W&L 2012 Graduates Win Fellowships
Two members of Washington and Lee University’s 2012 graduating class, Tyler Grant of Suwanee, Ga., and Ryan Hartman of Yorktown, Va., have received grants for postgraduate study from the prestigious Fulbright Program. Grant received an English teaching assistantship in Taiwan, a province of China (hereinafter referred to as “Taiwan”), and Hartman received a research grant in Kazakhstan.
Shiri Yidlin ’12 of Irvine, Calif., received a U.S. teaching assistantship to Austria.
Grant said he chose Taiwan to further his studies of East Asian language and literature, specifically Chinese. He went on to say that after traveling to China last summer, “I wanted to gain a broader perspective of regional issues, a large part of which deals with Taiwan. Choosing Taiwan also allows me to continue my study of Chinese as well as work with young people at local schools. I also hope to continue my politics studies through research.”
“I am delighted that Tyler has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Taiwan,” said Janet Ikeda, associate professor of Japanese and Fulbright Program advisor. “The competition for fellowships has grown fierce, with close to 10,000 applicants vying for 1,700 Fulbright grants this past year. He actually began preparing for his application more than a year in advance. He was awarded a Johnson Opportunity grant, which allowed him to teach in China the summer before his senior year on the Harvard World Teach program.
“Tyler’s approach to the fellowship process was systematic, strategic and focused. His well-crafted essays demonstrated knowledge of the language and culture, a love of teaching and a desire to learn even more.”
While at W&L, Grant was a resident adviser, a senior justice on the Student Judicial Council and captain of the varsity track and field team. He was also a member of the College Republicans and wrote for the Political Review. After teaching in Taiwan Grant hopes to attend law school.
“I’m also very thankful to Prof. Ikeda for her kindness, continued support and tremendous optimism throughout this process. She has been one of my favorite professors at W&L-certainly someone I admire,” said Grant.
Hartman said, “It is a tremendous honor for me to be an ambassador of the United States and of W&L in a country that many people know nothing about. I will be researching natural resource development since the collapse of the Soviet Union. I will be based in Almaty, but hope to travel throughout the country.”
Hartman continued, “I chose to apply to Kazakhstan because it is place where I can combine my interests. It is a Russian-speaking country with a burgeoning economy that is fed primarily by natural resource development. I am excited by the idea that natural resources can be a mechanism for elevating a population into prosperity, and want to explore what Kazakhstan has done to make it successful so far. I think of much of central Asia, including Kazakhstan, as a bit of a last frontier. I can’t wait to explore and learn about this place and its people–I think it will continue to become more and more important on the global stage.”
Hartman double majored in Russian area studies and geology. He was the head resident assistant for first-year students, was captain of the men’s varsity swimming and diving team, a member of the University Chamber Singers, a member of the Student Affairs Committee, a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and a member of the Kompost Krew. He is applying to Navy Officer Candidate School, which he hopes to attend after returning to the U.S.
“On a Fulbright grant, Ryan will be taking his research topic across the globe,” said Ikeda. “Ryan wrote in his essay that he chose Kazakhstan because he could draw parallels between America’s western expansion and the mining operations in that country. It is also a place where he can combine his two academic passions of Russian and geology. His W&L experiences in Argentina and the Appalachian Mountains have helped prepare him for field work in Kazakhstan.”
Yadlin said of her award, “I’m thrilled to have the chance to go to Austria next year. I was able to develop really strong relationships with the teaching assistants who came to W&L to work in the German Department, and I love the idea of having that same kind of impact on Austrian secondary school students.
“I chose to apply for the program in Austria because I wanted the chance to experience a different part of the German-speaking world after my spring term in Bonn in 2010,” Yadlin continued. “Because of the W&L German curriculum, I feel like I have a relatively good grasp of German culture, but I cannot say the same for Austrian culture. I have heard and read wonderful things about the country and its people, so I am really excited to see and experience it all for myself.”
At W&L, Yadlin was a Bonner Leader and worked with W&L Campus Kitchens (CKWL) and Volunteer Venture. She also sang in General Admission, served as a leader in Generals Christian Fellowship, gave campus tours and was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. Her long-term interests include social work with the homeless or public policy.
“I am very proud to have three students from this year’s graduating class winning awards that will take them abroad to represent Washington and Lee University and the U.S.,” said President Ken Ruscio. “W&L students are blazing paths to unique areas of the world. Ever mindful of our mission statement, we will continue to prepare students for ‘engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society.’”
Sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program.
Fast (and Weird) Start for One W&L Intern
As understatements go, Michael McGuire’s description of his first day at his summer internship is right up there: “It wasn’t what I was expecting.”
Come this fall, Michael will be a Washington and Lee University senior. He’s majoring in journalism and Spanish and this year won the Todd Smith Fellowship, which supports an internship in Miami, Fla., with El Nuevo Herald, one of the country’s premier Spanish-language newspapers.
So he touched down in Miami this week, reported for duty at El Nuevo Herald and was paired with another reporter to get the latest information on Miami’s celebrated cannibal story — the bizarre case in which one naked man was shot and killed by police as he attacked another naked man and began eating his face.
Michael had only just read about the incident while waiting in the lobby to go on the assignment.
Michael e-mailed that his efforts were “fruitless for a while, waiting outside of a bank to interview a man who rode by the attack on his bicycle and hoping to find some of the victim’s family waiting in the lobby of the hospital trauma center. We found out all of the court documents we wanted to read to get more information on the attacker weren’t available at the courthouse downtown. It wasn’t until a press conference at 2:30 p.m. that we started to get little pieces for a story. Someone showed us leaked photos of the faceless homeless man, and another reporter told us who she thought the victim was. The police hadn’t confirmed anything.”
Back in the newsroom, Michael did some background research on a 1985 story by legendary Miami crime writer Edna Buchanan, when a naked man threw the severed head of his girlfriend to a police officer who approached him on the street.
“We wrote and rewrote the story, adjusting for every new bit of information we dug up or were given on the phone,” wrote Michael. “We ordered pizza. We didn’t leave until about 10:30 p.m.”
The next morning, Michael woke up to find his byline on the story on A1. (Note: It’s in Spanish.) “It’s a story gaining international attention, and though this wasn’t ‘breaking news,’ it was cool to be a reporter keeping people updated on the situation. Spanish speakers from all over the world turn to El Nuevo Herald for U.S. news. I’d say it was worth it.”
While Michael and his colleague were waiting for the press conference to start, he was chatting with a veteran TV reporter who told him, “You might as well quit now. This story is probably the craziest you’ll ever see.”
Said Michael: “I hope so. But I’m not quitting. I’ve got a lot to learn.”
W&L Research in Yellowstone Makes Headlines
Two recent stories in the Billings (Mont.) Gazette have focused on research conducted by Washington and Lee biology professor Bill Hamilton and W&L students in several of his Spring Term courses.
The stories, “Researchers try to revitalize soil in Gardiner Basin area” and “Yellowstone Park restoration work progressing,” report on an article that Bill and his colleague, Eric Hellquist, of State University New York-Oswego, have published in the 2012 issue of the journal Yellowstone Science.
They have focused their research on Gardiner Basin, in the upper northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park. As Bill has explained, the area is a prime winter range for bison, elk and pronghorn antelope. But the grasslands have been overgrown by mustard, a nonnative plant that inhibits the growth of native grasses. As those grasses have been depleted, the animals, especially bison, wander beyond the protection of Yellowstone’s borders in search of new pastures.
Inside three plots, fenced to keep wildlife out, the mustard has been eliminated with a herbicide. The areas are replanted with barley to stabilize the soil, and then native species are planted. In the past two years, according to the results of the study, soil organic matter increased by 40 percent inside the fence compared with soil outside the fence.
Bill took his first trip in 2005, and his students have been going to back to continue the work. You can read about the work on the class blog and its Facebook page, both of which also feature photographs and videos from the past four years.
W&L's Jasmin Darznik in Sunday's New York Times
It’s been a banner month for Jasmin Darznik, assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee.
Just after her memoir, “The Good Daughter,” was nominated for two prestigious awards, Jasmin published a piece, “No Place Is Home,” in Sunday’s New York Times. She writes about her two-year exile from the United States after a run-in with the American Consulate when she was 13.
“It’s a story I’ve wanted to tell for years, but I haven’t found the words or the way until now,” Jasmin said of the essay.
Jasmin and her family left Iran when she was five and settled in California. She and her mother had visited Iranian relatives in Germany one summer when Jasmin, filling out the renewal form for her mother’s business visa, put “America” on the line asking for their home. Because the officials viewed that as a statement of intent to stay in the U.S. permanently, they were denied the visa and were forced to remain in Germany until her father could hire an attorney for a successful appeal.
Jasmin describes her dilemma in this passage from the essay:
By that time, I had spent several years distancing myself from the country then known as “Eyeran.” I had seen enough footage of the hostage crisis. I had been called a “smelly A-rab” at school, watched my mother get stared down in grocery shops on account of her accent and witnessed the sharp looks my veiled grandmother drew in the streets. I had quickly learned not to be Iranian in ways that showed. I plucked my eyebrows, bleached my hair with Sun-In and hitched up my skirts. My accent was pure Valley girl, heavy on the “likes.” By summer’s end, I was desperate to get back to California. A visa was the only thing standing between me and the only country I cared to claim.
As a 2011-2012 fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities in Charlottesville, Jasmin has been working on a novel set in 1960s Iran, titled “LUSTRE: A Nonfiction Novel of Iran.”
W&L Alum Honored by Choate Rosemary Hall
Dr. Daniel J. Carucci, of the Class of 1980, was honored this month with an Alumni Award from Choate Rosemary Hall, from which he graduated in 1976.
Dan is president of Washington-based Global Health Consulting Inc., which works with corporations, international non-governmental organizations, governments, foundations and individual philanthropists “to improve the effectiveness of investments in global health.” He has previously served as vice president for global health at the United Nations Foundation and as director of the Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative at the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.
After W&L, Dan received his medical degree from the University of Virginia and then earned a master’s and a Ph.D. from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He spent 20 years of active service as a U.S. Navy physician and research scientist, including a stint as director of the U.S. Navy Malaria Vaccine Program.
In his acceptance remarks, Dan told the gathering: “For me it’s not, and it’s never been, about what you accomplish, but it’s about whose lives you’ve bettered. It’s about the opportunities you give others to shine. It’s about the teams you’ve brought together to solve difficult problems. And it’s about tackling head-on difficult challenges that will result not just in incremental change but will result in transformational change.”
Congratulations to Daniel.
Washington and Lee Receives $1 Million in Second Hughes Grant
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has selected Washington and Lee University as one of 47 small colleges and universities in the country to share in grants totaling more than $50 million.
According to the institute, the grants “enable the schools to work together to create more engaging science classes, bring real-world research experience to students, and increase the diversity of students who study science.”
W&L will receive $1 million to support continued work in two primary areas:
- Increasing apprentice-based student-faculty research opportunities for all science and mathematics majors
- Extending efforts to prepare all undergraduates to become scientifically curious and literate leaders in society, regardless of career emphasis.
Last April, HHMI invited 215 institutions to apply for the competition and received 182 proposals, from which it made 43 awards to the 47 different schools, based on the recommendation of a panel of 23 leading scientists.
This is the second major award that Washington and Lee has received from HHMI. In 2008, the University won a $1.3 million grant.
“Winning a second HHMI award in four years provides compelling evidence that W&L is providing innovative and effective instruction in the sciences and mathematics and that our plans for the improvement of that instruction merit foundation support and national recognition,” said Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio.
Helen I’Anson, professor of biology and head of the Biology Department, has directed the HHMI program. She said that the new grant will allow the University to continue its strategy of developing “an interdisciplinary, collaborative and quantitative program of integrated research and teaching that will be available to non-majors as well as majors.”
A centerpiece of the plan will be the establishment of the Integrative and Quantitative Science Center as part of Telford Science Library.
“We are folding the IQ Center into a more modern definition of a library,” I’Anson said. “This space will be devoted to data acquisition, data storage, computation, visual imaging and collecting experimental data. It will be rich with technology and instruments for both teaching and research.”
I’Anson described the IQ Center as a place that will tie “powerful analytical and imaging equipment to traditional teaching, and will make the traditional teaching more student centered.”
I’Anson said that a substantial amount of the funding for the center will come from the University, while the HHMI grant will fund some of the construction as well as the initiatives.
In making the grants to the 47 small colleges and universities, Sean B. Carroll, vice president of science education at HHMI, said, “HHMI is investing in these schools because they have shown they are superb incubators of new ideas and models that might be replicated by other institutions to improve how science is taught in college.”
Since 1988, HHMI has awarded more than $870 million to 274 colleges and universities to support science education. HHMI support has enabled nearly 85,000 students nationwide to work in research labs and has developed programs that have helped 100,000 K-12 teachers learn how to teach science more effectively.
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Washington and Lee Graduates 396 Students in Class of 2012
As the 396 members of Washington and Lee University’s Class of 2012 received their diplomas on the University’s historic Front Campus Thursday, they were reminded to take strength from what the W&L community had taught them.
In his remarks to the graduates, Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio emphasized the special nature of the W&L community, which is governed by a longstanding honor system and imbued with a sense of civility and a spirit of cooperation.
“We strive to create a community with certain patterns of interactions among the individuals who comprise it — patterns that teach us what we owe to each other; and patterns that influence the way you live your lives when you leave here,” Ruscio said.
Civility, he added, is a virtue that must be cultivated through the University’s time-honored “speaking tradition,” which calls for members of the community to greet one another — and strangers — on campus.
• Audio and complete text of President Ruscio’s remarks
“Telling the truth is so much easier when there is a presumption that everyone else is telling the truth,” Ruscio said. “We believe that a community based on trust is simply better than one based on self-interest. You are about to leave a community that takes such matters seriously and enter a society that does not. You can either surrender to the headwinds you will face, or you can, like many alumni before you, take strength from what this community has taught you.
“I’m betting the headwinds will be no match for the moral disposition you acquired just by being here and associating with some of the finest people you will ever know.”
Ruscio also paid tribute to beloved members of the W&L community who died within the past year. He reminded the graduates of the talk they heard last September at convocation from Pamela H. Simpson, the Ernest Williams II Professor of Art History. Despite a terminal illness, she continued to teach almost until her death in October. He also told them about Severn Duvall, the Henry S. Fox Jr. Professor of English Emeritus, who died in March, and quoted from a eulogy for Duvall that a former student delivered at his memorial.
“It was my admiration for all of you,” he told the students, “that brought to mind my admiration of people like Pam and Severn and the many others following in their footsteps,” indicating the current faculty members in the audience.
In addition to developing their minds, Ruscio said, he hoped the graduates have developed their hearts: “I hope you have learned the importance of being in relationships with people who care about you; and that you retain throughout your lives the humility to learn from them.”
Speaking on behalf of his classmates, Scott McClintock, president of the student body, said that graduating from W&L is different from graduating from most other schools. “Rather than joining hundreds of thousands of living alumni, we join only a few thousand,” he said. “Yet these few thousand are proud. They know what it is to be a W&L student, and they live successful lives across the country. . . . The great thing about Washington and Lee is that it works for us. We are a small-knit group that — though not based out of a central area or region — sticks together behind a place.”
• Audio and text of Scott McClintock’s remarks
This year’s graduating class, which is the 25th coeducational class to graduate from W&L, was evenly split between men and women representing 39 states, plus the District of Columbia and 12 countries.
In addition to the bachelor’s degrees, the University awarded honorary degrees to James C. Rees IV, president and chief executive officer of historic Mount Vernon, and Dr. Mervyn F. Silverman, one of the nation’s leading authorities on AIDS and a 1960 graduate of W&L.
Ruscio also recognized five retiring members of the University’s faculty, who have a combined total of 135 years of service to W&L: Denis Brion, professor of law; Michael J. Evans, the Lillian and Rupert Radford Professor of Mathematics; Frank Miriello, head football coach; Gordon Spice, the Edwin A. Morris Endowed Professor of Music and head of the Department of Music; and Cecile West-Settle, professor of Spanish.
Brooke Sutherland, a journalism and French major from Lawrence, Kan., was the valedictorian. Her cumulative grade-point average was 4.043.
One of those receiving his diploma, Grant Kunkowski, began his undergraduate career at W&L in 1978 but left after his sophomore year to pursue an acting career. Known by his stage name of Grant Aleksander, he played the role of Phillip Spaulding on the daytime drama “The Guiding Light” for many years. He returned to campus in 2011 to complete his degree in theater.
Other top awards:
• Clarke Morrison, of Atlanta, and Shiri Yadlin, of Irvine, Calif., won the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, presented to a male and female graduate on a vote of the faculty. The award honors individuals “who excel in high ideals of living, in spiritual qualities, and in generous and disinterested service to others.” Morrison majored in English and geology, while Yadlin was a double major in global politics and religion.
• Morrison also won the Frank J. Gilliam Award, which is presented by the Executive Committee of the Student Body to that student who has made the most valuable contribution to student affairs in one or more fields.
• Chris Washnock, of Greer, S.C., won the Edward Lee Pinney Prize, awarded by the Student Affairs Committee to an undergraduate who demonstrates “extraordinary commitment to personal scholarship and to the nurturing of intellectual life at Washington and Lee.” Washnock was a double major in religion and Spanish.
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
W&L President Ruscio's 2012 Commencement Address
Kenneth P. Ruscio
Washington and Lee University
May 24, 2012
We began the academic year at our Opening Convocation with a moving address by Professor Pam Simpson. Her friends, colleagues and many of her students knew at the time—because she had so courageously told us—that the cancer she was fighting was treatable but not curable; and even if we could not bring ourselves to admit it to each other, we understood this would be one of our last memories of a Washington and Lee legend.
In her address the art historian told us about the architecture of our campus buildings, especially those on the colonnade, how they came to be, and the battles over their preservation. Ever the teacher, Pam concluded by taking us into the deeper meaning of her story. “What,” she asked, “can we learn from all this?”
One lesson (she said) is that what we so value today came together over a period of several hundred years. Each generation built on the past. What resulted was not only a collection of historic, distinguished buildings (which we are now working hard to restore); we also ended up with a symbol. This is who we are. When we think of our most deeply held values— academic excellence, collegiality, civility, and most of all, honor, all of them are embodied here…White columns, worn steps, halls hallowed by time, and the strength embodied within them.
Just a few months later, another Washington and Lee legend also passed away. Severn Duvall had retired several years ago. He was not a familiar figure to this graduating class; but he was very familiar to those of us from an earlier time. Otherwise known as “dog Duvall,” either because of his ever-present Irish setter companion or because he dispensed the grade of D so freely in his English Literature classes, Severn was by any measure a presence. At his memorial service, which was a celebration more than a mournful occasion, a former student, Ben Hale, offered this tribute.
My memories of Severn the teacher are indistinguishable from my memories of Severn the man and Severn the friend. Our friendship spanned thirty years, and he never stopped teaching me. He taught me how to compost, how to cook rice, how to fix Swiss chard, and how to read a poem. He taught me to like pot cheese and liver and vodka on the rocks and Irish poetry. He taught me that Song of Myself is as holy a text as any book of the Bible, that there’s no reason to tolerate self-serving arguments or safe thinking or lazy writing. He taught me the difference between a wood cut and an engraving and an etching and made me think—again and again—about how I looked at pictures of every kind. He taught me the difference between a good poem and a poem that just feels good. Some of this happened in the seminar room, but much of it happened around his kitchen table or down in his cluttered study during commercials in the news (when talking was allowed).
But mostly Severn taught me what kind of man I ought to try to be. He could have taught me how to use a fish fork and a finger bowl—because he was very comfortable in polite society—but he taught me, more importantly, that being a gentleman has nothing to do with those things and everything to do with being gracious, even when—especially when—we have reason not to be. And he taught me that being gracious was about being fair and generous—not about mincing words or faking smiles.
I don’t exactly know why Pam and Severn came to mind as I thought about what to say to you as you leave Washington and Lee, but I suspect it had something to do with the way I feel about this class. It is customary at a time like this for someone like me to tell you that you are special, among the best to have ever walked these halls, and that by comparison those of us who preceded you were severely deficient and not nearly as good looking; and that despite all the turmoil in the world I am greatly reassured knowing that the future is in your hands.
In this case, though, I truly mean it. Except for the good-looking part.
Download a pdf version of the remarks
I think of Woodie’s leadership of the IFC, Mackenzie’s guidance of Panhellenic, Scott’s oversight of the honor system, Matt’s direction of the Student Judicial Council (so precarious apparently that he required the 24 hour security of a guard dog named Lacrosse), Amber’s thoughtful comments at a Martin Luther King Day celebration, Chris and Brian capping off their swim careers with a NCAA post-graduate fellowship, Kat, Emily and Paige telling me about their experiences as student-athletes, the senior recitals in Wilson and Lenfest halls, Killeen’s Spanish journalism, Henri’s cabin in the woods, the look on Stephen’s face when he told us he had been chosen for the Teach for America program, Natalie’s comeback, the five sophomore friends of Kim and me who in the blink of an eye became the five senior friends and momentarily will become our five alumni friends, Trish, Zack, and Tucker and the entire Mock Con team—and the elephant that never was, Charlie and the spread offense, Tyler teaching English to children in China, Ryan going to Kazakhstan unless he becomes a Navy Seal, Dominika to Harvard, and Jasmine to Cambridge University. And many, many more.
All of you came to Washington and Lee in the fall of 2008. Lehman Brothers was still with us. A Republican president was about to enact the largest stimulus and bailout program this country had ever seen. Europe was considered a place of stability. China was an emerging country. Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House. Unemployment was 6%. There were no iPads. Blackberry’s were considered innovative. Our debt ceiling was a mere $10.6 trillion.
