughing and yelling. It definitely wasn’t like a normal dance concert. Students love to come and see professors doing something crazy in a different environment.”

Although she was only an observer last year, Davies will perform this time with Dean of the College Hank Dobin and two students. They plan to recreate a popular online video by the band OK Go where band members dance on treadmills. “They do all sorts of cool stuff, and we’ve borrowed four treadmills from around campus to recreate their video,” said Davies.

See the original OK Go video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTAAsCNK7RA

Doug Cumming, associate professor of journalism, performed last year and will be back for an encore with two of his journalism students. “I’ve decided to add the tenor sax I play, for novelty,” he said. “It’s great fun and for a worthy cause and I’m looking forward to it. I’m also looking forward to seeing how other professors will humiliate themselves.”

Audience members vote for their favorite team with money. Whichever team raises the most money will be crowned the winner. Students will also be in Elrod Commons all week taking donations with a swipe card machine.

Both events will help raise funds for Washington and Lee University’s dance program’s annual trip to the American College Dance Festival as well as also supporting the dancers’ membership in Nu Delta Alpha, the national honor society in dance. For the past two years W&L Repertory Dance Company has been named the “college of outstanding artistic merit” in competition. “We are very proud of our win,” said Davies, “and are anxious to go back and reclaim our title.”

News Contact:
Sarah Tschiggfrie
News Director
stschiggfrie@wlu.edu
540-458-8235

W&L Seniors Jasmine Jimenez, Tyler Tokarczyk Are Generals of the Month

Washington and Lee University seniors Jasmine Jimenez and Tyler Tokarczyk will be recognized as the Generals of the Month for December at the presentation on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 12:30 p.m. in the Marketplace in Elrod Commons.

Jimenez, from Ingleside, Ill., is majoring in political science and is minoring in poverty and human capability studies. She has participated in Mock Trial and is a peer tutor, an admissions volunteer and a consultant with W&L’s Writing Center. She is also a member of the Washington and Lee Global Council, a student advisory group for study abroad, and she volunteers at the Lexington Office on Youth — an after school program.

In addition, Jimenez is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, the Pi Sigma Alpha national political honor society and the Phi Eta Sigma national honor society for first-years. She is also on W&L’s honor roll and dean’s list for academic achievement. She studied abroad her junior year at Worcester College, Oxford University.

Tokarczyk, from Buffalo, N.Y., is majoring in journalism and mass communications and is minoring in philosophy. He is president of Traveller safe ride program and served as publicity chair for that organization during his junior year.  He is a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and the W&L club hockey team.

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 celebrated for the depth and breadth they add to our campus community.

Jimenez and Tokarczyk 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 Jan. 25, Feb. 15, March 21, April 11 and May 9.

News Contact:
Julie Cline
News Writer
jcline@wlu.edu
540-458-8954


W&L Alum Named Richmond Retailer of the Year

Washington and Lee alumnus Donnie Caffery can thank Rockbridge County’s high ragweed count for a major award he received last week.

Donnie, a member of the Class of 1976, won Richmond’s Retail Merchants Association Retailer of the Year Award for the success of his two natural-food stores, Good Foods Grocery.

In a story about the honor in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Donnie said that his lifelong commitment to natural foods began when he arrived at W&L from New Orleans and began suffering from allergies that he’d never had. He treated the allergies holistically and changed the way that he ate.

“I had never paid attention to my diet before. I just grew up and ate food,” he told the Times-Dispatch.

Donnie opened his first Richmond store in 1985 in the Stony Point Shopping Center. The second store is in the Gayton Crossing Shopping Center.

In the years since he first got into the business, interest in health foods has increased, and many supermarkets have added natural-food sections. But while that may have hurt his business, Donnie says that it has raised awareness. He says the basic mission of his store is “supporting people in their quest away from sickness and toward wellness.”

The Distinguished Retailer Award honors “a proven leader” who is “actively involved in community endeavors without regard to personal benefit.”


Legal Education: Mend It, Don’t End It

The following piece by Washington and Lee University law professor A. Benjamin Spencer originally appeared on the Washington Post’s website and is reprinted here with permission.

By A. Benjamin Spencer

These are challenging times for legal education. The legal job market is eroding in ways not likely to improve in the near term, if at all. Fundamental change is afoot in the legal profession. Some tasks previously performed by lawyers—such as document review—are now performed by computers here or legal workers offshore, or simply by cheaper in-house staff or contract attorneys.

Law firm business models must change in response to these developments. This may mean alternative billing arrangements or moves towards tiered attorney structures offering lower pay and opportunity to lawyers who sign on to do routine legal work at less cost.

