Feature Stories Campus Events

Arthur Brisbane, Former Public Editor of New York Times, to Teach at W&L

Arthur S. Brisbane, a longtime journalist who most recently served as public editor of The New York Times, will be the Visiting Knight Professor of Journalism Ethics at Washington and Lee University for the 2013-14 academic year.

Brisbane succeeds Edward Wasserman, who left after 10 years to become dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. The search for a permanent replacement for Wasserman will begin this summer.

“We are privileged to have someone with Art’s impressive journalistic background joining our faculty for the year,” said Pamela Luecke, head of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications and Donald W. Reynolds Professor of Business Journalism. “He will bring to the classroom current lessons about the ethical and financial challenges that news organizations face as they adapt to the digital age.”

In his role as Knight Professor, Brisbane will teach courses in journalism and media ethics and will spearhead the two ethics institutes that the department stages each year. Those two-day institutes bring practitioners in communications fields to campus, where they join W&L students who are majoring in journalism and mass communications to explore ethical challenges based on case studies.

Brisbane will also teach a course titled Media Management and Entrepreneurship next fall and will offer an additional course in the 2014 winter term.

“It’s been 17 years since the Society of Professional Journalists updated its code of ethics. In digital-age years, that’s a century,” said Eric Newton, senior adviser to the president at Knight Foundation. “Yet an ethical compass is essential to our survival as a profession. Art will bring fresh thinking to the key issues.”

Brisbane has been a columnist and reporter at the Kansas City Times, a reporter and editor at the Washington Post, the editor and publisher of the Kansas City Star and a senior executive at Knight Ridder.

A graduate of Harvard College, he worked at the Kansas City Times from 1977 to 1984, writing a four-times-a-week column, and published a book of columns, “Arthur Brisbane’s Kansas City,” in 1982.

He joined the Post in 1984 and, as city hall beat reporter, covered Marion Barry during his second term as mayor of the District of Columbia. He also covered agricultural affairs on the national desk and was an assistant city editor, overseeing the District of Columbia city government beat and investigative reporters.

In 1990, he became a metro columnist for the Kansas City Star. He was elevated to editor of the Star in 1992, and helped launch kansascity.com, a local web portal that won national recognition. Under his editorship, the Star was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 and won a George Polk Award in 1995. He became publisher of the Star in 1997 and was then named senior vice president of Knight Ridder in 2005.  In that capacity, he oversaw the business operations of Knight Ridder’s papers in Philadelphia, Fort Worth, Kansas City, Mo., and Charlotte, N.C.

From 2007–2010, he served as a consultant with ASB Consulting and then joined The New York Times for a two-year stint as public editor, from 2010 to 2012. He was The Times’ fourth public editor, a position created in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal. In that role, he served as the readers’ representative, responding to complaints and monitoring the newspaper’s ethics. His column ran in The Sunday Review (previously “Week in Review) section of The Times..

Knight Foundation has established endowed chairs in journalism at top universities throughout the country. Holders of the chairs are leading journalists who, like Brisbane, teach innovative classes and create experimental projects and new programs that help lead journalism excellence in the digital age. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.

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

New Data on Impact of Campus Kitchen at W&L

A recent study by Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, has quantified the significant impact that Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee is having on the Rockbridge area.

According to the data, 4,640 individuals deal with “food insecurity” in the Rockbridge area (Rockbridge County, Buena Vista and Lexington). That figure includes 1,400 children.

Campus Kitchen serves 717 community members and is, therefore, reaching about 15 percent of the risk population. Since 500 of CKWL’s clients are children, the organization is currently reaching about 36 percent of kids dealing with food insecurity.

One of CKWL’s most effective programs for children is its Weekend Backpack Program, which provides backpacks filled with non-perishable food to the schools and targets children who are eligible for free or reduced lunches. All seven elementary schools in Rockbridge County participate in the program.

Campus Kitchen is now in the running for a $20,000 grant as part of the Walmart Fighting Hunger Together program. That grant would be used to support an expansion of the Backpack Program into the middle and high schools. Voting is exclusively on Facebook and runs throughout  April. Watch the CKWL Facebook page for details about voting in the coming weeks.

