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
jhanna@wlu.edu
(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
stschiggfrie@wlu.edu
540-458-8235


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
jhanna@wlu.edu
(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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W&L Law Prof’s New Book Says Crisis Nothing New for Legal Profession

Crisis? What Crisis?

This is how Washington and Lee Law Professor James E. Moliterno would sum up the U.S. legal profession’s reaction when facing challenging times. In reality, the legal profession has faced a crisis of one sort or another every 10-20 years going back one hundred years. But what troubles Moliterno is how the U.S. legal system has reacted to these challenges.

“The American Legal Profession acts like it has eyes in the back of its head and none in the front,” says Moliterno. “Time after time, when faced with a self-perceived crisis, the legal profession has tried to maintain the status quo by retreating to its traditional values and structure and throwing up walls to block whatever threatens it.”

The result, says Moliterno, is that the main governing structures of the American legal system have been at best idle bystanders to some of the most important cultural and political shifts in the nation’s recent history rather than leaders and agents of change.

Moliterno details all this in his new book from Oxford University Press titled “The American Legal System in Crisis.” In it, Moliterno covers everything from recent challenges such as the explosion of technology and globalization back to the waves of immigration in the early twentieth century, examining how the legal profession reacted to these events.

Moliterno argues that these reactions usually took one of two forms.

“Sometimes, the legal profession reacted by doing nothing, as was the case when the ABA officially opted out of the civil rights movement during the 1960’s. But with other issues, the profession reacted with additional rules and structural changes meant to preserve the world as they knew it.”

For example, when eastern and southern European immigrants began to pursue careers as lawyers in the early 20th Century, the ABA prohibited advertising and put limits on contingent fees, two actions that hurt the lawyers’ ability to serve their clients, who were mostly low income laborers with worker’s injury claims. In addition, the ABA and Association of American Law Schools created entry barriers to the profession by establishing educational requirements designed to prevent immigrants and the poor from becoming lawyers.

“There is certainly nothing wrong with educational requirements in order to be a lawyer,” notes Moliterno. “But in this case the change was made expressly to preserve the status quo and exclude those from the profession that the establishment did not think belonged.”

To be clear, when Moliterno talks about “The Legal Profession” he is not talking about individual attorneys or even law firms, both of which have played major proactive roles in the different crises the book covers. He is referring to organizational structures and institutions, like the ABA and AALS as well as state bar associations and state supreme courts.

“Individual lawyers and law firms have often been at odds with their leadership organizations during these times of crisis,” says Moliterno. “This has never been more clear than during our current challenge, that created by advances in technology, the globalization of legal practice, and the economic downturn.”

Moliterno says that firms and lawyer/entreprenuers have suffered from the opposition of governing organizations to new revenue models and innovative methods of delivering legal services. For example, corporate investment in law firms, prohibited in the U.S., has allowed law firms in England to surge ahead of their American competitors in the global market for legal services.

What makes it worse, says Moliterno, is that the resistance is clearly pointless, that is, if the past is at all predictive of the future.

“The American legal system protests but always loses these fights as the world changes around it,” says Moliterno. “These shifts in society, culture, technology, and economics cannot be ignored forever. And so changes are eventually made to rules and structures, but really, the legal profession at that point is just playing catch-up with reality.”

A simple example from the world of technology illustrates this point. An ABA ethics committee only last year modified its rules to include references to email and other forms of electronic communication as methods of correspondence between lawyers and clients.

Moliterno is sympathetic to the legal profession’s default reaction to change, as it is born of the way in which lawyers are trained from day one of law school.

“We are after all trained to look at precedent, to look to the past to tell us what we should do today,” says Moliterno. “But the American legal profession needs to be equally forward looking to allow the profession to grow with society, solve problems with, rather than against, the flow of society, and be more attuned to the very society the profession claims to serve.”

The American Legal Profession in Crisis” is available now from Oxford University Press.

About the Author

James E. Moliterno is Vincent Bradford Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law. Moliterno is an acknowledged international expert in legal ethics and professionalism, and has traveled throughout the world to help countries develop ethics policies and training programs. Since joining Washington and Lee in 2009, Moliterno has helped design and implement W&L’s innovative third-year curriculum, which consists entirely of practice-based simulations, real client experiences, and advanced explorations into legal ethics and professionalism. Moliterno’s recent publications include “Cases and Materials on the Law Governing Lawyers” and “The Litigation Department Lawyer,” an outgrowth of his work developing litigation-based practicum courses for the School.

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


Two Local Alums Reunite for Art

Even if you are not attending Alumni Weekend on May 2–4, you’ll want to see an exhibit by two members of the Class of 1973, both of whom live in Lexington and will be celebrating their 40th reunion.

“Recent Work by Two Guys Who Came Back and Stayed” comprises paintings by Michael Kopald and photographs by Patrick Hinely. It opened in the Kamen Gallery of the Lenfest Center on March 1 and runs through June 1. It’s a reprise of the show they mounted for their 25th reunion, “Two Guys Who Came Back.”

Hinely has worked at W&L since 1980 as University photographer. In addition to documenting the life of the campus and producing the Annual Fund calendar, he portrays jazz musicians with his lens. He says these current photographs are “souvenirs from far and near.”

Kopald has lived in Lexington since 1975. While a student, he worked with I-Hsiung Ju, artist-in-residence at W&L and professor of art. They remained friends until Ju’s passing a year ago. Kopald’s works are, he says, “no more or less the result of his continuing practice in Chinese Brush painting.”

You can read more about Kamen Gallery’s exhibits here.


W&L Sophomore Wins Davis Projects for Peace Grant

Emmanuel Abebrese, a Washington and Lee University sophomore, has won a $10,000 grant from the Davis Projects for Peace 2013. Abebrese, a native of Ghana, will use the award to carry out initiatives at Ashaiman Apostolic Academy Mission School in Ghana.

A biochemistry major who graduated from Freedom High School in Woodbridge, Va., Abebrese developed his successful proposal after spending part of a summer working at the school in Ashaiman as a Holleman Fellow in W&L’s Shepherd Poverty Program.

“I spent part of that fellowship teaching creative arts, math and biology at the Apostolic Academy,” said Abebrese, who intends to go to medical school and become a medical missionary. “I also spent part of my time at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research at the University of Ghana, where I was working on malaria.

“That summer experience helped give me a sense of both health care and education in impoverished communities in Ghana.”

With that experience as background, Abebrese wrote a proposal to the Davis Projects for Peace that focused on improving both the physical structure and physical surroundings of the Apostolic School facilities, as well as helping to mentor students and give them online access to better learning resources.

He plans to help the leaders of the school with their expansion project not only with funds from the prize but also by working on the construction himself this summer. In addition, he intends to continue the relationship with the school and its students once he is back at Washington and Lee next academic year by using the Internet and a webcam to maintain contact, to motivate the students and to track their progress.

Abebrese titled his proposal “Equipping Future Leaders,” and his goal is to provide necessary resources for advanced learning and self-developing in order to prepare the students for future leadership roles in Ghana.

“Emmanuel’s proposal was very well organized and articulated,” said Laurent Boetsch, director of international education at Washington and Lee. “It is ambitious in its objectives, and its objectives are meaningful.”

This is the sixth consecutive year W&L students have won one of the grants. W&L is one of more than 90 colleges and universities eligible to receive funds from the Davis Projects for Peace because they participate in the Davis program, which provides scholarships to students who attend the United World Colleges, a series of international high schools around the world.

Projects for Peace is part of the Davis United World College Scholars Program, based in Middlebury, Vt. Kathryn Wasserman Davis, a philanthropist and the widow of Shelby Cullom Davis, a businessman and former U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, has put up $1 million in each of the past four years to fund 100 Projects for Peace.

Now 106 years old, Kathryn Wasserman Davis launched the initiative on the occasion of her 100th birthday in 2007, to challenge college students to undertake meaningful and innovative projects. Designed to encourage and support motivated youth to create and implement their ideas for building peace through the world in the 21st century, each of the projects receives $10,000 in funding each year.

Previous W&L Peace Prize winners:

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

Tyler Grant '12 Putting Fulbright Fellowship to Good Use

Tyler Grant, a 2012 graduate of Washington and Lee, is currently a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Taiwan. A double major in politics and East Asian languages and literature, he chose Taiwan to further his studies of Chinese and to continue his political studies. On this latter score, Tyler has published three op-eds about issues related to his research on international relations.

Most recently, Tyler wrote “Citizenship of Convenience” for YaleGlobal Online, a publication of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. He explores issues related to last fall’s decision by the U.S. to add Taiwan to the Visa Waiver Program.

“Lifting travel-visa requirements for Taiwanese will undoubtedly ease the challenges to birth tourism and add to the US immigration problem,” he writes, concluding that “the United States and Taiwan must work together to regulate transient citizens who seek benefits and rights without taking on the responsibilities of citizenship – or the consequences could be costly, ruining travel opportunities for all.”

Last December, Tyler published an op-ed about “birth tourists” in the Richmond Times-Dispatch that touched on some of the same issues.

And not long after he started his fellowship last summer, Tyler wrote about Sino-U.S. relations in connection with the presidential election in the Roanoke Times.

While at W&L, Tyler spent a summer teaching in China as a volunteer with Harvard World Teach on a Johnson Opportunity Grant.


Williams Investment Society at W&L Bets on PB&J

When Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway announced it was joining with the Brazilian investment group 3G Capital to buy H.J. Heinz Co. for $23.3 billion, members of the Williams Investment Society (WIS) at Washington and Lee University began to look for a new investment themselves.

WIS is a student organization that manages what is currently about $1.6 million of W&L’s endowment in equity securities.

Because the Buffet purchase would take Heinz from a publicly traded company to privately owned, the student directors of WIS decided they could better allocate the $112,000 of capital elsewhere rather than continuing to hold their 1,550 shares of Heinz. They purchased the shares in November 2008 and added additional shares in March 2010. When they liquidated the shares, they realized a $45,000 gain on their investment — approximately 50 percent.

Heinz was the society’s largest holding. So the next question was where to allocate the capital.

Their answer? The J.M. Smucker Co., popularly known as Smucker’s.

As they analyzed the possibilities, the WIS students decided to stick with a company with staples that should provide steady demand.

“Heinz ketchup and other core products are the foundation of diets across the world,” explained David Fishman, a Washington and Lee junior who is executive director of WIS. He’s from Westfield, N.J. “As incomes increase in emerging market populations, there’s going to be an increased demand for these sorts of staple products. We take these supplementary foods for granted, but more people in emerging markets are incorporating them into their diet. That will benefit Heinz and ensure its continued growth. And that’s why Smucker’s will continue to grow in the future as well. Also, don’t have much volatility, and we think this industry is going to be a pretty stable investment regardless of whether the economy is in a recession or a boom.”

According to Fishman, the 50 percent return on investment from Heinz was good but not a record for WIS, which has sold some of its investments for a 100 percent return or more.

Henry Portwood, a junior business accounting major from Atlanta, leads the society’s consumer staples group — one of nine industry groups designed to mirror the S&P 500. In recommending the sale of Heinz and subsequent purchase of Smucker’s, Portwood said, he and his colleagues in the group had whittled their way down from a dozen possibilities.

“We spend most of our time discussing potential stocks with our individual industry groups,” said Portwood. “But we also reach out and get all the information we can. None of us is an expert. In addition to talking with David, we’ll typically have conversations with faculty members and have begun having regular discussions with alumni who act as advisors in the various industry groups.

“We take it very seriously. I was really impressed when I found out just what WIS does. It’s the best real-world investing experience you can get as an undergrad.”

As an example of the organization’s success in managing its stock, Fishman points to the WIS holdings in Dollar Tree, which currently has an unrealized gain of approximately 140 percent.

“Dollar Tree is doing well primarily because of the elevated U6 rate, which incorporates unemployed, underemployed and discouraged workers,” said Fishman. “Consumers are suffering from decreased discretionary income, which translates into people purchasing Dollar Tree’s cheaper goods in order to reduce household expenditures. Still, the American economy is forecast to continue its tepid-to-moderate expansion into the foreseeable future. As this drives the U6 rate lower, stimulating consumption of higher-end products, the economic outlook might not bode as well for Dollar Tree’s sales, so we’ll have to consider these headwinds going forward.”

• Download the Fall 2012 Williams Investment Society Portfolio and Market Outlet (pdf)

The 10 voting members of WIS decide which shares to hold, buy or sell. A 60 percent majority is required to make such a decision.

In addition to consumer staples, the WIS members are divided into basic materials; consumer discretionary; energy; financials; health care; industrials; technology; and utilities/telecom. The groups range from three to five students, and each industry head makes a presentation once a semester on an equity that the group thinks is worth either buying or selling.

Students must apply for one of the spots in the society, which is open to any undergraduate. Among the questions that they must answer on the application is which stock in the current WIS portfolio they would sell, and why. They are also asked to name a stock in which they would invest and to explain why.

Since the society’s inception in 1998, WIS has outperformed the S&P 500, although it hasn’t performed as well during the past five years due to higher volatility during the 2007–2008 economic downturn. But things have steadily improved and, over the past two months, WIS’ net asset value has increased from $1.58 million to $1.65 million.

WIS was a principal reason Fishman chose Washington and Lee, since the society offered him and his colleagues the chance to invest actual money.

A double major in accounting and business administration and economics, Fishman said: “I was looking for a college that would give me very good exposure to finance. Although W&L doesn’t have a major in finance, WIS gives me valuable experience in key concepts such as valuation and equity research that complements my academic studies in accounting and economics.”

Adam Schwartz, the Lawrence Term Professor of Business Administration, advises WIS along with Robert Culpepper ’66, ’69L, visiting professor of business administration. The Lawrence Term Professorship held by Schwartz was endowed by a gift from Larry and Sally Lawrence, parents of three W&L grads. The Lawrences wanted to recognize the important role faculty advisers have in the experience of the investment society, and their professorship rotates among the faculty who work with WIS.

“WIS is ‘experiential learning’ at its best,” Schwartz said. “Through their participation, W&L students have the chance to learn about investments and financial analysis by managing a million-dollar portfolio. It’s also a great deal of fun.”