These developments have also laid bare defects in legal education, putting pressure on law schools to innovate and improve if they hope to survive. During better economic times, law schools operated under the assumption that their graduates would receive practical skills training on the job, at the expense of their employers.

Today, law firms are no longer willing and able to train recent graduates. Consequently, law schools must fulfill this role.  In the wake of a 2007 report of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, many law schools are making their academic programs more balanced. They are supplementing the traditional cognitive learning traditionally associated with law school with more practical and ethical instruction. The goal is to create competent legal professionals who are prepared for practice upon graduation.

Unfortunately, the need for these changes comes as student loan debt is escalating to unsustainable levels when law graduates are least able to bear it given the thin job market.  Cutting law school costs now is challenging since such cuts could undermine the schools’ ability to offer the practical, experiential learning that they are being asked to deliver.

Some have even suggested getting rid of law schools and bar admissions requirements. The argument is that a free market for legal services would permit new entrants to drive down prices through competition. Quality control would be left to customers’ word-of-mouth.

While it is worth exploring how barriers to entry adversely impact access to legal services while imperfectly protecting the public from bad lawyers, total deregulation would likely make matters worse. In the early 20th century the medical profession was deregulated in the sense that there was an abundance of medical schools of widely varying quality, resulting in poorly qualified physicians being unleashed on the public.  That ended after another Carnegie Foundation report—the Flexner Report—insisted on the model of medical education that we have to this day.

Some might argue that today we have an abundance of law schools of varying quality churning out graduates who are not ready to practice and who can’t get jobs.  But if that is true — and it may be — how would formally deregulating the industry make the situation better?  Doing so would allow even lower standards; costs would drop, but so would quality.  This is unacceptable; quality legal services help ensure the rule of law in our democracy.

The better solution is to reform law schools by offering a better balance of the doctrinal, skills, and values education that students need to become competent legal professionals. The ABA, in its role as accreditor of law schools, should make sure its standards allow the freedom to make these changes.

Reforming admission to the bar should also be considered. For example, rather than making the bar exam a concentrated experience, the certification process could be extended over a period of years as with the various steps of the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam.  Law graduates could be required to take an initial doctrinally focused exam followed by a probationary period during which they would work for less pay under the supervision of practicing attorneys. That, in turn, would be followed by an exam that tests their practice skills.

Although some of history’s greatest lawyers never attended law school, the world in which we live today is exponentially more complex; preparing to practice in this environment requires specialized training. Less training may be necessary for simple matters.  Perhaps law schools could be more flexible in the degrees they could offer — e.g., a one-year degree for those who will do routine legal work as clerks under a lawyer’s supervision and a full two- or three-year J.D. degree for those who intend be licensed to practice as attorneys.

These are challenging time for the legal profession. Innovative thinking is not only welcome, but imperative.  However, let us focus on being expansive and creative in how we re-imagine legal education, rather than embracing counterproductive measures that would only make the state of the legal profession much worse.

A. Benjamin Spencer, a professor of law at Washington and Lee University School of Law and a visiting professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, is the chair of the Virginia State Bar Section on the Education of Lawyers.

Related //
Tagged //

More Buzz for Mike Allen '86

A new e-book co-written by Mike Allen, the 1986 W&L alum who is chief White House correspondent for POLITICO, and Evan Thomas, former Newsweek and TIME editor, is generating lots of buzz in political circles these days.

The Right Fights Back is the first of four “instant digital books” about the 2012 presidential election. It became available at midnight on Wednesday, Nov. 30. It quickly climbed the charts on the Apple Store and was being quoted widely for what the Deseret News called its “slice-of-life nuggets about Republican presidential candidates on the campaign trail in pursuit of the GOP nomination.”

Discussing the project with NBC’s David Gregory on PRESS Pass, an online supplement to the TV show “Meet the Press,” Mike said the main question he and Thomas wanted to answer was, “What are like?” The book is based on interviews with the candidates and with several outliers who have stayed out of the race so far.

On Dec. 1, both authors appeared on the “Charlie Rose Show.” The video from that appearance is available on the “Charlie Rose Show” website.

In introducing the e-book series, POLITICO editor-in-chief John Harris explained that Mike has so many tips and tidbits that don’t get into print or on the website. The “prospect that more of Mike’s reporting and analytical intelligence could be shared with readers was one reason — among many — that we were so intrigued by the idea Random House editor Jon Meacham presented us some months back. His proposal was to write a series of eBooks telling, in serialized form, the story of the 2012 presidential campaign.”

You can download the book (78 pages in paper) from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.


W&L Professors Discuss Feminist Activism on WMRA

Washington and Lee professors Ellen Mayock and Domnica Radulescu appeared on NPR affiliate WMRA’s “Virginia Insight” show on Thursday, Dec. 1, to discuss their book Feminist Activism in Academia: Essays on Personal, Political and Professional Change (McFarland, 2010).