W&L Announces Eight Johnson Opportunity Grants for 2013

Washington and Lee University has announced the first round of Johnson Opportunity Grants for 2013, naming eight undergraduates to receive awards to support their research activities during the upcoming summer.

The students’ activities are varied and include living in an “ecovillage” in Illinois; working with Engineers Without Borders in Bolivia; presenting research at the International Conference of Statistical Physics; interning in a cardiology hospital in Bulgaria; researching tourism in Greenland; tutoring children in Ecuador; improving medical access in Ghana; and participating in a healthcare project in Peru.

The grants are 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.

  • Jenny Bulley, a junior from Gainesville, Ga., will intern at the UNESCO World Heritage Area Ilulissat Icefjord Office in Illulissat Greenland, a town of 5,000 on the west coast of the island. It is home to the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, the largest tourism destination in Greenland and the most researched glacier in the world. Bulley will conduct development research through surveys and interviews to analyze the economic value of the icefjord and will also lead communications projects. She plans to use her experience with underserved populations to develop a mutually beneficial partnership between the office and the Inuit population. Bulley is an economics major with a minor in poverty and human capability studies. She hopes to pursue a career in international developmental economics through corporate social responsibility. She is the community coordinator for the Generals’ Christian Fellowship and a Bonner Scholar.
  • Janey Fugate, a sophomore from Atlanta Ga., will spend four weeks tutoring children at Fundación Casa Victoria in Quito, Ecuador, on behalf of Washington and Lee’s student-operated General Development Initiative (GenDev), which provides the project with micro-financing. She will also spend time monitoring another GenDev project in a small agricultural village north of Quito and investigate other potential micro-financing projects in the area. Fugate is a romance languages and journalism double major, a member of the W&L track and field team, and teaches English to Hispanic families on behalf of English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). She is also a staff writer for W&L’s Ring-Tum Phi student newspaper.
  • Nicole Gunawansa will spend the summer improving medical access and education for impoverished Ghanaians. A junior neuroscience major from Portsmouth, Va., she will work at a community clinic in the small coastal town of  Ada and the Apostolic Academy in Ashaiman, teaching the children creative arts, grammar and computer literacy. She hopes to help health care workers develop better relationships with patients and reach out to isolated members of the community who are otherwise unable to receive appropriate medical treatment. She is a member of the Washington and Lee Chamber Singers, a member of AmeriCorps and a Bonner Scholar. Gunawansa’s community service includes the W&L Campus Kitchen, tutoring at the Maury River Middle School through the NEXT program and volunteering at the Rockbridge Area Free Clinic.
  • Cort Hammond, a sophomore from Seattle, Wash., will work with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) to improve water quality in Pampoyo, Bolivia, a community that is without access to sanitation systems. He will help complete a project to provide clean water by reducing the flow of organic contaminants and pathogens into the water supply. This will be accomplished by constructing two composting latrines — simple, durable concrete structures that are easy and cheap to operate. Hammond is a double major in chemistry-engineering and environmental studies. He hopes to participate in a Peace Corps mission after graduation and sees his Johnson-funded project as a logical step in preparation for doing so. He is a Johnson Scholar at W&L and volunteers at the Rockbridge Area Relief Association as well as tutoring at Waddell Elementary School.
  • Katie Hintz is a junior from Weymouth, Maine. She will complete an internship with Global Crossroad, participating in their Healthcare and Medical Project in Cusco, Peru. Her specific responsibilities will be based on the needs of the community and may include public outreach and education, observing and assisting healthcare professionals, organizing and executing public health campaigns and assisting at health clinics. Hintz is a biology major, and she hopes to establish a career in public health with the ultimate aim of helping to establish healthcare systems in developing countries with extreme need. She is Johnson Scholar at W&L and a member of Women in Technology and Science (WITS) and tutors middle school children in a variety of subjects.
  • Mikael Horissian is a sophomore from Lewisburg, Pa., with a double major in chemistry and neuroscience. A pre-med student, he aims to gain clinical experience by interning at the National Heart Hospital in Sofia, Bulgaria. It is the largest hospital in Bulgaria specializing in cardiology and the only one specializing in pediatric cardiac surgery. He is a native speaker of Bulgarian and will observe and/or participate in doctor-patient daily interactions, examinations, surgeries and intensive care unit work. He is a Johnson Scholar at W&L.
  • Vincent Kim, a junior from Grand Blanc, Mich., is a double major in physics and engineering and global politics with a minor in poverty and human capabilities studies. He will attend the 25th International Conference of Statistical Physics, which is held every three years by the International Union for Pure and Applied Physics. The conference aims to create a summary of the general field of statistical physics and to promote interaction among scientists involved in related research. Kim will both attend the conference presentations and present research by a team of W&L students and faculty that was published in the “Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment.” He is a member of W&L’s men’s tennis team, the global outreach chair for English as a Second Language (ESOL) and a Johnson Scholar.
  • James McCullum, a sophomore from Hallowell, Maine, will live and work in an intentional ecological community in Illinois and attend a Permaculture Design Course in order to learn skills to apply to the study of earth systems. The “ecovillage” strives for self-sufficiency with organic farmland and orchards, certified wildlife habitats, cooperative businesses and solar, wind and water harvesting operations. McCullum is a geology major and the environmental chair of W&L’s Nabors Service League and an advocate for a permaculture demonstration site on campus.