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

Keel Laid for U.S.S. John Warner

In a ceremony at the Newport News Shipyard last Saturday (March 16), the keel was laid on the U.S.S. John Warner (SSN 785), a Virginia-class fast attack submarine named for Washington and Lee alumnus John Warner, of the Class of 1949.

Naming the boat for Sen. Warner was a major break with tradition. For years, the U.S. has named its two large classes of attack submarines for cities and states. The two exceptions to those traditions are the Los Angeles-class submarine, the U.S.S. Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 709), which was built in the 1980s, and now the John Warner (the ship).

John Warner (the person) was, of course, the second-longest-serving Virginia member of the U.S. Senate when he retired in 2009. A Navy veteran before he entered W&L and a former Secretary of the Navy, he chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In his remarks at the event, the senator said: “This ship and its design and its sister ships are one of the most invulnerable platforms in the entire arsenal of our military. It has in it every single bit of high technology that can be brought to bear by the magnificent manufacturing base, educational base, laboratory base in this country. Nothing has been spared so that the crew of this ship for years and years and decades to come can help preserve our nation’s most valued treasure, and that is freedom.”

The boat is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in 2015. Warner helped initiate the arrangement under which Newport News Shipbuilding, a unit of Huntington Ingalls Industries, partners with General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Conn., to build the boats.

John’s wife, Jeanne Warner, is the ship’s sponsor. The two of them chalked their initials onto a metal plate; their initials were then welded onto that plate, which will be permanently affixed to the ship’s hull. Putting the ship’s sponsor’s initials on a ship is a time-honored Navy tradition, but adding the initials of the submarine’s namesake’s was unique.

In an editorial celebrating the event, the Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote: “Warner’s tenure on the Armed Services Committee reflected his abiding concerns regarding national security. He strove to ensure America’s military pre-eminence but was not a jingoist.”

A video of the entire ceremony is available here, on the Newport News Shipbuilding site.


Duke Cancelmo Is Final Speaker in W&L's Good Life Series

Richard P. “Duke” Cancelmo Jr., a partner with Bridgeway Capital, an investment management company based in Houston, will address the issue of work and the good life as the final speaker in Washington and Lee’s yearlong “Questioning the Good Life” interdisciplinary seminar series. His talk is Thursday, March 28, at 4:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

The title of Cancelmo’s talk is “The Good Life: Can Your Work Life Become Your Life’s Work?” It is open to the public at no charge.

Cancelmo envisions a society operating under the principle that work and the good life are compatible. His talk explores his views on the links between purpose, leadership, service, social well-being and corporate philosophy.

A member of W&L’s Class of 1980, he has more than 30 years of investment industry experience, including five years with Cancelmo Capital and positions with Paine Webber, Rotan Mosle in Houston and Casella Securities on the options floor of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.

According to Cancelmo, the mission of Bridgeway Capital is to contribute to the enrichment of the local community and the world by establishing a work environment dedicated to ensuring that workers flourish, rather than a traditional corporate focus on profitability.

Cancelmo believes that “employees prosper, and feel happy and empowered, when they are able to integrate their work life with philanthropy while also being able to participate as full partners in business decision making.”

Half of Bridgeway Capital’s after-tax profits are distributed to charitable organizations each year, with employees staffing the committees that distribute the funds.

Cancelmo holds a B.A. in American history from Washington and Lee. He is an active member of the West U Rotary Club in Houston, is a board member of the Southwest Health Technology Foundation and serves on the Advisory Board of W&L’s Shepherd Poverty Program. In addition, he is an active member of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.

“Questioning the Good Life” featured six visiting speakers, including Cancelmo, during the 2012-2013 academic year, each of whom is recognized as a leader in their respective disciplines (economics, literature, philosophy, psychology/sociology, neuroscience and business). The speakers have brought their considerable insight and expertise to bear on the topic of happiness.

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

Notre Dame Professor to Give Shannon-Clark Lecture

Laura Dassow Walls, the Willliam P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, will give the Shannon-Clark lecture at Washington and Lee University. Walls will speak on Thursday, March 28, at 8 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of her talk is “Transcendental Counterfrictions: Thoreau and the Machine.” It is free and open to the public.

Walls’ works are in the transdisciplinary field of literature and science, with a focus on the 19th century. Her work is based in American literature, centered particularly in Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and American Transcendentalism.

She is the author of “The Passage to Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Shaping of America” (Chicago, 2009), which was awarded the Merle Curti Prize for Intellectual History by the Organization of American Historians, the James Russell Lowell Prize for Literary Studies by the Modern Language Association and the Kendrick Prize for Literature and Science by the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts.

Walls edited “The Oxford Guide to Transcendentalism” (2010) and “More Day to Dawn: Thoreau’s ‘Walden’ for a New Century” (2007). Recent co-edited articles include “The Cosmopolitan Project of Louisa May Alcott,”  “From the Modern to the Ecological: Latour on Walden Pond” and “Greening Darwin’s Century: Humboldt, Thoreau, and the Politics of Hope.”

Her interest in reweaving science, literature and culture in cosmopolitical contexts has led her back to the writings and career of Henry David Thoreau, and she is working on a volume of ecocritical theory, “West of Walden: Deliberate Reading in a Panarchic World,” and a new biography of Thoreau, “Writing the Cosmos: A Life of Henry David Thoreau,” for which she received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2010.

Other awards in addition to the three for “The Passage to Cosmos” (above) are the Russell Research Award for the Humanities and Social Sciences; Research Fellowship, Center for Humans and Nature; and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Walls received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Washington and her Ph.D. from Indiana University.

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

W&L Biology Professors Explore Drought Impact on Amazon Fish Species

While almost all of the literature on how climate change affects the Amazon has focused on the rain forest, two Washington and Lee University ecologists recently co-authored a paper that examines for the first time the effect of drought in terms of fish species’ diversity.

Lawrence Hurd, the John T. Herwick, M. D. Professor of Biology at W&L, and colleague Robert Humston, associate professor of biology, co-authored the paper with Carlos Freitas and Flávia Siqueira-Souza of the Universade Federal do Amazonas. “An Initial Assessment of Drought Sensitivity in Amazonian Fish Communities” is published in Volume 705 of “Hydrobiologia: The International Journal of Aquatic Sciences.”

The paper notes that freshwater biodiversity has experienced a greater decline than any other major ecosystem in modern times and that both global climate change models and recent experience show increasing intensity and frequency of droughts in the region.

According to Hurd, an ecologist, in order to do more conservation work it is necessary to learn much more about the basic biology of the region’s aquatic system, why there are so many species and the interactions among those species.

One region of freshwater in central Amazon has more species of fish than anywhere else in the world, including coral reefs, with 2,000 species identified so far. Humston, a fish biologist and fisheries ecologist, called the region “one of the most bio-diverse aquatic systems in the world. The number of fish species is staggering.”

A severe drought anomaly in 2005 in the Amazon, caused by the warming of surface waters in the Atlantic, provided the researchers with a unique opportunity to examine the drought’s impact on the aquatic system. Freitas and his graduate students amassed a large data set of before and after fish samples between 2004 and 2007 in eight lakes of a floodplain in the region, although only samples from six lakes were used in the study. They collected 120 species of fish of which 70 species were used in the analysis.

The very dynamic hydrologic cycle between wet and dry seasons in the floodplain’s lakes and rivers affects the biodiversity of the fish in the region. The water rises in the summer months and recedes in the winter months, with a possible difference in water depth of more than 50 feet. The lakes are isolated for a while and then become connected with the river due to flooding of the forest between the lakes and the river, thus allowing many of the fish to move into the river to complete their life cycles.

The 2005 drought interrupted this movement of fish by isolating the floodplain lakes from the river much more and for a longer period of time. The research shows that this caused the biodiversity of the fish to decline, although the responses to the drought were not uniform among species: some were transitory and others persisted through monitoring.

“The fish are not widely distributed and may be specialists to certain conditions, so if you cut them off from the river when they normally leave to reproduce, they become like landlocked salmon,” said Hurd. “Either they are going to adapt by becoming lake residents or they are going to disappear. It’s more likely to be the latter because this is happening much faster than we expect evolutionary adaptation to be able to keep up with.”

The research found both winners and losers. Some fish that were in every lake before the drought were gone after the drought. Some fish that were not found anywhere were suddenly found in incredible abundance in some lakes after the drought.

“We thought originally that all the migratory species would suffer because they need to migrate between the lakes and the river,” said Humston. “But while there was certainly a pattern to migratory species tending to respond one way, it wasn’t uniform. Then we thought maybe the predators would really thrive because with the lakes becoming smaller due to the drought, the overlap between predator and prey would be incredible and the predator population would explode. But while some predator populations did explode, other predators almost disappeared completely.”

Humston explained that maintaining biodiversity at the regional level is important because losing species in a particular area means losing genetic diversity in the overall population. This is a concern because diversity tends to engender overall stability (resistance to change) and resilience (returning more quickly to their original state).

The researchers pointed out that studying one species of fish at a time doesn’t work because all the species are interconnected and interact with each other to make the ecosystem. “We’re looking at this from a community perspective because that will give us more information about how the ecosystem might respond to global warming,” said Humston. “The nice part is that when you look at the community as a whole you’re also tracking individual species at the same time.”

Hurd and Humston were quick to give credit to the hard work of Freitas and his students in actually collecting the fish.

“They set gill nets in the water with a certain size opening in them so the fish swim into the opening and get caught,” explained Humston. “Gill nets work best in low light conditions when the fish can’t see the net, so they had to set the nets up in the evening and before dawn. It takes more than an hour to put the net out and two hours to bring it in.

“So they were out there in the Amazonian jungle in boats at night and there are crocodiles, and half the fish in these nets could probably take your hand off. It is an amazingly difficult field situation to work in. Then they had to identify all the fish and measure them in terms of the frequency with which they were caught. And they did this for eight lakes and for every part of the hydrologic cycle—low water, rising water, high water and receding water.”

Hurd recalled that he had been on some of the collection trips. “If you’re in the boat, then you have to work,” he said. “You have to pull nets in and pull things out of the net that maybe you wouldn’t want to put your hand on.”

“In my opinion, this collaboration is creating opportunities for other people,” said Humston.” If we can demonstrate that the collaboration is productive, then the Brazilian government will continue to pay to send people here to work with us, such as the two students from Brazil,” who worked with both Hurd and Humston last year.

Hurd has been collaborating with his Brazilian colleagues since he visited Brazil in 2007, and will continue to work with them under a fellowship he received from the Brazilian National Academy of Sciences.

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

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W&L Makes Community Service Honor Roll

Washington and Lee University has been named once again to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction.

This is the third consecutive year that the University has been recognized for its community service.

The honor roll, launched in 2006 and sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), annually highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems and in placing students on a lifelong path of civic engagement, by recognizing institutions that achieve meaningful, measureable outcomes in the communities they serve.

According to data compiled by Washington and Lee’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness, 1,482 W&L students engaged in 54,619 documented hours of community service during the academic year that ended in June 2012.

Those figures included 299 who were engaged in academic service-learning programs. The number of W&L students who performed at least 20 hours of any kind of community service per academic term was 342.

Washington and Lee’s entry to CNCS this year focused on three programs that illustrate the University’s commitment to service:

Washington and Lee School of Law Community Legal Practice Center: Since 2003, it has provided free legal services to low-income residents in the Rockbridge area. The clinic is staffed year-round by a full-time faculty member and a full-time legal assistant, as well as by 10 to 12 third-year law students during the academic year, and by four rising third-year law students during the summer. The University provides all funding for the clinic.

From its inception, the center has served 462 clients on 571 legal matters in its mission to improve access to legal services for low-income citizens of Rockbridge County. To that end, the clinic works closely with the local Legal Aid office to ensure that the broadest base of potential clients is served. While the center provides a wide range of civil legal services, it gives priority to the elderly and to clients who are victims of domestic violence. Areas of focus include family law, guardianship, end-of-life planning and general elder law, landlord-tenant law, and a large variety of general civil litigation and advice-only matters. The clinic also provides legal support to a number of small, low-asset, not-for-profit entities. In 2011-12, 15 students engaged in 6,210 hours of service.

Volunteer Venture Pre-Orientation Service Program: The one-week, pre-orientation program for incoming W&L students introduces them to the contributing factor of poverty in Lexington and five other cities within three hours of campus. Led by upper-class students, the program impacts nearly one fourth of incoming new students, as well as the hundreds of residents in the cities they serve. Participants become a part of these communities for a week, living, learning and working with the individuals they serve in free clinics, housing construction, summer programs and soup kitchens.

The direct service experience is supplemented by poverty-related speakers from the University’s faculty and the local communities served. Consistent with the W&L mission to cultivate a readiness to sacrifice on behalf of others, Volunteer Venture aims to create an environment where new students get to know each other, are introduced to issues related to poverty, and are connected with upper-class students who can provide information on ways to get involved in service on campus and in the Rockbridge community.

Many who participate find it to be a springboard for community service in college, as well as a motivation to focus on poverty studies in their academic life. The experience also helps them become more aware of what they can do to serve in the Rockbridge area and how they can grow in their understanding of issues that impact their neighbors both near and far. In 2011-12, 134 students engaged in 3,680 service hours.

Student-to-Student Mentoring: It matches trained W&L students, called “Bigs,” with elementary and middle-school students in the community, “Littles,” to build supportive, lasting relationships through regular interaction. Bigs mentor Littles, who may have unstable home lives, and offer them friendship and support, as well as advice about the importance of education.

While the benefits to Littles are great, Bigs gain experience and fulfillment, as well as leadership development, from their service. The program is organized and run by W&L students. All potential Bigs are interviewed by the executive team and undergo background and reference checks before being assigned to Littles. Bigs also take part in an orientation that highlights the mission and purposes of the program, ideas for outings, and reporting protocols for any sensitive information the Littles might disclose, such as abuse allegations.

To ensure consistency in matches, the program requires some form of weekly communication between pairs, including one hour of face-to-face contact per week while the University is in session. The pairs gather monthly as a community, and the leadership team meets monthly with Bigs to discuss best practices, solve problems and brainstorm on activities. During 2011-12, 36 W&L students provided about 1,000 hours of service through the program.

For 2012, 110 colleges and universities were named to the Honor Roll with Distinction. Washington and Lee is one of four institutions from Virginia to be so honored. Emory & Henry College, James Madison University and Virginia Commonwealth University are the others.

