Grant Benefits Owls, Bees, Squirrels–and Local Schoolchildren
Screech owls have two new nests, squirrels are better protected from cars, soil erosion has been remedied and pollinators will soon have a special garden.
Lexington elementary schoolchildren undertook these projects this school year through a partnership of Washington and Lee University, Boxerwood Nature Center and local schools.
The projects were made possible by a competitive, three-year grant to Boxerwood from the NOAA/B-WET program—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Chesapeake Bay Watershed Education and Training, an environmental education program that promotes locally relevant, experiential learning in the K-12 environment.
“The grant was looking for a collaborative effort between a university and a nonprofit that improved science education in schools,” said Lenna Ojure, director of teacher education and associate professor of education at W&L.
Ojure and Haley Sigler, assistant director of teacher education and assistant professor of education, helped to design and teach a professional development program on inquiry science to a core of local schoolteachers using Boxerwood’s facilities. This is a hands-on teaching method that involves schoolchildren trying to answer a question through research, gathering data, analyzing it and making a proposal to do something about what they have discovered.
The teachers trained through the program with W&L’s teacher education faculty to become leaders in their schools and to help other teachers who might want to undertake a similar project.
“This is also good for W&L’s program in teacher education,” said Ojure, “because we get to stay up to date with the current thinking on teaching science at the elementary level and to develop good relationships with local teachers, so they are more open to having our students in their classrooms.”
Stoler to Present Griffith Lecture at W&L
Mark Stoler, editor of the George C. Marshall Papers, will present the Robert S. Griffith ’52 Lecture at Washington and Lee University on Tuesday, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium of the Leyburn Library.
The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is titled “George C. Marshall and the Creation of Israel: The Partition and Recognition of Controversies, 1947-48.”
Stoler, who is serving as the Griffith Visiting Scholar at Washington and Lee, is professor emeritus of history at the University of Vermont.
Stoler’s areas of expertise include U.S. diplomatic and military history and World War II. He is the author of the 1989 volume, “George C. Marshall: Soldier-Statesman of the American Century.” He has also written about a number of other topics related to World War II, as well as U.S. foreign policy.
The winner of several major teaching awards at the University of Vermont, Stoler is former president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and a former trustee of the Society for Military History.
He earned his B.A. at the City College of New York and his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison He joined the faculty at Vermont in 1970 and became professor emeritus in 2007.
The Robert S. Griffith Jr. ’52 Visiting Scholar Fund, established in 2006 by Mrs. Helen C. Griffith in memory of her husband, sponsors distinguished visiting teachers and speakers in the areas of history, current events, politics or business. This fund provides assistance for the visiting scholar to be on campus for an extended stay in order to benefit students, faculty and the community through extensive interactions and teaching.
Behind the Scenes at the Super Bowl
When we watch an enormous, worldwide sporting event on TV like the Super Bowl XLVII, we might enjoy the sets without really thinking about how they got there and who built them. Thanks to a behind-the-scenes account from Thomas Meric III, a 2012 graduate of Washington and Lee, we know a lot more about that process as it unfolded in New Orleans this year.
Thomas graduated with a B.A. in economics and theater. He’s from New Orleans and is working for that city’s Solomon Group, which says on its website that it creates “permanent museum exhibits, one-night-only live events and everything in between.” It provides design, project management, lighting, audiovisuals, multimedia. Thomas’ W&L theater experience with lighting design, stage management and sound mixing are paying off in his work at Solomon as a production coordinator.
For the Super Bowl, that meant getting down to work last August, when CBS contracted with the company to build three broadcast sets, design a bridge for broadcast and transmission cables, design and build hospitality suites, and light signage on several buildings, including the Superdome.
That was the easy part. “Once January rolled around,” Thomas wrote in an e-mail to his friends at the W&L Theater Department, “everything got crazy.”
For instance, installing the bridge took five days of work from midnight to 5 a.m. “It rained almost the entire time and was 35 degrees, outrageous fun,” wrote Thomas. He spent his days riding his bike from installation to installation, working around the clock and not getting much in the way of sleep or nourishment, along with the rest of his colleagues.
Thomas offered another anecdote: “We designed the lighting for some signage at the aquarium, but because of the site, we could not leave the lighting board there overnight. I volunteered to turn the lights on every night and off every morning for a week, and because of the lighting board situation, I had to walk down the street from our office to the aquarium with a lighting console and monitor. It was nine blocks and funny to think about now, but navigating through thousands of people with a lighting board is not as easy as other things.”
Thomas has another passion: sailing. We blogged about his team in August 2011.
W&L's Medieval Renaissance Studies Program Presents “Commedia Meets Hamlet!? A Really Dumb Show”
The Medieval Renaissance Studies program at Washington and Lee University is sponsoring “Commedia Meets Hamlet!? A Really Dumb Show.” The event will be Friday, May 3, at 4 p.m. in Northen Auditorium with reception to follow. This performance is free and open to the public.
Guest artist Norma Bowles from Los Angeles and Professor Holly Pickett and her Spring Term class, Hamlet’s Ghost, have collaborated on the presentation of a commedia dell’arte show.
The performance will introduce six of the traditional stock Italian Renaissaice dell’arte characters Pantalone, Arlecchino, Pulcinella, Dottore, Capitano and Tartaglia. After presenting the characters, the students will explain the ways these characters, their lazzi and commedia techniques can be used to address contemporary social justice issues.
Pickett’s students will work with these traditional character types in their staging of the show in the play-within-the play from Act 3 of Hamlet.
Bowles is the artistic director of Fringe Benefits Theatre. She has led commedia dell’arte workshops all over the world, including The Melody Sisters in Pamplona, Spain; the Center for Theatre of the Oppressed and Applied Theatre Arts in Los Angeles; the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and South Coast Repertory Theatre.
She has also led workshops at more than 10 universities, including Princeton, Smith College, the University of New Hampshire and the University of California Riverside. In 2007, W&L students performed “Commedia for Social Justice” lazzi addressing sexual harassment and date rape for an audience of their peers.
Pickett, associate professor of English at W&L, has been a member of the W&L faculty since 2005. She is the author of four articles and five reviews and has one book manuscript under consideration and one in progress. She earned her B.A. at Millsaps College and her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles.
W&L Professor Wins National Endowment for the Humanities Grant
Angela M. Smith, director of the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics and associate professor of philosophy at Washington and Lee University, has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to conduct research this summer.
Smith is one of 78 winners nationally of an NEH Summer Stipend, which supports individuals pursuing scholarly work in the humanities. About only 8 percent of Summer Stipend applicants get the awards.
The two-month grant will support Smith’s completion of the manuscript “Attitude Matters: Responsibility, Respect, and Reconciliation.”