Additional students will be selected for 2013 Johnson Opportunity Grants and will be announced at a later date.

News Contact:
Sarah Tschiggfrie
News Director

Lacey Putney '50, '57L Announces Retirement from Virginia House of Delegates

When he made a surprise announcement last night (Wednesday, March 27) that he would not seek reelection this November to the Virginia House of Delegates, Washington and Lee alumnus Lacey Putney, ’50, ’57 Law, provided perspective on his career in one sentence.

He wrote in an e-mail: “When first elected in 1961, I had no plans to seek a second term.”

But he did seek a second term, then a third, and a fourth, and on and on. An independent from Virginia’s 19th District, Lacey has served 52 years, longer than any other legislator in the commonwealth’s history. Unsurprisingly, the 84-year-old made it plain that he will continue to serve his constituents for the next nine months.

His final day on the House floor will probably be April 3, during a one-day session when the General Assembly considers gubernatorial amendments and vetoes. Since he is chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee, which creates the state’s budget and establishes fiscal policy, he’ll continue to be busy through December.

Lacey suffered a minor stroke in January and missed a few days of the 2013 legislative session, but he recovered and returned to work. He has also undergone treatment for throat cancer.

According to an article in the Lynchburg News and Advance, Lacey has indicated he is most proud of a 2008 higher-education bond package that incorporated accountability measures in the distribution of funds. He also was a major supporter of the Virginia Horse Center just outside Lexington.

In January 2012, his colleagues in the House of Delegates honored him at the start of his 51st year. A special guest on that day was his fellow W&L alumnus, former U.S. Senator John W. Warner ’49. The two were friends during their undergraduate years. As Lacey told the gathering that day, “The only mistake that I know (John Warner) ever made was that he should have gone to law school at Washington and Lee, instead of U.Va.”

Zolotoj Plyos to Perform Russian Folk Music at W&L

Zolotoj Plyos, the colorful and popular Russian folk ensemble, is returning to Washington and Lee University with a new concert program. They will be performing on Friday, March 29, at 7 p.m. in Lee Chapel. The concert is free and open to the public.

Zolotoj Plyos was formed in 1994 and has toured all over the world singing and playing traditional Russian folk music. Their energetic performances highlight colorful folk costumes and a large variety of authentic folk instruments—including the balalaika, lozhki and garmoshka.

The members of Zolotoj Plyos group include Alexander Solovov, Elena Sadina and Sergei Gratchev, all of whom are graduates of the Saratov Music Conservatory in Russia.

The folk ensemble is sponsored by the Russian Area Studies Program at W&L.

Pulitzer Prize Winner Highlights Wolfe Seminar at W&L

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jennifer Egan will present the keynote address for Washington and Lee University’s 10th annual Tom Wolfe Weekend Seminar on Friday, April 5, at 4 p.m. in Lee Chapel.