College students make a significant contribution to their communities through volunteering and service, according to the most recent Volunteering and Civic Life in America report. In 2012, 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 118 million hours of service across the country—a contribution valued at $2.5 billion.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America programs. It leads President Barack Obama’s national call-to-service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.


W&L English Professors to Read at the Virginia Festival of the Book

Four members of Washington and Lee’s English Department will be featured at the 19th Annual Virginia Festival of the Book, produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. R.T. Smith, Deborah Miranda, Lesley Wheeler and Laura Brodie will give readings this week in Charlottesville. The sessions are free and open to the public.

The festival, which takes place March 20-24, is held in venues throughout Charlottesville and Albemarle County, and is now the largest educational book event in the mid-Atlantic, drawing a cumulative annual attendance of more than 20,000. Full details on the five-day festival are available at vabook.org.

Brodie, a visiting professor at W&L, will be reading at 12 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, at the Barnes and Noble in the Barracks Road Shopping Center. Her session is “Fiction: Hauntings,” and she will read from her most recent book, “All the Truth.” Her other books are “Love in a Time of Homeschooling” and “The Widow’s Season.”

Miranda, associate professor of English, presents on Thursday, March 21, at 2 p.m., at the City Council Chambers, 605 E. Main St. She will take part in the “Poetry: Song and Poetry from the Indigenous Americas” session. Her new book is “Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir.”

Smith, Washington and Lee writer-in-residence and editor of Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review, will read at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 22, at the New Dominion Bookshop on the Downtown Mall. The session is called “Short Fiction: Tales of Longing, Violence and Romance.” Smith will read from his fourth collection of fiction, “Sherburne,” a book of linked crime stories set in the Virginia Highlands. 

Wheeler, the Henry S. Fox Professor of English, will give a reading at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 22, at the Barnes and Noble in the Barracks Road Shopping Center. Her session is “Poetry: Original Stories,” and she will read from her most recent book, “The Receptionist and Other Tales” (2012) and from “Heterotopia” (2010), which won the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize.

The president of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities is Rob Vaughan, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1966.

Monica Tulchinsky ‘13L Wins Oliver White Hill Pro Bono Award

Washington and Lee University law student Monica Tulchinsky, a member of the Law Class of 2013, has been named a recipient of the Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award by the Virginia State Bar.

The Virginia State Bar began the award in 2002 to honor extraordinary law student achievement in the areas of pro bono public and under-compensated public service work. Tulchinsky is the third W&L student to win the award. Dan Goldman ‘11L, now with the Northern Virginia Capital Defender Office, received the honor during his 3L year. Mark Kennedy ’04L also won the award.

Tulchinsky was nominated by the School to receive the award based on her extensive pro bono work for a variety of domestic and international public interest causes. She has devoted 163 hours alone this year to EarthRights International, where she served as a legal and policy analyst on the Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum case.

“I am delighted that the Virginia State Bar has selected Monica Tulchinsky for this Award,” said Mary Z. Natkin, Assistant Dean for Clinical Education and Public Service. “Her work with human rights and access to justice issues throughout her law school career show that she will be a public interest lawyer of the highest caliber, and I look forward to welcoming her to the bar.”

Tulchinsky also volunteered with the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center on an appellate review project aimed at reducing the risk of wrongful convictions in the state. She assisted by analyzing appeals and outcomes in criminal case opinions from Louisiana Circuit Courts of Appeal.

In addition, Tulchinsky spent two summers working uncompensated for international organizations. In 2011, she worked with the International Center for Transitional Justice in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where she provided assistance in developing a training curriculum for Burmese activists who were being trained to document human rights violations. In 2012, she interned with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna, Austria, where she worked on the Institutional Integrity Initiative, a project aimed at incorporating the principles of the UN Convention against Corruption into the integrity policies of United Nations bodies.

At W&L, Tulchinsky has served as a member of several student organizations, including as founder of the Women’s Mentorship Program and Co-President of the Women Law Students Organization. She is also the Symposium Editor for the Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice, where she was instrumental in organizing the Journal’s recent symposiumDiscrimination against Muslim Americans in a Post-9/11 World.”

Tulchinsky is a graduate of Penn State and the Southeast Asia Studies Summer Institute at the University of Wisconsin. Following graduation from W&L Law in May, she will undertake a Liberia-based fellowship with The Carter Center, which will place her at a government institution in which she will engage in legal reform and legal development at a critical time in Liberian history.

The Virginia State Bar’s pro bono award is named in honor of Oliver White Hill, a life-long civil rights activist and attorney. He was one of five lawyers who argued the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional. Hill spent his childhood years in Roanoke and started his law practice there in 1934. Among his many honors, in 2000 Hill received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Washington and Lee.  Hill died at the age of 100 in August 2007.

Correction: The original story indicated that Ms. Tulchinsky was the second W&L Law student to win the award. She is actually the third. Mark Kennedy, Law Class of 2004, also won the award.

Beverly Lorig Recognized by CCE

Beverly Lorig, director of Career Development, has been recognized by the Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE) for satisfying the established knowledge standards in coaching as well as completing the Board Certified Coach Examination. Coaching is designed to equip professionals who with specialized education,training and experience to assess the needs of clients, collaborate with clients on solutions, and offer strategies that assist individuals and organizations in reaching identified goals.

The designation as a Board Certified Coach (BCC)insures that the BCC Code of Ethics is upheld and that enforeceable standards of conduct are followed by all practicing professionals.


W&L in the News: Racquel Alexander in Boston Globe

Washington and Lee University accounting professor Racquel Alexander is quoted in a the story, “Tax lobbyists help businesses reap windfalls,” in the the March 17, 2013, edition of the Boston Globe.

W&L in the News: William Connelly on NPR

William F. Connelly Jr., the John K. Boardman Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee, was quoted in the story, “Why Obama (And Any President) Fails To Meet Expectations,” by Alan Greenblatt on the National Public Radio’s “It’s All Politics” blog on March 12, 2013.

W&L Students Witness History in Rome

UPDATED AT 4:30 P.M. on March 18, 2013

When they chose to study abroad in Rome this semester, a half dozen Washington and Lee juniors would never have guessed what awaited them beyond their academic work.

Standing in St. Peter’s Square last week and watching Pope Francis appear on the balcony was “the most incredible thing I have ever witnessed,” wrote Lauren Boone, an art history and business administration double major from Louisville, Ky.

“It was amazing to be a part of history. We definitely chose the best time to be in Rome!” added Ashley Cole, an economics and psychology double major from Riverside, Conn.

Ashley and Lauren are joined in Rome this term by classmates Anne Froemming, a psychology major from Montgomery, Ala.; Julia Martin, an economics major from Montrose, Ala.; Kingsley Mooney, an economics major from Lutherville, Md.; and Joe Morgan, a classics major from Louisville, Ky. All except Joe are studying at John Cabot University; he is working at the International Center for Classic Studies.

The John Cabot University students were in the midst of mid-term exams when the election began, but they made their way to St. Peter’s Square anyway.

And they were unaware that another W&L student, John Paul (JP) Beall, a junior classics and economics major from Redlands, Calif., was somewhere in St. Peter’s Square at the same time. JP is studying at Oxford but decided to change his spring break plans so he could be in Rome and attend the Preconclave Mass.

JP was interviewed by Catholic Radio-EWTN, and several of his photographs were published in a story about his experience in the Redlands Patch. We’ve added several of his shots below.

Here’s what Lauren wrote about the experience: “I actually live right across the street from the Vatican; you can see St. Peter’s dome from our balcony, which has been incredible. With everything going on at the Vatican, our neighborhood has been flooded with tourists and visitors. There is SO much more traffic, hordes of tour groups waiting all day long for the next smoke signal, and the streets are much busier.

“The mood in Rome has been one of excitement — people speculating on who the next Pope would be and making plans to go watch the voting results. My roommates and I went to watch the first voting result Tuesday night, and even then we thought that St. Peter’s Square was busy. That was nothing compared to Wednesday night.

“On Wednesday, when the smoke first started coming out of the chimney, everyone around us thought that it was black, and you could hear a tone of disappointment in their cheers for a split second before they realized that it was white. People started screaming ‘Habemus Papum’ and pushing to get as close to St. Peter’s as possible. There was cheering, crying, and laughing, even before anyone had any idea who had been selected.

“One of the most amazing things about the ceremony was when the man introducing the new Pope came out onto the balcony, and the crowd immediately became so silent that it seemed like everyone was holding their breath. Watching the other Cardinals come out onto the balconies on either side of the Pope’s balcony after just electing him as their leader was unreal. Being in the square that night was the most incredible thing I have ever witnessed, and I will probably never be a part of anything like it again. News anchors were everywhere, asking how it felt to be there, what we thought of the new pope, and what we hoped that he could achieve. Honestly, we were just extremely excited to be there.”

And Ashley’s account: “What impressed me the most was the vast amount of pilgrims who came from all across the globe solely to be part of this moment in history. Just standing there for an hour or so, we heard over five different languages, and it really felt like we were part of such an internationally profound event.

“It was amazing that so many people could connect so deeply through their common belief in Christianity and the importance of such a significant world event. It was an amazing opportunity to be in one of the most religious cities in the world during such a remarkable moment in history, and I am so glad I got to be a part of it. It is definitely a memory that I will have for the rest of my life. We definitely chose the best time to be in Rome!”

And here are some more of their images of the events.


Jean Kilbourne to Discuss Women in Advertising at W&L

Author, speaker and filmmaker Jean Kilbourne, internationally recognized for her work on the image of women in advertising, will speak at Washington and Lee University on Monday, March 18, at 5 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

Kilbourne’s talk is free and open to the public. There will be a book signing following the talk.

Kilbourne’s “The Naked Truth: Advertising’s Image of Women” considers if and how the image of women has changed over the past 20 years. This presentation is entertaining, fast-paced, and sometimes hilarious, yet also profound and deeply serious. “The Naked Truth” encourages dialogue and discussion and a new way of looking at oneself as well as one another.  Her work helped develop and popularize the study of gender representations in advertising.

Kilbourne is the co-author of “So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids (Ballantine, 2008). Her book, “Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel won the Distinguished Publication Award from the Association for Women in Psychology.

She has written many articles, including editorials in “The New York Times,” “USA Today and “The Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association” have contributed chapters to many books.

Kilbourne has made several award-winning documentary films based on her lectures. They are used widely throughout the world. Her first film, “Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women (and the remakes “Still Killing Us Softly and “Killing Us Softly 3) are among the most popular educational films of all time. Jay Carr, film critic for “The Boston Globe,” wrote, “With skill, humor and acuteness, Kilbourne encourages action against these society-weakening images. Never shrill, her indictment is, if anything, understated.”

Her other films include “Deadly Persuasion: The Advertising of Alcohol & Tobacco,” “Spin the Bottle: Sex, Lies & Alcohol” and “Slim Hopes: Advertising & the Obsession with Thinness.”

She has a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and holds a doctorate in education from Boston University, as well as an honorary doctorate from Westfield State College.

Sponsors for Kilbrourne’s include W&L’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Office of the Provost, Department of Psychology, office of Health Promotion, University Counseling, Office of Student Affairs, Panhellenic and Leadership Development and Greek Life.

“Piggy” Off Broadway

Washington and Lee alumnus Richard Rosser, of the Class of 1984, takes his new venture, Piggy Nation, to another level this month when “Piggy Nation The Musical!” opens at the Jerry Orbach Theater, in New York.

We blogged about Piggy Nation in August 2011, explaining how Richard came up with the idea when a driver in a Corvette stole his mother-in-law’s parking space.  Richard has been crusading against piggy behavior ever since, using his talents as an award-winning Hollywood producer and director to create children’s books, a cartoon strip, a website and now the musical .

The production, which previews on the next two Saturdays (March 16 and March 23) and opens on March 24, followed by shows on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, is aimed at kids ages 3 to 10 and, of course, their parents and grandparents.

The hour-long musical features music with blues,  rock, rap and gospel influences. Richard wrote the lyrics, and Alec Wells composed the music. The songs include “Piggy Patrol,” “Blah Blah Blah, and “We’re All Piggies.” The soundtrack is available on iTunes or from the Piggy Nation website.

If you’re in New York (with or without kids), stop by the Orbach Theater in the Snapple Theater complex. Ticket details are here.  As the website urges, “Please don’t be a piggy and show up late!”


4th Circuit Court of Appeals to Hear Arguments at W&L School of Law

On Friday, March 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit will hear a day of oral arguments at Washington and Lee University School of Law. A panel of judges will hear three cases during the two-hour court session.

Arguments will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall. Computers and backpacks are not allowed in the Moot Court Room during the Court’s visit. Photography and recording devices are also prohibited. This event is open to the public. Seating is limited.

The cases scheduled to be heard by the court are South Carolina Department of Education v. United States Secretary of Education, Lamont Wilson v. Dollar General Corps, and Demetrius Hill v. C.O. Crum. These cases are summarized below.

Harkening back to the days when transportation challenges required judges to “ride circuit” from city to city, the 4th Circuit leaves its home Richmond several times each year to hear cases at law schools and other locations. The Court last visited W&L in March of 2011. During the session, the Court heard a federal black lung benefits case being handled by the School’s own Black Lung Clinic. A student, John Eller ’11L, argued the case on behalf of the clinic.

In South Carolina Department of Education v. United States Secretary of Education, the South Carolina education department is disputing the federal government’s decision to cut funding for certain programs. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) the federal government provides funding to states for their special education programs.  Federal funding is contingent on states funding their special education programs at the same level from one year to the next.  However, if a state fails to maintain the same amount of funding, the U.S. Secretary of Education is required to reduce IDEA funding in the following fiscal year. The Secretary is empowered to waive the reduction of payment under extraordinary circumstances.

In 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 South Carolina failed to maintain the funding of the state’s special education program.  The U.S. Secretary of Education chose to waive the funding shortfall from 2008-2009 and partially waived the reduction of funding in 2009-2010. The state sought to appeal the Secretary’s  decision before an administrative law judge or before the circuit court. The U.S. Department of Education claims there is no direct right of appeal to those courts. The case involves first, whether South Carolina has brought its suit in the proper court, and second,  whether the Secretary’s decision to reduce the state’s IDEA funding was proper.