Things have changed the last four years and so have you. I’m not sure that the changes out there were for the better. I am sure that the changes within you were.
So it was my admiration for all of you that brought to mind my admiration of people like Pam and Severn and the many others following in their footsteps who sit over there to your right. And I realized once again that the defining quality of this University is the quality of its people; and that the character of this community and the character of the individuals who belong to it are mutually reinforcing.
We forget these days that institutions shape our values, whether intentionally or by default. At Washington and Lee we are intentional about it and our aspirations are high. We strive to create a community with certain patterns of interactions among the individuals who comprise it—patterns that teach us what we owe to each other; and patterns that influence the way you live your lives when you leave here.
Cooperation is an acquired skill. And so our students are entrusted with great responsibility for their own affairs. Civility is a virtue that must be cultivated. And so we can be oppressively persistent in our reminders to greet each other and extend uncommon courtesy to friends and strangers. Telling the truth is so much easier when there is a presumption that everyone else is telling the truth. We believe that a community based on trust is simply better than one based on self-interest. You are about to leave a community that takes such matters seriously and enter a society that does not. You can either surrender to the headwinds you will face, or you can, like many alumni before you, take strength from what this community has taught you.
I’m betting the headwinds will be no match for the moral disposition you acquired just by being here and associating with some of the finest people you will ever know. The bonds of friendship will endure for a lifetime; and the habit to show respect for others—for a habit is exactly what it has become–will prove durable even when it is not reciprocated.
But there’s another reason Pam, Severn, and all of you have been on my mind recently. Regrettably there is a great deal of noise in the national discussion of higher education, hand-wringing over the business model, concerns about student debt, the fascination with “disruptive innovation,” anxiety over the liberal arts as a luxury that can no longer be afforded, excitement over online learning, the possibility of three-year degrees, the worries over college completion rates, the panacea-like hope for collaboration among colleges—the list goes on.
In the midst of all the confusion, we have forgotten what a college is for. We would do well to remind ourselves that education, especially a liberal arts education like the one you had here, is one of relationships, of learning together what you cannot learn alone. Washington and Lee is not in the business of dispensing information. We are in the business of educating students, creating knowledge, and instilling within all of us, faculty and students alike, a capacity and thirst for wisdom.
Education—as opposed to job training or information sharing–has an element of surprise to it, the kind that Ben Hale found in his after-class friendship with a professor of English Literature. The lessons Severn taught him may have started with the study of literature, then bounced over to cooking Swiss chard, but ultimately it ended up on the much higher plane of how to live a life and how to treat others. Maybe there’s a way to monetize that, to find out if it is worth the cost; or maybe there’s a way to make that interaction more efficient; or maybe there’s a way to measure the outcomes with the total precision. Maybe.
But I don’t know how to measure the lesson that Pam Simpson taught all of us that memorable day last fall—a lesson that had nothing to do with architecture, or history, or even Washington and Lee but rather about the quality of human relationships and the importance of belonging to a community that could care about such things.
According to Andrew Delbanco, Judith Shapiro, the former president of Barnard College, once advised a group of students to come to college with one simple goal. “You want the inside of your head to be an interesting place to spend the rest of your lives.”
I echo her wish. I certainly hope you developed your mind during your time at Washington and Lee. But I wouldn’t stop there. I hope you have also developed your heart. I hope you have learned the importance of being in relationships with people who care about you; and that you retain throughout your lives the humility to learn from them.
With admiration and fondness for each and every one of you and with gratitude for spending the most important years of your life with us, I wish you the very best. Thank you.
President of the Student Body
Washington and Lee University
May 24, 2012
Thank you President Ruscio for inviting me to speak here on this beautiful May morning. I can’t think of a better day or a better view than that of the colonnade from where I now stand. When each of you, my classmates, come up here in a few minutes, I encourage you to look at the red bricks that Robert E. Lee tread on 142 short years ago. I ask that you gaze at the eggshell columns brushed against by thousands of alumni. I hope that you’ll be refreshed by the green grass that you tread upon only days ago. And I pray that you peer upon the faces of your classmates that you may not see again for another five, ten, or twenty five years.
As you stand on this stage, look to your left at the faculty members that you once loved—and others who you didn’t. The men and women who sit before you wearing funny hats and capes—funnier, even, than our own—have brought us a long way. I imagine that there is not one of you who have not met with a teacher in their office and talked about something other than shop. Baseball, football, politics, cooking, how they could hear the noise from your Saturday night party from their bedroom—we’ve all had opportunities to get to know this faculty and administration in ways that are unique to this place.
As your gaze shifts from President Ruscio’s eyes, to your diploma, to the colonnade, to the faculty, I hope they will rest finally on your family who sits before you—pausing an extra second with a giant smile as they take your picture from the back row. As you look at Mom, Dad, grandparents, and siblings, remember all of the support that they have given you. Think about all that they have sacrifice to send you to Washington and Lee, just to see you reach this day, and how excited they are not to send another check addressed to this place.
They didn’t send you here simply because they knew you’d learn how to tap a keg, though I’m sure it played into their decision. They sent you here, so that you’d learn to think and speak and read and write and research. They knew that after four years—because that’s all they told you that they would pay for—at W&L that you would walk away ready to take on the world.
Download a pdf of the speech
In a few minutes you will walk across this stage and become and alumnus or alumna of Washington and Lee University. From there you will run off to Law School, Medical School, New York, DC, the Grand Tetons, or back home. Once you step off of this stage though, after a few seconds, a couple of handshakes, and a pause for a picture, you will become a certified adult, with a $200,0000 piece of paper to prove it. All of a sudden, you will be automatically incapable of behaviors involving drunkenness, debauchery, and immaturity… at least until Alumni Weekend.
Graduating from Washington and Lee University is different from graduating from most other schools. Rather than joining hundreds of thousands of living alumni, we join only a few thousand. Yet these few thousand are proud and proud of this place. They know what it is to be a W&L student, and they live successful lives across the country.
Just last summer I was working on a gubernatorial campaign back home in Mississippi, and the whole campaign staff was required to go to Philadelphia, Mississippi for the Neshoba County Fair. It’s a huge event in that hosts more than 600 log cabins that only receive electricity during the two weeks leading up to the fair and the days following. The grounds are huge and the cabins are tightly lined with only four feet of space between them around a horse track.
I knew one person in the entire county—a coworker four years older than me who graduated from Mississippi State—and I had no intention of leaving his side. After an hour of forced conversations with strangers—primarily about the Mississippi heat—we headed to a cabin where my friend knew people—and of course, I didn’t. As we walked down the red clay road, though, I saw a blue flag with a familiar white logo hanging from a cabin. Knowing nobody else in the whole all of Neshoba County, I left my friend telling him that we’d meet up later, stepped onto the porch and knocked on the sliding glass door. On the glass was a W&L Alumni sticker.
I asked the man who answered if anyone in the house had gone to W&L, and immediately a smile beamed across his face. I was ushered in, handed a beer (the man joked that he knew I’d prefer a Natural Light), and joined by his son, a 2004 graduate of W&L. After the two of them interrogated me about Lexington, Greek life, student houses, Honor System, the President, Deans, and so on for an hour, I reluctantly left the cabin. When I rejoined my friend, he asked me where I’d been and how I’d known those strangers. I told him that I’d seen the flag and that frankly, “these were my people.” We then both looked out over the sea of cabins, all covered in Ole Miss and Mississippi State flags, he shook his head and said, “Yeah, that wouldn’t really work for me.”
The great thing about Washington and Lee is that it works for us. We are a small knit group that—though not based out of a central area or region—sticks together behind a place. I’ve got friends at Ole Miss who can probably tell you somebody who lives in 50 to 55 of the 82 counties of Mississippi if they think about it. But what I’m proud of is that I can do them one better. Looking through my cell phone the other day, I realized that should I have a blowout somewhere, I could make a call—though potentially an awkward one—but I could make a call and have either help or a place to stay in 41 out of 50 states—and that includes Alaska (if anyone is from Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Montana, either Dakota, Hawaii, Vermont, New Hampshire, let me know after this). This place has brought together a group of people who are diverse, smart, care about doing their work, and who love where they are now. That is one of my favorite aspects of this place.
Back in August, I had the responsibility of introducing President Ruscio to the freshmen parents before Orientation Week. These men and women likely heard the same speech that your parents here today heard back then. President Ruscio asked them to close their eyes, and he led them on the journey that would be their child’s college experience. It involved papers, parties, and even police records—he truly prepared them for everything.
But he closed his remarks by making the parents that were falling asleep in the back wake up with a jolt. He mentioned that inevitably every year, two freshmen, somewhere during their four-year span, fall in love, and will be engaged to be married with Lee Chapel wedding plans by graduation. Our class has seen that.
Our class was the last to see the Colonnade before renovation, and the first to take a class in the new Newcomb Hall. We were the first Johnson Scholars—translated “curve busters”. Our class acceptance rate was 16.81%. We have witnessed the innovation of a “social floor” of the library. We’ve seen a porch collapse. We’ve seen a student home engulfed in flames. We’ve seen 18 inches of snow, and many of us may never see anything like it again. We were the last to enjoy a 6-week Spring Term. We correctly picked the Republican nominee though our Mock Convention—chaired for four years by members of our class. We witnessed an Open Honor Hearing. We’ve watched fraternities get kicked off campus, return, and get booted again. We were here for the birth of a new sorority and the mansion that followed. We’ve danced at four Fancy Dresses. We saw the election of new President of the United States, and we listened as our classmates both danced in the quad and “Booed” throughout Graham Lees. We’ve experienced four O-Weeks. Faculty Members, administrators, trustees, and classmates have all come and gone during our four years at W&L. We’ve seen ODAC Championships and national championships. And everyone here today has even passed a swim test, though, admittedly, myself included, many of us would float better now than when we initially arrived on campus.
Yet here we are. Here we sit, only a few minutes away from the next chapter in our lives—I’m sure someone just won a $5 bet thanks to that phrase. In a few moments you will walk up these stairs a student of this university, and will walk down them an alumnus or alumna. I hope that after you leave here, once you’ve packed up your room, loaded everything into your U-Haul, kissed your housemother goodbye, and hugged the last of your friends, that you will remember this place. Remember what it means to live in an environment where people trust you and take you at your word. People often talk about the “W&L Bubble” after they leave here. Here, in Lexington, you are safe, they tell you. But once you graduate, everything changes. I ask, though, that you not change simply because you are no longer in Lexington. I ask that you remember what you learned at Washington and Lee, for what you learned here—a lifestyle of honor and integrity—is what unites every single Washington and Lee class and it’s 20,000 living alumni. What you learned here, you could not have learned anywhere else.
Five Washington and Lee Faculty Retire
Washington and Lee University recognized five retiring members of the University’s faculty during commencement exercises on Thursday, May 24.
The five retirees have a combined total of 135 years of service to W&L.
They are Denis Brion, professor of law; Michael J. Evans, the Lillian and Rupert Radford Professor of Mathematics; Frank Miriello, head football coach; Gordon Spice, the Edwin A. Morris Endowed Professor of Music and head of the Department of Music; and Cecile West-Settle, professor of Spanish.
Denis Brion joined the School of Law faculty in 1978 and has taught courses in real and personal property, private land regulation, law and economics, real estate transactions, and jury advocacy. He is the author of “Essential Industry and the NIMBY Phenomenon” (Quorum Books, 1991) and numerous book chapters, law review articles and scholarly papers.
Brion received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern Unviersity and his J.D. from the University of Virginia, where he was editor-in-chief of the Virginia Journal of International Law. Prior to joining the W&L law faculty, he served as a staff attorney with the Communications Satellite Corp. and senior counsel for RCA Global Communication before joining the law faculty at the College of William and Mary in 1978. He served as visiting professor at the Boston College Law School. He was named Professor of Law, Emeritus.
Michael J. Evans came to Washington and Lee in 1993 as the Radford Professor of Mathematics and also served as head of the department from 1993 to 2001. He received his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University and his master’s and PH.D. in mathematics from Michigan State University.
Prior to W&L, Evans was on the faculty at North Carolina State University, where he also directed the undergraduate programs in mathematics. He won an Outstanding Teacher Award and membership in the Academy of Outstanding Teachers at N.C. State in 1992.
At Washington and Lee, he received three Glenn Summer Research Grants and was part of a team of faculty members who wrote a successful $500,000 grant proposal to the W.M. Keck Foundation to initiate a multidisciplinary program in nonlinear dynamics. He also received a National Science Foundation Grant to host the 26th Summer Symposium on Real Analysis at W&L in June 2002. He was named Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus.
Frank Miriello finished his career as Washington and Lee’s head football coach with the most wins in school history. During 17 years as the Generals’ head coach, his teams won 90, lost 79 and tied one for a winning percentage of .532. Under his leadership, W&L finished at .500 or better in 12 of his 17 seasons. He guided the Generals to a pair of Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) titles and the only two NCAA Tournament berths in program history.
Miriello earned his bachelor’s degree at East Stroudsburg State University. He first joined the W&L athletic department as an assistant football coach from 1978 to 1982. He then coached at Hampden-Sydney and VMI before gaining his first head coaching position at Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania in 1986. In 1990, he returned to W&L as assistant coach of both football and lacrosse. In 1995, he was appointed interim head coach of football in June, permanent coach in November.
Miriello was named the ODAC Coach of the Year five times (1996, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2010). In 2006, he was named the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) South Region Coach of the Year and SportExe Division III Coach of the Year. He was promoted to associate professor in 1996 and taught physical education courses throughout his career. He has been appointed Associate Professor of Physical Education, Emeritus.
Gordon Spice became a member of Washington and Lee’s faculty in 1973. He received bachelor’s degrees from both the University of Toledo and Ohio State University, a master’s degree in music history from Ohio State and a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina.
In addition to teaching music history courses, he directed W&L’s vocal program, which grew into the University Chorus and Chamber Singers. His research into the choral music of the classical and other periods, with emphasis on the German tradition, greatly expanded the range and variety of the pieces that his vocal groups performed in concert and on important University occasions.
In 1990 Spice became the first head of the newly created department of music. From 1975-1986, he conducted the Rockbridge Community Chorus, and from 1979 to 1983 he was conductor of the Rockbridge Community Orchestra.
He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and the Music Educator’s National Conference. He is past president of the Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses Inc. and the Virginia Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. He has been appointed Professor of Music Emeritus.
Cecile West-Settle joined the department of Romance languages at Washington and Lee in 1987. She served as department head on two different occasions and as associate dean of the College from 1995 to 1998.
West-Settle received her B.A. in Romance languages from Agnes Scott College and her Ph.D. in Spanish from Emory University. Before coming to Washington and Lee, she taught Spanish at neighboring Virginia Military Institute. Her academic specialties are 19th- and 20th-century Spanish poetry and 20th-century Spanish prose. She was coeditor of the 2005 volume “Contemporary Spanish Poetry: The Word and the World” and is the author of numerous articles and conference papers in her field.
She has participated in two National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars, was a fellow at the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas in 1991 and 1992 and was a visiting scholar at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women in 1998 and 1999. She has been named Professor of Spanish, Emeritus.
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
New W&L Grad Featured in Roanoke Newspaper
The Roanoke Times focused on a member of Washington and Lee’s graduating class from the Star City in today’s editions, providing a fine profile of Robbie Day. He will graduate today in ceremonies starting at 10 a.m.
Robbie’s memories of his W&L career reached all the way back to the week before he had even matriculated, when he found himself on the Appalachian Trail with some of his new classmates as part of the University’s Leading Edge pre-orientation program. Not a big camping enthusiast before that trip, Robbie told Roanoke Times’ reporter Duncan Adams: “I came back and I thought, ‘The trip was great, but I’ll never do that again.’ ” But he wound up leading later pre-orientation trips, and backpacking trips out of Jackson Hole, Wyo.
That is just one of many examples of how Robbie said he has “changed and grown in crazy amounts of ways” during his four years in Lexington.
A politics major who set up the Mock Convention’s website and developed its real-time Twitter feed, Robbie became fascinated with digital media and hopes to wind up in that field. First, he’ll be spending the next several months working in Ohio as a field organizer for the Obama presidential campaign.
To get a better sense of Robbie’s talents and his interests, have a look at his iPolitech blog, where he writes about the digital campaign strategies in today’s political races.
'Tis the (Commencement) Season
It has been a busy commencement season for Washington and Lee alumni. At least two spoke at commencement exercises, while the University also was well represented in the graduating class of one of the nation’s premier law schools.
In Monterey, Calif., Grace Ewura-Esi Andrews, of the Class of 2009, told her fellow graduates at the Monterey Institute of International Studies to be unafraid to “embrace failure,” and to have the courage to try new things and learn from their mistakes. She received an M.A. in public administration. During her studies at Monterey, Grace served as a “Frontier Market Scout” and managed the Village Capital entrepreneur support program in Brazil. In that role, she convened and led a group of 11 entrepreneurs directly addressing poverty.
On the other side of the continent, in Fredericksburg, Va., Shawn Boyer, of the Law Class of 1997, addressed the graduate commencement ceremony at the University of Mary Washington and told the graduates that they need “an operating plan as a person. It will influence how you are going to interact with others.” Shawn is the founder of SnagAJob.com, the nation’s largest online community of hourly workers. He was the 2008 National Small Business Person of the Year.
In New Haven, Conn., no fewer than three Washington and Lee alumni received their juris doctor degrees from the Yale Law School: Adam Hockensmith and Alice Shih, both of the Class of 2008, and Dima Slavin of the Class of 2009. W&L philosophy professor James Mahon, who has been on a sabbatical leave at Yale this year, attended the ceremony and observed of the three W&L grads: “Given that there are only 222 students who received J.D. degrees from Yale Law School in the Class of 2012, that’s a ridiculously high number.”
W&L Baccalaureate Speaker Talks to Students of Love, Civility, Courtesy
Weaving quotations from writers Walker Percy, Marilynne Robinson and C.S. Lewis with references to Robert E. Lee, Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, the Rev. Dr. Christoph Keller III gave a moving, often personal Baccalaureate address to Washington and Lee University’s Class of 2012 on Wednesday, May 23.
The traditional service, held on the historic Front Lawn between Lee Chapel and Washington Hall, began the two days of celebration for the slightly more than 400 seniors who will receive bachelor’s degrees on the same spot on Thursday, May 24, at 10 a.m.
The director of the Institute for Theological Studies at St. Margaret’s in Little Rock, Ark., Keller is the son of one W&L alumnus, the late Rt. Rev. Christoph Keller Jr., of the Class of 1939, and the father of another, Mary Olive Keller, a member of the Class of 2012. The senior Keller also was a member of W&L’s Board of Trustees.
Read Rev. Keller’s speech or download a pdf version.
Keller began by quoting from Percy’s 1971 novel “Love in the Ruins: The Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World”; its protagonist, Dr. Thomas More, is a graduate of W&L. Musing on how Percy, through his character, grappled with the sometimes controversial notion of “American exceptionalism” and the divisions in the U.S. between rural and urban, right and left, religious and secular, Keller counseled optimism.
“Then we remember Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King,” he said. “Were it not for Lincoln’s insistence on American exceptionalism, this morning we would be gathered under a different flag. Had King not preached the promise of America as his beacon for a peaceful revolution, then outwardly and inwardly, we would be a very different group of people.”
Referring to the “tens of thousands of people” like King and Lincoln “whom none of us has heard of,” he said that “they were the glory of their times. Let that be you.”
Keller also advised the graduates to look back upon their exceptional experience at W&L. Turning to novelist Marilynne Robinson, he quoted her on Western civilization’s “serene sort of courage” and “great mutual courtesy.”
“If ever there was a college that meant to weave this deep-seated mutual courtesy into the educational fabric,” he said, “it was Washington and Lee.” He nodded to President Lee’s “insistence on civility and courtesy following defeat” and acknowledged that while he, an Arkansan, enjoyed his own education in Massachusetts, at Amherst College, “something deep in my Southern heart was glad” when his son attended Sewanee, and his daughter picked W&L.
“It has seemed to me that this place has given you the same quality and kind of education, in warm contact with the same quality and kind of teacher, as I received at Amherst,” he said, “but with a different under-layer. It is the old difference between Cavalier and Yankee.”
Keller also paid tribute to W&L’s “deep-seated mutual courtesy,” which was woven into the education fabric by President Robert E. Lee’s insistence on civility. “You did learn that here,” said Keller. “If you trespassed that rule, you felt guilt. If another trespassed, you felt dismay. From now on, this belongs to who you are.”
Speaking as the parent of a W&L graduate, Keller evoked writer C.S. Lewis, who named the four loves: eros (romantic), philia (friendship), storge (friends and family) and agape (divine). “All four loves are with us here this morning,” he said, “but the love that has filled your hearts this final week is storge. For four years, it was quietly growing . . . The other loves will travel with you as you spread out across the planet, but your storge can’t leave the Shenandoah Valley.”
Keller concluded with a tribute to his father. During a visit to the W&L Admissions Office several years ago, Keller remembered, he read a reprint of the 2003 Baccalaureate address by Thomas Litzenburg ’57, which mentioned, but did not name, an ill and elderly speaker at a long-ago Baccalaureate. That speaker had paused for a long time before beginning his speech. When he did, he said, “God, I love this place.” That speaker was his father, Christoph Keller Jr. ’39.
“The fear in that long moment of hesitation . . . was that his memory had failed him. He had forgotten where he was and what he had to say,” said Keller. “When he spoke, they found out the opposite was true. His memory had filled his heart.”