“My aim in ‘Attitude Matters’ is to explore the central importance of our attitudes in moral life. I argue that we are morally responsible for our desires, emotions, beliefs and other attitudes, not because we have voluntarily chosen, cultivated or identified with them, but because they directly reflect our judgments about reasons,” Smith has said about her work. “And I argue that we can be morally obligated to have certain attitudes toward others, even though they fall outside our direct voluntary control. Finally, I examine the implications of this view for our understanding of the distinctive wrongs associated with racism, sexism and other forms of prejudice, and provide an account of the attitudinal basis of moral reconciliation with others.”
She suggests that her views of the matter “run against the grain” of most traditional theorizing about questions of moral responsibility, which makes the NEH award especially exciting since it offers significant potential to advance the field.
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. In March, she was named the first director of W&L’s Mudd Center, which will be a resource for students and faculty throughout the University.
Smith has been a member of the W&L faculty since 2009, after spending a year as 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. Before coming to W&L, she was a tenured member in the philosophy department at the University of Washington.
She previously received a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellowship at Princeton University’s Center for Human Values for 2013-14.
Smith is the latest W&L winner of an NEH grant. Last year, Richard Bidlack, professor of history, won an NEH Summer Stipend in 2003 to support work on his 2012 book, “The Leningrad Blockade, 1941–1944.”
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
W&L Alumna Keckler Twirls into a New Job
Got a hankering for the Atomic Chili Cheese Dog, a specialty of the Twirly Top, in Gardners, Pa.? Never fear, it will remain on the menu under the new owner—Sarah Keckler, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2010.
Sarah, who grew up on a farm two miles away from her new business, had been working as a project manager in Washington. “It was pretty crazy when I told my boss, friends and co-workers in D.C. that I was quitting my job to go serve ice cream,” she told the (Carlisle, Pa.) Sentinel in a nice profile. As the newspaper points out, her B.S. in business administration comes in handy while running her new enterprise.
The Twirly Top is around 60 years old, the last of its breed in the area. It’s especially popular with folks who enjoy stopping in for a soft-serve cone on their way to the nearby Laurel and Fuller lakes. When the previous owners put the place up for sale, locals were concerned that it would close. “We’ve been coming here since we were little,” one relieved customer told the reporter.
Sarah has her hands full now, what with refreshing the menu, learning the recipe for onion rings and deciding to close on Sundays. “I was pretty excited to take it on,” she told the paper. “It’s a new era of the Twirly Top.”
W&L's Lepage Chosen for European Art Seminar
Andrea Lepage, assistant professor of art history at Washington and Lee University, is one of 21 faculty members from around the country chosen to participate in a special week-long seminar on Teaching European Art in context.
The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) selected Lepage for the seminar, which will be held at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta in June. The seminar will be held in conjunction with an exhibition of rare traveling masterpieces of Dutch art, featuring works by Vermeer, Hals, and Rembrandt. The exhibition, “Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis,” will be on view at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, beginning in June 2013.
“The exhibition ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis,’ to be installed at the High Museum offers a rare occasion to view in person some of the finest Dutch paintings created during the Early Modern era,” said Lepage. “Participation in the associated seminar, ‘Dutch Art, Patrons, and Markets,’ provides me with an invaluable opportunity to expand upon Washington and Lee’s art history curriculum and create interdisciplinary connections between the art history and chemistry departments.
“My colleague in the chemistry department, Erich Uffelman, currently teaches a two-part course dealing with science in art. The first part of the course takes place on-campus and equips students with knowledge of the physical, chemical, and biological concepts necessary to undertake technical examinations of 17th-century Dutch paintings. The second part takes place on-site in Amsterdam and provides students with the ability to put their scientific training into practice while visiting museums and conservation workshops. Beginning next winter, an art history class focused on 17th-century Dutch art will be taught in connection with Professor Uffelman’s chemistry course and will provide students with a greater cultural context for their technical examination.”
Catherine Scallen, chair of the Department of Art History and Art at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where she has taught since 1995, will lead the program, which aims to strengthen the teaching of art history to undergraduates at smaller colleges and universities.
“The seminar will be especially valuable for faculty members at institutions without large campus museums or proximity to major art museums. Art historians in all fields and studio artists, as well as faculty members who specialize in history, European studies, and related fields will find this seminar of interest,” said CIC President Richard Ekman.
Lepage joined the Washington and Lee faculty in 2008. She received her B.A. in art history from Clark University and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Brown University. She teaches courses in Colonial Latin American art, Modern Latin American art, Spanish Baroque art and Italian Baroque art.
She also teaches in W&L’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies program and is currently offering a spring term course, Chicano Art and Muralism, which is based in part on the current exhibition of Chicano art from the collection of entertainer Cheech Marin.
The CIC is an association of 645 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and more than 90 higher education organizations. Since 1956 the organization has worked to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society.
New Group Aims to Expand Use of Digital Humanities at W&L
A group of Washington and Lee University faculty and staff is exploring new ways to use technology in the University’s humanities disciplines.
The Digital Humanities Working Group is an informal organization of 15 faculty and staff whose goal is to lead the way in establishing digital humanities (DH) as a more commonly accepted method of teaching and research. The group is investigating the ways in which DH can enhance both teaching and learning for liberal arts students.
Paul Youngman, a 1987 W&L graduate and associate professor of German at W&L, and Suzanne Keen, the Thomas H. Broadus Professor of English and interim dean of the College, organized the initiative.
“We’re trying to get people to recognize that DH is here to stay, and that print is no longer the predominant means to produce or disseminate knowledge,” said Youngman. “While print is still around, it is more and more frequently embedded in some sort of digital platform. Text is therefore no longer bound and fixed.”
Youngman observed that DH is not a specialized field, but refers to all the different computing techniques that can be used in conducting and presenting research as well as in the classroom. He predicted that the term “digital humanities” will eventually disappear as it becomes widely accepted, and that people will simply call it “humanities.”
DH asks traditional humanities questions and then seeks answers by applying methodologies and tools provided by computing such as visualization techniques, data mining, statistics and computational analysis.
“If we’re talking strictly pedagogy, which is the mission of W&L, it will equip our liberal arts graduates with computing technology skills that can help them a great deal in the professional world and allow them to better compete for a job in the 21st century,” said Youngman.
He conceded that DH can seem daunting to those who are unfamiliar with it. One of the group’s goals next year is to bring DH experts to campus to discuss with faculty what DH is and what it can do.
Youngman was previously director of the Center for Advanced Research in the Humanities at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. He immediately began implementing digital humanities approaches into his W&L courses.