In Lamont Wilson v. Dollar General Corps, Lamont Wilson sued the Dollar General Corporation for an alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Mr. Wilson is blind in one eye and began to have medical problems with his healthy eye while he worked at Dollar General. After being on medical leave for a period of time, Mr. Wilson’s supervisor at Dollar General told him he had to return to work or lose his job. Mr. Wilson had just been to the emergency room because his good eye was again causing him discomfort. According to Mr. Wilson, the emergency room doctor told him not to go to work. Mr. Wilson did not return to work and was fired. The District Court dismissed Mr. Wilson’s lawsuit. Mr. Wilson has appealed that decision.

In Demetrius Hill v. C.O. Crum, Demetrius Hill sued Officer Crum for excessive use of force. Mr. Hill claimed that while he was a prisoner in a correctional facility Officer Crum handcuffed him and then beat him. A jury found in favor of Mr. Hill and awarded him $25,000. After the trial, Officer Crum brought two motions. The first motion was to dismiss the lawsuit because he was entitled to qualified immunity. The first motion was denied. The second motion was for a new trial, which was granted.  Officer Crum appealed the decision denying him immunity, claiming that even if he assaulted Mr. Hill, which he denies, he is entitled to qualified immunity because Mr. Hill’s injuries were de minimis. Mr. Hill has argued Officer Crum is not entitled to qualified immunity because his actions were malicious and intentional.

Case summaries provided by Prof. Tim MacDonnell

W&L's Kolman on WMRA's “Virginia Insight”

Barry Kolman, professor of music at Washington and Lee University, appeared on NPR affiliate WMRA’s “Virginia Insight” show at 3 p.m. today, Thursday, March 14, to discuss the healing power of music.

Kolman’s 13-year-old daughter Emmanuela (Mano) has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and learning music has brought about dramatic changes in her life.

Kolman was accompanied by his wife, Grace Kolman, a counselor and doctoral student in counseling and supervision at James Madison University. Another guest was Kate Tamarkin, a specialist in therapeutic music, musician-in-residence at the University of Virginia Medical Center and music director and conductor of the Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra.

Barry Kolman also conducts the University-Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra (USSO) and is a frequent guest conductor of orchestras around the world. He is the author of the book “The Language of Music Revealed.”

Listen to the program below:

AUDIO:

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Phi Beta Kappa Speaker Addresses Historians' Fine Line

Elizabeth Varon, the Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at the University of Virginia, told the annual Phi Beta Kappa/Society of the Cincinnati Convocation at Washington and Lee Thursday that historians must walk a fine line between detachment and engagement and need to be humble in their judgments.

Varon said that, as a historian of the American South, walking that fine line can be difficult.

“We are social scientists. We follow strict rules for the gathering and interpretation of data,” she told the audience, including the new inductees into W&L’s Gamma of Virginia Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. “Those rules stipulate that we can’t cherry-pick sources, we can’t take things out of context, we can’t make stuff up.

“At the same time, we’re storytellers. To make our stories compelling, we have to sometimes pull in close to our subjects, to walk in their shoes, to use our powers of emphathy and our skill as writers, our imagination.”


AUDIO:


To study the history of the South and of slavery, she said, is to confront “the capacity of human beings to inflict and endure suffering.”

While historians can’t leave their moral consciences at the door, their aim is to explain, to be analytical and to refine and revise their conclusions in light of new evidence.

“This process of refining and revising reminds us to be humble in our judgments,” she said. “We ourselves are imperfect, and one thing is for sure: the next generation will come along and, standing on our shoulders, see the landscape of the pasts in a whole new light.”

Varon has written three acclaimed books and will publish a new volume, “Appomattox: Victory, Defeat and Freedom at the End of the Civil War,” later this year. As she worked on this book about Appomattox, she said, it was humbling to realize how much academic historians rely on the work of others. In this case, she referred to those who have preserved Appomattox and have mastered the complex details of the events there.

These people, she added, provided “a powerful reminder in this digital, virtual age that there is no substitute for walking a battlefield, for holding a precious relic or tattered manuscript source in one’s own hands. Landscapes and material culture are powerful spurs to our imagination.”

Varon was inducted as an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa, along with two members of Washington and Lee’s History Department who are also W&L alumni: Theodore C. DeLaney, of the Class of 1985, and John Holt Merchant, of the Class of 1961.

The 53 student inductees include four members of the Class of 2012.

Scott Sugden, a sophomore from Circle Pines, Minn., was named winner of the J. Brown Goehring Sophomore Award, which goes to the student with the highest cumulative scholastic average through the end of the fall term of his or her sophomore year. It is named in honor of J. Brown Goehring, a retired chemistry professor at W&L. During his 38 years at the University, he spent 22 years as secretary-treasurer of the Phi Beta Kappa chapter.


W&L's Blunch Publishes Paper on Adult Literacy Programs in Ghana

While many in the global development community have largely written off adult literacy programs as failures in teaching literacy and numeracy and therefore defunded them, research by a Washington and Lee University economist demonstrates that these programs have had the unintended success of decreasing child mortality.

Niels-Hugo Blunch, associate professor of economics at Washington and Lee’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, has recently published a paper, “Staying Alive: Adult Literacy Programs and Child Mortality in Rural Ghana,” in volume 42 of the journal “World Development.” He is the first researcher to convincingly analyze the health outcomes of adult literacy programs, and the impacts of these programs in general have received little attention in economics literature.

“My findings are somewhat controversial,” admitted Blunch. “Evaluations of these programs show that they failed dismally in terms of their one official objective — teaching literacy and numeracy — but no-one has considered other potentially beneficial outcomes that have made them, in fact, a great success.”

Blunch is hoping that publication of his paper will bring this omission to the attention of the global development community, including the World Bank, and result in increased attention and funding for these programs, especially in rural areas.

It was while working at the World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C., in the late 1990s that Blunch first visited Ghana as part of a team supervising adult literacy programs funded by the World Bank.

“It was a humbling experience and it really hit me,” he said. “We would go to a village way out in the rural area and it would be dark outside. But inside a clay hut, with maybe one or two petroleum lamps, women — and they were mostly women — would sit around, some with babies on their backs. Many had worked a full day, maybe in the fields, and then come to attend one of these adult literacy programs in the evening to learn to read and write and do basic calculations.”

Blunch explained that although the adult literacy program is formally about literacy and numeracy, it is really a multiplex program that integrates other modules such as health and social issues, income generation/occupational skills and civic awareness. Approximately 28 different topics are covered across those three modules.

Under the health module, women learn about family planning, teenage pregnancy, environmental hygiene, immunization, HIV/AIDS, safe motherhood and child care, drug abuse, traditional medicine and safe drinking water.

Classes in rural Ghana are held two to three times a week for a total of about six hours per week and, in most cases, there are 20 to 30 participants per instructor. It takes about 21 months to complete the course. Yet, according to Blunch, a significant reason for the skepticism and resulting reduction in funding of these programs is the poor outcomes in Latin America and South America, where classes frequently lasted only six to eight months, were shorter, and often also not with the additional health, income generating activities and civic awareness components.

Ghana’s National Functional Literacy Program was officially launched in 1987 through the establishment of the Non-Formal Education Division as a separate unit under the Ministry of Education, indicating the importance the government attached to the program and non-formal education more generally. Many Ghanaians attended the program through the late 1980s to early 1990s, but funding decreased significantly in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

In his research, Blunch analyzed data from the Ghana Living Standards Survey, a nationally representative, multi-purpose household survey which uses a template developed by the World Bank but tailored to local conditions. In order to strengthen the credibility of his results, he used several methods to evaluate the data. He found that, for a wide range of estimation methods, the program had a consistently high impact on decreasing child mortality. On average, a woman attending the program could expect the deaths of between 0.165 and three of her children to be averted.

“I specifically looked at whether a woman who participated in the program would be less likely to experience her children dying. This would then be attributable to information she learned in the health module due to the combination of low effects of program participation on literacy and numeracy outcomes and the rigorous statistical methods employed,” he said. “And I found the relationship between program participation and child mortality to be both sizable and statistically significant. So it’s effectively ‘beyond any reasonable statistical doubt’.”

It took Blunch a few years for his paper to be published because he insisted on a causal interpretation of his findings. “I argue that it is not merely a ‘statistical association’ where women ‘tend’ to experience fewer children dying—potentially due to women participating in the programs simply being different in other respects to begin with, for example due to ability or preferences. It is participation in the program per se that causes the decrease in child mortality: a causal relationship from A to B with nothing in between. I insisted on that strong conclusion because I have faith in both the quality of the data and my statistical methods. Also, if I can make that stronger case, then it will benefit these programs much more.”

Blunch also included a cost-benefit analysis of the adult literacy program. It demonstrates that participation produces substantial positive net benefits in monetary terms, including the future earnings of children whose deaths have been averted, even when disregarding women learning about income-generating activities, as well as the many other positive potential outcomes of program participation. He purposely used very conservative numbers in his calculations by keeping the expected costs high and the expected benefits low.

“The program is very cheap because the instructors are teachers in the formal schools during the daytime and teach in the program a couple of nights a week. And they do it mostly to help their communities,” Blunch explained. “They get a nominal payment such as a sewing machine or a bicycle rather than money, which would be distributed to family and friends. So this gives them something tangible of their own that they can then still lend to people.”

Blunch hopes that his paper will be seen in academic and policy circles within the global development community. He is also aware, due to his time at the World Bank, that when programs are started a full review of published research on the subject is undertaken and used to form priorities on what might work and what might not work.

“If policy makers come across my paper and see these positive outcomes in a different dimension than they originally intended — even though they built those multiplex components into the program — it could broaden their view of what development is and what should be deemed a success,” said Blunch. “My mission is to reinvigorate the focus on these programs and show the development community everywhere, not just in Ghana, that these programs can be a potentially useful vehicle for development, and not just in literacy and numeracy. This is especially true where the quantity and quality of formal educational institutions are low.”

Blunch considers adult literacy programs a core part of his research and has also analyzed the effect of the health components of these programs on teenage pregnancy and the use of contraceptives.

Blunch received his B.A. and M.A. in economics from the University of Aarhus, Denmark and his M.S. in economics and econometrics from University of Southampton, UK. He received his Ph.D. in economics from The George Washington University.

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

Alumnus Digs an Archaeological Debate

Sharp readers of the latest edition of the Smithsonian magazine spotted a familiar name in the story about the debate over when humans came to America: Ted Goebel, of the Washington and Lee Class of 1986.

Ted is associate director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M University, where he also holds the Endowed Professorship in First Americans Studies.

An independent-work major with a concentration in anthropology at W&L, Ted received both his M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. He taught at Southern Oregon University, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the University of Nevada, Reno before joining the center at Texas A&M in 2006.

He focuses his research on the Ice Age origins of the first Americans, and he directs field-based archaeological projects in Alaska and in the Great Basin in Eastern Nevada. Ted has published his findings in major research journals in his field, and he co-edited the 2011 volume, “From the Yenisei to the Yukon.” Ted was part of a major international study trying to solve the mystery of the extinction of the megafauna at the end of the last Ice Age. That research was described in Nature magazine in November 2011, and you can watch him explain the findings of that work in this video:

The Smithsonian piece explores recent scientific findings indicating that humans arrived in the Americas earlier than thought. But the debate is on, and you can read Ted’s role in the conversation on the magazine’s website.


Angela Smith Named First Director of W&L’s Mudd Center for Ethics, First Mudd Professor of Ethics

Angela M. Smith, associate professor of philosophy at Washington and Lee University, has been named the first Roger Mudd Professor of Ethics and the first director of the University’s new Roger Mudd Center for Ethics.

Robert Strong, interim provost and chair of the search committee, announced Smith’s appointment, which is effective July 1.

“Angie Smith is an accomplished teacher and scholar who, in her short time at Washington and Lee, has earned the respect of students and colleagues across campus,” said Strong. “She team-teaches a course on the ethics of globalization, and her research is admired by leading philosophers for its clarity, sophistication and originality. She is ideally suited to lead a new interdisciplinary center that will encourage and enhance serious study and conversation on a wide variety of ethical issues.”

The Mudd Center was established through a gift to the University from award-winning journalist Roger Mudd, a 1950 graduate of W&L. When he made his gift, Mudd said that “given the state of ethics in our current culture, this seems a fitting time to endow a center for the study of ethics, and my university is its fitting home.”

“I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be the first director of the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics,” said Smith. “I think that we have an opportunity with this center to do something really special, and this stems from the fact that Washington and Lee itself is a rather unique place for the study of ethics. W&L has a long tradition of combining liberal arts education with professional and pre-professional training. This gives us a real opportunity to bring together all these disparate disciplines to study ethics in a very rich, interdisciplinary way.”



The Mudd Center will be a resource for students and faculty on campus and at all three schools – The College, the School of Law, and the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics.  It will support faculty who wish to develop new courses to enhance the study of ethics across the curriculum, and will engage in programming that fosters serious and sophisticated conversation about public and professional ethics at the university.

Smith came to Washington and Lee in 2008 as a visiting associate professor of philosophy and a fellow in Society and the Professions, the program in applied ethics that has now been folded into the Mudd Center. She joined the faculty as associate professor the following year, after 10 years at the University of Washington where she was a tenured member of the philosophy department.

Smith’s research interests concern the connections between morality, moral agency, and moral responsibility. She has written extensively on the question of whether, and if so why, we are morally responsible for our attitudes – for our desires, emotions, beliefs, and other intentional mental states. Her more recent work has focused on the question whether we can morally owe it to other people to have particular attitudes toward them.  This work leads naturally into a number of important issues in legal and political philosophy, such as the justifiability of hate crimes legislation and the value of tolerance.

She is currently working on a book, tentatively entitled Attitude Matters: Responsibility, Respect, and Reconciliation, which will put forward a unified, systematic account of the importance of attitudes in moral life.  She is also working with two colleagues at the University of Arizona and Florida State University on an edited book entitled The Nature of Moral Responsibility, which is currently under contract with Oxford University Press.  Smith teaches courses ranging from Introduction to Ethics, to Free Will and Moral Responsibility, to The Ethics of War.