Among the reasons the elder Keller had loved W&L, said his son, were “this mix of old and new: genteel, thoughtful, tradition-mindedness, joined with liberal, scholarly engagement with new ideas, and readiness for progress.” An advocate of coeducation as a trustee, he’d also loved “his sweetheart,” whom he met while at W&L, a woman from Mary Baldwin College who became his wife of more than fifty years.
“Of love, we are promised that it never ends,” concluded Keller. “Childhood ends. Then college. Still so many miles from perfect—and yet so beautiful, so memorable, so good.”
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
“Love in the Ruins”
“Love in the Ruins”
A Baccalaureate Address
Christoph Keller III
Washington and Lee University
May 23, 2012
Her hand rested as lightly on my shoulder as it did at the Washington and Lee Black-and-White formal, what a lovely, funny Valley girl she was.
He means a lovely, funny, Shenandoah Valley girl.
The narrator is Dr. Thomas More, from “Love in the Ruins,” by Walker Percy. The novel’s full title is “Love in the Ruins: The Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World.” Percy’s Dr. More is my favorite man in fiction. Early in the book, he lets the reader know he is a direct descendant of Sir Thomas More, the saint, and that he shares his honored namesake’s faith, but there ends the resemblance. He tells us:
I believe in God and the whole business but I love women best, music and science next, whiskey next, God fourth, and my fellowman hardly at all.
My habit has been to read “Love in the Ruins” every 20 years. The book was published in 1971, when I was in high school. I read it then on my mother’s advice. This past year, on third reading, I noticed that Dr. Thomas More was something you in the class of ’12 will be by 1 o’clock tomorrow afternoon: a graduate of Washington and Lee.
Dr. More’s lovely, late ex-wife was a Virginian, and they had met here. The marriage had been mostly happy until their daughter died, and, in that heartbreak, they lost connection. That was also when love of God and neighbor slipped down his list of personal priorities. Reading between the lines, one suspects that booze had crept up the list higher than third place. At any time of day, a reader might find him pulling on a flask or bottle. All of this had happened by the time the novel opens.
Before he wrote the novel, Walker Percy previewed it for his good friend Shelby Foote:
I have in mind a futuristic novel dealing with the decline and fall of the U.S.; the country rent almost hopelessly between the rural Knothead right and the godless alienated left, worse than the Civil War. Of that and the goodness of God, and of the merriness of living quite anonymously in the suburbs, drinking well, cooking out, attending Mass at the usual silo-and-barn, the goodness of Brunswick bowling alleys (the good white maple and plastic balls), coming home of an evening, with the twin rubies of the TV transmitter in the evening sky, having four drinks of good sour mash and assaulting one’s wife in the armchair etc. What we Catholics call the sacramental life.
In the novel, Dr. More addresses readers from a not very distant future with bad news. He is sorry to inform us that in the United States, “the center did not hold.”
Our beloved old U.S.A. is in a bad way. Americans have turned against each other, race against race, right against left, believer against heathen.
The American experiment was failing! He wonders why.
The U.S.A. didn’t work! Is it even possible that from the beginning it never did work? That the thing always had a flaw in it . . . a place where it would shear?
It could be. From our founding, this has been a persistent worry. But Dr. More’s is not a counsel of despair.
“Don’t give up,” he says to us.
Don’t give up. It is not too late. You are still the last hope. There is no one else. Bad as we are, there is no one else.
“You tested us,” he says to God.
You tested us because bad as we were there was no one else, and everybody knew it, even our enemies, and that is why they curse us. Who curses the Chinese? Whoever imagined the Chinese were blessed by God and asked to save the world.
Granted, Dr. More is half drunk. Granted, the view he is espousing, called “American Exceptionalism,” is controversial even among Americans, considered by some to be delusional and dangerous. Granted, that in some of its expressions, it surely is.
Then we remember Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King. Were it not for Lincoln’s insistence on American Exceptionalism, this morning we would be gathered under a different flag. Had King not preached the promise of America as his beacon for a peaceful revolution, then outwardly and inwardly we would be a very different group of people.
I agree with Thomas More. This American faith that we have been blessed and called to great things has been a wellspring of national resilience and renewal. And when we forsake this faith, as our Southern forebears, God forgive them, did 150 years ago, then our nation reduces down to nothing more than an ingenious design for managing competing interests. We have aspired to more. We are more. Don’t give that up.
Which brings us to this morning.
In part, this occasion wants us to look forward. Concerning your future, I’ll say this:
For our society to have raised up giants like King and Lincoln, there have had to be thousands, tens of thousands, of people like them whom none of us has heard of. They were the glory of their times.
Let that be you. Let that be you through the three-score years or so to which you may now look forward, years for pursuing and, I pray, finding the merriness of living more or less anonymously in cities, suburbs, towns; for drinking well, but less, I trust, than you did here; for attending church, I hope—synagogue or mosque—as here most of you probably did not; for discovering the goodness of a bowling alley, the hard plastic ball gathering momentum down the good white maple floor; for the unscripted moment of armchair marital communion, etc.: the sacramental life.
God bless you, looking forward.
This is also a good day for looking back. And now, having affirmed American Exceptionalism, I ask you to consider the exceptional in your experience of Washington and Lee. This place is different too, and in a way that pertains to what was said about our country’s hopes and troubles. We’ll begin with that connection.
The novelist Marilynne Robinson has written a collection of essays under the charming title “When I Was a Child I Read Books.” This is an aside, but I have to tell you my favorite sentence in the book. The author grew up in rural Idaho and then went east to Brown for college. She writes:
I went to college in New England and I have lived in Massachusetts for 20 years, and I find that the hardest work in the world—it may in fact be impossible—is to persuade Easterners that growing up in the West is not intellectually crippling.
Like Walker Percy 40 years ago, Robinson loves our country and is worried for its future. She describes an ethos, hard won, that has long sustained us. The worry is that we are losing it.
Western society at its best expresses the serene sort of courage that allows us to grant one another real safety, real autonomy, the means to think and act as judgment and conscience dictate. It assumes that this great mutual courtesy will bear its best fruit if we respect, educate, inform, and trust one another. This is the ethos that is at risk….We were centuries in building these courtesies. Without them “Western civilization” would be an empty phrase.
That brings us to Washington and Lee.
If ever there was a college that meant to weave this deep-seated mutual courtesy into the educational fabric, it was Washington and Lee. It could so easily have been otherwise, and let us now praise R.E. Lee. Robert E. Lee’s insistence here on civility and courtesy following defeat reverberated South and North, and helped put this broken country back together—in a decade whose troubles make ours almost vanish by comparison. “Love in the ruins,” that was.
Now a confession, although I’ve already been busted: I did not attend Washington and Lee. My graduating daughter does, and my father did, but not me. Instead, I went to Amherst College.
Hey, Marilynne Robinson, I’ll raise you a nickel. You think back East they were a little frosty about your intellectual credentials? Try going North with “Hi, y’all. I’m from Arkansas.”
Amherst had begun as a training school for mission-minded frontier New England clergy. By my time, perhaps the one residue of that was the moral-minded faculty, especially in American studies, which was my major. Professors wanted students to leave and make America a better place for everyone. Apparently, I absorbed their message, because this morning I have repeated it to you.
I’ve always appreciated Amherst, but something deep in my Southern heart was glad when, first, our son chose Sewanee, and then our daughter, Mary Olive, decided to come to Washington and Lee. For one thing, it occurs to me that perhaps a given name of Mary Olive might not ease a woman’s way in Massachusetts.
These past four years watching from afar, it has seemed to me that this place has given you the same quality and kind of education, in warm contact with the same quality and kind of teacher, as I received at Amherst—but with a different underlayer. It is the old difference between “Cavalier and Yankee,” which was the title of a book American studies majors read 40 years ago.
“We have only one rule here,” said President Lee to incoming students, “to act like a gentleman at all times.” The students knew what he meant.
“The Last Gentleman” is the title of Walker Percy’s second novel. In this book, the protagonist is a young man from Mississippi who has relocated to New York, where he runs into an Alabama woman and her mother. The mother looks the young man over, and, the author says, “She could have married him on the spot and known what she was getting.”
Gentle men and women of the class of ’12, your education has had a different flavor than would have been the case had you chosen Amherst, Brown or Smith. A gentleman is courteous, neighborly, mannerly, and will not lie, steal or cheat on chemistry examinations. With a gentle lady, it’s the same. You did learn that here. If you trespassed that rule, you felt guilt. If another trespassed, you felt dismay. From now on, this belongs to who you are.
There is more.
Shelby Foote, in a letter to Walker Percy, spells out what he had always loved about the South. He said it had to do with courage, hard-core independence and:
The way a rich man always had to call a poor man “Mister.”
It had to do with Southern black folk who, Foote said, “stood up for a century under what would have crumpled the rest of us in a month.” It had to do with Southern women’s way of being female.
Foote was writing 50 years ago. Since that time, in at least two respects the Southern gentleman has definitely gotten better. One, now he does not drink and drive; and two, now he does believe in the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. I know we all agree that those are both significant improvements in the definition of a gentleman, and that the second was a long time coming.
Now brace yourselves, because for about the next 60 seconds, my comments will have to do with sex.
As regards the rules that govern this other important sphere of social interaction, I hope that for the past four years, your more intimate involvements have been guided, protected and perfected by commitment, fidelity and love. Yes, I read the Ring-tum Phi; and no, I’m not saying I believe they always were. I am saying, as a gentleman, that is how it always should be. As a priest, I can add that it is never too late to start. With commencement comes a new beginning.
Speaking of dismay, imagine my daughter’s that I have mentioned s-e-x. She knows my methods. Mary Olive and I were in the car on our way here four years ago this August. Driving along through Tennessee, I reached over and turned off whatever music source it was, and said: “OK, for the next one minute the subject is sex. You do not have to talk, but you will have to listen.” I said my piece, as she considered how bad it might hurt to jump from a car moving 70 miles an hour.
Tonight, we are having dinner in the Ruins, a lovely spot on a campus so full of them. It will be a group of graduating women and their families. Something I remember from my own college graduation is a certain awkwardness concerning families. The problem is, here we parents are out of place. Yes, we are loved, but we are intruders, and especially in these final days of the life you have made together on this campus. Mom wants her hug, Dad wants that picture, while you glance at one another sideways, struggling to know when and how to say good-bye, and not wanting to. “Love in the ruins,” that is.
Sometimes it hurts. C.S. Lewis named four loves: “eros,” for romance; “philia” for friendship; “storge,” for love of home and family; and “agape,” “love divine, all loves excelling”—which is the love that guides, protects, perfects the other three. All four loves are with us here this morning, but the love that has filled your hearts this final week is storge.
For four years, it was quietly growing, from that first late-night trip back on Traveller. Storge is springtime on the Maury River; sweeping up the frat-house basement, red-eyed, on the morning after; shuffling off to class by twos and threes on a cold, rainy February morning; together dreading finals; teams celebrating victories; suffering defeats; friends celebrating, and sometimes suffering, Fancy Dress.
The other loves will travel with you as you spread out across the planet, but your storge can’t leave the Shenandoah Valley. That’s what hurts. Homesickness is our name for missing storge. Come tomorrow, early Friday, you are leaving home.
About nine years ago, we were sitting in the Washington and Lee admissions office. I was thumbing through the brochures and such, all laid out so neatly on the table. I noticed one titled “A Place like No Other.” It was the 2003 Baccalaureate address, given that year by retiring University Chaplain Thomas Litzenburg. The title implied a doctrine of Washington and Lee Exceptionalism. I opened it to pass the time.
I began to read, then: “Oh my goodness,” I said out loud. In the second paragraph there was a story I knew to be about my father. Litzenburg wrote:
Some years ago a prominent alumnus and much beloved trustee of the University was called to this podium to deliver the Baccalaureate address. Elderly and weakened by illness, he hesitated before speaking. After a pause that seemed interminable he finally began. In a halting voice that barely rose above a whisper, he said, “I love this place.”
I wasn’t here that day, but I knew the story. “God, I love this place,” I think, was how my father put it.
The illness that had so weakened him was Alzheimer’s disease, and it was rapidly getting worse. The fear in that long moment of hesitation, for those who knew this, was that his memory had failed him: he had forgotten where he was and what he had to say. When he spoke, they found out the opposite was true. His memory had filled his heart.
“God, I love this place,” he said.
What did my father, class of ’39, love about Washington and Lee?
He loved the white-columned, red-bricked, green-lawned beauty of it, without question. Who would not?
I know he loved the Southern-ness, although my father was actually a Yankee: born in Michigan, raised in Montana. Tell it not in Gath. He loved “Yes ma’am,” “No sir,” and “O.K. Sugar, are you ready for your check or do you want another cup of coffee?”
He loved this place for slowly, surely accepting change. As a trustee, he helped open Washington and Lee to women. He loved this mix of old and new: genteel, thoughtful, tradition-mindedness, joined with liberal, scholarly engagement with new ideas, and readiness for progress. He loved that here the center holds.
He loved remembering his sweetheart, a 17-year-old Mary Baldwin freshman he’d met on a double date his senior year: what a lovely, funny Mary Baldwin girl she was. I’ve seen the picture: he in black tie, she in fancy dress.
They had eight daughters (three died as infants) and one son. They never lost connection. At his death, they had been married more than 50 years.
Of love, we are promised that it never ends. Prophecies and tongues will cease. Even knowledge—so hard won!—will pass away, for our knowledge is imperfect, and “when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.” Childhood ends. Then college. Still so many miles from perfect—and yet so beautiful, so memorable, so good.
A Winning Partnership for Bitsy Young '89
They started out facing each other across the net for one special mother-daughter tennis match on Mother’s Day each year. Eventually, they switched from being opponents to being partners, and now Washington and Lee alumna Bitsy Hopper Young, of the Class of 1989, and her daughter, Faris, are ranked as the top mother-daughter doubles team in their home state of Texas.
A piece in the Austin American-Statesman earlier this month told the story of the Youngs’ partnership, which began in 2008, when Faris was 10. Bitsy, a family lawyer with a law degree from the University of Texas, recalled that she might have let Faris win one game in that first match.
But four years later, Faris had gotten good enough to beat her mother, who played tennis for the Generals. That’s when they teamed up. They began winning tournaments around Texas and received the USTA’s top ranking in their division.
W&L Students Become Computer Sleuths in Spring Term Class
As one of their assignments in a Washington and Lee Spring Term course on computer forensics, students in the class engaged one another in casual conversation about such topics as family pets or favorite colors.
“From that information, the question was whether or not they could somehow figure out a person’s password,” said Renee Pratt, who designed and taught the new course.
Pratt, assistant professor of business administration at W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, studies information technology in business settings. As she emphasized to the students, the availability of electronic information has increased the potential for cybercrimes.
“I want students to learn how to be safer on the Internet,” said Pratt. “They should come away from this course with a better understanding of networks, computer security, consequences of unethical hacking and the accessibility of information. There’s a lot of information on the web that is available to others. I want students to understand how much they share that information, not even realizing it’s there for the taking by someone else.”
Students were not expected to have advanced computer knowledge, so the course began with learning about the computer, how a network works, a basic understanding of computer forensics and what hacking really means. “It wasn’t about teaching them how to hack,” said Pratt, “but teaching them how to avoid other people hacking and stealing their information.”
Computer forensics, according to Pratt, comprises obtaining and analyzing digital information for use as evidence in civil, criminal or administrative cases. “We investigated current cases throughout the four weeks,” said Pratt. “For example, at Goldman Sachs executives were accused of sharing information via e-mail about profits out of the housing market collapse. It is evidence such as this and fraudulent accounting or financial acts that catch criminals. The crimes might be espionage or murder or something else, but often today they are solved by digital evidence.”
Another example is the Russian mafia being possibly behind recent banking cases of stealing money through stolen debit or credit cards. And a few years ago the servers at TJX Companies, Inc. were hacked into and sensitive customer information was stolen. “Hackers can steal your credit card information, date of birth or social security number and create new individuals who can use that information to purchase products or sell on the black market,” said Pratt.
In addition, the students learned about the tools and methods used by law enforcement when investigating cybercrimes, how to perform computer-related crime investigations, and the recovery and analysis of digital evidence. They also discussed how state and federal laws deal with individuals once they’ve been found guilty. “Our laws today are really behind when it comes to technology,” said Pratt.
In one exercise, the students were computer forensic experts in a mock trial. They tried to explain in simple language how they solved a crime and how they knew that a particular individual committed the crime through the use of their computer or some other form of technology.
“Although I’ve taught computer forensics before,” said Pratt, “it was to majors in technical and judicial fields. So it has been an interesting and wonderful opportunity to teach a course like this in the Williams School.”
Jeremy Adams '98 Wins Teaching Award
Jeremy Adams, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1998, is on a roll. He’s got a new book, “Full Classrooms, Empty Selves: Reflections on a Decade of Teaching in an American High School,” about his 14 years of teaching government and macroeconomics at Bakersfield (Calif.) High School. And he’s just been named Kern County Teacher of the Year.
“I had to get over myself and realize that sometimes the magic isn’t going to happen for every student,” Jeremy told the Bakersfield Californian in a recent interview. “Now I have much more patience with my students and more faith in my fellow teachers to be the one teacher I wanted to be.”
Jeremy is a 1994 alumnus of Bakersfield High. He has a B.A. in politics from W&L and an M.Ed. from Cal State Bakersfield, where he is an adjunct lecturer in political science.
As a teacher at Bakersfield High, he founded the Earl Warren Cup, an annual competition that tests students on their knowledge of government and civics trivia. National figures such as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and television news anchor Diane Sawyer record the questions for use in the competition.
This isn’t the first honor for Jeremy. He’s also received the Jim Burke Rising Star Teaching Award and the Kern Reading Association Outstanding Student Teacher Award. His book has won the 2012 MMB Boutique Book Prize from Middleman Books for a new author. As the county teacher of the year, he goes on to represent Kern County in the 2012 California Teachers of the Year competition.
To read more about Jeremy, see his website, www.authorjeremyadams.com.
Washington and Lee Celebrates Commencement, Baccalaureate
Washington and Lee University celebrates its 225th undergraduate commencement on Thursday, May 24, by awarding bachelor’s degrees to slightly more than 400 students.
The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on the historic Front Lawn in front of Lee Chapel. Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio will address the graduates. Scott McClintock, the president of the Executive Committee of the student body and a politics major from Tunica, Miss., will speak on behalf of his classmates.
The commencement festivities will begin on Wednesday, May 23, with the traditional baccalaureate service, also held on the Front Lawn, at 10 a.m.
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The Rev. Dr. Christoph Keller III, director of the Institute for Theological Studies at St. Margaret’s in Little Rock, Ark., will be the featured baccalaureate speaker. He is an Episcopal priest and a theologian. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and a master of divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School, he served for 16 years in parish ministry and as canon missioner of the Diocese of Arkansas. In 1991, he started St. Margaret’s Church in Little Rock, initially conducting services in a bargain-movie theater. In 1999, he moved with his family to New York to pursue advanced study in theology, which resulted in his receiving a doctor of theology degree in Anglican studies from General Theological Seminary.
His daughter, Mary Olive Keller, is a member of the Class of 2012. His father, the late Rt. Rev. Christoph Keller Jr., was a member of the W&L Class of 1939 and served as bishop of Arkansas from 1970 to 1981.
In the event of rain, the events will be in Cameron Hall at Virginia Military Institute.
During the commencement ceremony, the University will recognize five retiring members of the faculty: Denis Brion, professor of law; Michael J. Evans, the Lillian and Rupert Radford Professor of Mathematics; Frank Miriello, head football coach; Gordon Spice, the Edwin A. Morris Endowed Professor of Music; and Cecile West-Settle, professor of Spanish. Altogether, those five have served the University for a combined total of 135 years.
Included among this year’s seniors will be 14 who are receiving both a bachelor of science and a bachelor of arts. In addition, 30.5 percent of the class will have completed more than one major, and three students have completed three majors. The graduates represent 39 states plus the District of Columbia and 12 countries, and are divided evenly between men and women.
Among this year’s outstanding graduates are students receiving special honors and highly competitive scholarships.
Two graduates won Fulbright Fellowships to study and work abroad for a year. Ryan Hartman, a geology major, from Yorktown, Va., will study in Kazakhstan, and Tyler Grant, a double major in East Asian language and literature and politics, from Suwanee, Ga., will go to Taiwan.
Three members of the class won prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Fellowships: Kat Lawson, a soccer player, from White Post, Va.; Brian Stirling, a swimmer, from Skillman, N.J.; and Chris Washnock, a swimmer, from Greer, S.C.
One of the graduates has completed a degree that he began when he enrolled in 1978. Grant Kunkowski is a member of the Class of 1982 who left Washington and Lee after his sophomore year to pursue an acting career in New York. Performing as Grant Aleksander, he was best known for his role as Phillip Spaulding in the daytime drama “The Guiding Light.” Kunkowski returned in 2011 and earned a B.A. in theater.
Details on all activities are available on the Commencement website.
Washington and Lee Names New Associate Dean of the College
Marcia France, the Herwick Professor of Chemistry at Washington and Lee University, is the new associate dean of the College, beginning July 1. She succeeds Alison Bell, who has held that post since 2010 and is returning to the classroom as an associate professor of archaeology.
France, who teaches organic chemistry, arrived at W&L in 1994. She holds an S.B. in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.S. in chemistry from Yale University and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. She helped develop and serves as co-director of W&L’s partnership with the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, which provides a study-abroad opportunity for W&L students studying science and preparing to enter a health profession. She also has taught the Science of Cooking course in Italy. France is active in the University’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, having served in several posts, including president. She will serve a four-year term as associate dean.