Having worked primarily with faculty at the center at UNC-Charlotte, Youngman found that introducing the techniques to his students was something new. He initially relied on the assistance of Brandon Bucy, senior academic technologist in W&L’s Leyburn Library, and Eric Owsley, manager of web development in the Department of Communications and Public Affairs, who created a travel blog for one of Youngman’s classes.
As a result, Youngman’s students don’t hand him assignments much on paper anymore; he does everything online, including traditional papers and grading. He stressed that text is still important, and that in using a digital platform he is still rigorously evaluating students’ German, albeit in a different way.
“Introducing digital humanities to my students was really fun to do, although it did take up some class time,” said Youngman. “But we need to teach this.”
One technique Youngman’s students used was Ngram analysis on the poetry of Goethe. Google Books’ Ngram Viewer is a project of The Cultural Observatory at MIT and Harvard. It allows a researcher to search all the digitized books to trace the usage of a word over several centuries and show a big-picture trend. “They call this ‘distant reading’ because, rather than reading a book, the computer is taking thousands of books and mining them for this data,” said Youngman.
“It gives students a different way of looking at the text. People have been analyzing Goethe’s poems for 200 years, but not many people have employed Ngrams to situate them in their historical context. It allows students to say something original about his poems, and I think undergraduates find that exciting,” he added.
Youngman’s students also used word clouds, where the more common a word is in a text, the larger it appears in the cloud. For example, a Goethe poem from the Sturm und Drang period in German literature, in which emotion and feeling is emphasized more than reason and intellect, shows “herz” (heart) as the predominant word. The word cloud is a visual way of representing this.
Youngman observed that while Ngrams and word clouds deal with text, there is also a whole array of techniques that deal with sound and imagery.
Rather than writing the classic end-of-term paper, where it’s a limited conversation between the student and the professor, Youngman’s students place their work on a digital platform where other people can see it. “Anybody can look at a project, and I think that puts a little more heat on the students because they don’t want their work to be presented to the world in a sloppy manner,” said Youngman.
A number of the members of the Digital Humanities Working Group, which formed in August 2012, have different DH projects underway, including faculty in classics, history, philosophy and English. Students presented several of those projects this year at W&L’s biennial research conference, Science, Society and the Arts.
The group has also recently begun to network with other institutions with active digital humanities centers and programs to discuss best practices and lay the groundwork for future collaborative research and teaching efforts.
Their work can be seen on a website, Generally Digital (digitalhumanities.wlu.edu), and the group has scheduled a May 2 seminar for the campus, Developing Digital Humanities Projects, at 3 p.m. in Northen Auditorium of Leyburn Library.
Other members of the Digital Humanities Working Group:
- Alston Brake, digital scholarship librarian
- Rebecca Benefiel, associate professor of classics
- Brandon Bucy, senior academic technologist, ITS
- Sarah Horowitz, assistant professor of history
- Curtis Jirsa, assistant professor of English
- Dick Kuettner, director of the Tucker Multimedia Center
- Julie Knudson, director of academic technologies and client services, ITS
- Yolanda Merrill, humanities librarian
- Nicolaas Rupke, Johnson Professor of History
- David Saacke, chief technology officer, ITS
- Rachel Schnepper, Mellon Junior Faculty Fellow, history
- Sara Sprenkle, assistant professor of computer science
- John Tombarge, associate university librarian for digital services and strategies
W&L Alumnus Wins National Award for Columns
The Society of Professional Journalists/Sigma Delta Chi (SPJ) awarded Steve Matrazzo, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1984, its award for general column writing for newspapers with daily circulations of less than 100,000 and non-daily newspapers.
Steve is editor of the Dundalk Eagle, a weekly paper in suburban Baltimore. What made the national honor even more impressive is how infrequently the award has gone to a writer from a non-daily newspaper. As the Eagle reported, Sigma Delta Chi records indicate it’s only the sixth time that a non-daily writer has been recognized.
The author of the paper’s “Talk of the Town” column, Steve had spent 20 years in manufacturing before he joined the Eagle in 2006. He has written his column since 2009 and was named editor of the paper in 2010.
He submitted five of his columns to the contest. You can read one of the entries on the Society for Professional Journalists’ site: “Rage against what is being done in the shadows.”
In the Eagle story announcing his award, Steve said: “This award is a big thing to me personally, of course, but it’s also an important affirmation for The Eagle and for the many community newspapers that aspire to provide quality journalism to their readers.”
Steve’s work has previously been recognized by awards from the National Newspaper Association, the Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Press Association and the Maryland Chapter of SPJ.
Earlier, the SPJ recognized Washington and Lee students in its District 2 competition.
W&L Law Professor’s New Book Examines Shareholder Power and Corporate Governance
What do corporate governance and health care reform have to do with one another?
The answer lies at the core of a new book by Washington and Lee law professor Christopher Bruner. In Corporate Governance in the Common-Law World, Bruner examines the corporate governance powers possessed by shareholders in the U.S. and other common-law countries. Bruner finds, contrary to popular belief, that shareholders in the U.K. and other common-law jurisdictions are both more powerful and more central to the aims of the corporation than are shareholders in the U.S. The vexing question, explored by Bruner’s book, is why.
The question itself seems paradoxical, says Bruner, because the U.S. is widely thought to have the most shareholder-centric corporate legal system in the world. However, his close examination of corporate laws in the U.K., Australia and Canada reveals that this is not the case. Shareholders in the U.K., for example, possess the unqualified right to remove members of a corporate board at any time without cause, and to accept hostile takeovers without board interference, whereas U.S. shareholders possess neither.
“This is especially surprising given that the U.S. is correctly viewed as being more politically conservative, and more committed to a ‘free-market’ ethos, than more left-leaning countries like the U.K.,” says Bruner. “The fact that U.S. corporate law shows greater regard for other corporate stakeholders, such as employees, runs contrary to what the prevailing politics in each country would lead most to predict.”
Hostile takeovers vividly illustrate the point. In the U.K., corporate boards faced with a takeover cannot mount defenses without the consent of shareholders. But in the U.S., corporate boards have substantial discretion to implement takeover defenses to further non-shareholder interests – for example, to protect employees from job loss or to shield a local community that could be hurt by the loss of a big employer.
The resolution of this apparent paradox, Bruner argues, lies outside corporate law itself. Bruner’s theory is that relatively robust social welfare protections in countries like the U.K., Australia and Canada have freed up their corporate legal systems to focus more intently on shareholder interests without giving rise to “political backlash” – because other legal structures accommodate the interests of employees.
“Takeovers are less controversial politically and socially in these systems because employees are less vulnerable in the context of job loss,” says Bruner. “They receive substantial social welfare protections including health care outside of the employment relationship, which reduces the political and social stakes of corporate law.”