Mayock, professor of Spanish, and Radulescu, professor of French and head of W&L’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program, edited the volume, which features 11 essays on such topics as abortion-rights activism, authority in the classroom, feminist mentoring, the role of women’s studies programs, division of labor, and the role of theater and performance in enacting lasting change.

Both Mayock and Radulescu contributed essays, as did Robin M. LeBlanc, professor of politics at W&L and acting head this term of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

“Virginia Insight,” hosted by Tom Graham, is a live call-in show. It can be heard on WMRA at 89.9 in Lexington, 90.7 in Harrisonburg and 103.5 in Charlottesville.

Listen to the archived program below:


Washington and Lee Announces November Community Grants

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee has made 11 grants totaling $26,837 to non-profit organizations in Lexington and Rockbridge County. They are part of the first of its two rounds of grants for 2011-12.

The committee chose the grants from 18 proposals requesting more than $106,000.

W&L awarded grants to these entities:

  • CASA for Children: $1,361 to offset expenses associated with recruiting and training CASA volunteers serving child victims in Lexington and Rockbridge County.
  • Community Financial Freedom: $3,000 to help fund start-up costs in establishing low-cost, short-term credit opportunities, credit education and a savings-match plan for the underserved of Rockbridge County.
  • The Community Table: $1,200 for the purchase of a washer/dryer.
  • Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center: $672 for the purchase of a public-address system.
  • Kling Elementary School: $3,240 for the purchase of 18 wireless Internet routers for classrooms.
  • Natural Bridge/Glasgow Food Pantry, Inc.: $2,500 to assist with food purchases and operational expenses.
  • Rock Bridge Family Services: $1,600 to support quarterly Respite Nights for families dealing with autism-spectrum disorders.
  • Rockbridge Area Free Clinic: $4,000 to provide group medical visits for diabetic patients in low-income households who live in the Rockbridge area and do not have access to care.
  • Rockbridge Area Relief Association: $5,000 to assist with the purchase of fuel oil, kerosene, propane and other heating products for needy families and individuals.
  • Rockbridge Strings Program/FAIR: $2,200 for the purchase of instruments and music.
  • Yellow Brick Road Early Learning Center: $2,064 to purchase eight new cribs for the infant program to ensure compliance with the 2012 Consumer Product Safety Commission’s changes for child-care cribs.

Established in 2008, W&L’s Community Grants Committee evaluates requests for financial donations and support from Lexington and Rockbridge County. While the University has long provided financial and other assistance to worthwhile projects and organizations in the community on a case-by-case basis, the Community Grants Program formalizes W&L’s role in supporting regional organizations and activities through accessible grant-making.

During its 2011-12 cycle, the Community Grants Committee will award $50,000. Proposals may be submitted at any time, but they are reviewed only semiannually. The submission deadline for the second round of consideration is June 1, 2012. Interested parties may download the proposal guidelines at http://go.wlu.edu/communitygrants.

Proposals should be submitted as electronic attachments (Word or PDF) via e-mail to kbrinkley@wlu.edu. Please call (540) 458-8417 with questions. 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 St., Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA 24450-2116.

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


W&L's Ellen Mayock Serves as Guest Editor on Spanish Journal

Ellen Mayock, professor of Romance languages at Washington and Lee University, served as guest editor on a new double issue of the journal Cuaderno Internacional de Estudios Humanísticos y Literatura (Volume 16/Fall 2011), published by the University of Puerto Rico.

The special issue brings together 26 essays from leading experts to discuss the Spanish novel since 1975. “That’s my area of expertise,” said Mayock, “so it was very appealing to me. I was completely honored that the editor-in-chief considered my scholarship important enough that I could manage a double volume.”

Mayock wrote the introduction to the volume and also contributed an article on contemporary Spanish novelist Rosa Montero. She has served on the journal’s editorial board for 12 years as a peer reviewer of essays submitted for publication.

Mayock explained that 1975 was an important year in Spanish history because it was the year of Francisco Franco’s death. “It was the year that the country was supposed to start its transition to democracy,” she said.

Mayock described the double issue as extremely timely. “A lot of the essays touch upon real political debates going on in Spain right now about historical memory and legal debates about exhuming corpses, including Franco’s,” she said. “Several of the essays also address the crisis about the place of literature and literary scholarship in the realm of the media in general. Does literature still matter, given all the other outlets there are?”

Mayock said that the authors include both established stars in the field as well as up and coming people. They hail from Argentina, Canada, England, Mexico, Spain and the United States. The major themes examined in the volume are the historical novel and the Spanish Civil war; space, memory and intertexts; Spanish regions and immigration; philosophy and power; and new and renovated genres.