“I am really looking forward to serving W&L in this new capacity,” said France. “While I will miss teaching, I will enjoy working with a larger number of students from all the disciplines in the College. I know I will face many challenges, but the job will also provide me with valuable experience. W&L has given me a lot in the time I have been on the faculty, and I hope that I can give back to the University by taking on this role.”
The associate dean of the College focuses on academic performance and support, collaborating when appropriate with the Office of Student Affairs. The associate dean also coordinates fellowship applications.
“Prof. France will bring intelligence, experience and care to her work on behalf of students,” said Hank Dobin, dean of the College.
Alison Bell, a 1991 graduate of Washington and Lee, explores anthropological questions about 18th- and 19th-century communities in Virginia. She and her students work with archaeological remains, vernacular architecture, oral histories and historical documents. In addition to her B.A. from W&L, where she double-majored in English and anthropology/archaeology, she holds an M.A. in anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Virginia. Bell taught at W&L from 1996 to 1999 as a part-time adjunct, and then returned in 2002. She has partnered with Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s historic home, where W&L students have conducted archaeological excavations.
“We all thank Prof. Bell for her excellent service,” said Dobin. “She has worked tirelessly and compassionately with students in need of assistance. Her approach has been always student-centered. And she has improved our fellowship process as well.”
Later this summer, the Office of the Dean of the College will move into a new permanent home, the Lee-Jackson House. Built in 1842, it has most recently served as the home of the dean of students. Originally, however, it housed the institution’s presidents, including George Junkin and Robert E. Lee. During Junkin’s presidency, his daughter Elinor also lived there with her husband, Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, the Virginia Military Institute professor and future Confederate general. The Lee family lived there from 1865 to 1869, when they moved into the Lee House, which still serves as the president’s residence.
Associate Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Kate Shellnutt Talks Religion Reporting, Blogging
Kate Shellnutt, a 2008 graduate of Washington and Lee University, has parlayed her majors in religion and print journalism into a post at the Houston Chronicle newspaper, where she produces the “Houston Belief” religion blog and reports on religion. Her work is the subject of a wide-ranging interview about newspapers, religion reporting and social media on another blog, “Get Religion,” which came out on May 16.
Kate, who also has a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, told the interviewer, “I try to present thoughtful reporting or timely aggregations in ways that are particularly enticing for online readers.”
She also talked about working with volunteer bloggers while covering her beat. The interview touched on how religion is covered in Texas, how she aggregates content, and how she views her role: “There’s a huge amount of information out there, and I’ve become a filter for sharing, retweeting or contextualizing what’s most relevant and interesting to the HoustonBelief.com audience.”
W&L Course Examines Effect of Public Policy in Two Richmond Schools
Proposals for education reform in the United States sometimes work in the real world of classrooms and sometimes don’t, according to Timothy Diette, assistant professor of economics at Washington and Lee University’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics.
So for his new spring term course, “Urban Education: Poverty, Ethnicity and Policy,” Diette sent 11 W&L students into two urban schools in Richmond, Va., to evaluate a variety of education policy proposals.
“I want them to get an appreciation for and an understanding of the challenges of taking what academics or think tanks propose as policy and applying that in the real world,” said Diette. “In many cases these proposals are designed by people like myself who have not taught in schools but we think we know the answer.”
The course had combined fieldwork with coursework. The students spent three weeks in Falling Creek Elementary and Middle Schools. “It’s not a lot of time but it’s more time than some of the academics might spend,” said Diette.
Teacher certification and a range of policies aimed at attracting quality teachers, such as paying more for particular fields or merit pay are among those the students were assessing. In addition, policies on school governance such as charter schools and school vouchers, No Child Left Behind and the idea of accountability for teachers were being examined. “Do they think that accountability for students’ progress is helpful and actually improving learning, or is it teaching a type of skill such as the ability to take standardized tests? Is that something students should be focused on?” said Diette, who said that he tried to pick what he considers both effective and ineffective policy proposals.
For example, Hillary Cooper, a sophomore English major, wrote in the course’s blog that she questions a system that emphasizes manipulation of the Standards of Learning English test over true critical thinking. “There are so many possible interpretations with the passages, that students will sometimes choose an answer that is really not wrong; it’s just that their interpretation differs from the interpretation of the test-makers,” she wrote. “In a way, that’s what English is really all about though, because people may have different interpretations of a passage, but both interpretations can be supported by the evidence in the passage. Why are we forcing students to learn what the answer of the test-makers is, rather than asking them to support their own answers?”
Diette said that students have considered whether they think such policies would work in the particular school they are studying. “We recognize that students are just seeing one take of one school, so it’s not necessarily representative of all schools,” said Diette. “But within that constraint, is this policy something that would actually help? What would be the challenges of implementing it and what do they think the buy-in would be from teachers?”
Diette acknowledged that the students came to the course with different perspectives. “I’ve encouraged them to be mindful of what they already think coming in and be open to updating that to the actual things they perceive,” he said. “They also experienced two different schools, different age groups and different individual teachers.”
Majors across the University were represented in the course, and Diette said that the majority of students have volunteered within the Rockbridge County Schools. “So they got a contrast between schools in Rockbridge County and schools in Richmond and had to think about whether the same policy would work for both a rural and urban setting, or whether some policies shouldn’t be set at a national level and should be more customized,” he said.
The students’ final project was a research paper in which they provided a potential solution, drawing on their experience within a particular Richmond school.
According to Diette, economists are the dominant players in education policy today in terms of actually evaluating policies and assessing whether they are working or not. He said that he saw the necessity for the course because of a dramatic increase in the number of students interested in public policy, working in non-profits and Teach for America. “I think this course provides an incredibly useful experience at lots of different levels in preparing them for any of those paths, as well as going into teaching,” Diette said.
The course blog can be seen at this link http://springterm.blogs.wlu.edu/classes/economics-234-urban-education-poverty-ethnicity-and-policy/
Former Diplomat Gives W&L Students Real-World Lessons
With hostilities bubbling up again in the South Caucasus, Georgia and Azerbaijan have asked the United Nations to step in because of concerns over Russia’s forces mobilizing on the border.
Diplomats from the South Caucasus countries have joined their counterparts from Russia, the United States, Turkey, and the European Union, under the auspices of the U.N., to find a way to defuse the situation. Just as they are making progress, a bomb goes off in Georgia. The Russians claim Georgia is responsible; Georgians insist it’s the start of a Russian attack.
Can the gathered officials come up with a solution before matters spiral out of control?
The 15 Washington and Lee students in the politics class Diplomacy in Practice: Security Issues in the South Caucasus played out the scenario on Thursday under the watchful eye of their professor, retired ambassador Kenneth S. Yalowitz, diplomat in residence at W&L during the Spring Term.
Yalowitz designed the simulation based on an actual crisis in which he played a key role a decade ago, when he was serving as the U.S. ambassador to Georgia.
“Simulations are designed to study something that may happen and could have serious consequences,” Yalowitz said. “This could.”
Throughout the four-week Spring Term course, the students have been immersed in the politics of the South Caucasus. They’ve taken on the role of junior foreign-service officers charged with writing memos to the U.S. secretary of state on various issues about the region, which has played, and continues to play, a major role in the area.
“What we’ve been trying to do is take a critical area of the world, the South Caucasus, and understand its impact and importance to US interests,” said Yalowitz, who also was formerly U.S. ambassador to Belarus during his 36 years as a career diplomat and a member of the Senior Foreign Service. “These countries — Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia — have become much more important to the United States since the breakup of the Soviet Union.
“There is oil in the Caspian Sea, and pipelines carry oil and gas from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey. So energy is an important interest in that part of the world. In addition, with the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, the South Caucasus countries have been a very important part of the northern distribution network as an alternate supply route rather than relying entirely on Pakistan. So this is clearly a part of the world to which we need to be paying attention.”
Beyond the specific area of focus, Yalowitz intends for the course to provide a marriage of the academic world with the world of diplomatic service. He believes it will be valuable for these two worlds to come closer.
After retiring from the Foreign Service in 2001, Yalowitz spent nine years at Dartmouth College, where he was an adjunct professor of government and directed the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding. With a foot in both worlds, he has high regard for both.
But, he admits, academics and diplomats don’t always understand or talk with one another very well. This is where he hopes classes such as the one he’s teaching at W&L might one day make a difference.
“Academics have strong insights, strong case studies. But oftentimes, they’ve not served in a policy-making situation and don’t understand that in a crisis, models are not followed, things happen in a very crazy way, and you have to balance a lot of competing interests,” he said. “But the academics have a strong advantage of having the time and necessary background to study a situation, to do the data work, to do the analysis and to look beyond what look like very unrelated activities and pull it all together.”
Academics, Yalowitz said, have a discipline of thinking that can be very useful to diplomats who are trying to deal with the crisis step by step. “That’s why I think bringing the two together is very useful, even for students who may not be going into a diplomatic career,” he said. “It’s still going to be useful for them to learn to write short, very well-organized memos in which they can make a point and defend it.”
The Spring Term residency is Yalowitz’s second at W&L during the 2011-12 academic year. He served as a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow for a week in October 2011.
Tori Bell, a sophomore Mena, Ark., first met the ambassador when he visited her Global Politics class back in the fall. She was so interested in hearing about his experiences abroad that she requested to meet with him individually. As soon as she learned he would be teaching in the Spring Term, she emailed him to request a spot in the class.
“Having Ambassador Yalowitz lead class discussion has added an additional dimension to this course,” Bell said. “He provides first-hand accounts of conversations with regional leaders and has an original, unique perspective on the region that would not be given by another individual in the same classroom setting. It makes the content of the course much more interesting, real-life, and comprehensive.”
Dominika Kruszewska, a senior politics and German language major from Poland, agrees.
“I think what the ambassador tells us from his personal experience about the political and business elites as well as the populations of the countries has made a place that could otherwise seem so distant and so unknown much more familiar and much more exciting,” said Kruszewska. “We have been doing a lot of reading from different sources for the class, which has provided us with a variety of perspectives and a rich theoretical background. But the ambassador’s stories are my favorite part, because they make all of those events and people come to life.”
For Wilson Hallett, a first-year student from Charlotte, the ambassador’s anecdotes have made the class one of the most interesting he’s ever taken.
“To have a former ambassador to Georgia teaching your class is pretty phenomenal,” Hallett said. He has no notes during class and stands in front of the podium the entire three hours. I don’t think he has ever not been able to answer a question in class.
“However, his class is not solely lecture based. He keeps the class engaged by asking questions about the readings and spurring debates about various diplomatic policies in the Caucasus. Occasionally, he will digress for a few minutes and provide an anecdote from his time either as ambassador in Georgia or Belarus, or serving in the embassy in the Soviet Union when it collapsed,” Hallett added. “His stories usually involve the some sort of KGB run-in or outlandish encounters with the various presidents and heads of states of the different countries.”
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
W&L Senior Nominated to JNHS
Ashley Jordan, a Washington and Lee senior from Pocatella, Idaho, has been nominated to the Japanese National Honor Society (JNHS).
Jordan is an East Asian Language and Literature major.
This honor society recognizes and encourages scholastic achievement and excellence in the study of the Japanese language. Students who are nominated for membership receive Certificates of Excellence and red-and-white cords to wear at graduation, and are recognized on the AATJ (American Association of Teachers of Japanese) website and in its newsletter.
The academic criteria for membership includes completion of five semester courses of Japanese language study with a grade point average of at least 3.5 and an overall grade point average of 3.0.
W&L Law Grad Receives Florida's Highest Award for the Legal Profession
Henry M. Coxe III, a 1972 graduate of Washington and Lee’s School of Law, will be honored with the Florida Bar Foundation’s 2012 Medal of Honor Award, the legal profession’s highest award in the state.
Coxe is receiving the award for his lifelong commitment to duty and service to the public and for improving the administration of justice. He is widely recognized in the state for his pro bono work, fund-raising for legal aid and leadership of the organized bar.
“Hank Coxe has exhibited extraordinary leadership skills since his admission to the Florida Bar and becoming an assistant state attorney in Jacksonville,” said former Florida Supreme Court Justice Major B. Harding, in a news release from the foundation. “He has exhibited innovation, courage and professionalism in the practice of law and in bar-related activities throughout his career.”
This is not the first time Coxe has been honored for his service as a lawyer. Jacksonville Area Legal Aid presented him with its highest honor, the Equal Justice Award, in 2004. His many hours of pro bono service also earned him the Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Award in 1985. His other recognitions include the Florida Bar President’s Award of Merit, the ABOTA President’s Award, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Steven Goldstein Award and the Florida Bar Criminal Law Section’s Selig I. Goldin Award.
A criminal trial attorney and director with the Bedell firm in Jacksonville, Coxe has served as president of the Jacksonville Bar Association and the Florida Bar. He currently serves on the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission, as well as the Florida Innocence Commission, which is partially funded by the Florida Bar Foundation.
Coxe will receive the Medal of Honor on June 21 at the Florida Bar Foundation’s 36th annual reception and dinner, to be held in conjunction with the Florida Bar Annual Convention in Orlando.
Hinely Photo Finalist in International Competition
A photograph by Washington and Lee University photographer Patrick Hinely, of the Class of 1973, is one of five finalists for 2012 Photo of the Year in the Jazz Journalists Association Awards.
Patrick was one of 45 photographers who submitted a single image for the opening round of the annual contest. (See all the entries here.) Results of the voting by the professional members of the association will be announced in June.
A frequent chronicler of jazz festivals around the country and the world, Patrick took the photograph under consideration in October 2011 at the Birdland club in Neuburg-am-Donau, Germany. In the image (right), American jazz composer Carla Bley concentrates on a composition while seated at an organ.
Many of Patrick’s jazz photographs have illustrated magazine stories and adorned album covers. In 2010, two of his images of jazz pianist Fred Hersch appeared in the New York Times Magazine. He also published “Jazz Calendiary 2008,” which features his jazz photography from 1974 to 2007. Organized as a calendar/diary covering the period of December 2007 to January 2009, the book featured 56 photographs of jazz musicians, including Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman, Keith Jarrett, the Count Basie Orchestra, Sonny Rollins, Tommy Flanagan, Carmen McRae and others. It was published by Jazzprezzo of Germany,
The Jazz Journalists Association promotes the interests of writers, photographers, broadcasters and new media professionals covering jazz.
Renee Pratt Receives Fulbright Grant to Study IT in German Hospitals
Renee M. Pratt, assistant professor of business administration at Washington and Lee University’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, has been awarded a Fulbright Foreign Scholarship grant to conduct research in Potsdam, Germany, during the winter term of the 2012-13 academic year.
Pratt’s research in Germany will focus on the integration of computer technology in health care organizations. She chose to conduct research in Germany because it has multiple forms of health care formats, including one that is close to the way the United States health care system is organized.
“I’m trying to understand what Germany has done with its information technology (IT) system and how it’s working. It’s one of the countries that are top notch at using it. Granted, other countries like the Netherlands and Sweden do a fabulous job with IT as well, but they don’t have a health care system that is similar to ours in the United States,” said Pratt.
Pratt’s specialty is management information systems and, in particular, large enterprise systems used mainly by businesses and corporations that serve the entire company. “In the business world they’ve actually had a fairly high failure rate—anywhere from 60 to 80 percent—and since these systems cost millions of dollars we can’t afford to continue to have such high failure rates. These failures are mainly due to poor planning/management, change of goals midway, and lack of business management support. Hence people have been studying these high failure rates for the past few years,” she said.
Now that the health care system in the United States is moving towards using IT systems such as centralized patient records, Pratt said that questions need to be asked, such as how do you implement these systems with low or zero failure rate and how do you get everyone involved in the process and manage security in such a dynamic and high-velocity environment. “Researchers have begun to study these questions and realized that there are better ways to implement these systems into the dynamic and changing health care system, such as not only having management support, but also including the doctors, nurses, and other staff in developing the system so that it works for everyone. But we haven’t focused much on what’s happening once the system is in place. If you talk to doctors, nurses and patients in the United States, many of them are not satisfied with how the system works and how or what information is being tracked, recorded, or reported,” she said.
Pratt has been focusing her research on the ways in which U.S. hospitals use information technology. “I’ve been going to hospitals to see what their implementation and post-implementation processes have been like and helping them address concerns. That research was supported by a Lenfest Grant last summer as well as one for this summer,” she said. By examining the German methods, Pratt wants to investigate the successes in their healthcare information systems model, create standards for successful pre- and post- implementation in hospitals (in the United States, as well as other countries), and compare the differences between traditional and non-traditional enterprise systems.
“Once I’ve collected the data I’ll write research papers and hopefully get that information out to hospitals and other organizations so they can start to take the same types of steps,” said Pratt.
During her research, Pratt will be working with colleagues at the University of Potsdam. “I’ll not only be gathering information for the United States, but also seeing what I can do to help Germany, so the idea is that I’ll be writing papers for both Germany and the United States,” she said. “I’m looking forward to learning something new and getting involved with a different group and culture. Getting the chance to work with researchers in Germany will be extremely exciting. They do a lot of work on enterprise systems in general, so it will be really great to see the inner workings of systems.”
Pratt said she was grateful for the support of Larry Peppers, dean of the Williams School, and Denny Garvis, the Haight Professor of Business Administration and department head. “They have been extremely supportive and have been available whenever needed for assistance with application, questions and anything having to do with the process. I am very thankful to be a part of the Williams School and work with such thoughtful individuals. They continue to support my efforts and needs while I gather my materials for the trip and while I am away in Germany,” she said.
“Professor Pratt’s Fulbright Fellowship in Germany will allow her to extend her domestic research on health care organizations into an international arena. This has become an important issue as hospitals have attempted to offset cost increases with gains in productivity. This is a great research opportunity for her,” said Peppers.
Pratt is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. The Fulbright Program, America’s flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Established in 1946, the program operates in over 155 countries worldwide
Pratt received her B.S. from the University of Florida and her MS-MIS from Case Western Reserve University. She obtained her Ph.D. from Florida State University.
W&L Professor's Memoir Nominated for Library of Virginia Award
Washington and Lee English professor Jasmin Darznik’s celebrated memoir, “The Good Daughter,” is a candidate for the Library of Virginia’s People’s Choice Award for Nonfiction.
And even more recently, she received word that the book is on the short list for the 2012 Saroyan Prize for Nonfiction, too. That award is intended to encourage new or emerging writers and honor the Saroyan literary legacy of originality, vitality and stylistic innovation. The Saroyan Prize recognizes newly published works of both fiction and non-fiction.
“The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother’s Hidden Life” is Jasmin’s first book and was a New York Times bestseller. Recently out in paperback, it will be published in 13 countries.
The memoir tells the story of Jasmin’s mother’s past and the sister who kept the secret from her. Jasmin’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and other publications. She has received awards and distinctions from the San Francisco Foundation, Marin Arts Council, Steinbeck Fellows Program, Zoetrope: All-Story, Iowa Review, Norman Mailer Colony, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Corporation of Yaddo.
As a 2011-2012 fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Jasmin is at work on a novel set in 1960s Iran.
You can vote for Jasmin’s book on the Library of Virginia website or at your local public library. Voting ends on June 29.
The 15th Annual Literary Awards Celebration will be held Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Library of Virginia, in Richmond.
Washington and Lee authors have won this award in two of the last three years. Julie Campbell, associate director of communications and public affairs, won last year for “The Horse in Virginia: An Illustrated History,” while Roger Mudd, a 1950 graduate of the University, won in 2009 for “The Place to Be: Washington, CBS, and the Glory Days of Television News.”
W&L Swimmers Stirling and Washnock Earn NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships
Stirling and Washnock were among 29 male athletes in Divisions I, II and III awarded the prestigious scholarships. They join W&L senior women’s soccer player Kat Lawson of White Post, Va., who was awarded a scholarship in the fall. That gives Washington and Lee three scholarship winners this school year, a new record at W&L. The Generals have had 17 scholarship winners in the last nine years and 36 W&L athletes have been honored since 1970.
A neuroscience major, Stirling was a four-year letterwinner for the Generals, serving as a team captain for his senior year and earning First Team All-Bluegrass Mountain Conference honors all four years. He holds the school record in the 100 butterfly (49.07) and was a member of the record-setting 200 medley (1:32.14) and 400 medley (3:24.93) relay teams.
“I am thrilled to have been awarded this scholarship,” said Stirling. “The award will surely help alleviate the costs for my graduate education. I am indebted to my professors and coaches for nominating me and helping me reach my goals. I couldn’t be any more ecstatic that my teammate and friend, Chris, also received this honor. We have been swimming competitively for most of our lives, and it feels great to end our last season on a high note.”
Stirling competed at the NCAA Division III Championships all four seasons, earning All-America honors five times. He garnered All-America laurels four times during the 2012 championship event, finishing ninth in the 100 butterfly and swimming on the ninth-place 200 freestyle relay team, the 10th-place 200 medley relay team and the 15th-place 400 medley relay team.
Stirling’s future plans include working as a neuroscience technician at Dartmouth College for the next two years while applying to the school’s neuroscience PhD program.
Washnock also earned four letters and served as a team captain for his final season. A 2011 Capital One Third Team Academic All-America selection, he also received First Team All-Bluegrass Mountain Conference accolades all four years. A religion and Spanish double-major, he competed at the NCAA Championships every year at W&L, earning All-America honors a total of five times.
The school record holder in the 200 backstroke (1:49.25), the 200 individual medley (1:53.91) and the 400 individual medley (4:00.03), Washnock finished 12th in the 200 backstroke and 14th in the 400 individual medley to earn All-America honors twice at the 2012 NCAA Championships.