The contrast remains a stark one, but things could be heading in this direction in the U.S. as well. Bruner says the increase in recent decades of stock-based compensation for corporate directors has more closely aligned the interests of management with shareholders. This has led to a sharp rise in risk-taking within financial firms, which contributed to the most recent financial and economic crisis.
“Ironically, one of the principal reform efforts following the crisis was to give U.S. shareholders more power, apparently in the belief that they would seek to constrain reckless management,” says Bruner. “This was a bad idea because, if anything, profit-seeking shareholders tend to favor more risk, which could lead to another crisis in the financial sector.”
Notwithstanding the negative effects of shareholder-centrism in financial firms, however, Bruner concludes that simultaneous passage of the Affordable Care Act, along with enhancement of other social welfare programs in the U.S., may help render stronger shareholder powers across the universe of public companies more socially and politically stable than they would have been otherwise. “Only a shift in tandem, with greater employee protections accompanying greater shareholder powers, will be sustainable over time.”
Praise for the Book
“Christopher Bruner’s stimulating new book is a distinctive and important contribution to the burgeoning literature on comparative corporate governance. Bruner argues persuasively that within the common law world differences between countries are nearly as pronounced as the similarities and explains this pattern by way of provocative politically oriented theory.”
– Brian Cheffins, Cambridge University, Faculty of Law
About the Author
Christopher Bruner is an Associate Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University. His teaching and scholarship focus on corporate law and securities regulation, including international and comparative dimensions of these subjects. Professor Bruner’s articles have appeared in a variety of law and policy journals, and his comparative study of U.S. and U.K. corporate governance, titled “Power and Purpose in the ‘Anglo-American’ Corporation,” won the 2010 Association of American Law Schools Scholarly Papers competition.
Professor Bruner has presented his scholarship in Australia, Denmark, Mexico, Russia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and has conducted research as a visitor to the law faculties of the University of Cambridge, the University of Sydney, and the University of Toronto. Professor Bruner received his A.B. in 1995 from the University of Michigan, his M.Phil. in 1997 from the University of Oxford, and his J.D. in 2001 from Harvard Law School.
School of Law Director of Communications
Georgia Tech Psychology Professor Addresses Aging at W&L
Anderson Smith, Regents Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Georgia Institute of Technology, will lecture on memory and aging on Tuesday, May 7, at 5 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater of Washington and Lee Universit’s Elrod Commons.
Smith is a member of W&L’s Class of 1966. His lecture, which is free and open to the public, is titled “There are Three Changes with Aging. The First is Memory, but the Other Two I Forget.”
Smith has written or co-edited 76 articles and books, including “Working Memory and the Strategic Control of Attention in Older and Younger Adults” (2012) in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and “Inadvertent Plagiarism in Young and Older Adults” (2007) in Memory and Cognition.
His research interests are in the area of cognitive aging and he has been funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute Mental Health for more than 25 years.
In 2011, he received the APA Award for the Advancement of Psychology and Aging. In 1997, he received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Division of Adult Development and Aging of the American Psychological Association .
Smith has served on the National Advisory Council on Aging and has been elected Fellow of APA, the Association for Psychological Science and the Gerontological Society. He is also an affiliate scientist at the Yerkes National Primate Center at Emory University. He is the former editor of the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences.
Smith received his B.A. from Washington and Lee University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.
“My Bright Abyss” by W&L Alumnus Christian Wiman '88
“My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer,” the new book by Washington and Lee alumnus Christian Wiman, of the Class of 1988, was released earlier this month and has been garnering lots of media attention.
The winner of a Guggenheim, Christian was diagnosed with Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia but is currently cancer-free after a bone-marrow transplant. The illness is a thread throughout the essays that compose “My Bright Abyss.” Last fall he published an essay that previewed the book in National Review.
Christian has edited Poetry magazine since 2003 but steps down (blogged in January) this summer to join the faculty of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School. He is the author of six previous books.
“My Bright Abyss,” published by Farrar Straus Giroux, is described as a “weighty account of modern faith” in the Wall Street Journal, an “anguished, eloquent meditation on faith” in the Washington Post, and “an exploration of his faith and life in extreme crisis” on National Public Radio.
While Christian’s illness is the common thread that runs throughout the essays that comprise “My Bright Abyss,” Scott Russell Sanders’ review in the Washington Post draws a distinction between Christian’s book and other cancer narratives. “This one,” Sanders writes, “does not dwell on the dramas of therapy, the ups and downs of hope; rather, it uses grave illness to focus on the question that lurks beneath much, if not all, religion: ‘What do you do, what do you say, what in the world are you going to believe in when you are dying?'”
Here is a sampling of national media on Christian’s book (some may require subscriptions):
- Washington Post review by Scott Russell Sanders
- NPR review by Walton Muyumba
- Wall Street Journal review by David Yezzi
- The New York Times review by Dwight Garner
- Q and A in The New York Times
- Cleveland Plain Dealer review by John Repp
- “The Spiritual Autobiography of Christian Wiman” in The Chronicle of Higher Education by Jay Parini
- “Poetry and Spirituality at Death’s Door,” Interview on NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook
W&L Professor Probes Downside—and Upside—of Social Media and Boston Coverage
As she watched the events in Boston unfold on television last Friday, Washington and Lee University journalism professor Claudette Artwick could not help thinking of a June afternoon 19 years earlier, when she watched a white Bronco lead a parade of police cars down Interstate 405 and through the streets of Los Angeles.
The O.J. Simpson car chase on June 17, 1994, was a two-hour TV event that two-thirds of the nation’s television households viewed live.
The similarity between the two events, said Artwick, was primarily because the TV commentators had virtually nothing new to add as the events unfolded, so they covered the same ground over and over. The difference was the prevalence this time of social media.
“We’re a culture that loves storytelling,” said Artwick, who studies how journalists integrate social media in their work. “We love drama. We love to know what’s happening as it’s unfolding.”
“The change from the white Bronco chase is the participation of the public through social media, and the integration of social media, traditional reporting, live coverage and police investigation. It all comes together.”
Much has been written about social media’s coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings. It has been labeled “the first big interactive news story.” Another piece declared the death of “old journalism.”
Artwick doesn’t go that far in her assessment of social media’s impact in Boston. But she does acknowledge that the move toward “a new way of knowing,” as media critics Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel called the shift in their book, “Blur,” gained momentum during the coverage.
“Instead of having the authorities of the mainstream media conveying their expert knowledge, coverage of an event like Boston is becoming more of a conversation,” said Artwick. “This is something that we’ve talked about for several years, and I think it’s developing more and more.”
Complaints about media coverage centered on the inaccurate reports that quickly spread through social media. This, Artwick reminded, is nothing new. The same thing happened when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in 2011.