Smith has received a prestigious Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellowship at Princeton University’s Center for Human Values for 2013-14. The fellowship enables scholars to devote an academic year in residence at Princeton to research and write about topics involving human values in public and private life. Smith will work on her book during the fellowship.

Although she will be at Princeton during the upcoming academic year, there will be a major kickoff event for the Mudd Center in the fall or early winter.

A magna cum laude graduate of Willamette University, with majors in philosophy and political science, Smith received a Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University.

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

Honor Among Cruciverbalists

Washington and Lee alumnus Neville Fogarty, of the Class of 2010, finished in 69th place at last weekend’s American  Crossword Puzzle Tournament (ACPT) in New York City. It was a personal best. And it would have been even better had it not been for his continuing adherence to W&L’s Honor System.

As Neville has explained in a comprehensive post on his website today, judges failed to detect an error that he had made on the second puzzle he solved. It should have cost him about 200 points.

“But when scores and scans of the completed grids were posted online later, it was clear that the judges had missed the error,” Neville said in an e-mail. “There’s no question as to what to do in a situation like that — you let an official know. I filed an appeal as soon as I could.”

At the ACPT, all contestants solve seven puzzles — six on Saturday and one on Sunday. The three highest-scoring competitors in the A, B and C Divisions (which are set based on prior performance) advance to the finals on Sunday for an eighth puzzle.

The 200 points that Neville was docked kept him out of the C Division finals. He did, however, finish fifth in both the C and Junior divisions and was third in the South.

“Had my error not been caught, I would’ve been in the finals,” Neville wrote. “But we all know that wouldn’t be right.”

As it happened, Neville was one of two competitors who self-reported errors. Both of them received the George Washington “I Cannot Tell a Lie” Award: a small cherry pie.

Neville, who is studying mathematics in grad school at the University of Kentucky, has been an avid cruciverbalist for many years, both solving and creating crosswords. He’s published puzzles in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among others. Coincidentally, he co-authored Tuesday’s New York Times puzzle.

One of Neville’s latest ventures is a crossword puzzlefest based on classic board games. He reached his funding goal on KickStart in the first day and is now offering more puzzles as stretch goals. Here’s his explanation: “This will be a collection of 10 interconnected crossword puzzles (also known as a puzzlefest), where each puzzle is inspired by a classic game. Each of the first nine puzzles will lead you to an appropriate ‘meta-answer’; the tenth puzzle will help you use those nine intermediate answers to solve a larger conundrum.” You can play along by going to this link: http://kck.st/YX0tCM


Performance Artist, Yale Professor Deb Margolin Performs at W&L

Deb Margolin, playwright, performance artist and Yale University professor of theater studies, will perform her most recent play about the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas controversy of 1991 on Tuesday, March 12, at 7 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater.

The title of the performance, which is free and open to the public, is “GOOD MORNING ANITA HILL ITS GINNI THOMAS I JUST WANTED TO REACH ACROSS THE AIRWAVES AND THE YEARS AND ASK YOU TO CONSIDER SOMETHING I WOULD LOVE YOU TO CONSIDER AN APOLOGY SOMETIME AND SOME FULL EXPLANATION OF WHY YOU DID WHAT YOU DID WITH MY HUSBAND SO GIVE IT SOME THOUGHT AND CERTAINLY PRAY ABOUT THIS AND COME TO UNDERSTAND WHY YOU DID WHAT YOU DID OK HAVE A GOOD DAY.”

Margolin, also a founding member of Split Britches Theater Company and member of the New Dramatists, is the author of eight full-length solo performance pieces which she has toured throughout the United States She also is the author of numerous plays.

She is the recipient of a 1999-2000 OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance and the Kesselring Playwriting Award for her play Three Seconds in the Key in 2005. In 2007, she traveled on a Fulbright Senior Specialist grant to the University of Tel Aviv to present her play Critical Mass, in a Hebrew translation.

Margolin has received commissions from the Jewish Museum of New York, the Joseph Papp Public Theater, and the Actor’s Theater of Louisville, among other theaters. She has lectured extensively at universities throughout the country. Margolin was artist in residence at Hampshire College and the University of Hawaii and was the Zale writer-in-residence at Tulane University. In fall 2000, she served as artist in residence in New York University’s Department of Undergraduate Drama.

She was awarded the 2005 Richard H. Brodhead Prize for Teaching Excellence at Yale University, and had the honor this year of accepting the Helen Merrill Distinguished Playwright award. A compilation of Margolin’s performance pieces and plays, entitled “Of All The Nerve: Deb Margolin SOLO,” was published in 1999 by Cassell/Continuum Press.

The W&L performance is sponsored by the Glasgow Endowment and the Women’s and Gender Studies program.

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

PBS Correspondent Ray Suarez Discusses Challenges for Reporters, Audiences

Ray Suarez, the Washington-based senior correspondent for the “PBS NewsHour,” told a Washington and Lee University audience Monday that rather than talking about things that matter to the American people, too much of the national election was spent obsessing about “what Joe Biden might call ‘malarkey.’ “

Suarez was W&L’s Fishback Visiting Writer for 2013. The Fishback Fund for Visiting Writers is the result of a generous gift by Sara and William Fishback Jr., of the Class of 1956, in memory of his parents.

In addition to his public lecture, Suarez spent the day meeting with W&L students.



A member of the “PBS NewsHour” team since 1999, Suarez said that both politicians and the media have a hard time leveling with the American people about the difficult issues that we face.

“If something’s got to give, should we be telling people about it? Or should we just keep pushing those problems and what’s difficult about solving those problems down the road, down the road, down the road?” he said. “It’s a challenge for the news business; it’s a challenge for our political class, locally and nationally. And so far, both institutions have not risen to that challenge.”

For candidates, he said, “the range of what’s sayable, the range of what’s discussable, the range of what you can level with people about gets very narrow.” That, in turn, leaves media, including Suarez, in the position of being “bad-news tellers.”

When the public is already turning away from news, he said, “it’s counterintuitive inside the editorial meeting to say, ‘Let’s give it to them right between the eyes. Then they’ll come back.’ “

Part of the challenge, he added, is breaking through “the tremendous clutter of modern life” to get Americans to think seriously about policies and issues. “One of the biggest challenges of governing with consent of the governed is getting the governed to pay some kind of attention,” he said. “I’m not saying you’re dumb. I’m saying you’re busy. Life throws up its challenges day by day.”

In addition, the media face an increasingly difficult task. “My job has gotten nothing but more complicated over the last 20 years,” he said, “because the kinds of things I have to explain to people day after day have gotten nothing but more complicated during that entire time.”

Previous Fishback Visiting Writers have included New Yorker writer Jane Mayer, author and journalist Steve Coll, author and legal scholar Stephen Carter, political scientist Larry Sabato and columnist and Brookings Institution Fellow E.J. Dionne.

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

W&L Law Team Advances to Finals of ABA Appellate Advocacy Competition

A team from Washington and Lee University School of law has advanced to the finals of the National Appellate Advocacy Competition after going 5-0 in their regional competition this past weekend.

W&L students Matthias Kaseorg 13L, Alex Sugzda 13L, and Tiffany Eisenbise 14L will represent W&L at the competition finals in Chicago at the beginning of April. At the regional competition in Washington, DC, the team faced tough competition from 39 teams from other law schools in the region. In all, five teams advanced to the finals.

W&L also fielded a second team that included Rockwell Bower 13L, Kristin Slawter 14L, and Claire Hagan 13L. Eisenbise and Hagan served as brief writers for their teams.

The National Appellate Advocacy Competition is sponsored by the American Bar Association and emphasizes the development of oral advocacy skills through a realistic appellate advocacy experience. The competition involves writing a brief as either respondent or petitioner and then arguing the case in front of a mock U.S. Supreme Court. This year’s problem addressed false arrest, malicious prosecution, and the 4th amendment.

In addition to sending a team to nationals, Alex Sugzda and Rockwell Bower were selected as two of the top ten oral advocates in the competition. In all, nearly 100 advocates took part in the regional competition.

3Ls Amy Conant and David Miller served as coaches for the W&L teams.

Daniel Wubah Named Washington and Lee University's Provost

Washington and Lee University has named Daniel A. Wubah, currently vice president for undergraduate education and deputy provost of Virginia Tech and professor of biological sciences, as provost, the second-highest-ranking position at the University.

Wubah succeeds June R. Aprille, who retired in 2011. Robert Strong, the William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at W&L, is serving as interim provost.

W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio announced Wubah’s appointment, which will be effective on July 1, 2013.

“I am pleased that Daniel has accepted this position and look forward to working with him,” Ruscio said. “He brings a wealth of experience and energy to this critical position and has led a number of important new initiatives at Virginia Tech that have clearly enhanced the undergraduate experience.

“Daniel’s deep commitment to undergraduate education is readily apparent. He is committed to students, enjoys being with them, and enjoys helping faculty in their roles as teachers and scholars, permitting them to provide an undergraduate education of the highest standards.”

Wubah, who will also be a professor of biology at W&L, was chosen as the result of a yearlong national search. Ruscio praised the work of the search committee, which was chaired by Brian Murchison, the Charles S. Rowe Professor of Law.

“The committee brought forward a strong slate of candidates, and I deeply appreciate the many, many hours that they devoted to this search,” Ruscio said. “At the same time, we are indebted to Bob Strong for his outstanding work as interim provost these past two years. I value his personal friendship immensely and want to express the faculty’s collective admiration for his superb leadership.”

As W&L’s provost, Wubah will serve as a key member of the president’s senior leadership team and as the chief academic officer of the University. The provost is responsible for articulating, developing and nurturing the distinctive educational mission of Washington and Lee.

“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to serve in a role that advances the mission of one of the top-rated liberal arts universities in our country,” Wubah said. “Foremost among the many impressive features of Washington and Lee is the unique Honor System, which fosters a community of trust and respect that is uncommon on campuses across the nation.”

Wubah has been in his current role at Virginia Tech since February 2009. He had previously been the associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs at the University of Florida from 2007 to 2009. Prior to that, he held several positions at James Madison University, including special assistant to the president and associate dean of the College of Science and Mathematics from 2000 to 2007. Prior to JMU, he chaired the department of biological sciences at Towson University.

A microbiologist, Wubah has held faculty appointments at all of the institutions he has served and has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses, including general microbiology, medical microbiology, microbial ecology and mycology. He has focused on the obligately anaerobic zoosporic fungi, dehalogenation of polychlorinated biphenyls and fiber degradation in the wood-eating catfish Panaque. The National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes (HHMI) have funded his research. He has published more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and technical reports, and given over 100 presentations at professional meetings.

Wubah earned a B.S. with honors in botany and a diploma of science education from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana; an M.S. in biology from the University of Akron; and a Ph.D. in botany from the University of Georgia. In addition, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency research lab in Athens, Ga.

Beginning at James Madison University and continuing at Virginia Tech, he has led the integration of international experiences in undergraduate education and research, serving as principal investigator in five consecutive international NSF-Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) site programs, including the longest continuously running REU site in Africa (REU-Ghana; 2002-present). He is currently the principal investigator for two grant-funded programs at Virginia Tech — the Scieneering Program, funded by the HHMI, and the NSF-funded Widening Implementation and Demonstration of Evidence-based Reforms (WIDER) Program, focusing on assessment of instructional practices and outcomes in the general education curriculum.

Wubah belonged to the National Academy of Sciences panel that studied the scientific basis for estimating air emission from animal-feeding operations. In 2003, he testified before Congress on preparing the scientific work force of the 21st century. He served as associate editor for Mycologia, and for the past five years, has been an editorial board member of Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal on Study Abroad. He has served on several NSF and NIH review panels since 1994, and he currently chairs study sessions for the NIH National Institute of Minority Health Disparities.

In his current role at Virginia Tech, Wubah is responsible for 17 units and programs with 178 full-time staff and faculty in the division. He participates in tenure and promotion decisions, is responsible for faculty instructional development and teaching awards, oversees enrollment management as well as academic assessment and program review, and supervises Virginia Tech’s Office of Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Accreditation.

Under his leadership, Virginia Tech is developing five new degree programs, including an innovative interdisciplinary real estate program that involves six colleges at the university. He oversaw the development of the first undergraduate program in meteorology in the commonwealth of Virginia. He has also established new methods of academic advising, including an electronic degree and course management system, and has led the development and implementation of a vision plan for undergraduate education.

Wubah previously served on advisory boards for the NSF Biology Directorate, the NSF Office of International Science and Engineering, the NSF-Environmental Research and Education Committee and the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes Program at the University of Arizona. He also served on the board of directors for Project Kaleidoscope. For the past 12 years, he has been a member of the Board of Governors of the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Wubah is a trustee of the SACS Commission on Colleges.

Wubah and his wife, Judith, have two daughters and two grandchildren.


Distinguished Historian Addresses Phi Beta Kappa Convocation

Washington and Lee University will induct new members into the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society at the Phi Beta Kappa/Society of the Cincinnati Convocation on Thursday, March 14, at 11:45 a.m. in Lee Chapel.

The convocation, which is free and open to the public, will recognize and honor 49 members of the junior and senior classes and four graduates from the Class of 2012, all of whom were accepted into Phi Beta Kappa based on their exceptional academic achievements.

• Download a pdf of the program

The event will feature Elizabeth R. Varon, the Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at the University of Virginia, giving a talk titled “Writing Virginia History: A Journey in the Liberal Arts.”

Varon is a distinguished scholar of the American South, the Civil War era, women’s and gender history, and intellectual and cultural history. She has written three acclaimed books: “Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859”; “Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, A Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy”; and “We Mean to be Counted: White Women and Politics in Antebellum Virginia.” Her new book, “Appomattox: Victory, Defeat and Freedom at the End of the Civil War,” will be published this year by Oxford University Press.

In recognition of their outstanding contributions to the professions of history and teaching, the chapter will induct two W&L professors of history as alumni members of Phi Beta Kappa: Theodore C. DeLaney (Class of 1985) and John Holt Merchant Jr. (Class of 1961).

The chapter also will induct the guest speaker, Elizabeth Varon, as an honorary member.