“I am excited that W&L boasts three NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners this year, including two from the men’s swim team, as it is not only a thrilling moment for me, but also testament to the power and support of the W&L academic and athletic programs,” said Washnock. “I am grateful for the support of my professors, coaches, and teammates who have guided me through the past four years in Lexington, and I plan to use my scholarship to fund a two-year master of arts in religion degree at Yale Divinity School, enrolling in the fall.”
The NCAA awards up to 174 postgraduate scholarships annually, 87 for men and 87 for women. Scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition.
The one-time grants of $7,500 each are awarded for fall sports, winter sports and spring sports. Each sports season (fall, winter, spring), there are 29 scholarships available for men and 29 scholarships for women. The scholarships are one-time, non-renewable grants.
Sports Information Director
Cornell Professor Addresses “Machiavelli and History”
Washington and Lee University’s Program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies will host a public lecture by John M. Najemy, professor of history at Cornell University, on “Machiavelli and History” on Tuesday, May 15, at 7 p.m. in Northen Auditorium of Leyburn Library.
Najemy also will meet with W&L students to discuss Machiavelli’s Florentine Histories and with members of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program luncheon group to discuss recent trends in Florentine and Renaissance history.
Najemy, an internationally recognized expert on the political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli and on the history of Renaissance Florence and Italy, is the author and editor of numerous books, articles and essays, including Corporatism and Consensus in Florentine Electoral Politics, 1280-1400 (1982); Between Friends: Discourses of Power and Desire in the Machiavelli-Vettori Letters of 1513-1515 (1993); A History of Florence, 1200-1575 (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006); and (edited) The Cambridge Companion to Machiavelli (2010).
Najemy has twice been awarded the Howard R. Marraro Prize in Italian History from the American Historical Association and the Society for Italian Historical Studies for his books on Corporatism and Consensus and Between Friends.
He has held a number of fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has held visiting professorships at the Syracuse University Program in Florence and at the Harvard University Center for Renaissance Studies, also in Florence.
Najemy has served as disciplinary representative in political thought for the Renaissance Society of America and is a long-time member of the Academic Advisory Committee of Harvard University’s Center for Renaissance Studies in Florence.
Najemy received his B.A. in history from Princeton in 1965 and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1972.
W&L Spring Term Course Explores Animal Behavior, Human Morality
From marriage and the family to slavery and systems of government, individuals have historically looked to animal behavior for answers on how humans should conduct themselves
A new spring term course at Washington and Lee University, “Animal Behavior and Human Morality,” is delving into the history of this phenomenon.
“I like to think it’s a fun and engaging topic,” said Nicolaas Rupke, the Johnson Professor of History at W&L who is teaching the course. “If animals behave in certain ways, then these ways are natural and therefore beyond reproach. If humans share these traits, then they too are free of blame.”
According to Rupke, an internationally-known expert on the history of science, the course is designed to give students hands-on experience in carrying out original research in the history of science. “I expect students to familiarize themselves with the main work of a particular scientist and explore in detail the life times and reception of the ideas of that person,” he said.
The study of animal behavior generally started around 1800, Rupke said, noting that previously most people had believed that the basis for human morality was Biblical teaching. But, he added, people began searching for other sources and felt that clues for how we should behave could be found in nature.
In the early days of studying animal behavior, there was a great deal of debate about the correct form of government. Should it be a monarchy like the bees, a republic like ants or would anarchy be best? For example, in the early 19th century, major advocates of the French Revolution criticized bee societies and touted ant societies and their relative success. Also around that time, they discovered that ants have the phenomenon of slavery. “Citing ant behavior became a hot topic in justifying American slavery in the abolition debate,” said Rupke.
According to Rupke, the next big event was in the 1900’s with the questioning of marriage and why monogamy is supposedly normal behavior. “This was a more liberal move away from Victorian sexuality,” he said. “A major German writer, Wilhelm Boelsche, argued that narrow Victorian monogamy was all stuck-up nonsense. It’s not natural. ‘Let’s be more promiscuous,’ he said. And he and his circle of friends, which included famous artists and people from across Europe, certainly were living a pretty wild life in a suburb of Berlin.”
Ant society came back into fashion as a result of World War I. “An expert on the study of ants, who was also a politician and co-founder of the League of Nations, wrote serious literature on the behavior of ants in guiding us toward world peace,” said Rupke. “Following World War II, there was also a major development that dealt with aggression, territoriality and trying to understand the two world wars. So they studied how ritual behavior among animals settles conflicts between them and how animals prevent intra-species destruction.”
Another highlight in the study of animal behavior came with the sexual revolution of the 1960’s and the publication of Desmond Morris’ The Naked Ape. “It was basically used to justify the 60’s,” said Rupke.
Similar studies have followed, but with more complexity, at the level of altruism and sociobiology. For example, today’s use of Bonobos—chimpanzee-type apes—to emphasize empathy and the importance of females in ape society, which has proven popular with the gender equality movement.
“This all raises the question of whether these connections are justified,” said Rupke. “As an historian, I use an historical argument rather than a theological or philosophical one. When you look at these connections, instead of reflecting what nature tells us about human morality, it instead tells us about the sensibilities, preferences and predilections of the time when those who studied animal behavior lived. So in the end it’s a form of ventriloquism, and it isn’t really nature speaking — it’s the dominant human culture at that time.”
A native of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Rupke was trained in earth sciences at the University of Groningen (B.S.) and at Princeton University (Ph.D.). After establishing an impressive research record in marine geology, Rupke turned his interests to the history of science, particularly to late-modern biological and physical sciences as they developed in Germany and Great Britain.
His books include works on William Buckland, the 19th-century British geologist, and Richard Owen, British contemporary and critic of Charles Darwin and founder of the British Museum of Natural History. Rupke has also written a major book on Alexander von Humboldt, the German naturalist and explorer whose work in botanical geography laid the groundwork for the field of biogeography.
W&L Students Examine, Attempt to Achieve Peak Performance
A Washington and Lee University psychology course on achieving peak performance is more than a mere academic exercise.
According to Brodie Gregory, visiting assistant professor of psychology, by the time the students complete the four-week Spring Term course she’s offering, they will not only understand the underlying psychological theories but they will also have a strategy to reach their own peak performance in whatever area they choose.
“The fun thing about this class is that students are going to learn all these different theories and focus on many different areas of psychology,” said Gregory. “Students will pick an area of their life where they have a basic level of skill that they want to work on maximizing to achieve peak performance. By the end of the course they will have the skills, strategies and a plan, based on everything they learn during the course, to help them do this.”
Perhaps that helps explain why 75 students applied for the 18 available seats. The course appealed not only to psychology majors but also to athletes, musicians and business majors and from first-years to seniors. Gregory wasn’t surprised: “W&L students are very talented, driven and achievement-oriented. They want to succeed, and it’s fun to take a class where you can focus on that.”
Gregory acknowledged that peak performance is a tricky subject because it is subjective. “What is peak performance for me might not be peak performance for you. It all depends on what you are capable of,” she said. “It’s about reaching your full potential, not about comparing yourself to other people. One of the hardest things about peak performance is that it’s hard to define.”
To illustrate her point, Gregory cited the story of the Olympic athlete Roger Bannister, who ran the first four-minute mile: “No one thought he could do it. It was accepted as physically impossible. Yet in the week after he broke the record, an incredible human feat, several other people broke the barrier too. And now it’s not unusual for people to run the mile in less than four minutes.
“If we don’t think something is possible, then we are never going to achieve it and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So we’ll talk in the first week of class about criteria, assessing performance, and being able to set a goal, but also how to revise that goal as you develop.”
The course will draw on areas of cognitive psychology, positive psychology, social psychology and personality psychology.
Gregory said the course will discuss the concept of “flow,” which comes from positive psychology. “Getting in ‘the flow’ is basically another term for getting in ‘the zone,'” she said. “You must have a certain level of competence to get into flow state. You can’t be too relaxed or too keyed up. The term is really defined by getting to a state where you lose sense of time and awareness of things around you, and you’re totally engrossed in what you’re doing.”
Gregory stressed the importance of feedback. “There’s a theory in psychology called control theory that basically uses goals and feedback. The idea is that you have a current state and a desired state, and the only way you can tell the difference between the two is through feedback,” she said.
According to Gregory, negative feedback is the most useful, but it can take some training and effort to get someone to the point where they feel comfortable receiving negative feedback without being defensive or threatened. “We’ll talk a lot about how to give and receive negative feedback,” she said, “because it’s an imperative source of information if you want to move from where you are to where you want to be. You have to see it as a building process.”
Another area the course will examine is a theory called “mindset.” Gregory explained that individuals have either a growth mindset or an entity mindset. Those with a growth mindset inherently believe that they have the ability and the self efficacy to grow, develop, learn and change. Those who have an entity mindset think their abilities and skills are basically fixed and that they can’t grow, learn and change.
“People with an entity mindset tend to be more focused on demonstrating that they are competent, while people with a growth mindset tend to be more focused on learning and growing from their experiences,” she said. “So if people with an entity mindset try to demonstrate their competence and fail, it’s a very destructive blow to their sense of self. On the other hand, if people with a growth mindset do something and fail, it doesn’t have such a negative impact because they see failure as a learning opportunity.
“You can change from an entity mindset into a growth mindset, but it takes a bit of effort. We’ll focus on that during the course, because there’s no better way to learn than through failure, in my opinion.”
Gregory also pointed out that experiences in childhood can help develop these mindsets. “For example, if a child gets good grades on a test, you shouldn’t say, ‘You’re so smart, good job.’ You should say ‘You worked really hard, good job.’ In that way, you don’t attribute the child’s success or failure to his or her abilities, but to working hard,” she said.
At the end of the four-week course, each student will present to the class an individual plan for reaching peak performance. “They’re going to get really constructive feedback on their plans from the other students,” said Gregory. “And in turn, they’ll get a lot of experience in giving constructive feedback to the others.”
Gregory is an alumnus of Washington and Lee, where she gained her B.A. in psychology in 2003. She received her M.A. and Ph.D., in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Akron. Prior to returning to W&L she worked in Global Leadership Development at Procter and Gamble.
W&L Ruggers Third in Region
After a successful fall season when it won six of seven matches, Washington and Lee’s club rugby team finished third in April in the Mid Atlanta Rugby Football Union (MARFU), which comprises teams from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
During the fall season, W&L lost only to William and Mary and gained the No. 2 seed in the Virginia Rugby Union. This spring, the club had a 3-3 record before entering play in the MARFU event. In the quarterfinals, W&L’s Screaming Minks traveled to American University for a quarterfinal match and won 32-16 to advance to the semifinals in Pittsburgh.
After losing to Rowan University 52-0 in the semifinals, W&L came back the following day and defeated Frostburg State 19-17 for the second-place finish.
W&L junior Jack Gallagher is the club’s president, while classmate Matt Coburn is the team captain. Tom Lovell, of the Class of 1991, associate director of Alumni Affairs, coaches the club.
Campus Kitchen at W&L Celebrates 100,000 Meals
In a brief ceremony on May 11, the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee University (CKWL) celebrated reaching the milestone of delivering its 100,000th meal in the Rockbridge area. The event took place in the basement of the International House, which is expected to become the permanent home of CKWL in September 2012.
Kaitlin Bowdler, program manager for the Campus Kitchen Project (CKP) at the national office in Washington, D.C., attended the event and praised CKWL for its achievement, stating that she uses CKWL as a model for all of her other Campus Kitchens. “They really are one of our most amazing kitchens, and they’ve done some great things over the years,” she said.
Harlan Beckley is the Fletcher Otey Thomas Professor of Religion, director of the Shepherd Poverty Program at W&L and a member of the Board of Visitors of CKP. He noted that CKWL has been in operation for more than five years, is the seventh largest Campus Kitchen in the United States and is the only one founded by a student leader (Ingrid Easton, a 2006 alumna of Washington and Lee). “It has flourished under the leadership of Jenny Davidson and the hard work of the many student leaders and volunteers,” he said.
“Without the support of students, administration, many alumni and faculty, the Campus Kitchen would not be involved in the Rockbridge community in the way it currently is. The students benefit greatly from what they learn about nutrition and their community, and the community benefits from both the food and the contact with our students. We also avoid wasting tons of food each year,” Beckley continued.
Beckley also expressed his gratitude for the cooperation of the house corporation at the Beta house and Kappa Sigma fraternity, which have both served as home to the Campus Kitchen in recent years.
Jenny Davidson, coordinator of Student Service Learning at W&L, said she was thrilled that CKWL has served its 100,000th meal. “The growth in our program is a testament to the commitment of our student leaders and to the generosity of our donors,” she said. “We are excited to see what the future holds for the Campus Kitchen as we continue to expand our efforts.”
W&L Honors Three Alumni, Receives $8.5-Million Reunion Gift
Washington and Lee University honored three graduates with Distinguished Alumni Awards and celebrated one of the largest reunion gifts in school history on Saturday, May 12, at the annual meeting of the W&L Alumni Association, held during Alumni Weekend.
The Distinguished Alumni honorees were J. McDaniel Holladay, a 1967 graduate, from Atlanta; R. William Ide III, a 1962 graduate, also from Atlanta; and William H. Miller III, a 1972 graduate, from Baltimore.
In addition, the Classes of 1962 and 1987, celebrating their 50th and 25th reunions, made special gifts to the University. The Class of 1962’s reunion gift was $8,536,170, with $2.6 million of that total designated for the ongoing renovation of Washington and Lee’s historic Colonnade. The gift will be recognized by the naming of the presidential suite in honor of the class.
The tri-chairs of the Class of 1962 reunion committee — Rupert H. Johnson, Michael H. Monier and Jack W. Vardaman — made the presentation to Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio.
Speaking for his classmates, Vardaman, a member of the W&L Board of Trustees, said there is no institution that he and his classmates have served over the years that they care more about than Washington and Lee. “The time we spent together on this campus and the time we spent together the last 50 years have been not only great fun,” he said, “but it is who we are, and it made us who we are.”
The Class of 1987, which had established a goal of $1.4 million for its 25th reunion gift, surpassed it with $1,572,687. Those monies are going to the Annual Fund, the Colonnade renovation project and scholarships.
In accepting the reunion gifts, Ruscio noted that the tangible support means a great deal, but that the intangibles are equally important. “This place matters to so many people,” he said. “The Colonnade is not just a building but is a reflection of a fundamental ethical principle we have here. We have this intergenerational contract that has meant so much to the University over the years — that is, we benefit so much from the sacrifice of those who came before us, and we must sacrifice equally for those yet to come.”
Waller T. (Beau) Dudley, executive director of alumni affairs, presented the Distinguished Alumni Awards.
J. McDaniel (Mac) Holladay is chief executive officer of Atlanta-based Market Street Services, a leading community- and economic-development firm with clients across the Southeast.
A U.S. Naval aviator from 1967 to 1972, Holladay worked in economic development for many years and was the only person ever to head the economic development organizations of three different states — South Carolina, Mississippi and Georgia. He belonged to the Commission of the Future of the South from 1986 to 1992. He was named a life member of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives Association in 2009.
As a student at W&L, he was a member of the football team, the Inter Fraternity Council, the Student Conduct Committee, the Dance Board and Sigma Chi social fraternity. He has supported the University through the W&L Annual Fund and was particularly involved in the project that led to the renovation of Wilson Field.
R. William Ide III is a senior partner in the Atlanta office of McKenna Long & Aldridge, a leading international law firm. His practice focuses on representation of boards of directors, audit committees and company management in special investigations, crisis management, ethics and corporate governance.
Ide earned his law degree from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from Georgia State University. He was a judicial law clerk to the late Hon. Griffin Bell of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He has served as senior vice president and special counsel to E.F. Hutton and as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Monsanto Corp. He was president of the American Bar Association from 1993 to 1994 and a member of the ABA Task Force on Corporate Responsibility. He was a founding member of the executive committee and board of directors of the Atlanta Committee for the 1996 Olympics Games.
A history major at W&L, Ide wrote for the Ring-tum Phi student newspaper, served as a dormitory counselor, was on the Student Activities Board and the Dance Board, and was a member of Kappa Alpha Order social fraternity. He has supported Washington and Lee through the Annual Fund, the Mason T. New honor scholarship and the ongoing Colonnade renovation. He has also served as a member of the 50th Reunion Class Committee.
William H. Miller III is chairman and former chief investment officer of Legg Mason Capital Management and the portfolio manager for the Value Trust and Opportunity Trust mutual funds. He began at Legg Mason in 1981 as director of research and then co-managed the legendary Legg Mason Value Trust from its inception in 1982 until 2011. He was the principal architect of that fund’s unprecedented stretch of 15 consecutive years of positive returns, and widely regarded as a giant in his field.
As a result of his investment acumen, he was ranked among the top 30 most influential people in investing by Smart Money. He was also named by Money magazine as the Greatest Money Manager of the 1990s and was named Morningstar’s 1998 Domestic Equity Manager of the Year. In 1999, he was selected as the Fund Manager of the Decade by Morningstar.com. Also in 1999, Barron’s named him to its All-Century Investment Team. Business Week has called Miller one of the Heroes of Value Investing.
Miller majored in economics at W&L, served as a military intelligence officer overseas and then pursued graduate studies in philosophy in the Ph.D. program at Johns Hopkins University. At W&L, he was a member of the baseball team, treasurer of the Commerce fraternity and a member of Sigma Nu social fraternity. In addition to supporting the W&L Annual Fund, he has also funded the William H. Miller Professorship Endowment as part of the Lenfest Faculty Support Challenge Endowment.
In addition to honoring the three alumni, W&L gave awards to several reunion classes:
- Reunion Bowl to the Class of 1962, recognizing the class with the highest percentage of its members registered for the weekend. The Class of 1962 had 39 percent.
- Reunion Trophy to the Class of 1987, recognizing the class with the most members registered for the weekend. The Class of 1987 had 91.
- Reunion Traveller Award, recognizing the alumnus who has traveled the farthest to return to Lexington for reunion. Paul Cheever, of the Class of 1967, and David Benn, of the Class of 1962, shared the award. Cheever and Benn live in the same town in Australia and traveled 9,600 miles to attend their reunions.
- John Newton Thomas Trophy to the Class of 1987, recognizing the class with the largest percentage increase in Annual Fund gifts over the previous year. The Class of 1987 had a 68 percent increase.
- Trident Trophy to the Class of 1967, recognizing the class with the highest percentage of members participating in the Annual Fund. The Class of 1967 had 79 percent.
- Colonnade Cup to the Class of 1972, recognizing the class with the largest reunion gift to the Annual Fund, including current gifts and future pledges. The Class of 1972 gave $750,215, with an additional $3,172,000 in capital support.
The meeting was the last as president of the Alumni Association for James R. Small, a 1981 graduate from Midland, Texas, and five other members of the Alumni Board of Directors — Elizabeth H. Brown ’95, of Bethesda, Md.; Richard F. Cummings Jr. ’95, of Nashville, Tenn.; R. Maxwell McGrew ’87, of Atlanta; E. Carson Flowers Tate ’98, of Charlotte, N.C.; and Wilson F. Vellines Jr. ’68, of Staunton, Va.
The association elected six new members to the board: Guy Kerr ’75, of Dallas; Justin King ’95, of Oklahoma City; Frost Bush Osborne ’95, of Atlanta; Nicole Davol Rhodes ’04, of Chapel Hill, N.C.; Charles Van Horn ’81, of New Orleans; and Joseph Ciccone ’93L, of Lawrence Township, N.J.
The new president of the alumni board is Brodie Gregory ’03, of Lexington, Va., while J. David Stewart ’96, of Birmingham, Ala., was elected vice president.
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Georgia Historical Society Honors Bo DuBose '62
Washington and Lee alumnus Beverly M. “Bo” DuBose III has won the 2012 John Macpherson Berrien Award from the Georgia Historical Society.
The society gives the Berrien award for a lifetime of achievement in and service to Georgia history. It recognizes people for their vision and generosity in support of history organizations and promoting the mission of the Georgia Historical Society to collect, examine and teach Georgia and American history.
Bo, a member of the Class of 1962, which is celebrating its 50th reunion on campus this weekend, has been a board member, strategist, fund-raiser and supporter of organizations such as the Atlanta History Center, the Georgia Historical Society, the Gettysburg Foundation, the Civil War Trust, the American Civil War Center at Tredegar and the American Revolution Center.
Bo and his father created the nation’s largest private collection of Civil War artifacts. It consists of 7,500 individual Union and Confederate objects covering all areas of Civil War collecting — from firearms and swords to buttons and ammunition. In addition, they assembled a library of more than 1,000 research volumes. Those collections are now on display at the Atlanta History Center.
In making the award, the Georgia Historical Society noted Bo’s leadership through his appointment as the chair of a $40 million campaign to save our nation’s Civil War battlefields.
The Berrien Award was established in 2000 and named in honor of John Macpherson Berrien (1781-1856), one of the founders of GHS and the society’s first president. Berrien also served in the U.S. Senate and as the U.S. attorney general. DuBose will receive the award at GHS’s 173rd Annual Membership Meeting and Garden Party on May 17.
W&L Provost Welcomes Alumni with a Look at George Washington
Washington and Lee University’s interim provost, Robert A. Strong, used George Washington’s Farewell Address from 1796 as a way to thank alumni returning for W&L’s Alumni Weekend for their continued support of their alma mater.
Strong provided the keynote address for the Opening Assembly of the annual Alumni Weekend, which features an array of reunion programs for returning graduates and their families.