Artwick believes there was an upside to social media when it comes to the misinformation. Reporters, she said, are more vigilant of one another, moving quickly to correct errors of fact.
“There’s always been a competitive spirit in journalism. There has always been the desire to be first,” she said. “However, I think social media has brought us together and, in many ways, inspired more seeking of truth. I think that many journalists are really coming together and helping one another, because we want the information to be right. We want it to be fast, but we want it to be right.”
Although much of the focus of social media as it pertains to media events is on Twitter, one thing Boston did do was bring other platforms to the fore. Reddit was cited in much coverage, and the ability of people to listen to police scanners over the Internet had a major impact.
The danger, as Artwick notes, is that the information is raw. Nothing is confirmed, and it gets spread quickly without context. This new reality, she said, requires the consumers of news to be educated about this new world of media.
“Consumers have a responsibility to be aware that information may be unverified; that when the situation is tumultuous and information is coming from everywhere, we need to understand that not everything we see is true. We know that,” she said. “We’ve known that for years. But as things go faster and faster, it becomes more incumbent upon us to be aware of our sources of information.”
Artwick noted that the idea of citizen journalists is not all that new. She cites the case of the 1991 Rodney King beating in Los Angeles, caught on videotape by a man who happened to be trying out his new video recorder on his patio.
“Citizens have been part of the mix, but technology is certainly contributing to this change,” she said. “As a journalism educator, I want to be sure that we open our students to understand this new way of knowing, understanding that there is a conversation. The conversation involves video and police scanners; it involves Reddit and Twitter and Facebook and traditional media. We’re all there together, and we have to be able to find a way to convey information that will educate us and help us to live our lives and govern ourselves.”
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
W&L Students Invent Class in Medical Spanish
Once a week throughout the winter term, three Washington and Lee University students and one professor gathered in a room in Leyburn Library and discussed, in Spanish, everything from the relationships between indigenous people and doctors in Guatemala, to how to say specific medical terms in Spanish.
Titled Medicine & Healing in Guatemala, the one-credit independent course was originally created as a way for senior Maggie Holland to prepare for a summer trip with a surgical team to Guatemala.
“I wanted to learn more about medical Spanish and about Guatemalan culture and history,” Holland said.
No class fit her needs precisely, so Holland approached Washington and Lee Spanish professor Ellen Mayock.
“I asked about doing an independent study, and Professor Mayock kindly agreed,” said Holland.
And then Holland mentioned her plan to a friend, Megan Bock, a senior biochemistry major.
“I thought, ‘I’m going to medical school. I’m definitely interested in developing my Spanish so I can use it throughout my career’,” Bock said.
So she was in.
Then Manuel Garcia Padilla, a junior who wants to pursue public health as a career, got wind of Holland and Bock’s course.
So he was in, too.
And the result, said Mayock, is just the kind of collaborative effort that she has come to expect from Washington and Lee students.
“I compiled a list of texts, and we talked about what we wanted to get out of the hour we would spend together each week,” Mayock said. “Really, these three have taught this class, because they know tons more about healing than I do. So we have rotated the books among them. They will each have taught four lessons from each of the books, with me interjecting or getting the conversation going.”
Their sessions have been lively. Some weeks they have focused on the intricacies of medical Spanish. That will be indispensable for Holland, who will interpret for a team of surgeons as part of the national Faith in Practice program.
Then they have had discussions about the way patients might react when they arrive at a hospital for a surgical procedure, when they have usually been treated by traditional healers.
“We’ve talked about bonesetters, shamans, herbalists, midwives,” said Bock, who worked in a public medical clinic in Chile two summers ago. “It’s a vast field of healers. A lot of people in Guatemala choose to go to traditional healers based on accessibility and their comfort zone. We’ve read a lot about fear being associated with going to the hospital.”
Then, turning to Holland, she adds: “I hope you don’t have to deal with that. It could be difficult.”
Padilla worked on a public health project in Mexico City and knows a little of what Holland will be facing.
“All this preparation is going to give her a mindset that will prepare her for what she is going to see,” he said. “If I had a similar preparation before I went to Mexico, I wouldn’t have had so much difficulty trying to understand my surroundings. When I got there, these terms were flying around, a lot of acronyms, and I wondered what on earth was going on. Eventually, it started to make sense.”
Holland, a biology major who will enter Duke University’s physical therapy program in the fall, said that she has always wanted to make the trip with Faith in Practice. She believes the course has helped prepare her in ways that she didn’t even expect.
“Certainly the language instruction has been invaluable, but I’m sure that getting a good sense of the culture and social hierarchy will help me do a much better job of translating,” she said.
Naturally, the students and their professor view the course as an example of the kind of experience they’ve had a W&L.
As Holland said, “Whenever you have an interest you want to pursue here, you can just do it.”
Bock has been interviewing at medical schools and takes every opportunity to cite the course as distinctive. “I really sold this class in my interviews,” she said. “I tell them, ‘I’m actually taking a class that one of my classmates created.’ It’s impressive.”
Mayock noted that the University’s new online registration helped advertise the class. In the past, independent studies would not be posted on the website for all students to see. Now that they are, she said, several students have asked about this course.
“We could have had a few more students, except that the time didn’t work,” she said. “I think this course and the way it’s developed says a lot about what we value here at Washington and Lee.”
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
W&L's Raquel Alexander on Tax Policy
Raquel Alexander, Washington and Lee University associate professor of accounting, was one of the experts consulted by the website, Card Hub, to discuss changes she would recommend to the tax code.
Alexander joined the W&L faculty this academic year. Her research focuses on tax policy related to personal savings and corporate taxation, and her work has led to reform in the college savings industry and has been requested by policy makers and regulators such as the SEC, the MSRB, FINRA, and the White House.
In her comments on Card Hub, Alexander said: “We need tax policy that encourages development of alternative energy sources and new technologies to spur economic growth. There are only three ways to fix our deficit: 1) increase taxes, 2) reduce spending and 3) grow GDP. Growing GDP is the least painful of these three choices and it is something members of both parties can agree on. Tax policy that rewards investment in research and development of new technologies, especially around alternative energies, will help us grow GDP.”
Read the article at http://www.cardhub.com/edu/experts-share-ideal-tax-code-changes/
W&L's Ritter '13 Wins Student Literary Award for Dance Writing
Washington and Lee University senior Jennifer Ritter, of Mariposa, Calif., has been awarded the Student Literary Award by Nu Delta Alpha, the national honor society in dance.
The society presents one student per year with the award for dance writing, and Ritter’s paper, “Renewing the Spirit of the Modern World,” will be published in the next issue of the society’s quarterly journal. She will be invited to receive a plaque at the society’s annual convention in April in North Carolina.