Phi Beta Kappa also will announce the winner of the Phi Beta Kappa J. Brown Goehring Sophomore Award at the convocation. The award goes to the student with the highest cumulative scholastic average through the end of the fall term of his or her sophomore year. It is named in honor of J. Brown Goehring, a retired chemistry professor at W&L. During his 38 years at the University, he spent 22 years as secretary-treasurer of the Phi Beta Kappa chapter.

Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. Its motto is “Love of learning is the guide of life.”

Class of 2012:

Ann C. Bernacchi (Asheville, N.C.); Blair Constance Gillespie (Atlanta); Alexis Wurth Harrison (New York, N.Y.); Jessica Rene Strait (New York, N.Y.).

Class of 2013:

Rachel Katherine Alexander (Prairieville, La.); Weining Bai (Houston); Derek Arthur George Barisas (Fort Collins, Colo.); Alicia Owen Bishop (Jacksonville, Fla.); Danielle Kay Breidung (Waunakee, Wis.); Michelle Amanda Coriell (Annandale, N.J.); Ainsley Olivia Daigle (Lafayette, La.); Elizabeth Rebecca Engel (Lexington, Ky.); Paige Elizabeth Gance (Wilton, Conn.); Michael Lawrence Grimaldi (Stroudsburg, Pa.); Wayde Zachary Christian Marsh (Milford, Del.); Madison Shea McCune (Nacogdoches, Texas); Michael Scott McGuire (Easton, Md.); Amy Leigh Nizolek (Easton, Md.); Leslie McFann Peard (Atlanta); Allison Emily Plump (Arlington, Texas); Katharine Mary Price (Nashville, Tenn.); Nathaniel Wilson Reisinger (Urbana, Ohio); Courtney McNeill Ridenhour (Charlotte, N.C.); Delaney Oliver Rolfe (Dallas); Kelly Mae Ross (Endicott, N.Y.); Hannah Juliet Sackfield (Louisville, Ky.); Thomas John Sanford (New York, N.Y.); Qiuchi Sun (Chengdu, China); Richard Dixon Sykes (Wellesley, Mass.); Aleksandr Vladimir Vandalov (Vienna, Va.); Emma Cait von Maur (Bronxville, N.Y.).

Class of 2014:

Ebony Lynne Bailey (Winterville, N.C.); Emily Grace Comer (Dallas); Hillary Faith Cooper (Roanoke, Va.); Erin Gretchen Dengler (Rocky Mount, N.C.); Ryan Atticus Doherty (Morristown, Tenn.); Kathryn Elizabeth Driest (Davidson, N.C.); Max Dyer Farrington (Severna Park, Md.); Caroline Hodges Gill (Charlotte, N.C.); Virginia Claire Higginbotham (Memphis, Tenn.); Christopher Winthrop Ives Jr. (Fairhope, Ala.); Jordan Taylor Kearns (Nicholasville, Ky.); Joseph Liu (Ormond Beach, Fla.); Annelise Alissa Madison (Roca, Neb.); Olivier Mahame (Musanze, Rwanda); Julia Elizabeth Murray (Mooresville, N.C.); Karen Arlene Roth (Southborough, Mass.); Andrew Michael Seredinski (Flourtown, Pa.); Eric Matthew Shuman (Black Mountain, N.C.); Lorraine Marie Alice Simonis (Lexington, Va.); Haley Elizabeth Smith (Asheville, N.C.); Jake Elijah Struebing (Amherst, N.Y.); Thomas Christopher Wolff (Fairfield, Conn.).

News Contact:
Julie Campbell
Associate Director of Communications and Public Affairs
jcampbell@wlu.edu
540-458-8956


McGill University Philosophy Professor to Lecture at W&L

Alia Al-Saji, associate professor in the department of philosophy at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on Monday, April 1, at 5:30 p.m. in the Hillel House.

The title of her lecture is “A Phenomenology of Hesitation: Interrupting Racializing Habits of Perception.” It is free and open to the public.

In her work, Al-Saji asks how perception becomes racializing and seeks the means for its critical interruption. She said, “The aim of my talk is both to understand the recalcitrant structure of racializing habits of seeing and to uncover the possibilities within perception for a critical awareness and destabilization of these habits.

“Drawing on Henri Bergson and Maurice Merleau-Ponty in dialogue with Frantz Fanon and race-critical feminism, in hesitation the moment when habits of seeing can be internally fractured.  Hesitation makes visible the exclusionary logic of objectifying perception, countering its rigidity and opening it to critical transformation.”

Al-Saji is the author of more than 15 articles, including “When Thinking Hesitates: Philosophy as Prosthesis and Transformative Vision” in The Southern Journal of Philosophy (June, 2112); “Creating Possibility: The Time of the Quebec Student Movement” in Theory & Event (2012 Supplement); and “The Racialization of Muslim Veils: A Philosophical Analysis” in Philosophy Social Criticism (Oct. 2010).

Al-Saji’s research has been supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Le fonds de recherche du Québec en société  et culture.  In 2009, she was awarded a fellowship at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France, and was a fellow at the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas (IPLAI) at McGill University. She was awarded a fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Study in Durham University for fall 2012.

Al-Saji served on the executive committee of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (SPEP), the second largest philosophical association in North America.  She is currently a co-editor of the “Symposia on Gender, Race and Philosophy” and the Feminist Philosophy section editor of “Philosophy Compass.”

She received her B.A. from McMaster University, her M.A. from Catholic University of Louvain and her Ph.D. from Emory University.

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

Master LEGO Builder: Nick Tatar '96

Nick Tatar hadn’t touched a LEGO® for a long time until his sons, six-year-old Ben and three-year-old Sam, came along. With the kids as incentive, Nick, of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1996, has become an adult builder and fan of the toy bricks.

To say he is a “builder” doesn’t say enough, really. He is a master builder whose LEGO creations have gained international attention. Nick, who is married to Ramey Harris Tatar, of the Class of 1998, does have a day job as assistant dean of student life at Olin College, in Needham, Mass. He got his start in college administration by serving for six years as head of W&L’s Outing Club.

His prowess with LEGO is well documented. Here are just a few of his creations:

The LEGO cuckoo clock below, with moving features that you can see in this short video, was featured in Brother Brick, the largest online LEGO blog in the world:

Below is a custom project that Nick did for the LEGO store at the Natick Mall in Natick, Mass.

Nick also helped the town of Needham celebrate its 300th birthday with a LEGO version of the town hall. You can read about the creation (pictured below) in this story from the Needham Times, which explains how carefully Nick did his homework to get all the details just right. The project required 15,000 LEGO bricks and took three months to complete. The photo below is by Keith E. Jacobson from the Wicked Local; additional photos accompany the story.

And just for fun, Nick takes a lot of his projects to the local library and to his sons’ school. The photo below was taken at Newman Elementary School, where Ben attends.

To view some of Nick’s other projects, have a look at his gallery. And for more on Nick and how he built his career one LEGO at a time, see a future issue of the W&L alumni magazine.


W&L Russian Language Students to Perform “Crime and Punishment”

The Russian language students of Washington and Lee University will perform Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” on Tuesday, March 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the Johnson Theater at the Lenfest Center.

Admission is free and the public is invited. Intermittent English commentary will aid non-Russian speakers in understanding the plot.

The play focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Raskolnikov, an impoverished St. Petersburg ex-student who formulates and executes a plan to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker for her money.

Accomplished playwright and director Anna Rodionova, Russian teaching assistant at W&L, has created a condensed dramatic version of Dostoevsky’s famous novel for 24 characters that features the most important scenes from the narrative underscored with modern classical Russian music.

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

Wheeler's Poem Makes Noteworthy Honor List

Congratulations to Lesley Wheeler, the Henry S. Fox Professor of English at Washington and Lee University. Her recent narrative poem “The Receptionist” has landed on the Tiptree Award Honor List for 2012 for its “splendidly drawn characters and pitch-perfect language.” The list is a feature of the James Tiptree Jr. Literary Award Council, which recognizes “science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender,” as it says on its website.

Lesley composed “The Receptionist” in the verse form terza rima, which she finds has a “propulsive energy” that’s perfect for narrative poetry. She tells the story of a woman named Edna, who, in her job as a receptionist for an academic department at a university, crosses swords with an administrator.

It has won praise from none other than Ursula K. Le Guin, the acclaimed author who knows her way around literary forms that explore the world through science fiction and fantasy. Le Guin calls Lesley’s work “subtle and funny, rashly inventive and perfectly realistic.”

Lesley’s poem appears in her recent book, “The Receptionist and Other Tales.” As we described it last fall upon its publication, it is “a novella written in verse” and “falls into a category of literature known as speculative fiction, an umbrella term for genre fiction encompassing fantasy, science fiction and horror” — right up Tiptree’s alley.

The story behind the Tiptree Award is worth reading; check out its website to learn more about James Tiptree Jr., who seems to be worthy of a narrative poem himself (or herself).


W&L Capital Defense Expert Discusses Decline in Virginia Death Row Population

Washington and Lee law professor David Bruck comments extensively in an Associated Press story looking at Virginia’s death row population.

According to the article, the number of inmates on Virginia’s death row is down to eight from a high point of 57 in 1995. Bruck says a number of factors have contributed to this drop, including doubts about false convictions.

“Now the public is more sophisticated than it used to be about imperfections, realizing that the mistakes can go both ways,” Bruck told the AP. “It’s a more realistic view.”

Bruck, who directs W&L’s capital defense legal clinic, also noted that the creation of a state capital defender office has lead to more successful challenges in cases where the death penalty is on the table.

“The mere fact there are experienced lawyers on both sides makes these cases more challenging to prosecute, as they should be,” Bruck said. “There’s more reason to negotiate pleas.”

Read the full story here.


W&L Mock Trial Teams Advance in Competition

Washington and Lee University’s Mock Trial “A” Team placed fifth at the American Mock Trial Association Regional Tournament the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill earlier this month and gained a spot in the upcoming Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS).

W&L competed head-to-head against George Washington University, the University of Maryland, Duke University, and Campbell University.

Abbie Caudill, a W&L senior psychology and religion major from Urbana, Ohio, has been on the mock trial team throughout her W&L career. As president of the organization she is in charge of everything from organizing transportation to the competitions to helping team members stay organized.

Reflecting on the regional win, Caudill found that the team’s work ethic enabled the strong showing.

“I definitely think that our work ethic was a big part of our win. I mean we have a lot of fun, even when we’re at the tournaments, but you know even in between rounds we’re getting feedback from our coaches and trying to improve things and so I think that working really hard definitely helps,” she said.

Also competing for the W&L “A” Team were sophomores Samantha Sisler of Worcester, Pa., Elizabeth Elium of Garrettsville, Ohio, and Jackie Yarbro of Suwanee, Ga., and junior Julia Wingfield of Richmond, Va. and senior Nate Reisinger of Urbana, Ohio.

Katherine Ballou, a W&L junior from Clifton Forde, Va., came away from regionals with two awards. Ballou received an award for her role as the closing attorney for the defense. Her second award was for her compelling portrayal as a witness for the prosecution.

According to Ballou, the team’s win also seemed to be a result of the team’s strong bond.

“We’re a very close-nit group since we spend so much time together practicing and preparing for competitions…We always joke and we call it the ‘mock family,’ but I think that’s a pretty accurate representation of what our team dynamic is like,” she said.

W&L sent a “A” and a “B” team to the regional competition. During the two-day tournament, both of W&L’s teams both participated in four rounds. Both defenses competed twice, as did their prosecutions.

W&L “A” scored high enough to move on to the Opening Round Championship Series on March 15-17 at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. Although “B” Team did not score high enough to earn an automatic spot at ORCS, coming in ninth place, it recently received an open bid to the competition.

The younger team, “B” Team consists of first-years Blake Huddleston of Kemah, Texas, Andrew Teitelbaum of Arlington, Va. and Kristi Gennette of Charleston, W.Va., sophomores Margaret Leer of Paris, Ky. and Joseph Ciborowski of Glenwood Springs, Colo., and junior Christina Lowry of Lexington, Va..

Caudill is excited and optimistic about the upcoming competition.

“I think we’re going to do really well. I think we have a really strong group of people going into it,” she said.

Ballou is also enthusiastic about competing at ORCS, but said she expects to face a different caliber of teams.

“I expect to see more challenging teams, teams that have probably been competing together for a long time so they have a good relationship at the council table. But I’m also excited for us to really buckle down and put a good polish on things,” she said.

The top six teams from the ORCS tournament will advance to the National Championship Tournament in April.

To learn more about he Mock Trial team at Washington and Lee University, visit their website, http://www.wlumocktrial.com, or like their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/wlumocktrial.

— by Sara J. Korash-Schiff ’15 

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


Generalprobe to Perform Tales of the Grimm Brothers

Generalprobe, the German language theater group at Washington and Lee, will perform Märchenwald, four dramatized tales of the Grimm Brothers on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 14 to 16, at 8 p.m. in the Johnson Theater in the Lenfest Center.

The public is invited and admission is free. The performance is in German with detailed synopses of all four tales in the program.

Hans im Glück (Lucky Hans) is a lighthearted comedy about a simple-minded, optimistic soul, gullible but undaunted. Hans is cheated out of all his possessions, but chooses to regard them as a burden, which he has happily cast off.

Das Mädchen ohne Hände (The Girl without Hands) is a dark story about a father’s weakness and a daughter’s inexhaustible strength and faith. The devil deceives the father into selling him his daughter’s soul, but the devil never reckons with the girl’s piety and resilience or with the timely intervention of her guardian angel.

Der Krautesel (Donkey Cabbages) is a tale of love, revenge and magical transformations. A hunter comes into possession of two talismans coveted by a witch. The witch uses her beautiful daughter as bait to secure them. But is the daughter really faithful to her mother?  And what happens when they are both turned into donkeys by the vengeful hunter?

Rumpelstilzchen, the best known of the tales, is the most enigmatic. Who is this little man who can spin straw into gold, for whom something living is more important than all the gold in the kingdom? And why is his power, indeed his very existence, dependent upon no one knowing his name?

News Contact:
Julie Cline
News Writer
jcline@wlu.edu

A Survivor Still Fighting

Riley Hampsch, a Washington and Lee junior from Hopedale, Mass., will be participating in her 16th Relay for Life when the American Cancer Society’s annual event is held at W&L on March 15-16 on Cannan Green.