In addition to his remarks in Lee Chapel, the Opening Assembly included the induction of both W&L students and honorary members into the Alpha Chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), the national leadership society founded at W&L in 1914.
Strong, the William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at W&L, told the audience that for 30 years he has begun his classes on American foreign policy by having the students read two documents side by side: the Declaration of Independence and George Washington’s Farewell Address.
The students, Strong added, know the declaration but are generally unfamiliar with many of the details of the Farewell Address. “A few students, the ones who paid closest attention in high school civics and history, know that Washington said something about foreign alliance,” he said. “But when they read the whole document, they are invariably surprised. And surprise is one of the best things that happens in the classroom.”
What the students soon discover, Strong said, is that most of the address focuses on the domestic dangers confronting the new republic. “Our greatest enemy, according to George Washington, is not France, or Spain, or Great Britain. It is us. We are quite likely, he predicts in his Farewell Address, to lose our liberties and destroy our democratic institutions, and we are likely to do it because of internal threats,” Strong said, citing the three threats of sectionalism, partisanship and debt.
Strong called the Declaration of Independence and the Farewell Address “bookends of the American Revolution.” While the documents’ authors, Thomas Jefferson (of the declaration) and Washington, were partisans who took very different positions, they were also, in Strong’s view, collaborators who shared mutual admiration.
In particular, they shared support for religious freedom and “saw the value and virtue that could arise in a society that removed impediments to genuine practice.”
But, more germane to the occasion, Strong said that both men supported higher education.
“One built a university in Charlottesville. One made a substantial contribution to a struggling school in Lexington,” he said. “In that respect, they promoted, to quote from the Farewell Address, ‘institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge’.” They were, he added, “like many of the people in this room tonight. Let me thank you for all the support you give to this particular institution for ‘the general diffusion of knowledge.’ You have our sincere appreciation and thanks. But, more importantly, George Washington thanks you.”
ODK inducted three W&L alumni as honorary initiates during the evening’s program:
- Angela Didier Light, a 1975 School of Law graduate, from Norfolk, Va., who recently retired as president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation;
- Kenneth W. Newman, a 1971 graduate, from Lexington, who is the former deputy chief of the United States Postal Inspection Service;
- Dr. John W. Poynter, a 1962 graduate, from Birmingham, Ala., who is an otolaryngologist with ENT Associates of Birmingham.
Additionally, ODK initiated five students: Juniors Ashley H. Barnes, of Annapolis, Md.; Cameron Carlock, of Dallas; Ainsley O. Daigle, of Lafayette, La.; Tamar J. Oostrom, of Richland, Wash.; and Lauren E. Schultz, of Alexandria, Va.; and sophomore Richard Sykes, of Wellesley, Mass.
Daniel Hsu, a sophomore from Richardson, Texas, won the Rupert Latture Award, which ODK presents annually to the sophomore who has demonstrated outstanding leadership potential. Hsu, a neuroscience major, is a member of Phi Eta Sigma and of Beta Beta Beta biology honor society. He is a Bonner Scholar and a member of the Nabors Service League, volunteers with the Rockbridge Area Free Clinic and the Maury River Middle School NEXT Program, and is on the leadership staff of Campus Kitchen.
The James G. Leyburn Award, which ODK presents annually to community or campus leaders who provide exemplary service, went to the Campus Community Coalition, a collaboration among students, neighbors, landlords, law enforcement and the University administration to addresses issues in the Lexington and Rockbridge County community.
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
W&L Law Professor Wins Fulbright Grant for Privacy Law Study
Washington and Lee law professor Josh Fairfield has been awarded a Fulbright Grant to study privacy law in the U.S. and European contexts. Fairfield will conduct his research this summer at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn, Germany.
Fairfield explains that the buying and selling of personal information for targeted advertising is the business that drives today’s internet. From web giants like Facebook and Google to mom and pop stores just looking for a little more foot traffic, every business if looking for a way to attract the kind of customers they want. But it can still be a bit of the Wild West when it comes to regulating the flow of this personal information, with the U.S. and European Union taking very different approaches to the issue.
“Privacy law experts draw a big distinction between Europe, which views privacy as dignity, and the U.S., which views privacy as property,” says Fairfield. “Americans tend to accept that if your personal information is sold, you will get something of value in return,” says Fairfield. “But in Europe, selling your dignity isn’t something you can do.”
European Union countries have strict regulations for how companies can use personal information, regulations which many companies say stifle economic growth. The U.S. model is not without its critics as well, who argue that personal information is often taken without a user’s knowledge or in ways that users are not aware of.
While Fairfield says that the U.S. and the EU are moving closer together on an approach to personal privacy, he argues that government needs to get involved to help set limits on the kind of data that internet companies can track and how they can use it, especially with the rise of location-based user data.
“With smart phones, the internet travels with us wherever we go,” says Fairfield. “This makes the acquisition of personal data more invasive, and more valuable, than ever before.” For example, not only can brick and mortar companies target advertising to the exact likes and dislikes of their customers but also know when those customers are within ten miles of a store.
An expert in the law and regulation of e-commerce and videogames, Prof. Fairfield’s research and scholarship explores the law and economics of online contracts and the application of standard economic models to virtual environments. He has briefed intelligence officials on terrorist activity and law enforcement within virtual worlds and has written on strategies for protecting children online. In October 2008, Fairfield organized and hosted a first-of-its-kind symposium at W&L exploring the legal and social challenges of virtual worlds built specifically for children, the fastest growing area of virtual environments.
Prof. Fairfield earned his JD magna cum laude from the University of Chicago in 2001. After law school, Professor Fairfield clerked for Judge Danny J. Boggs at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He then joined Jones Day in Columbus, Ohio, where he litigated cases in commercial law and software/technology law.
Before embarking on his legal career, Fairfield directed the development of the award winning Rosetta Stone Language Library, a leading language teaching software program for educational institutions.
School of Law Director of Communications
Al Broaddus '61 Honored by Richmond Public Schools
Last Friday, May 4, the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation hosted “The Pride of RPS: Living Legacies,” which celebrated distinguished alumni of the city’s public schools. One of the honorees at this inaugural event was a Washington and Lee alumnus: Al Broaddus, the former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
Before the Richmond native graduated from W&L in 1961 with a degree in political science, he attended Richmond’s Albert Hill Elementary School and Thomas Jefferson High School. In a profile in the event’s program, Al talks about his mother’s career as teacher in the Richmond schools. He also credits his performance in an elementary-school play, “Three Princes Come Riding,” with putting him at ease with public speaking, and mentions teachers who sparked his interest in math and history, which also came in handy with his future career.
After serving in the Army and earning an M.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from Indiana University, Al joined the Federal Reserve Bank in 1970 as an economist. He became the senior vice president and director of research in 1985, and the president in 1993. He retired in 2004.
He also had a brief stint as a teacher. After graduating from W&L and before joining the Army, he subbed with the Richmond schools as a French teacher for three months. “It was definitely the hardest job I ever had,” he says in the profile.
Al was part of a stellar lineup of honorees: Bobby Bayliss, tennis coach at the University of Notre Dame; J. Plunky Branch, noted musician; B.J. Brown and Robert L. Payne Sr., co-founders of the Richmond Jazz Society; Jay Ipson, founder and executive director of the Virginia Holocaust Museum (who spoke at W&L on May 3, during Holocaust Remembrance Week); the Hon. Cynthia Newbille, a member of Richmond’s city council; Desiree Roots Centeio, actor and singer; and Gladys Wilder, an educator in the Richmond public schools.
The Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation, says its website, supports the school board and the schools in their efforts “to provide educational excellence to the children of Richmond, their families and the broader Richmond community.”
Senior Lauren Acker Named General of the Year
Lauren Acker, a senior from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., has been named the John W. Elrod General of the Year.
Announcement of Acker’s award was made today (May 10) in Elrod Commons. She is one of the 21 Washington and Lee students who were recognized with General of the Month awards during the 2011-2012 academic year through the Celebrating Student Success program. The General of the Year was selected by a vote of those monthly winners.
Acker is majoring in sociology and anthropology, with an emphasis on anthropology. She belongs to Omicron Delta Kappa, Lambda Alpha national honor society for anthropology, Phi Eta Sigma freshman honor society and the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Division III academic honor society. She is a W&L Scholar-Athlete.
Acker has served as captain of the W&L women’s lacrosse team, which captured the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship and advanced to the NCAA tournament. A defensive player, she started all 20 games for the Generals. In addition, she is president and student founder of 23, a student-run organization dedicated to a united community of student-athletes. It seeks to strengthen a sense of personal responsibility and wellness through risk reduction and bystander intervention.
The Celebrating Student Success (CSS) Initiative, sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, recognizes those students who bring both depth and breadth to the University community. CSS is a joint student-staff committee.
W&L Announces Final Johnson Opportunity Grant Recipients
Washington and Lee University has selected 21 students to receive Johnson Opportunity Grants for 2012 summer research activities. This is in addition to the eight students announced earlier.
The students will receive the grants for a wide variety of activities both in the United States and abroad. These include working with great white sharks in South Africa, art restoration in The Netherlands, business internships in China and Vietnam, proving medical care in a remote area of the Himalayas, and working with service veterans in Washington D.C.
The grants are funded as part of the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity and are designed to help the students’ in their chosen fields of study as well as in their future careers. Students will receive between $1,000 and $4,500 to cover their living, travel and other costs associated with their activities.
- Dia’aaldin Bisharat, a junior from Jericho in the West Bank of Palestine, will join a group of Ph.D.-only students at the London Center of Nanotechnology in Great Britain to conduct research into silicon-based photonics as a means to generate and manipulate photons (light) rather than electrons. Silicon integrated optical chips are proven capable of modulating, processing and detecting light signals, but their capability to generate light is yet to be realized. Bisharat is a physics-engineering major with a minor in mathematics, and has spent the last academic year studying at University College London, a leading research and academic institute in the field of electronics. He plans to engage in an independent research study on silicon photonics during his final year at Washington and Lee.
- Kelton Buchanan, is a junior from Powder Springs, Ga., and a sociology major with a minor in women’s and gender studies. He will intern at Scooter Braun Projects in California which directly manages the entertainment careers of Asher Roth, The Wanted and Justin Bieber. Buchanan hopes to pursue a career in the entertainment/music industry and his internship will give him experience in social media marketing. He is co-chair of the General Activities Board and a member of the varsity basketball team at W&L.
- Gina Bufton, a junior from Preston, Md., will spend the summer as a research assistant in the Cognitive and Affective Neuropsychology Lab at the University of Michigan. Although she has not been assigned to a particular project yet, most of the on-going projects are studies of the effects of aging on memory and other aspects of cognition. The research relies heavily on the use of neuroimaging, which will be a new skill for Bufton, a psychology major with a minor in philosophy. She is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and is a member of the varsity riding team at W&L. Her future plans include pursuing a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology.
- Upol Ehsan, is a junior from Dhaka, Bangladesh. A double major in physics-engineering and philosophy with a minor in mathematics, Ehsan will visit and conduct one-on-one conversations with three or four influential figures in Mind Sciences to research the “quantization of thought.” This entails a greater level of concretization of one’s expressions and thoughts that will enhance the capability to communicate. He is interested in whether this level of enhancement takes place through an augmentation of public languages or through fundamental neural generative models or a mixture of both. Ehsan plans to use his understanding and critique of these leaders’ views in his philosophy honors thesis.
- Matthew Gaeta, an accounting and business administration major from Plantation, Fla., will be an intern at NXT Capital in Massachusetts, a middle-market focused commercial finance company. Gaeta will work in NXT’s newest branch of venture finance which provides financial solutions in the $1 million to $20 million range to emerging growth firms, generally in the technology or life sciences sector. Specifically, his duties will include performing due diligence on companies, assisting in building financial models and writing overviews of companies. He is a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and is a member of the varsity basketball team at W&L.
- Johan (Manuel) Garcia Padilla, a sophomore from Mount Vernon, Wash., and a native of Mexico, will travel to the island of Hispaniola in the Dominican Republic to work with the community health project “Salud con Esperanza” (Health with Hope). He will be part of a group of students that will set up a public health education project in an impoverished community. Immigrant Haitians in that community have been victims of xenophobic reactions from natives of the Dominican Republic. The students will be exposed to the services of local clinics in the country’s universal healthcare system, providing an opportunity to learn how those services are delivered in the face of these ethnic clashes. Garcia Padilla is a Spanish major with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and will also use his fluency in Spanish to serve as translator for the group.
- Matthew Helton, from Carrollton, Ga., will travel to the University of St. Andrews in Scotland to join a research team focusing on developing improved methods for the practical synthesis of bioactive natural products. Helton is a junior majoring in biochemistry with a minor in mathematics, and he will research methods and techniques to synthesize certain biomaterials that possess pharmaceutical and medical applications, including minimal access surgery. His future plans include possible medical school, graduate school in chemistry, or potentially both. He is a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
- Kathryn Marsh-Solloway will be performing art history and restoration fieldwork in the Netherlands during the summer. A junior from Woodbridge, Conn., she is a double major in journalism and mass communications and art history, with a double minor in poverty and human capability studies and museum studies. As an intern at the Netherlands Institute for Cultural and National Heritage, Marsh-Solloway will work under the guidance of experienced conservators to gain a deeper understanding of the process works of art go through before going on display and the continuous work to conserve and restore. She is a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority.
- Dillon Myers, a sophomore from Foxborough, Mass., and a double major in business administration and Chinese language and literature, will be undertaking a finance internship in Shanghai, China, through CRCC Asia. Myers will be placed with a financial organization to gain insight into Chinese markets, how they are shaping the business world of tomorrow, and to learn new and foreign business strategies and techniques. He will also have the opportunity to improve his speaking and listening skills in Chinese. He is a member of the General’s Development Initiative and W&L Student Consulting. He is also a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and a member of the varsity track and field team at W&L.
- Tamar Oostrom will be spending the summer providing medical care to people in a remote area of the Trans-Himalayan region. She is a junior from Richland, Wash., a dual citizen of the United States and The Netherlands, and a double major in biochemistry and mathematics. Through the Himalayan Health Exchange Program, Oostrom will join a team of doctors, dentists, residents and students who will hike between villages setting up temporary clinics to treat approximately 1,600 to 1,800 patients. In addition to helping carry supplies, set up the clinics and help with basic medical tasks, Oostrom intends to collect data on how many patients are seen, their concerns, and how best to meet them during the seven months of the year when the area is cut off from the rest of the world due to extreme cold and heavy snow accumulations. She is a member of the varsity riding team at W&L.
- Jina Park is a junior from Duluth, Ga., and a native of the Republic of South Korea. A double major in biology and English and a pre-med student, she will serve as a volunteer at an underserved medical community in Costa Rica, coordinated by International Service Learning. Park will be part of a general medical team that travels to small towns and villages in “outback” areas to set up field clinics. She will also have the opportunity to work in different hospital areas of interest such as assisting with pap smears, parasitic screenings and other basic health exams and tests. She will attend tropical disease training and seminars in pharmacology and house clinic-community triage, medical Spanish seminars and basic training for anamnesis. Park has taken Spanish classes at W&L and has participated in English for Speakers of Other Languages’ trip to the Dominican Republic to teach English and other subjects to elementary school children.
- Alexandra (Alex) Prather from Houston, Texas, is a sophomore double major in economics and politics. She will travel to the village of Pampoyo, Bolivia, this summer to work with W&L’s Engineers Without Borders (EWB) on its water and sanitation project. With hardly any rain, villagers must find other sources of water for irrigation. Unfortunately, a mining facility up the mountain has polluted a stream that acts as the village’s main source of water. EWB is creating a reservoir to bring safe water from a local spring to improve the quality of arable land in the area by 400 percent. EWB is also constructing sustainable and sanitary latrines for the villagers. With the help of Rotary International, the group is also constructing a health clinic. Prather is a member of Chi Omega sorority.
- Bethany Reynolds, a junior from Timonium, Md., will travel to Guatemala to take the course “Revealing the Mayan Communities at Sololá Guatemala: Ethnographic Research.” The Ethnographic Field School is run by Tim Wallace, an associate professor of sociology and anthropology at North Carolina State University. Reynolds is a double major in Spanish and East Asian Languages and Literatures with a minor in music and is an aspiring anthropologist. She will conduct independent research of her choice under Wallace’s mentorship and guidance.
- Mary Rodriguez, a junior theater major from Arlington, Texas, will take an internship in the theater community. She has applied for positions as both a stage manager and an assistant stage manager and hopes to observe a talented, professional director, since her ultimate goal is to become a director.
- Mi Hung (Zoey) Ryu, a sophomore psychology major from Pohang, Republic of South Korea, will take a position as research fellow in positive psychology at the Open Polytechnic in Lower Hutt, New Zealand. The research program focuses on conducting a series of studies and projects on the topic of positive psychology—a growing branch of psychology that seeks to find out the components of human happiness. Ryu will be assigned to work on literature research, management of collaborators in the research team, data collection (including recruiting specific participants), data analysis and manuscript drafting/writing. Through her participation in the research, she will have the opportunity to be included in a publication related to the International Wellbeing Study.
- Jonathan (Jon) Salm, a junior from Lakeland, Fla., will head to New York City for an internship with RJW Collective, a full-service marketing agency. Salm is an English major with a minor in philosophy and plans to pursue a career in marketing. RJW is a relatively small firm and offers plenty of hands-on experience, pairing interns with a manager from one of its three departments—design, digital and accounts—where they will work directly on RJW accounts. Current clients include Lacoste, MTV, Sony and DeLeón Tequila. Salm is a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.
- Darby Shuler, a sophomore biochemistry major from Columbia, S.C., will take up a pre-medical internship with the International Children’s Heart Foundation (ICHF). The organization is composed of pediatric cardiologists and surgeons who lead medical mission trips to underserved areas around the world. They also work with local professionals to improve medical emergency response and overall medical techniques. Shuler will participate in a medical mission to Guayaquil, Ecuador, to assist dozens of children with heart defects. She will assist in the organizational aspects of the trip and observe numerous patient visits and surgeries in preparation for her own future career in global medicine.
- Michelle Szymczak is a sophomore from Chevy Chase, Md. She is a double major in business administration and East Asian languages and literatures with a focus on Chinese and will be headed for Shanghai, China, this summer. She will intern with a business or finance company, organized by CRCC Asia. In addition to developing her knowledge of finance and business, the internship will require her to use her Chinese language skills. She is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.
- Kane Thomas, a sophomore from Shoreline, Wash., will travel to rural Hunan province in China. An East Asian Languages and Literatures major with a focus on Chinese, Thomas will take part in the Harvard World Teach program, by teaching English to seventh to 10th grade Chinese students. He also plans to improve his Chinese language skills in anticipation of his plan to teach in China after graduation. Thomas is a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He is also a member of the varsity cross country team and the varsity track and field indoor and outdoor teams at W&L.
- Suong (Clara) Tran, a junior from Hanoi, Vietnam, will intern for the equity research department of Woori Investment and Securities in Hanoi. She is an economics major with a minor in journalism and mass communications. Woori is a branch of Korea’s largest multinational financial group. Among Tran’s duties will be analyzing financial statements, forecasting stock trends, obtaining macroeconomic data and studying Vietnamese economic indicators. She will also receive training to use Bloomberg terminal and other stock trading programs.
- Zachary Zoller, a junior biology major from Salem, Va., will travel to South Africa to be an intern with Project Great White Shark in Mossel Bay. The project is run by Oceans Research and includes population, behavioral, ecological, physiological and socioeconomic studies centered on the great white shark population of the area. Zoller’s research duties will include assisting in running the research vessels and the shark lab and aquarium-based research projects such as tonic immobilization of the wild sharks. His more direct contact with the sharks will include tagging and genetic sampling, manual acoustic tracking and recording and entering behavioral data. Zoller is a member of the varsity football team at W&L.
Haikus to Order
As part of their Spring Term class in Poetic Forms, a group of Washington and Lee students will be spending three hours today (Wednesday, May 9) writing haiku poems on demand for anyone who wants to order one.
“We’re deliberately doing this around the time people need to send Mother’s Day cards, but the haikus can be for anyone,” said Lesley Wheeler, the Henry S. Fox Professor of English, who is teaching the course. “We’ve never done this before, and we’ll practice writing on commission beforehand. It’s a wild experiment. I wanted the students to do something that is about involving poetry in ordinary life, and as a means of being social with other people.”
Haiku is a Japanese poetry form and is traditionally written in three lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second line and five in the third.
The students will write out the haikus in an attractive way on a mail-ready postcard. The suggested donation for each haiku is $5 (checks preferred, cash accepted), with all proceeds going to the Rockbridge Area Relief Association.
W&L Claims the 2012 ODAC Overall Sports Champion Cup
FOREST, Va. — The Old Dominion Athletic Conference has announced that Washington and Lee University has claimed the Dan Wooldridge Overall Sports Champion Cup for the ninth-straight year.
The cup, sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance, is presented to the school that exhibits the best all-around athletic program in the conference. Points for the Commissioner’s Cups are based on regular season standings in team sports and championship team finishes in individual sports. Each institution has a total number of possible points they can collect based on their individual sport sponsorship. The total number of points earned is then divided by the total number of possible points in order to come up with a ranking for each institution.
The Generals claimed the 2012 Wooldridge Cup by the slimmest of margins, edging out Lynchburg College by a rating of .019. W&L accumulated 143.0 points of a possible 195.0 for a 0.733 rating in claiming the trophy for the 16th time in the 18 years that it has been awarded. Lynchburg collected 135.0 points out of 189.0 possible for a 0.714 rating to finish in second place.