Ritter is a major in religion with a minor in dance, and her paper synthesizes modern dance and the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. In the paper, she argues that Martha Graham and Isadora Duncan, pioneers of modern dance, were inspired by Nietzsche to create a cultural and spiritual renewal in a time that was spiritually stagnant.
“Nietzsche was famous for the line ‘God is dead,'” said Ritter, “and I think Graham and Duncan had the same feeling in the dance world because they were stuck in the confines of ballet. Their creative spirits were stifled by the constraints of society. So, drawing from Nietzsche, they created modern dance as a renewal for the dance world as well as for their own lives.
“Nietzsche said that the life of the artist is the ideal life, and he drew his inspiration from the Dionysian Greeks, who revered the spirit of creativity. Like Nietzsche, Graham and Duncan also looked to the Dionysian Greeks for inspiration, especially the poses of their statues which, although formulaic, helped the dancers to create the movements of modern dance.”
Ritter submitted her paper to the journal at the suggestion of Jenefer Davies, assistant professor of dance and artistic director of the W&L Repertory Dance Company. The paper was a short version of her 25-page capstone paper for her religion major.
“I’m so proud of her,” said Davies. “”I’ve told her that her work is wonderful but it’s very satisfying to have a prestigious national entity affirm it.”
Society of Professional Journalists Honors W&L Students
“Rockbridge Report,” the multimedia newscast of Washington and Lee’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications, last week swept the awards at the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Mark of Excellence Awards for the organization’s Region 2.
That region comprises Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington. Honorees received award certificates the weekend of April 19 at the Region 2 Spring Conference in Norfolk. First-place winners will move on to the national Mark of Excellence competition among category winners from the 12 SPJ regions.
In addition to “Rockbridge Report,” two W&L seniors were recognized for stories they completed during summer internships.
Competing in the small-schools division for institutions with 5,000 or fewer students, “Rockbridge Report” was named Best Independent Online Student Publication.
In the Online In-Depth Reporting category, “Rockbridge Report” stories finished first through third in the contest.
- First Place: “Poor Diet: Not Enough Food and the Wrong Kind,” by Billy Crosby ’13, Tory Dickerson ’12, Killeen King ’12 and Jessica Strait ’12, journalism.wlu.edu/FoodinRockbridge/
- Second Place: “The Chesapeake Bay: An Uncertain Future,” by Robert Grattan ’12, Kelsy McCraw ’12 and Tyler Tokarczyk ’12, chesapeake.academic.wlu.edu
- Third Place: “Bad Choices: More Rockbridge Women Dealing Drugs,” by The Preliminary Hearing, The Preliminary Hearing website
In the Online New Reporting category, “Rockbridge Report” captured the top two spots:
- First Place: “BV Budget Gap May Force Big Changes for Students, Teachers” by Kelly Mae Ross ’13
- Second Place: “Foreclosures in Rockbridge” by Scott Harrison ’13 and Caitlin Doermer ’13
Meanwhile, W&L seniors Tilden Bowditch and Michael McGuire earned second-place honors for their work during their internships.
Tilden’s story, “Heat Had Couple ‘Living like Moles’,” in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, was No. 2 in General Reporting, and Michael’s story, “Men Accused of Trafficking Stolen Medicine Lived Double Lives in South Florida,” in El Nuevo Herald, was No. 2 in feature writing.
What Did Mock Convention Mean to You?
Plans are underway to produce a 30-minute documentary about Washington and Lee’s Mock Convention, and W&L alumni can help in the process.
As the film’s producers consider the various ways in which Mock Convention has had an impact on alumni, we are soliciting short essays (300 words or less) on what your experience with Mock Convention meant to you.
We’re anxious to read about not just your memories of who was nominated and who spoke and which parade floats stood out, but what role, if any, did Mock Convention play in your W&L education.
In addition to your written memories, we would love to see any photographs that illustrate your Mock Con experience.
Please send essays and/or images to email@example.com. Put “Mock Con Video” in the subject line.
W&L's Marc Conner on Shakespeare in Times-Dispatch
Marc Conner, the Ballangee Professor of English at Washington and Lee University, discussed the relevance of Shakespeare’s works to our lives today in a story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Sunday, April 21, 2013.
Conner is the author of a 24-lecture series, “How to Read and Understand Shakespeare,” that is part of the Great Courses.
Commenting on Shakespeare as part of the Times-Dispatch observance of the Bard’s birthday, Conner said “One of the real delights about Shakespeare is how applicable everything he’s talking about is to our own lives. Broken relationships, looking for love, parents versus children, the meaning of life, the great religious questions, the great political questions—they’re all in those plays.”
The article may be viewed at http://myw.lu/10tuBcY
Goodspeed '92 Talks Naval Aviation History
Washington and Lee alumnus Hill Goodspeed, of the Class of 1992, was featured in an interview on WALA-TV (FOX10TV) for Pensacola, Fla., and Mobile, Ala., earlier this month. Hill, curator and historian at the National Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, talked about the museum’s 50th anniversary, which it is observing this year.
Hill started visiting the museum in the 1970s, when he spent time with his grandparents in Pensacola. During the summer before his senior year at W&L, he did an internship at the museum. He began work there full time in 1994. It is the world’s largest such museum, containing restored aircraft, an IMAX theater, cockpit trainers and artifacts such as equipment and clothing.
His connection with military history runs deep: Hill’s grandfather trained at NAS Pensacola as a naval aviator during World War II, his father was a Vietnam War-era Marine officer, and a great uncle served as a PT-boat skipper in the South Pacific during World War II.
Describing the artifacts at the museum, Hill told FOXTV 10: “Almost every month I’ve worked here, there’s something that comes in that’s just fascinating. Recently, we received telegrams of a photographer’s mate on one of Admiral Byrd’s expeditions to the Antarctic. All the telegrams that he sent from the Antarctic up here to Pensacola, that was their only form of communication, just these cryptic, very short little messages going back and forth.”
Hill serves as an adjunct professor for the Naval War College Distance Education Program, lecturing in strategy and policy. He’s also the author or editor of five books, including “U.S. Navy: A Complete History” and “Skylines: American Cities Yesterday and Today,” and has contributed to two others. He also has provided historical commentary for programs on PBS, the Discovery Channel and the History Channel.
W&L Law Alums Joe Brown ‘68L and Jim Ferguson ‘88L Receive Awards at 2013 Law Alumni Weekend
On April 20 during Law Alumni Weekend 2013, Washington and Lee School of Law announced the recipients of the Outstanding Alum Award and the Volunteer of the Year Award.
Joe Brown ’68L received the 2013 Outstanding Law Alumnus Award for his exceptional achievements in the legal profession and his unselfish service to his community and alma mater. Brown is a director at Fennemore Craig Jones Vargas, where he practices in the areas of government affairs, administrative law and business law.