Riley has been fighting cancer since she was three years old. That’s when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She spent the next six years in and out of hospitals and has been in remission for 17 years. She’s now captain of the Generals field hockey team

But, as she notes in a profile on the blog of the Washington and Lee field hockey team, “rather than fighting for myself, I fight for others.” So far her efforts have raised more than $50,000, and she intends to add to that total through the Relay for Life next weekend.

See all the details of the W&L Relay for Life, including the opportunity to donate, on the Relay for Life page.


W&L Seniors Megan Bock, Wayde Marsh Are Generals of the Month for March

Washington and Lee University seniors Megan Bock and Wayde Marsh will be recognized at the Generals of the Month presentation for March on Thursday, March 7, at 11:45 a.m. in the Marketplace in Elrod Commons.

Bock, of Holmdel, N.J., is a biochemistry major. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma Freshman Honor Society, Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Med Honor Society, Honor Roll and Dean’s List. As a member of Women in Technology and Science (WITS) she worked to promote interest and participation in science among women

A graduate of Holmdel High School, she is the chair of Traveller which provides sober rides for students; a peer tutor in physics, chemistry and Spanish; a member of Chi Omega sorority and the Outing Club. This past summer she was a Nemours Summer Undergraduate Research Scholar in Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Marsh, of Milford, Del., is a politics and religion double major. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity and participates in varsity track and field. He is the captain of varsity swimming, was All-Bluegrass Mountain Conference Selection (swimming) and held three school records in swimming. He is president of Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society and vice president of 1 in 4 Sexual Assault Prevention Group.

A graduate of Salesianum School in Wilmington, he is a resident adviser (head resident adviser for upper division housing), a student leader in this year’s Questioning the Good Life seminar series and a member of Generalprobe (German Play Company) and the German Club. He volunteers as a Special Olympics swim coach.

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.

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

Future CSS presentations during the 2012-2013 academic year will be held during lunch in the Marketplace in the Elrod Commons on April 4 and May 2.

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

Alumna Blazes Trail in Malawi

Visitors to the Kuti Community Wildlife Park in Malawi, Africa, may well be surprised to find that their guide was trained by an American, not to mention a woman. But Hillary Strasser, a 2010 graduate of Washington and Lee, was not only the first American guide in Malawi and the second woman guide in the country, but she is now training the other guides that are leading the guests through the park.

Hillary is teaching the guides about mammal behavior, bird identification by sight and sound, ecology, zoology, and the importance of wetlands.

A double major in environmental studies and Russian area studies at W&L, Hillary has taken a few unusual twists and turns on her path from Lexington to Malawi.

She spent the summer and fall after her graduation as a deckhand, or Ordinary Seaman, on the reconstructed Flagship Niagara, a reproduction of the relief flagship of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry in a major naval battle of the War of 1812. After sailing and educating tourists about maritime history and seamanship that summer, she stayed with the crew during the fall when it down-rigged the ship for the winter months.

Next was a stint with Teach for Myanmar in Yangon, Myanmar, where she taught earth sciences, social studies and English at small community organizations and schools.

From there she headed to South Africa to participate in EcoTraining as a professional field guide. She had internships both in South Africa and Malawi. She learned how to conduct bush walks safely, which includes being able to use a .375 bolt action rifle, perform first aid in the wilderness and drive 4×4 vehicles. In addition, she learned about the local biology, astronomy, geology and animal behavior and how to identify South African mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. She did an internships at Jock Safari Lodge in Kruger National Park, of South Africa, shadowing guides and learning how the hospitality industry works in Africa and then became a guide at Mvuu Camp & Wilderness Lodge in Liwonde National Park.

All that prepared Hillary for her current post in Kuti Community Wildlife Park, a wildlife reserve an hour and a half from Malawi’s capital city. The park features all kinds of wildlife, from big mammals like giraffe, zebra, sable and impala to hundreds of species of birds.

Among Hillary’s current projects is creating a bird identification booklet, which she intends to be a self-guide (she’s drawing all the pictures herself). In addition, she’s mapping the reserve with a handheld GPS, working on anti-poaching solutions, and creating a proposal to manage the wetland at Kuti and create an aquaculture project.


Latin America and Environmental Problems Subject of W&L Lecture

Timothy Shenk, coordinator of the Committee on U.S.-Latin American Relations (CUSLAR) at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., will give a public lecture at Washington and Lee University on Tuesday, March 12, at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of his talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Lessons from Latin America for the Global Environmental Movement.” Shenk’s appearance is presented by the W&L’s Environmental Studies Program and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program.

Shenk will share from his experience his opposition to mining projects in the Dominican Republic as part of the organization Justicia Global, an international sociopolitical organization based in Santo Domingo. He will explore case studies from around the region.

This discussion can offer useful insights to the global environmental movement and may present a model for understanding extractive issues such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of natural gas in rural portions of the United States.

Shenk is a journalist, Spanish-English interpreter and artist. He also is a member of Justicia Global. He graduated from Earlham College with a degree in Spanish and Hispanic Studies.

CUSLAR is a Cornell University-based organization, founded in 1965, which seeks to promote a greater understanding of Latin America and the Caribbean. The members of CUSLAR are a diverse group of people united in their concern about the role of the United States in the social, political and economic affairs of the region. CUSLAR supports the right of the people of Latin America and the Caribbean to self-determination and control over decisions that affect their lives and communities.

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

University of Wisconsin Professor Richard Davidson to Speak on “Happiness is a Skill”

Richard J. Davidson, the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and founder and chair of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin’s Waisman Center will present the next lecture in Washington and Lee’s yearlong “Questioning the Good Life” interdisciplinary seminar series. His talk will be Tuesday, March 19, at 5:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater of Elrod Commons.

The title of Davidson’s talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Happiness is a Skill.”

“This talk will present an overview of recent research in contemplative neuroscience that frames the application of mental training to cultivate positive attributes of mind from the perspective of neuroplasticity,” said Davidson. “In both child and adult samples, recent evidence suggests that such training can impact experience, behavior, brain and body and leads to the suggestion to consider characteristics such as happiness skills that can be enhanced through systematic training.”

Director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior and the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, Davidson is a pioneer in the field of affective neuroscience. Using techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), he has studied neural substrates of depression and anxiety as well as neural plasticity, which is the ability of the brain to reorganize itself on the basis of new experiences.

He has investigated meditation as a potential mechanism for physically changing one’s brain and generating greater health and well-being. Through this work, Davidson has developed a longstanding relationship with the Dalai Lama and helped to launch a new field of contemplative neuroscience.

Davidson received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and has been at the University of Wisconsin since 1984.

Davidson has edited 15 books and published more than 275 articles, many chapters and reviews, including “The Emotional Life of Your Brain” (2012); “The Mind’s Own Physician” (2012); and “Emotions Inside Out: 130 years after Darwin’s ‘The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals’ ” (2003).

Davidson is the recipient of numerous awards for his research, including a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Award and the William James Fellow Award from the American Psychological Society. Davidson was the founding co-editor of the American Psychological Association journal “Emotion” and is past-president of the Society for Research in Psychopathology and of the Society for Psychophysiological Research.

In 2000, Davidson was the recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, the most distinguished award for science given by the American Psychological Association.

In 2003, Davidson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2006, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.

Davidson founded the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds in 2008, a research center dedicated to the study of positive qualities, such as kindness and compassion. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Board at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig and as chair of the psychology section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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

 

Author Danielle Evans to Give Reading at W&L

Fiction writer Danielle Evans will give a reading at Washington and Lee University on Monday, March 18, at 4 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library. The event is sponsored by the Glasgow Endowment.

The reading is free and open to the public and refreshments will be offered. Evans will be reading from her short-story collection, “Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self.”

This collection was a co-winner of the PEN American Robert W. Bingham Prize for a first book, a National Book Foundation 5 under 35 selection, the winner of the Paterson Prize for Fiction and the Hurston-Wright Award for Fiction. The book also received an honorable mention for the 2011 PEN/Hemingway award.

Evans’ work has appeared in magazines including The Paris Review, A Public Space, Callaloo and Phoebe, and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2008 and 2010, and in New Stories from the South.

Evans received an M.F.A. in fiction from the Iowa Writers Workshop, was the 2006-2007 Carol Houck Smith fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. She now teaches literature and creative writing at American University in Washington.

W&L’s Glasgow Endowment was established by the late Arthur G. Glasgow for the “promotion of the expression of art through pen and tongue.” In the past four decades the endowment has hosted authors including W.S. Merwin, Mary Oliver, John Barth, Kelly Cherry and Eavan Boland.

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

W&L Alum's Play Staged in New York

A “ghost opera with dance” by Washington and Lee alumnus Dave DeChristopher, of the Class of 1975, has been playing in New York during February.

“Circle of Haunts” is based on themes from Henry James’ “Turn of the Screw” and features appearances of such famous supernatural figures as the ghost of Hamlet’s father and the witches of Macbeth. Billed as a “psychological horror without the classic blood scenes,” it was staged by the Xoregos Performing Company.

The seven New York performances showcase the play with the hope of interesting other venues and producers for additional runs.

David is a teaching artist at Notre Dame Academy, in Toledo, where he teaches in the International Baccalaureate Theater, offering courses in competitive speech and drama. He also has directed Clay High School’s theater program for the past five years.

In addition to his playwriting and teaching, David is a familiar fixture in the Toledo theater scene. He is active with the Village Players and Toledo Rep as a director and actor and is a founding member of the Glacity Theatre Collective. In addition to Toledo, he’s performed in several Michigan venues, including the Ann Arbor Performance Network.

David spent a quarter century acting, writing and teaching in New York after receiving his B.A. in drama from W&L and a master’s degree from Hunter College, where he studied under Tina Howe, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

“Circle of Haunts” is his latest play. Others include “Vampires in ‘Da House,” “The Jack Report,” “Home Fries” and “Among My Souvenirs.” His play “Fifteen Minutes” was named one of the Best American Short Plays in 1998-99.


W&L, VMI Partner Through Mellon Foundation Grant

Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute are partnering thanks to a grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation to enhance collaboration between select liberal-arts colleges and their neighboring military institutions of higher education.

The overall goal of the project, funded through the Mellon Foundation’s Liberal Arts College Program, is to build on existing shared programming and find new opportunities for long-term collaborations.

As the first event in the partnership, VMI cadets and W&L students together will attend a special dinner with a guest speaker on the eve of VMI’s 2013 Honor Conference, on March 4 and 5. The dinner also will include students from other military academies and programs (the Citadel, the United States Naval Academy and Texas A&M University ROTC), along with civilian students (from the University of Virginia, Haverford College and the University of Mary Washington) who are participating in the two-day conference.

“This is a natural project for collaboration as we begin to take advantage of the opportunities that the Mellon Foundation grant will offer,” said Suzanne Keen, interim dean of the College at W&L. “The event exemplifies both the existing collaboration between our two institutions on matters of mutual concern, and shows the potential for involving others in conversation about shared values of civilian and military students.”

The Mellon grant adds an event that is meaningful to the organizers of the Honor Conference.

“The collaboration between VMI cadets and the Washington and Lee students is what is making this Honor Conference so beneficial to schools wanting to establish workable honor systems,” said Capt. Susan Rabern, director of VMI’s Center for Leadership and Ethics. “The Mellon grant is truly a validation for the students and cadets who are partnering to pull this conference together that they are working in an important and productive direction.”

In addition to W&L and VMI, the other partnerships under the Mellon grant are Dickinson College and the U.S. Army War College; Bard, Union and Vassar colleges and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; St. John’s College (Md.) and the U.S. Naval Academy; and Colorado College and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Keen noted that there have long been, and will continue to be, many informal collaborations between the neighboring institutions. The Mellon grant is a way to make new connections and to explore enhancing existing links between the institutions.

“Among several stated goals for the project is the desire to identify and implement shared activities that will expand resources and enhance programs,” said Keen. “This is a very natural way to us to move forward.”

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


Memorial Service Held for John D. Wilson, Former W&L President

A memorial service was held for former Washington and Lee President John Delane Wilson on Saturday, March 16, in Lee Chapel.

Wilson, the president who led W&L during its transition to coeducation, died on March 2 in Lexington. He was 81.

Watch the service online.

Wilson served as president from 1983 to 1995. In addition to the University’s historic decision to become a fully coeducational institution in 1984, Wilson’s tenure saw the endowment double, the successful execution of a $147 million capital campaign, the renovation of 15 fraternity houses in what was known as the Fraternity Renaissance, and the opening of the Lenfest Center for the Performing Arts.

“John Wilson’s presidency marked a genuine milestone in the history of the institution,” said W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio, who held a number of positions at W&L during Wilson’s tenure. “He laid the groundwork for so many of the important things that we have accomplished and will continue to accomplish in years to come.”

Watch a slideshow of images from President Wilson’s career
• Read a 1994 interview with President Wilson from the W&L Alumni Magazine (pdf)

A native of Lapeer, Mich., Wilson was a football star at Michigan State, playing defensive back for the Spartan teams that won the national championship in 1951 and 1952. He played in the North-South postseason football game in 1952. He was also a member of the Academic All-American football team and was Michigan State’s first Rhodes Scholar.

Reflecting on those accomplishments in 2001, when he was inducted into the Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame, Wilson said: “It was easier in those days to balance academics with athletics. Big-time sports didn’t demand so much of you. We had a nine-game season and stopped around Thanksgiving. Then we wouldn’t see each other until spring practice. We became students again.”

In 1955, he earned an M.A. in English literature from Exeter College, Oxford University. Wilson served from 1956 to 1958 in the U.S. Air Force as an intelligence officer with the Strategic Air Command.

He served as assistant to the vice president of academic affairs at Michigan State for a year before spending four years, 1959 to 1963, as assistant to the president at the State University of New York. He then returned to Michigan State to help lead the Honors College. In 1965, Wilson received his Ph.D. in English literature and then taught Shakespeare and Elizabethan literature at Michigan State as an assistant professor of English.

In 1968, Wilson became president of Wells College, a private liberal arts college for women in Aurora, N.Y. He served there until 1975, when Virginia Tech appointed him that institution’s first provost and executive vice president.