Washington and Lee also claimed the women’s sport trophy for the ninth year in a row with a 0.788 rating, having tallied 82.0 of a possible 104.0 points. Lynchburg also finished second in the race for the women’s cup with a 0.714 rating.
The Generals finished third overall in the race for the men’s sport trophy, totaling a 0.670 rating. Lynchburg claimed the men’s cup with a 0.714 rating, followed by Randolph-Macon at 0.685.
Washington and Lee has compiled a 179-120-6 (.597) overall record during the 2011-12 school year thus far. The Generals took home ODAC Championships in women’s swimming, women’s lacrosse, men’s tennis and women’s tennis.
DAN WOOLDRIDGE OVERALL SPORTS CHAMPION CUP STANDINGS
1. Washington and Lee, 0.733
2. Lynchburg, 0.714
3. Randolph-Macon, 0.682
4. Bridgewater, 0.662
5. Roanoke, 0.609
6. Virginia Wesleyan, 0.571
7. Guilford, 0.513
8. Eastern Mennonite, 0.412
9. Randolph, 0.335
10. Emory & Henry, 0.333
Sports Information Director
W&L's Linda Hooks on Geraldo Rivera
Washington and Lee economics professor Linda Hooks discussed the economy and the presidential election on KABC’s Gerald show on Monday, May 7. Listen to the interview below:
Conviction of a warlord, justice for his victims?
by Mark Drumbl
Class of 1975 Alumni Professor of Law and Director, Transnational Law Institute
(Reprinted from the May 8, 2012, edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Charles Taylor, former president of Liberia, has been convicted of 11 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Although symbolic, imprisoning Taylor is a small step toward the arc of accountability. All the effort — time, resources and money — that went into convicting Taylor should not distract from the ongoing efforts that are required to deliver justice to the people of Sierra Leone.
Taylor, whose trial began in 2007, was prosecuted in The Hague by an international tribunal called the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which was set up to deliver justice for the atrocities committed in the war that plagued Sierra Leone, Liberia’s neighbor in West Africa, in the 1990s.
Atrocities included widespread killings, amputations, sexual slavery, rape and conscription of child soldiers — all fueled by blood diamonds and shadowy transfers of funds. Tens of thousands of people were killed. For the rebels, a “smile” meant cutting away victims’ lips. “Short” or “long sleeves” became euphemisms for where arms were to be hacked off. Rebel campaigns were called Operation No Living Thing and Operation Spare No Soul.
Taylor, who can appeal, will be sentenced at the end of May. He would do his time in a British prison.
That atrocities were committed in Sierra Leone is plain to see. The effects of those atrocities continue today. Survivors struggle in rehabilitation programs while the country gets back on track. The Special Court has already delivered eight convictions that implicate leaders in Sierra Leone of the factions that fought in the conflict.
But Taylor had never set foot in Sierra Leone during the war. How, then, to link him to the atrocities committed there?
Prosecutors floated a number of theories to establish a nexus between Taylor in Liberia and rebel groups in Sierra Leone. These theories grapple with international criminal law’s sore spots. The higher up the defendant, the more distant his hands, the cleaner his handiwork, and the harder it is to link him to the crimes. The more people are killed, and the more endemic the violence, the tougher it is to come up with forensic evidence and eyewitness testimony. Simply put, it isn’t easy to connect the victim to the killer and then the killer to superiors within a criminal state.
Prosecutors argued that Taylor had command responsibility over the rebel leaders and, hence, was individually responsible for their conduct. The Special Court rejected this theory. The evidence didn’t support it. Taylor had influence, but not command and control. Another theory was that Taylor participated in a joint criminal enterprise — in other words, a common plan — with the local leaders who committed the crimes. This, too, was rejected.
The third theory was that Taylor aided and abetted the crimes — namely, that he provided encouragement, equipment and practical assistance — and that he also helped plan some attacks. This third theory stuck and formed the basis of the convictions entered against him. Just like U.S. prosecutors nailed Al Capone with tax evasion, sometimes the highest-ups can be convicted only for the more anemic of reasons.
Nazi trials were facilitated by Nazi paper trails, to be sure. But in the annals of atrocity, they are the exception. The Taylor prosecutors worked with little connective evidence. They had to resort to radio intercepts. They showed how diamonds came into Liberia from Sierra Leone in exchange for weapons. Supermodel Naomi Campbell testified that, after a dinner she attended with Taylor present, someone sent “dirty little pebbles” — uncut diamonds — to her hotel room. The prosecution alleged it was Taylor.
The difficulty in linking the mastermind with the actual violence underscores how criminal trials should form only one element of post-conflict justice. Criminal law takes us only so far. It fails to deliver what most victims really want — reintegration, rehabilitation, skills training, restitution, and apologies.
Blood diamonds helped fund the rebel cause. Gems were traded for guns. These diamonds were exported illegally from Sierra Leone and, eventually, purchased — including in the West. They came to adorn wedding bands and sparkle in earrings. Symbols of love, those diamonds emerged from terror. The international community needs a better way to monitor trade in natural resources that are pillaged from war-torn countries.
Criminal convictions react to the past. More active measures, however, are needed to prevent mass atrocity from occurring in the present.
Mark A. Drumbl is a law professor at Washington and Lee University and author of “Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy” (Oxford University Press, 2012).
W&L Students Parade in Ireland
The Festival of Bealtaine celebrates the coming of spring throughout rural Ireland. Bealtaine (pronounced “bee-ELL-tah-nah”) is a version of the May Day festivals that one sees throughout European folk traditions. This month, in the lovely town of Dingle in the Irish-speaking region of south Kerry, Ireland, 24 Washington and Lee University students took part in the Festival Parade. The students joined up with a local drum corps and played everything from large upright bass drums to the Irish version of the maracas to the cowbell and the tom-tom. They pounded and paraded through the ancient streets of this fishing village along with schoolchildren, marching bands, a bagpipe corps, costumed mummers on stilts and other local groups.
“It was just a delight to watch,” said English professor Marc Conner, who created and has led this study abroad program to Ireland six times since 2000. “There they were, marching along with hundreds of Dingle locals, drumming away, taking part in a festival that in a way goes back centuries.”
Said Sean Pol O’Conchuir, a Dingle native who helped organize the rehearsals for the drum corps and invited the students to join it, “It was amazing how fast the students learned the various drum rhythms, and to see the students in the parade, enjoying themselves and interacting with the locals. It was wonderful.”
Jake Struebing, a sophomore from Amherst, N.Y., said the experience was “a spiritual encounter with the local culture as we learned how to drum in cadence, work together in synch, and open up our ears to music of what’s happening around us. Our studies have certainly expanded outside the classroom, giving new depth to the course.”
The W&L students are spending four weeks in Dingle studying the literature, history and culture of Ireland, focusing especially on the west of Ireland and its rural traditions. To prepare for the trip, they took a 300-level seminar with Conner in the winter term on Irish literature and history. In Ireland, they are studying Irish poetry and history, learning the rudiments of the Irish language, studying traditional Irish music, participating in a traditional ceili (an evening of song and dance), and traveling to sites ranging from prehistoric burial tombs to medieval castles to island villages.
“To experience the Irish culture as close as we have been is beyond anything I have ever taken part of. We feel like the new locals in Dingle when we run out for scones, take walks by the harbor, and sing at the pubs. Now if only I could perfect my Gaelic,” said Katie Ackell, a junior from Appleton, Wisc.
The photo above and the short video below are courtesy of Conner:
Seniors Brandon Allred, Katie Shelor Generals of the Month for May
Washington and Lee University seniors Brandon Allred and Katie Shelor will be recognized at the Generals of the Month presentation on Wednesday, May 9, at 12:30 p.m. in the Marketplace in Elrod Commons.
This is the final CSS presentation of the academic year. They will begin again monthly in September 2012, for the 2012-2013 year.
Allred, from Virginia Beach, Va., is a public accounting major and is a member of Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society. He was the executive treasurer of the 2012 W&L Mock Convention, managing all funding (including the $500,000 budget) and coordinating all fundraising efforts. He also is a member of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity.
Shelor, from Roanoke, Va., is majoring in journalism with a minor in creative writing. She is sports director and assistant programming director of WLUR radio, editor in chief of inGeneral Magazine, supervising a staff of 20, sports reporter for The Rockbridge Report, and intramural referee supervisor for W&L’s Campus Recreation. She is a member of Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society.
Generals of the Month is coordinated by the Celebrating Student Success (CSS) initiative and sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs to inspire engaged citizenship at Washington and Lee University. CSS seeks to recognize students who are not typically or sufficiently touted for the depth and breadth they add to our campus community.
Allred and Shelor 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.
A Working Spring Break for W&L Students
Three organizations in Shreveport, La., reaped the benefit of a choice that students from Washington and Lee University made in April: to spend their spring break not on vacation but doing community service in that city.
W&L’s Shepherd Poverty Program coordinated the Alternative Spring Break. The students spent the first two days painting a grocery store for the Fuller Center for Housing of Northwest Louisiana, a volunteer program that constructs homes as a response to the housing crisis created by an influx of Hurricane Katrina evacuees to the area.
Then it was on to Dress for Success. The organization promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a support network and career-development tools.
“We moved all these clothes from their basement to upstairs so they could set up a more client-friendly boutique,” said Zineb Benchekroun, a sophomore accounting and business administration major from Morocco, who experienced Alternative Spring Break for the first time. “It was a lot of work and very tiring.”
They spent their last two days at The Providence House, which helps homeless families move into permanent, independent housing. Students organized the warehouse, folded sheets, served meals and played with the children at the program.
Benchekroun said she was particularly impressed with their W&L alumni hosts, Witt Caruthers, of the Class of 1983, and other members of the Northern Louisiana Chapter. “I think W&L alums are awesome, and it wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for them. They coordinated everything and were very nice and hospitable. There was nothing we needed that they didn’t provide us with. We even had a crawfish party at their home,” she said.
Honoring Retiring W&L Trustee Jorge Estrada '69
Jorge Estrada, of the Class of 1969, retired from Washington and Lee’s Board of Trustees following the board’s meeting on the campus this weekend, but his 47-year relationship with the University is hardly ending.
Three of Jorge’s five children are already W&L alumni — Annie ’04, Carol ’05 and Juan ’06. Estefi is a member of the Class of 2013 and will be joined in the fall by Javier, as a member of the Class of 2016. Granddaughter Ana is already set for the Class of 2032.
A member of the board since 2003, Jorge made it a point to return to Lexington for all 27 meetings of the Board of Trustees during his tenure — no mean feat when you consider that he made the three-times-a-year trek from his home in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Jorge is a native of Medellin, Colombia. He came to W&L through the International Student Exchange Program. In 2004, 35 years after his graduation, Jorge met the late Isadore M. Scott, a 1937 W&L alumnus and former trustee who had funded the scholarship that allowed Jorge to attend.
In addition to his own children, Jorge has been responsible for the attendance of several dozen Argentinian students at W&L. But he may not have used the same tact with them that he did with his offspring. “I told my children that they could go to college anywhere they wanted,” said Jorge, who was honored at the trustees’ dinner. “But I added that I would only pay for them to go to Washington and Lee.”
W&L Law Graduates Urged to Make Good Choices
With a soft spring rain falling on the historic front campus of Washington and Lee University on Saturday, May 5, W&L’s School of Law celebrated the completion of its 163rd year by awarding juris doctor degrees to 129 graduates.
If any of those graduates were having second thoughts about their career choice, then Linda Klein, a practicing attorney and chair of the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, assured them that they had chosen well.
“One of the best choices you ever made is why you are sitting here today. You chose to become a lawyer,” said Klein, a 1983 graduate of W&L’s School of Law. “I promise you that’s true, even if you find yourself doubting it some days. The law is vital. Everyone needs access to the law. Indeed, knowing the law is how we make the right choices.”
Klein is managing shareholder of the Georgia offices of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz P.C. In her role as chair of the A.B.A.’s House of Delegates, she presides over the policy-making body of the largest voluntary-membership professional organization in the world.
Klein encouraged the graduates to work as hard for their clients as they had during their law studies.
“You know what hard work is because you survived this law school. Don’t stop now,” she said. “Choose to do your best on every assignment — pro bono, small cases, your clients, clients of your colleagues — just always do your best. The problem you’re solving is the most important thing to your client. Your reputation, our profession’s reputation, the community’s reputation, could be at stake. Once your reputation is lost, it’s nearly impossible to find it again.”
Klein warned them not to yield to the temptation to make bad choices. When times are tough, she said, there are legions of people eager to take advantage.
“They will tempt you with easy wins, easy promotions and easy money, perhaps when you need it most. What they ask of you will seem so simple, yet so lucrative. How many times have you heard, ‘If it’s too good to be true, it’s probably not true?’ Every day in your law practice, you will have the opportunity to make a bad choice,” she said. “Making the good choice is often harder at first, but in the long run it’s easier. When you make a good choice, you will not have the stress associated with regret and guilt that’s going to follow you.”
She encouraged the graduates to exhibit the professionalism that has always been a hallmark of law graduates from Washington and Lee. “You act on behalf of all of us,” she said. “Our culture is too precious to sacrifice.”
Klein also exhorted the graduates to use their roles to make a difference, not just to make money.
“While our profession is a pretty good one for making a dollar, it’s also the best profession I know for making a difference, which is a lot harder and worth every effort,” she said. “So dream big as you usher in the generation that follows you here, and come back to tell about your big moment of choice and tell them how proud you are to have had an education here, how much it means to you. I know how much it means to me.”
In his remarks to the graduates, Mark Grunewald, interim dean of the School of Law, noted that they represented the first class in which every member had completed W&L’s innovative third-year curriculum, which has gained national recognition.
“Each of you had the opportunity to take important steps in law school that put you much closer to the professional world that you are about to enter,” said Grunewald. “Each of you gained a real understanding of the complex professional roles lawyers played; gained confidence not from having mastered the roles that take years of practice to perfect, but from having experienced the process; and gained, perhaps most important, a beginning sense of what it means to exercise professional judgment.”
The John W. Davis Prize for Law, awarded to the graduating student with the highest cumulative grade point average, went to Avalon Johan Frey, of Charlottesville, Va.
Download the Law Commencement Program
School of Law Director of Communications
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
W&L English Professor's Book Wins IPPY Award
The new anthology “Sovereign Erotics: An Anthology of Two-Spirit Literature,” co-edited by Deborah Miranda, associate professor of English at Washington and Lee, has received a Silver Medal from the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards.
The IPPY Awards, launched in 1996, are designed to bring increased recognition to deserving but often unsung titles from independent authors and publishers.
Published by the University of Arizona Press, “Sovereign Erotics” is also a finalist for three other awards. The book includes fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry by “two-spirit” Native American writers.
Deborah and one of her co-authors, Qwo-Li Driskill (Cherokee), associate professor of English at Texas A&M, were featured earlier this week on the nationally syndicated radio program “Native America Calling.” You can listen to the episode with Deborah’s interview at the May 2 listing on the “Native America Calling” website.
W&L to Upgrade First-Year Housing as Part of Residential-Life Review
First-year housing at Washington and Lee University will undergo a significant renovation beginning in the summer of 2013, following the initial recommendation of a task force studying all aspects of residential life at the University.
The charge of the task force flows from the University’s 2007 Strategic Plan, which specified improvements and enhancements to first-year residential life plus consideration of upper-class alternatives. It’s all part of a renewed commitment to a rich residential-life experience for W&L’s students.
The plans calls for two residence halls — Graham-Lees, the oldest residence hall on campus, and Gaines Hall, the youngest — to be transformed and to house all first-year students.
“We felt it was urgent to tackle the first-year experience,” said Sidney Evans, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, “given the outdated physical facilities and the needs we know exist, in Graham-Lees in particular.”
Evans co-chairs the task force with Dallas Hagewood Wilt, a member of the W&L Board of Trustees. The former chairman of Kraft Enterprise Systems L.L.C., in Nashville, Tenn., Wilt graduated from W&L in 1990. As a trustee, she chairs the board’s Campus Life Committee.
Graham-Lees started out as two separate buildings constructed in 1904 (Lees) and 1920 (Graham). In 1940, they were joined, creating a maze-like interior. Its non-air-conditioned rooms house 228 first-year students: men on the first and second floors, women on the third and fourth.
As for Gaines, “we think of it as being new, but it’s not,” said Evans. Built in 1988, it is coed, with 111 residents, single-sex suites and common rooms within its four air-conditioned floors. “The interior, with the suites, is isolating,” said Evans. “Students are reluctant to live there despite the air conditioning and other amenities. There’s no reason for students to come out of their rooms into the hall, which reduces the possibilities for community that are particularly important for first-year students.”
The renovated Gaines will contain pods of single and double rooms, study nooks, program spaces and shared hall bathrooms. “That gives us flexibility to organize the building in a variety of way,” continued Evans. “For instance, we can do more with mixed-gender halls for those who want them.”
The exterior and surroundings of first-year housing are also under scrutiny. “We are hoping to open up the spaces between the first-year halls to unite them visually,” said Evans. “We want to think more deliberately about outside space and draw people out of their rooms.” Wilt envisions “a wonderful triangle of green space.”
Providing more outlets for students to socialize is another part of the task force’s mission. As Wilt put it, “Can we invoke more of a community, with men and women, students from different classes, engaging together on campus?” New facilities in the first-year halls could engage students with programs, lectures, even classes. Wilt thinks the plan for Graham-Lees and Gaines will create “a real community of first-years.”
One of the main questions in front of the task force, in fact, is “whether there is a way to provide more opportunities for men and women to interact outside of the classroom and outside of a party,” said Evans.
“Students interact in a very unstructured and informal sort of way throughout their first year, in the residence halls and the dining hall,” she explained. “And that changes dramatically at the beginning of their sophomore year.”
Wilt became interested in the environment on campus after attending the 2010 W&L Women’s Leadership Summit. What grabbed her attention at that event, which convened women students, graduates, staff and faculty, was the picture the students painted of two separate experiences for men and women.
Evans, Wilt and the other members of the task force have been doing a lot of talking with all constituencies since the group first convened in the summer of 2011. They’ve also visited peer colleges and universities with innovative approaches to housing, and toured all of W&L’s student residences.
Since one of the tenets of the Strategic Plan was to “provide improved residential space for upperclassmen/law students,” the task force also is analyzing the current living patterns of sophomores, juniors and seniors and assessing on-campus housing for upper-class students.
“Our primary goal is to see if our residence life supports our educational goals,” said Evans. “And does it promote development of the kind of community we want?”
The task force comprises staff, faculty and trustees, and has a five-student advisory group. It is weighing financial feasibility, existing housing, staffing, programming and best practices. It is also examining such interwoven factors as students’ desire for independence and the existing student cultures. Wilt thinks its work will only improve the lives of students.
“I have a real vision for the first-year community,” continued Wilt. “I’m excited about creating new housing. And I’m focused on students having fun and being safe.”
Residential Life Task Force
- Debbie Dailey, Assistant Provost and Director of Institutional Effectiveness
- Sidney Evans, Vice-President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students (Co-chair)
- Brooke Diamond O’Brien, Women’s Lacrosse Coach
- Ben Gambill ’67, Trustee
- John Hoogakker, Executive Director of Facilities Management
- Elizabeth Knapp ’90, Associate Provost and Associate Professor of Geology
- Joel Kuehner, Associate Professor of Physics and Engineering
- Sally Lawrence P’08, ’10, ’12, Trustee
- David Leonard, Dean of Student Life
- Pam Luecke, Professor of Journalism and Department Chair
- Steve McAllister, Vice President for Finance and Administration
- Robert Sadler ’67, Trustee
- Dallas Wilt ’90, Trustee; Chair, Campus Life Committee (Co-chair)
Residential Life Student Advisory Committee
- Caitlin Edgar ’12
- Taylor Gilfillan ’13
- Kathryn Salvati ’12
- Jarrett Smith ’12
- John Wells ’12
To send a comment to the Residential Life Task Force, click here.
W&L Welcomes Four New Trustees
Washington and Lee University’s Board of Trustees swore in four new members at its meeting on May 4 — Mary Choksi, of Washington, D.C.; Rogers Lacy Crain, of Houston; Marshall Miller, of San Antonio; and William E. Pritchard III, of Houston.
Mary Choksi is a founding partner of Strategic Investment Group, which designs and implements global investment strategies for large institutional and individual investors. She is also a founding partner of Emerging Markets Management L.L.C. and served as a managing director until May 2011. Previously, she worked in the development arm and then the pension investment division of the World Bank.
Choski holds both a B.A. in French and a master’s of public affairs from the University of Minnesota. In addition, she completed her master’s and Ph.D. (ABD) in international relations at the Johns Hopkins University. A director of the Avis Budget Group and of the Omnicom Group and a past director of the H.J. Heinz Co., she is a trustee of the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation and a member of the advisory council of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
She and her husband, Armeane, are the parents of Maaren, Trista and Nico (a 2011 W&L graduate). They served as class co-chairs of the W&L Parents’ Council 2009–2010 and chaired the Parents’ Council 2010–2011.
Rogers Lacy Crain, a 1975 graduate of Washington and Lee, practiced law in the Houston office of Sewell & Riggs (now Gardere Wynne Sewell) before joining his family’s oil and gas exploration and production company, R. Lacy Services, Ltd., where he is vice president.
Crain received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. He has volunteered in various capacities with different non-profit organizations over the years and currently serves on the boards of Camp for All and Rhodes College. He and his wife, Kelty, are the parents of Rogers Jr. (a 2009 W&L graduate), Alex and Lawson.