He is a former appointee of President Ronald Reagan to the State Justice Institute and the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the United States (1981-88) and has served as an officer or director of many businesses, civic and charitable organizations including the Nature Conservancy, the Department of Wildlife, the Nevada Development Authority, the Nevada Athletic Commission and Wells Fargo Bank. Presently, he serves as a commissioner for the Nevada Gaming Commission and Vice Chair of the Nevada Military Support Alliance.
Brown is listed as one of the Best Lawyers in America in the field of government relations law and was also recognized in the 2007 through 2010 issues of Super Lawyers magazine as one of the top business and corporate lawyers in the five-state mountain region, as well as being named to the 2011 Super Lawyers Business Edition and the 2012 Best Lawyers in America list. In addition, Brown served as Chairman of the Government Affairs Practice Group of Terralex, a top-tier, international legal networking organization which serves client legal needs and business interests through a worldwide network of law firms that meet only the highest professional standards.
At W&L Brown has served on the Law Council and as a Law Class Agent. He currently serves as a Law Alumni Mentor.
Jim Ferguson ’88L received the 2013 Volunteer of the Year Award, which recognizes those individuals who go above and beyond assisting the Law School. He is the former chair of the Law Annual Fund, a former Law Class Agent, the immediate past president of the Law Council, and an active member in the W&L Dallas Chapter.
Ferguson has worked works tirelessly on behalf of W&L, whether recruiting students, interviewing them for employment, connecting them to other attorneys, raising money, hosting events in his home, or encouraging classmates to return for reunion.
In addition to this, Jim has a full-time job as manager of the Tax Counsel & Standards Division at Exxon Mobil Corporation. He is responsible, among other things, for all significant tax legal positions, major transactions and strategic planning for the corporation. A native of Franklin County, Jim graduated from UVA prior to coming to W&L.
Randolph Hare President-Elect of Association of Physical Plant Administrators
Randolph Hare, director of maintenance and operations at Washington and Lee, is the president-elect of the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA). Hare has been a member of the W&L staff since 1971.
During more than four decades at W&L, Hare served on a Presidential search committee and the Presidential Task Force on Women. He has also served as a Discrimination Policy Adviser for the University. He has also worked with faculty and board members in strategic planning for W&L and has helped to organize and assist with volunteer construction projects and disaster relief work.
Hare has been actively associated with APPA for 25 years. He served on the Information and Research Committee as a representative of SRAPPA (the Southeastern Region) from 2002 to 2006. He also served two terms as APPA’s vice president for information and research.
APPA represents more than 1,500 institutions and 5,200 individual members. The association has a full time staff of 12 at its headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.
W&L Publications Honored
Several publications produced by Washington and Lee’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs in coordination with the School of Law and the Office of Student Affairs were honored recently by Mid Valley Press.
A series of law school postcards designed by Mary Woodson, associate director of communications and public affairs and director of publications, with Peter Jetton, director of law school communications, and Brett Twitty, assistant dean for law school services, won a first place award in the cards category.
A law faculty brochure produced by Woodson and Jetton won an award of excellence as did a law school benefactors invitation produced by Woodson with the Office of Law School Advancement.
The Parent and Family Weekend Schedule won a first place aware in the programs category. It was designed by Denise Watts, a graphic designer in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs, with Lynn Fitch, manager of student affairs operations.
W&L Law Team Reaches Semis at National Appellate Advocacy Competition
A team from Washington and Lee University School of Law was among four teams in the nation to advance to final rounds of the recent National Appellate Advocacy Competition. In the end, the W&L team was fell just one point shy of vying for the national title.
W&L students Matthias Kaseorg 13L, Alex Sugzda 13L, and Tiffany Eisenbise 14L made up the team that represented W&L at the competition finals in Chicago in early April. They faced off against teams from the law schools at Ohio State, South Texas and Texas Tech. In all, 27 law schools were represented at the national competition.
All members of the W&L team were recognized for their performance at the national level. Kaseorg and Sugzda earned honors as fourth and sixth best oral advocate, respectively, and along with Eisenbise received the award for fourth best brief.
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.
3Ls Amy Conant and David Miller served as coaches for the W&L team.
Julie Campbell Honored by VPW
Julie Campbell, associate director of communications and public affairs, won four prizes on April 13 in the Virginia Press Women’s annual communications contest: First place for a news story in an online publication; first place for an editorial/opinion piece in a print-based newspaper; first place for an interview; and second place for a magazine regularly edited by entrant. The first-place entries are now entered in the National Federation of Press Women’s annual contest, with winners to be announced Aug. 24.
W&L Honors Retirees, Other Employees
Six retiring staff members with a combined 163 years of service to Washington and Lee were honored at the University’s annual Employee Recognition Banquet on Thursday, April 18.
In addition, the University recognized employees who were celebrating their 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th, 35th and 40th anniversaries at the institution.
Pictured here are the three retirees who attended the banquet.
- Linda J. Davis, 14 years, administrative assistant, Physics and Engineering Department;
- Joan S. Kasper, 17 years, administrative assistant, Law Library;
- William Mack, 41 years, Heating/Cooling Plant, Facilities Management;
- Nellie M. Rice, 53 years, most recently executive assistant, Student Affairs;
- Jane W. Stokes, 16 years, accounts payable coordinator, Business Office;
- Michael L. Young, 22 years, director of Public Safety.