On Sept. 1, 1982, W&L elected Wilson as president. He took office on Jan. 17, 1983, and was inaugurated on May 19, 1983. In a 1994 article in W&L: The Washington and Lee University Magazine, Wilson recalled that he knew little about Washington and Lee, except its reputation, when he was invited to interview for the position. He based his acceptance of the University’s offer largely on his desire to focus on undergraduate education.

“I had a fine and satisfying career at Virginia Tech and I have much respect for research and advanced work,” he said. “But I discovered that my heart really was in those four undergraduate years.”

In February 1984, the W&L Board of Trustees launched a comprehensive study of coeducation. Recalling that often-heated debate, Wilson said in the 1994 alumni magazine story that while he knew there were emotional positions, “we take an oath when we become a member of this Board and that is that we will act in the interests of the institution ‘without fear or favor.’ I had a strong Board, of course, and its members took that oath seriously.”

While the decision and implementation of coeducation was the pivotal moment in his presidency, Wilson also presided over a number of other key advances, including the endowment growth and the continued development of the campus. On The Shoulders of Giants, a $127 million capital campaign, was launched in 1990. At its completion in 1995, it had raised $147 million.

Funds raised through that campaign allowed the construction of the Watson Pavilion and the Duchossois Tennis Center and the transformation of Parmly and Howe Halls into the Science Center. The bulk of the money supported student aid and expanded computer support and academic programs. In addition, the Lenfest Center for Performing Arts was dedicated in May 1991, and the University undertook the Fraternity Renaissance program to renovate the fraternity houses and strengthen the Greek system.

In 2006, the John and Anne Wilson Hall opened at Washington and Lee. The addition to the Lenfest Center is headquarters for the University’s departments of art and art history and music. Longtime W&L benefactors Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest ’53, ’55L gave a major gift to name the building in the Wilsons’ honor.

Wilson was a familiar figure at athletic events as well as theater and music performances. In discussing the construction of the Lenfest Center and its importance to the arts at W&L, Wilson said that “our physical plant and our curriculum would mean nothing without our students. I love being with them. It’s a pleasure to attend games, lectures, concerts.”

Wilson received numerous honors and awards, including a 1984 Ring-tum Phi Award from the student newspaper for outstanding service for “demonstrating the courage to force the university to reexamine itself, primarily with regard to the current coeducation study.” He was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa, the national honorary leadership society founded at W&L, in 1983.

In 1987, he received the Duffy Daugherty Award from Michigan State for his athletic career there. In 1989, he was elected to the GTE Academic All-America Hall of Fame, also for his college athletic career. W&L awarded him an honorary doctorate of letters in 1996. In 2000, he received Virginia Tech’s Ruffner Medal, its highest honor, for service and dedication to Virginia Tech. President Charles Steger wrote on that occasion, “Virginia Tech would not be the comprehensive university that is today had it not been for John Wilson’s vision and leadership in setting the intellectual agenda of the university as its first provost.” In 2007, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Lapeer (Mich.) Community Schools.

Wilson belonged to Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta, the Association of American Rhodes Scholars and the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges. He served on the boards of the Virginia Tech Library Systems, the Roanoke Electric Steel Corp., Hollins College and Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy. He was chairman of the board of the Virginia Foundation for Humanities and Public Policy.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Anne Yeomans Wilson; their four children, Stephen, of Richmond, Anthony, of Blacksburg, Patrick, of Atlanta, and Sara, of Charlottesville; nine grandchildren; two sisters; and two brothers.

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


Connors to Give Pritchard Professorship Inaugural Lecture at W&L

Christopher D. Connors, professor of geology at Washington and Lee University, will give the William E. Pritchard III Professorship Inaugural Lecture on Thursday, March 14, at 8 p.m. in Science Center 214.

The title of his talk is “The Importance of Fault-related Folding in Deformation of the Earth’s Crust.”  It is free and open to the public.

Connors plans on showing examples from around the world to demonstrate how fundamental the relationship is between faulting and folding in the upper crust. He said that he “will show that consideration of these processes allows for a better understanding of the subsurface geometry and kinematics of map-scale structures.” He will also show results from a program that he wrote to model these structures.

Connors joined the W&L faculty in 1999. He was head of the department from 2009 to 2010 and from 2011 to the present. He has been a visiting professor at the Universitat de Barcelona, Spain, in 2010-2011 and Universidad de Oviedo, Spain, in 2003.

He co-authored “Seismic Interpretation of Contractional Fault-related Fold” (2005). Connors also co-authored nine peer-reviewed journal articles, including “Structure of the Offshore Niger Delta” (2009) and “A Velocity Description of Shear Fault-Bend Folding” (2006).

He has co-authored 38 talks at national/international meetings, and given 21 invited talks (seven international) to academia and industry.

Connors said, “Much of my own research has involved students, with 23 W&L student co-authors on abstracts of talks and five student co-authors of published manuscripts. All of my graduated honors theses students have subsequently completed or are completing graduate degrees in geology.”

Connors holds a B.S. from Pennsylvania State University, an M.S. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University.

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

W&L Expert Analyzes Upcoming Kenyan Election

Along with observers around the world, Tyler Dickovick, a Washington and Lee University politics professor, will be watching Kenya’s election on Monday with a mixture of apprehension and hopefulness.

An expert on the decentralization of government who specializes in sub-Saharan Africa, Dickovick has spent parts of the last two summers working with the Transition Authority, composed of officials in Kenya, as they attempt to shift power from the central government to 47 counties.

In large measure that effort was the outgrowth of the violence that followed Kenya’s last election, in 2007, when 1,300 people died and 600,000 were forced from their homes in the aftermath.

“I wish I could be more confident that the decentralization will have some success,” said Dickovick, whose work under the auspices of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) led to his participation in the Transition Authority. “Prognostications are always risky. The two African countries that I study the most are Ghana and Kenya. In the lead-up to the Ghanaian election in December, there was some tension and the potential for a bit of ethnic strife. Yet, I felt confident predicting that you would not have in Ghana a significant blowup.

“I am not confident in making any prediction for Kenya about whether events of 2007 and 2008 will repeat themselves or not. I would not be surprised either way.”



The idea of shifting from a government with all the power at the center to one in which power is distributed to smaller units — the counties, in this case — is to avoid the sense that an election gives the winners all the chips. In countries like Kenya with clear ethnic divisions, the hope of a decentralized system is that the side that loses the presidency will at least have elected governors or mayors from its tribe who will be playing significant roles in governing.

As Dickovick explained, Republicans and Democrats in the United States can fight over the White House. In the same year, however, that, say, Democrats, win the White House, Republican governors may have won elections in half the states or more.

“In this kind of system, the losing side continues to have a stake in being part of the system,” he said. “It would be a much more troubling system in the U.S. if whoever won the White House also controlled all 50 governorships and on down the line,” he said. “That was the notion behind going from this really centralized system to a more decentralized system, to give everybody a stake and to get rid of this winner-take-all formula.”

What gives Dickovick pause when it comes to Monday’s election is not so much whether or not the new system will work but how quickly it has been developed and how little time Kenyans have had to get accustomed to it.

The change, he said, was swift. Making a country so different in such a short period of time requires significant shifts in thinking. “You cannot go from having a political system that looks like Russia’s to a system that looks like the U.S. overnight,” he said. “The time frame in which Kenyan decentralization was expected to work its magic was really, really short.”

When Kenyans go to the ballot box, they will no longer be voting for only a president, Dickovick noted. Now they will vote for six people: president, senator, representative, woman representative in their new county, representative to their county assembly and governor. Despite what he said have been extraordinarily thoughtful people who have worked hard to make this change, Dickovick is not sure that it will be possible to get everybody ready for this election, with its new system.

Whatever the outcome, Dickovick said, it will be hard to decipher what impact the decentralized system has had on this election. “If there is violence, it won’t mean that decentralization failed but that it wasn’t sufficient to overcome the many social conflicts Kenya has,” he said. “If there is not violence, it will not mean that decentralization alone is responsible since many other things, including the government’s preparations, will have come into play.”

Complicating a clear analysis further are the personalities of the two primary candidates — Raila Odinga, the current prime minister, and Uhuru Kenyatta. Odinga is a Luo, the rival tribe historically of the Kikuyu tribe, of which Kenyatta is a member.

“Odinga is the son of one of Kenya’s founding fathers, while Kenyatta is the son of the founding father of Kenya,” said Dickovick. “So they are the next generation of the initial rivalry between two of the founding fathers and two of the largest tribes. Their personalities matter, of course, but most analysts would say that ethnicity matters most.

“The fact that these are the leading candidates and the polls indicate they are neck-and-neck simply makes it even more difficult to predict what will happen on Monday.”

A member of the W&L faculty since 2004, Dickovick is the author of “Decentralization and Recentralization in the Developing World: Comparative Studies from Africa and Latin America,” published in 2011 by the Pennsylvania State University Press.

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine to Deliver W&L Law Commencement Address

Tim Kaine, U.S. Senator for Virginia and former Virginia Governor, will deliver this year’s commencement address during the 2013 graduation exercises at Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 11 beginning at 11 a.m. It will be held the Warner Center gymnasium because of weather. The event is open to the public. A complete schedule of events is available at the commencement website.

Senator Kaine was elected to the United States Senate in 2012, continuing a distinguished career as a public servant. He began his political life in 1994, running for Richmond City Council, serving as a Councilman and Mayor. In 2001, Senator Kaine was elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, working for four years with then-Governor, now Senator, Mark Warner.

In 2005, Senator Kaine was elected Virginia’s 70th Governor. During his time as Governor, Virginia was honored as the “Best Managed State in America” (Governing Magazine), the “Best State for Business” (Forbes.com, four years in a row) and the best state to raise a child (Education Week).

In 2008-09, Senator Kaine served as Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Association and from 2009-2011 as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Senator Kaine is a graduate of the University of Missouri and Harvard Law School. He practiced law for 18 years in Richmond, specializing in fair housing representation. During this time, he also taught at the University of Richmond.


W&L at the White House

Lt. Brian Higgins can hardly imagine a better assignment than his part-time gig: White House social aide.

In the space of only a few days in January, Brian found himself escorting then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the presidential inauguration and welcoming the Miami Heat during the visit of the National Basketball Association champions to the White House.

A 2005 graduate of Washington and Lee, Brian is a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. He went to Officers Candidate School after graduating from W&L and spent three years as the supply officer on the U.S.S. Virginia, an attack submarine.

When he returned from sea, Brian was assigned to Naval Reactors, the Washington-based office that oversees the operations of the Navy’s nuclear propulsion program.

Then, last May, his commanding officer encouraged him to apply to be a White House social aide. He is one of 45 young officers representing the five armed services who serve the White House at many events.

“I’m very fortunate,” said Brian. “The basic qualifications are sort of particular. To be a Navy social aide, you have to be an officer between the rank of lieutenant junior grade and lieutenant commander. You have to be unmarried and stationed in D.C.”

In his role at the White House, he assists the social secretary in support of the President and First Lady during White House events.

“We see that guests get seated. We help with introductions. We have to learn as much about the White House as possible so that we can answer questions,” Brian said. “It’s been fascinating.”

You might have caught a glimpse of Brian on television during the presidential inauguration in January. Several news outlets showed him escorting Secretary Clinton down the steps during a luncheon at the Capitol.

“It’s pretty rare that I get on national television,” Brian said. “In fact, the very best events are those with kids seeing the White House for the first time or when people meet the President and First Lady. Seeing the excitement on their faces is an incredible experience. It’s an honor to watch people have a moment that they’re going to remember.

“That’s the highlight of the job. Just being able to be a very small part of their experience is great, and they’re so appreciative.”

Brian, a member of the Generals baseball team during his undergraduate days, recently completed his master’s in political communications and government at Johns Hopkins.


Christopher Graves to give Keynote Address for W&L’s 55th Media Ethics Institute

Christopher Graves, CEO of one of the world’s largest public relations networks, Ogilvy Public Relations, will give the keynote address for the 55th Media Ethics Institute at Washington and Lee University. The talk will be held on Friday, March 15, at 5:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

The title of Graves’ talk is “Going Native: Will branded, sponsored content turn journalism into leagues of cacophony?” It is free and open to the public.

“News media are rushing toward a new savior, a new business model to bail them out,” Graves said about his March 15 talk. “It could be called native advertising or branded content or sponsored content or even brand journalism, but this melding of marketing and journalism floods online properties. Former advertisers rejoice in their new-found liberty, throwing off the bonds of editorial gatekeepers and declare ‘every company is a media company.’ In the battle between the fading traditionalists and the reborn content marketers, what becomes of content itself?”

Graves’ keynote address is delivered in conjunction with the Media Ethics Institute occurring on March 15 and 16.  The Media Ethics Institute is sponsored by the Knight Program in Journalism Ethics and W&L’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Graves, who also serves on the board of Ogilvy’s parent company, the Ogilvy & Mather Group, joined Ogilvy PR after 23 years in business news including, 18 years with Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal and CNBC.

He was one of the founders of the Wall Street Journal Report on TV (now three decades old), vice president in charge of news and programming for CNBC Asia, vice president in charge of news and programming for CNBC Europe and managing director of Far Eastern Economic Review magazine which won magazine of the year twice in Asia during his tenure.

Graves is a frequent public speaker and moderator, appearing as a guest host on CNBC Squawk Box and at such events as the Clinton Global Initiative, World Economic Forum and Boao, (China’s most influential forum). He has hosted, debated with or interviewed such heads of state and celebrities as Tony Blair, Singapore founding father Lee Kuan Yew and Robert Redford, to name a few.

Graves is a contributing author of two recent McKinsey books: “Korea 2020” and the business bestseller “Reimagining Japan.”

Graves serves on the board of the Council of Public Relations Firms, is a trustee of the Institute for Public Relations, is on the board of Caring for Cambodia (a foundation that builds schools) and on the Leadership Council of Opportunity Nation (a bi-partisan coalition of 200 NGOs devoted to restoring social and economic mobility).

Awards include WPP Atticus Grand Prix for original writing (for “Reimagining Japan”), Agency of the Year, Asia Pacific PR Professional of the Year, Asia Pacific Consultancy of the Year, an EMMY nomination and more than a dozen awards from The New York Film and Television Festivals and the Asian Television Awards. In 2011, Graves was chosen to serve on the jury for the Cannes Festival of Creativity (PR Lions).

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