Marshall B. Miller Jr., holds a 1971 B.A. in political science from W&L and a 1974 law degree from the University of Denver. He has been a partner with the San Antonio office of the Texas law firm of Jackson Walker L.L.P. Previously, he was the president of Gresham, Davis, Gregory, Worthy & Moore, which Jackson Walker acquired by merger. He is listed in the San Antonio Business Journal’s Who’s Who in Law and Business and belongs to a number of local clubs and civic organizations.
A member of the Trinity University board of trustees, he chairs its investment committee, is secretary of the board and is a member of its executive committee. He is a founder and principal of the HM Foundation and the Marathon Foundation and is a member of the advisory board of Multi-Chem Group L.L.C (recently acquired by Halliburton) and the board of directors of U.S. Bolt. He is also a founder and principal of Glenbrook Partners Ltd. and Stumberg Ranch Partners Ltd.
Miller has served as a member of both the 25th and 40th Reunion Class Committees for W&L’s Class of 1971. He and his wife, Claudia Huntington, have a daughter, Prentice, and a son, Reid.
William E. Pritchard III graduated from W&L in 1980 with a B.A. in geology and earned his J.D., cum laude, from South Texas College of Law, where he served on the South Texas Law Review. He began his career as a petroleum geologist with Marathon Oil Co., later working for Adams & Reese L.L.P. He is a former chairman of the oil, gas and mineral law section of the Alabama Bar. Pritchard entered oil and gas investment banking with Jefferies & Co. and is now involved with private-equity-backed oil and gas and midstream companies.
He is chair and CEO of Indigo Minerals L.L.C. and chair of M3 Midstream L.L.C. and serves on the board of directors of the Martin Companies, the largest private landowner in the state of Louisiana. He is a member of the executive committee of the board of trustees of the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences.
At W&L, he has served as class agent since 2008 and chaired his class’s 30th reunion committee in 2010. In 2010, he endowed the William E. Pritchard III ’80 Professorship in Geology. He and his wife, Susanne, have four children: Lauren, William IV, Catherine (of the Class of 2013) and Harris.
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Kentucky Derby, Secretariat and Traveller
With the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby tomorrow, thoughts turn to the great Secretariat, who won the Derby (and the Triple Crown) in 1973. Washington and Lee proudly claims a connection, for Christopher Chenery, a member of the W&L Class of 1909, started The Meadow farm in Doswell, Va., in the 1930s. There he bred and trained many superb Thoroughbreds, including Riva Ridge (who won the Kentucky Derby 40 years ago) and Secretariat. Chenery even chose blue and white as the colors of his racing silks to honor his alma mater. (A set of The Meadow Farm silks has been on display in Warner Center.)
Secretariat’s legacy continues tomorrow, for an astonishing 16 of the 20 horses in the Derby field are his descendants. According to the blog over at Secretariat’s Meadow, three of Secretariat’s daughters (Weekend Surprise, Terlingua and Secrettame) have produced colts (A.P. Indy, Storm Cat and Gone West) that excelled both on the track and in the breeding shed. In turn, 16 of their descendants will be competing at Churchill Downs tomorrow.
“Secretariat’s Meadow: The Land, the Family, the Legend” is a 2010 book by Kate Chenery Tweedy (granddaughter of Christopher Chenery) and Leeanne Meadows Ladin. They will be in the stands at the Derby tomorrow along with Christopher Chenery’s daughter, Penny Chenery, who oversaw Secretariat’s career. The great horse’s Derby record of 1:59 2/5 still stands. Writes Ladin, “Will one of his descendants dare to try and break it?”
One of those horses, Hansen (a great-great-great-grandson of Secretariat), even produced a nationwide radio mention about W&L’s other famous horse. During his May 2 sports commentary on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” sportswriter Frank Deford talked about Hansen, who is white, an unusual color for a young Thoroughbred. Deford went on to discuss white horses in literature and history, including “Robert E. Lee’s famous mount, Traveller,” he said, which “really was a white horse.”
Well, kind of. As Deford correctly noted, Hansen and Traveller are really gray. Most white horses are born gray, and their coat color grows lighter as they grow older. Such is the case with Hansen, and with Traveller, who clearly sported a black mane and tail in all of his photographs.
W&L's Nicolaas Rupke on WMRA's “Virginia Insight”
Ants practice democracy … penguins are monogamous … bonobos honor female sensitivity. If animals do it, does that mean humans should?
That’s what Nicolaas Rupke, the Johnson Professor of History at Washington and Lee University, discussed when he appears on NPR affiliate WMRA’s “Virginia Insight” show on Thursday, May 3.
Nicolaas, who joined the W&L faculty in January, has researched two centuries of arguments over whether animal behavior should be used to justify humanity morality, including such issues as slavery, the divine right of kings and more.
Listen to the show below:
Starring on MuggleNet Academia
When MuggleNet, the world’s No. 1 Harry Potter website, decided to open a new section called MuggleNet Academia and to offer a regular podcast with experts in the study of literature, the organizers made their first call to Suzanne Keen, the Thomas H. Broadus Professor of English at Washington and Lee.
Back in February, on the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth, Suzanne made the point in an interview that many of today’s students grew up reading Harry Potter and, as a consequence, have a much better appreciation for Dickens. That story on the W&L website was picked up by Mugglenet and other Potter-related sites. One thing led to another, and Suzanne was the featured guest on the inaugural monthly MuggleNet Academic podcast.
Suzanne was joined by John Granger, known as the Hogwarts Professor, an expert on the series who spoke at W&L last November; Rosie Morris, senior student of literature at Kent University in England; and Keith Hawk, of MuggleNet.
The hour-long conversation touched on a variety of topics, including the question of whether or not the series’ author, J.K. Rowling, knew from the start how all the books in the series would come out.
The podcast, which has nearly 2,000 Facebook shares, is available for free on iTunes.
W&L, Tribe Pictures Capture Best of Show at Aurora Awards
Washington and Lee University’s capital campaign film “Echoes of the Past, Voices of the Future” captivated judges and snagged a coveted Platinum Best of Show award in the Fund Raising category at the 2012 Aurora Awards competition.
The film received “excellent” marks across the three judging categories of execution, content and creativity. “Beautifully done,” read a judge’s comments. “Love showcasing the rich history and use of current students. Very creative and contemporary.”
Working with Washington and Lee’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs, Tribe (www.tribepictures.com) crafted a moving film about the importance of sustaining the traditions of Washington and Lee while looking to the future. Their unusual concept came to life on screen with the performances of W&L students who recited quotations from past presidents and notable alumni. An inspiring musical score, composed by Washington and Lee music professor Terry Vosbein and performed by W&L students, enhanced the inspirational mood.
The Platinum Best of Show award is given to about only one in ten entries and signifies that a program was outstanding in the areas of creativity, message effectiveness and technical excellence on the judge’s fixed scale. The Aurora Awards is an international competition that gives film and video professionals the chance to have their work reviewed by their peers on a global scale. With a panel of working industry professionals as judges, the competition reviews a wide range of projects from non-national commercials to corporate sponsored film and video. For more information about the Aurora Awards, visit www.auroraawards.com.
The Aurora award is the fifth major prize for “Echoes of the Past, Voices of the Future.” The film is being screened as part of major events hosted by Washington and Lee around the country in connection with its $500-million campaign, “Honor Our Past, Build Our Future.” Previously, the film won a Gold Dolphin Award from the Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards, a platinum EMPixx Award from the American Pixel Academy, a bronze Telly Award, and an Award of Excellence from District III of CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education).
Tribe is a boutique communications firm specializing in strategic digital-video and film solutions for Fortune 500 corporations as well as leading colleges, universities and non-profits. Tribe has successfully produced purposeful and award-winning films for over 25 years through an artful blend of strategic messaging, storytelling and a fine-craft perspective in filmmaking. Tribe enjoys a track record with loyal clients and maintains a global network of production companies, relationships and partnerships.
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Comparing Financial Crises: From Antiquity to Today
Today’s college students undoubtedly think of the the recent “Great Recession” as the example of a major financial crisis. For them, the Great Depression of the 1930s probably seems like ancient history.
But the students who enrolled in “Too Big to Fail: Commerce, Corruption and Crisis in Antiquity,” a spring term course at Washington and Lee University, will soon discover just how ancient financial crises really are and should come away with a better understanding of how modern financial crises reflect those from antiquity.
Sarah Bond, the Mellon Faculty Fellow in History and Classics at W&L, is offering the course through the history department.
“Financial crises don’t happen in a vacuum,” Bond said. “They don’t occur out of the blue, and it’s not the first time they’ve ever happened. They are all part of recurring cycles throughout history. So even though this course focuses on the ancient world, learning about these recurring themes can perhaps help us to better pre-empt something from happening in the modern world.”
Describing the course as a history of economy and economic fluctuations, Bond said that the class will comprise business majors along with classics and history majors as well as a few undecided students.”I’m glad the economics and business majors are taking the course,” she said, “because I think it’s important to those departments, although it’s a class that’s normally taught within a classics department.”
The course syllabus describes ancient economies as dependent on complex financial markets plagued by fiscal collapses, inflation, and instability caused by debt and constant warfare and corruption. In exploring the relevancy of ancient economies for understanding modern economic systems, the impact of war, corruption and disease will be central themes of the course.
Towards the end of the course, the 20 students will divide into pairs to compare an ancient financial crisis with a modern one and will display posters of their work at the Spring Term Festival at the end of the semester.
Some of the comparisons from which students will choose are: the Great Depression and the French financial crisis of the early 19th century; the Bubonic Plague and various famines in the Middle Ages and the Plague of Justinian in the 6th century; Roman hyperinflation and the tulip mania of the 1630’s; the debt crisis under Solon in the early 6th century and the Greek debt crisis today.
“Another financial crisis they could choose is the financial crisis of warfare,” said Bond. “The Peloponnesian War from 431 to 404 BC caused a major crisis in the Hellenistic world because Athens over extended itself by going on the Sicilian Expedition. So students will compare that in large part with the ravages following World War I and World War II.”
During the four-week course, one week will be spent examining one of the biggest financial crises that the Western world has ever seen—the Crisis of the Third Century.
“Essentially, people would say that it was the beginning of the ‘fall’ of Rome,” said Bond, who specializes in this period. “Money was devalued, inflation went crazy, there was a high turnover of emperors and everybody was getting killed. I think that crisis is important, because a mix of factors created it as opposed to just one thing. That’s just like our recent financial crisis in America that was a confluence of many different things such as corruption and deregulation on Wall Street and people taking out home loans they couldn’t afford. Part of showing the complexity of the ancient economy is to needle out those factors and show that there a lot of different stories coming together.”
The course will also look at whether the ancient economy was ‘primitive’ or ‘modern,’ something that people have argued about for a long time. “Some of the leading scholars, especially in Britain in the 1970’s, argued that the ancient economy was very primitive and that it has evolved and become more complex over time,” said Bond. “So that’s the evolutionary model of the economy.”
“But an increasing number of scholars in the 1990’s and 2000’s say that the ancient economy was quite complex and we don’t give enough credit for how complicated it was, which is the view I agree with. I think it was actually much more advanced and nuanced and that the idea of progress is false and misleading. Because if we are really progressing, why do we keep regressing back into financial crises? History is much more cyclical than most people think it is and, in the end, we’re really very much like our predecessors.”
Bond, who joined the W&L faculty as the Mellon Junior Fellow this year, received her Ph.D. in ancient history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from which she also received her M.A. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Virginia.
Washington and Lee Has Two Kemper Scholars
Two Washington and Lee University first-year students — Bayan Misaghi, of Charleston, W.Va., and Daniel Raubolt, of Acworth, Ga. — have been selected for the incoming class of the prestigious Kemper Scholars Program.
Each year, the James S. Kemper Foundation selects first-year students from its 16 participating schools to serve as Kemper Scholars. The scholarship-mentorship program has been sponsored by the James S. Kemper Foundation of Chicago since 1948.
This is the second year in a row that Washington and Lee has had two scholars named to the program, which normally chooses only one student from each institution.
“We are obviously pleased to have two more of our students selected,” said Rob Straughan, associate dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. “Both Bayan and Daniel were very impressive throughout the application and interview process.”
Misaghi belongs to the Williams Investment Society, conducts biology research under programs sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Grant, and plays first violin in the University-Shenandoah Orchestra.
“Given his varied interests and activities here, Bayan is a clear example of the liberal arts student. He has received awards in the sciences, been recognized for his potential in business, and contributes to campus music programs,” said Straughan. “In addition, Bayan’s perspectives on social justice struck me as thoughtful and mature for a young man of his age.”
Raubolt is also active in instrumental music and in community service at W&L. He is a black belt in tae kwon do.
“Daniel’s involvement through his high school years in the Odyssey of the Mind program are noteworthy not only for the championships his team won, but also for the applicability to potential careers in business,” Straughan said. “The sort of creative problem-solving and teamwork emphasized in Odyssey of the Mind requires broad knowledge and is the sort of thing strategy consulting firms, for example, look for in promising candidates.”
The Kemper Scholars Program’s mission is preparing students for leadership and service, especially in the fields of organizational administration and business. The foundation believes that undergraduate study of the liberal arts represents the best preparation for life and career. The program aims to promote education in the liberal arts while providing students with opportunities for career exploration and practical experience. The foundation’s experience shows that students learn the value of their liberal arts education for leadership by seeing how they use what they have learned when they work in a professional environment.
“Kemper Scholars represent the best undergraduates from a group of sixteen exemplary liberal arts colleges around the country,” explains Dr. Ryan LaHurd, president and executive director of the James S. Kemper Foundation. “They are selected because they are committed to their studies and service in their communities and because they have exhibited leadership and well-rounded, ethical character. Throughout the over six decades of the program, scholars have gone on to make outstanding contributions as leaders in organizations around the country.”
Kemper Scholars receive annual scholarships of up to $10,000 based on need during their sophomore, junior and senior years of college. They also receive stipends to cover the costs of their work as interns in major non-profit organizations in Chicago during the summer following their sophomore year. Scholars are placed in full-time administrative positions where they can learn about such things as financial management, organizational strategy, fund-raising and non-profit administration. During the Chicago summer, scholars live in the same apartment residence hall and participate in a weekly seminar while having opportunities to explore the cultural, historical and entertainment aspects of the city.
During the summer following their junior year, scholars are eligible for summer stipends to cover the costs of a learning opportunity in an internship in a for-profit corporation.
Each year, all Kemper Scholars attend a national conference to discuss summer projects, meet with former Kemper Scholars, and consider topics in administration, leadership and business. They periodically read and discuss major works on leadership, service, ethics or business, and they have frequent contact with Kemper Foundation staff to discuss the scholars’ academic and professional goals, as well as their hopes for future careers and learning opportunities.
Williams Gallery Exhibit Features Photography of Dennis Brack
“Recording History,” an exhibition of the photographs of veteran Washington photographer Dennis Brack, opens May 11 at Washington and Lee University, in the Williams Gallery of Huntley Hall on the W&L campus.
A 1962 graduate of Washington and Lee, Brack has chronicled 10 presidential administrations as well as the major news stories of the last five decades: civil rights, riots, wars, war protests, social issues and trends.
A member of Black Star photo agency, he has shot for the Washington Post and many other publications, including TIME and Newsweek magazines. One of the key features of the W&L exhibit will be a mosaic of his TIME and Newsweek covers.
He has won awards for his photography from the National Newspaper Photographers Association, the White House News Photographers Association and the World Press Association. He has served on the five-member board of the Still Photographers Gallery of the U.S. Senate and belongs to the executive committee of the White House News Photographers Association.
Brack will discuss his photography during an opening reception for the exhibition on Friday, May 11, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Prior to that reception, there will be a panel discussion, “Washington & Lens,” from 3 to 4 p.m. in Reid Hall on the W&L campus. In addition to Brack, panelists will be Scott Ferrell ’87, staff photographer for the National Journal and Congressional Quarterly; Bruce Young ’82, photojournalist with Roanoke’s FOX 21/27; and Jennifer Law Young, freelance multimedia specialist. Patrick Hinely ’73, Washington and Lee University photographer, will moderate the panel.
Production of “Recording History” was made possible through the generous support of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin, the archive for Brack’s photographs. All photographs are from that archive.
The Williams Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The gallery is in the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics.
W&L Spring Term Public Lecture by Johannes Anderegg
Johannes Anderegg, professor emeritus at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, will speak at Washington and Lee University on Thursday, May 3, at 4 p.m. in the Hillel House Multipurpose Room. The speech is sponsored by the Department of Religion and the Howerton Fund.
The title of Anderegg’s talk is “Visual Art in the Final Scenes of Goethe’s Faust.” The talk is free and open to the public.
Anderegg’s primary areas of specialization are literary theory, aesthetics, Goethe and German literature of the 18th and early 19th centuries. Goethe’s Faust can be regarded as one of the most important documents of the debate during that time on Christian belief, religious traditions and theology. Goethe’s knowledge of the Bible, of religious thought in general and of religious art greatly influenced his work.
Economist's Eye View of NFL Draft
For Washington and Lee economics professor Tim Diette, the chance to go to New York last weekend and see the National Football League draft up close was both entertaining and instructive.
Tim went at the invitation of his Lexington neighbor, Matthew Schucker, who won an all-expense-paid trip for four to the draft through a Facebook contest. Matthew is a band teacher at Maury River Middle School and a Philadelphia Eagles fan. As part of the contest, he announced the Eagles’ fourth-round draft choice on the final day of the draft (cornerback Brandon Boykin of Georgia, if you’re wondering).
So Tim found himself seated in the front rows at Radio City Music Hall for all three sessions of the draft. He also met NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Of course, Goodell is not unacquainted with Washington and Lee or Lexington. His niece is a current student; his brother, Bill, is a 1980 law grad and former trustee.
What intrigued Tim more than anything was the way the NFL has turned a business meeting into a three-day spectacle. “It really is remarkable when you think about what they’ve done,” he said. “You pull up to Radio City Music Hall, and it’s as if you’re coming to the Academy Awards with red carpets, the top-ranked players getting out of their SUVs and being greeted by adoring fans. Inside, it’s essentially a made-for-TV event, with the sets for ESPN and the NFL Network dominating the space. I was fortunate to have a spot up close; a lot of people were sitting behind one of the sets and couldn’t see the podium at all.
“The teams call the event the player-selection meeting, and all they’re doing is assigning college players to teams. It’s funny to me that what we were watching is not at all a sporting event but is made to seem like one. Ten minutes would go by, someone would walk to the podium and make an announcement, and then another 10 minutes would go by. There is virtually no real action, but the response of the fans makes it appear that things really are happening.”
Tim notes that when his neighbor, Matthew, rose to announce the Eagles’ choice, he was drowned out by boos from fans of the rival New York Giants and Washington Redskins, who were well represented at the event.
The bottom-line lesson for Tim was the power of marketing: “It’s remarkable, the level of loyalty that the NFL has successfully generated in fans, so that they have this intense interest in every part of the enterprise.”
Book by W&L's Pamela Simpson Published Posthumously
When Pamela Simpson, the Ernest Williams II Professor of Art History at Washington and Lee University, would tell people she was writing a history of corn palaces and butter sculptures, a common response was a blank stare and a “What?”
Simpson included that anecdote in the preface to her new book, “Corn Palaces and Butter Queens: A History of Crop Art and Dairy Sculpture” (University of Minnesota Press, April 2012). A popular and influential professor at W&L for 38 years, she had completed all but the index of the publication before she died on Oct. 4, 2011.
More than just an entertaining history of one of America’s art forms, “Corn Palaces and Butter Queens” “will be THE book to fully document this sometimes odd but fascinating area of American cultural history,” wrote Colleen Sheehy, author of “Seed Queen: The Story of Crop Art and the Amazing Lillian Colton,” in her review.
Simpson spent 12 years researching the subject, about which little had been written. She first discovered it as a graduate student preparing her master’s thesis about Cass Gilbert’s buildings at the Saint Louis 1904 World’s Fair. “The official histories of the exposition pictured amazing exhibits in the Agricultural Building, including a corn-covered classical temple, a model of the California State House in almonds, and Teddy Roosevelt in butter. I promised myself that someday I would learn more about them,” Simpson wrote in the preface.
The result is a book that the publisher describes as a fascinating and comprehensive history of 1870 to 1930, when large exhibition buildings everywhere from county fairs to world festivals were adorned with grains, fruits and vegetables, and contained sculptures made from dairy products.
Simpson’s research included period newspapers, official government reports and historical collections from places in the Midwest that hosted festivals and fairs that featured such artworks. She aimed to reveal the ideas, beliefs, practices and motives of the period, with its attendant values.”Not only is the outrageousness of using food to make sculpture or to clad a building of interest,” she wrote, “the aim is to learn what these objects embodied for those who sponsored them, created them and viewed them.”
“One of Pamela’s talents was to take very ordinary architectural or artistic expressions and really dig in and see what was behind them and what the implications were. It’s a very scholarly book,” said Delos Hughes, emeritus professor of politics at W&L, and a good friend of Simpson.
Simpson also found archival and photographic collections in major libraries in the United States, Canada and Britain, and postcards, advertising cards and stereo views on eBay. As a result, the book is richly illustrated with many never-before-seen images.
Simpson was the first female tenure-track professor at W&L. The first woman to receive an endowed chair, she was named the inaugural Ernest Williams II Professor of Art History in 1993. She earned a B.A. in art from Gettysburg College in 1968; an M.A. in art history from the University of Missouri in 1970; and a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Delaware in 1974.
“Corn Palaces and Butter Queens: A History of Crop Art and Dairy Sculpture” is available at bookstores and online, as well as at W&L’s University Store (http://bookstore.wlu.edu).