Egan’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, will open the seminar, “New Ways of Knowing: Novelist as Journalist/Journalist as Novelist.” The event runs April 5–6.

Washington and Lee’s Class of 1951 established the seminar in honor of its classmate, award-winning author and journalist Tom Wolfe, who will be in attendance and will offer remarks during the weekend.

In addition to Egan, the seminar will feature Washington and Lee English professors and authors Jasmin Darznik and Chris Gavaler.

Egan’s 2010 novel, “A Visit from the Goon Squad,” won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and a National Book Critics Circle Award. Described as “groundbreaking” by the Chicago Tribune and “audacious” by the Philadelphia Inquirer, the novel focuses on the interwoven lives of several vividly drawn characters linked, sometimes loosely, by the music industry. “A Visit from the Goon Squad” presents a variety of voices and styles within a time frame of 40 years.

A New York Times reviewer wondered whether “this tough uncategorizable work of fiction is a novel, a collection of carefully arranged interlocking stories or simply a display of Ms. Egan’s extreme virtuosity.”

Egan’s other works include “Emerald City,” a collection of short stories, and the novels “The Keep,” “Invisible Circus,” which became a feature film starring Cameron Diaz, and “Look at Me,” a National Book Award finalist.

She was born in Chicago and raised in San Francisco. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library. Her non-fiction articles appear frequently in the New York Times Magazine. Her 2002 cover story on homeless children received the Carroll Kowal Journalism Award, and “The Bipolar Kid” received a 2009 NAMI Outstanding Media Award for Science and Health Reporting from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The two W&L professors who will join Egan at the seminar have extensive publication credits. Darznik’s memoir, “The Good Daughter,” was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into eight languages. She has published essays in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and other publications. Gavaler is the author of the novels “Pretend I’m Not Here” and “School for Tricksters,” along with numerous short stories and plays.

While the keynote address is open to the public, and members of the University community may attend the seminar without registering, others may register for the event by contacting the Office of Special Programs at (540) 458-8723. Additional details are available at http://www.wlu.edu/x59367.xml.

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

W&L’s Strong Receives Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant to Ireland

Robert Strong, interim provost and William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University, has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant to serve as the Mary Ball Washington Professor of American History at University College Dublin during the 2013–14 academic year.

As the Washington Professor, Strong will teach at UCD, present lectures at other Irish and United Kingdom universities and conduct his own research.

The Mary Ball Washington Chair was established as a full-time professorship in the School of History and Archives at University College Dublin in 1979 through the efforts of John D.J. Moore, former U.S. ambassador to Ireland, and with the support of a gift from the Alfred I. Du Pont Foundation.  Holders of the chair are visiting Americans who have expertise in American foreign policy or American history.

Since 1986, the chair has been filled by a U.S. academic under the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program. Over the years, such eminent scholars of American history and foreign policy as former U.S. Sen. George McGovern, Stephen Ambrose and Merrill Peterson have held the chair.

The author of books on Henry Kissinger and Jimmy Carter, Strong has focused his research on foreign policy decisions made by recent American presidents. He has worked for the past 30 years with scholars at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs, conducting oral history interviews with elected and appointed officials who have served in the cabinet and in the White House.  He hopes to complete a book next year based on interviews concerning the George Herbert Walker Bush administration.

Strong joined the Washington and Lee faculty in 1989 as head of the Politics Department and served in that capacity for 15 years. He was named the first associate provost at the University in 2008 and then became interim provost in 2011.

A graduate of Kenyon College, he earned his Ph.D. in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. He taught at Tulane University prior to joining W&L.

The Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program comprises approximately 40 distinguished lecturing, distinguished research and distinguished lecturing/research awards. They are viewed as among the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Scholar Program.

Michael Hanson '03 Honored by Photo Magazine

Photo District News (PDN), a monthly magazine for professional photographers, has named Washington and Lee alumnus Michael Hanson, of the Class of 2003, one of the world’s top 30 new and emerging photographers.

He was selected from among more than 300 photographers who submitted portfolios of their images last fall.

As we noted in a blog about Michael in November, when Outside magazine featured his photographs of Caribbean baseball, he was an all-American shortstop at W&L and spent two years in the Atlanta Braves baseball organization. While he was playing in the minors, Michael was also using his camera to document the lifestyle of the minor leagues.

He tells PDN that a National Geographic photographer and good friend, Joel Sartore, tried to talk him out of becoming a professional photographer. That, Michael said, was just the motivation that he needed.

Among his recent projects is the book that he and his brother, David, of the Class of 2000, did on urban farms, which was featured in W&L: The Washington and Lee University Alumni Magazine. The Hanson brothers are now beginning a film and photo documentary about the Chattahoochee River in Georgia and Florida.

Asked to name his greatest challenge, Michael told PDN:  “Trying to carve out time away from photography and travel to maintain a somewhat normal life … Early in my career, the rollercoaster ride of work was a challenge. Some months were great and some were terrible and that wave can be difficult to manage … Luckily, work has been steady for the past few years which has allowed me to really love the days off or fill those days with personal work.”

W&L Students Lend a Hand

Washington and Lee students continue to contribute to the Lexington and Rockbridge community — and even beyond — in numerous ways throughout the academic year.

Two of the most recent examples are a new Habitat for Humanity initiative and a partnership with Fear 2 Freedom, a non-profit organization that aids individuals who have been sexually assaulted or abused.

The University’s Habitat for Humanity Chapter staged a 3-on-3 basketball tournament in Doremus Gymnasium earlier this month. It drew 11 teams and  raised $600 for the Rockbridge Area Habitat for Humanity.

Meanwhile, W&L students partnered with Fear 2 Freedom by assembling after-care kits for sexual assault and abuse victims. They then gave the kits to Augusta Health Center, in Fishersville, Va.

Fear 2 Freedom was founded in 2011 by Rosemary Trible, a rape survivor and the wife of Washington and Lee alumnus Paul S. Trible Jr. ’71L, former U.S. senator from Virginia and current president of Christopher Newport University. Rosemary Trible’s 2010 book, “Fear to Freedom,” tells the story of her rape at gunpoint in 1975, her recovery, and how she has reached out to others who have experienced a similar trauma.

When a rape victim goes to the hospital for an exam to recover physical evidence, his or her clothes are kept as evidence. The W&L students made care packages for victims, containing toiletries such as toothbrushes, hairbrushes and washcloths, and clothing intended to replace personal effects that are held for evidence. The kits are different for those 12 and under and for those 13 through adult.

Fear 2 Freedom’s goal is “restoring joy” to those who have been sexually assaulted or abused. They use a 2 in their name in reference to the statistic that someone is assaulted in the U.S. every 2 minutes.

“The Rockbridge Report,” the award-winning website and television news program produced by W&L journalism students, reported on the Fear 2 Freedom project, including an interview with Rosemary Trible. You can watch that report below:

W&L Paintings Star in Colonial Williamsburg Exhibition

Five gems from the art collection of Washington and Lee grace a major exhibition of Southern paintings that opened at Colonial Williamsburg’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum this past weekend, on March 23.

“Painters and Paintings in the Early American South” presents more than 80 works by such famed artists as Charles Willson Peale and John Singleton Copley.

W&L’s contributions depict members of the Washington and Custis families, all painted between the mid- to late 18th century: Charles Willson Peale’s “George Washington as Colonel in the Virginia Regiment”; John Wollaston’s “Martha Dandridge Custis (Washington)”; Nehemiah Partridge’s “Frances Parke Custis (daughter)”; and Robert Edge Pine’s “George Washington Parke Custis” and “Elizabeth Parke Custis.”

“This is not the first time we’ve loaned artwork,” says Patricia Hobbs, associate director of University collections. “These paintings are in high demand because of their historical significance.”

President Custis Lee, president of W&L from 1871-1897, gave the Peale portrait of Washington to the University after he left the presidency. He loaned the other portraits to the W&L Art Gallery; they came to W&L for good in a bequest from his sister, Mary Custis Lee.

Another W&L painting, “John Custis IV (‘Tulip’ Custis),” possibly a c. 1740 copy by Charles Bridges, highlights another exhibit at the same gallery, “Masterworks.”

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