40 Years’ Service
Thomas A. Bane (P.E., Athletics and Recreation) and Nadine R. Staton (Cafe 77)
35 Years’ Service
Leroy C. Atkins II (Development), Robert P. Fure (Special Programs), Linda F. Johnson (School of Law), Edward W. Mays (Auxiliary Services), Jane B. Smith (Development), Kathy B. Wallace (Facilities Management), Mary S. Woodson (Communications and Public Affairs)
30 Years’ Service
Carol J. Blair (University Library), Sue V. Bryant (Business Office), Robert C. Ferguson (Facilities Management), Barbara D. Higgins (Chemistry Department), Loretta W. Persinger (Law Library), Stephen T. Tomlinson (Public Safety)
25 Years’ Service
Deborah Z. Caylor (Business Office), John L. Coffey (Facilities Management), Janice R. Downey (Counseling Services), Robert W. Dunlap (Marketplace), Earl T. Edwards Jr. (Information Technology Services), Karen V. Hite (University Registrar), Jane T. Horton (Student Health Services), Garland (Eddie) Irvine Jr. (P.E., Athletics and Recreation), Wanda B. McDaniel (Marketplace), Michael E. Moore (Facilities Management), Deborah H. Weinerth (Facilities Management), Bernard R. Wilkerson, Jr. (Information Technology Services)
20 Years’ Service
Dana A. Camper (Information Technology Services), Mark C. Fontenot (Facilities Management), Rebecca C. Lewis (Facilities and Capital Planning), Barbara W. Mollica (University Advancement), Cynthia J. Morton (University Library), Gail A. Nicely (Development), Elizabeth J. Porterfield (Facilities Management), Tony L. Stinnett (Public Safety), Suzanne M. Wade (Law School Career Planning), Barbara J. Woolston (Student Health Services)
15 Years’ Service
Sandra S. Beverly (Development), Jacque L. Bruce (German and Russian), Theresa N. Evans (Law School Career Planning), Larry W. Fitzgerald (Power Plant), Coline E. Hartless (Facilities Management), John G. Keyser (School of Law), Robert M. Moore (Facilities Management), Denise Neuhs (Public Safety), Jeffrey L. Overholtzer (Information Technology Services), Sharon K. Sarno (Cafe 77), Faye E. Silvea (Business Office), N. Joanna Smith (University Registrar), Michael Todd (Journalism and Mass Communications), Rosa M. Weeks (Alumni Affairs)
10 Years’ Service
Maria C. Barongan (Counseling Service), John E. Bulger (Public Safety), Julie A. Campbell (Communications and Public Affairs), Catherine A.R. Coleman (Business Office), James Dick (Campus Activities), Bonnie K. Gates (Law Library), Carol H. Karsch (University Library), Mary C. Miller (Financial Aid), Barbara L. Rowe (University Registrar), Jonathan A. Webster (University Admissions), Jessica L. Willett (Communications and Public Affairs)
W&L Observes Holocaust Remembrance Week, April 30-May 9
Holocaust Remembrance Week will be observed at Washington and Lee University with a talk by a Holocaust survivor and various other activities from Tuesday, April 30 through Thursday, May 9.
Tuesday, April 30 and Wednesday, May 1: Members of W&L’s chapter of Hillel will Stand Against Genocide. They will be manning tables from in the University Commons from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with informational posters and pamphlets about the Holocaust and current genocides. Members of the University community can sign a pledge stating they will not be silent about any ethnic cleansing attempts.
Wednesday, May 1: Marcel Drimer will share his experiences as a Holocaust survivor in a talk at 6:30 p.m. at Hillel. Born in Drohobycz, Poland, a small town which is now part of western Ukraine, Drimer was 7 years old when the German army entered Drohobycz and began persecuting Jews. Drimer said, “We could hear the Germans shouting, the dogs barking, people screaming, shots. My sister and I call that the ‘concert of death.'”
Sunday, May 5: A bus will depart at 8:30 a.m. to the Holocaust Museum where there will be a self-guided tour and a few hours afterwards to experience Washington. The bus will leave Washington around 7:30 p.m. to return to Lexington. The RSVP deadline is Wednesday, May 1. Spaces are first come, first serve, and there is no cost to W&L students, although they should bring money for food. Those interested should contact Brett Schwartz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, May 8 and Thursday, May 9: Members of Hillel will again Stand Against Genocide from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the University Commons.
Thursday, May 9: A Holocaust Vigil will be held in the Hillel House at 7 p.m., featuring music and readings to remember the six million.
The Holocaust Remembrance Week activities are sponsored by W&L Hillel, The Fela and David Shapell Foundation and Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.
W&L Alum Paul Harrison '93 Takes Over Clayton State Men's Basketball
Paul Harrison, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1993, was introduced this week as the new head men’s basketball coach at Clayton State University, in Morrow, Ga.
Paul spent the last six years as associate head coach of Wofford College, a Division I program in Spartanburg, S.C. He is the fourth coach in the 23-year history of Clayton State, which competes in NCAA Division II.
A history major at W&L, Paul started his coaching career in 1996 as a graduate assistant at the College of Charleston and then held assistantships at Long Island University and the College of Charleston.
After his second season at Charleston, which included two Southern Conference South Division championships, Paul enrolled in law school at Tulane University, earning his juris doctor in 2004. While in New Orleans, Paul helped the National Basketball Association New Orleans Hornets in their film room.
Following law school, he was an assistant at Southeastern Louisiana in 2005-06. Then, while practicing law in New Orleans, he assisted with Metarie Country Day. He joined Wofford in 2007.
Paul helped the Wofford team reach new heights in recent years, including Southern Conference regular season and tournament championships in the 2009-10 seasons, when they advanced to the NCAA Division I national tournament and lost to Wisconsin. While coaching at the College of Charleston as an assistant and as a graduate assistant, Paul was part of four 20-win seasons, several conference and conference tournament championships and two trips to the NCAA Division I national tournament.
Two W&L Alumni Win NSF Graduate Research Fellowships
Two Washington and Lee alumni — Cailin Slattery, of the Class of 2011, and Robert Wilson, of the Class of 2008, have won National Science Foundation Fellowships to support their graduate research.
Cailin, a mathematics and economics major, has been working as a research assistant at the Federal Reserve Board. She received one of only 24 awards given in economics and will enter the Ph.D. program in economics at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall.
“The main thing about the NSF fellowship is that it supports you when you are in graduate school, by giving you a stipend and access to research tools such as their supercomputer,” wrote Cailin.
As an undergraduate at W&L, Cailin spent a summer researching patent issues and then did her honors thesis on the topic; that is what she is proposing to examine with her fellowship. Specifically, she wants to understand why immigrant scientists and engineers patent more than their native peers.
“I hypothesize that one mechanism through which immigration may speed innovation is the intensity of ethnic networks within the U.S.,” she writes. “The shared experience of being an immigrant, especially within a particular ethnic group, may motivate greater levels of science collaboration than would exist between two natives.”
Meanwhile, Robert’s NSF Fellowship is in psychology. He was a history major at W&L and is in his second year of Ph.D. work in psychology at Washington University, in St. Louis.
“Broadly speaking, my research attempts to expand our understanding of personality and self-knowledge. It turns out that personality characteristics such as conscientiousness, grit and diligence are as predictive as intelligence for many important life outcomes such as occupational attainment,” Robert writes. “In other words, the values of honor, hard work and civility instilled by our W&L experience may be more than mere niceties; they may help explain why W&L graduates tend to achieve such success above and beyond other similar institutions.”
In his future research, he will begin to examine patterns in how people fluctuate around their stable individual differences. “The ways in which we vary in our daily lives can be a result of idiosyncratic responses to situations and other external forces, and I will use a multi-method approach (self-reports, informant-reports and objective behavioral measures) to examine how our personalities vary across situations,” he writes. “Further, I will also examine how much self-awareness people generally have about their personality and behavioral patterns.”
Last fall, Robert and two co-authors published a paper that reviewed the way social scientists are conducting research about Facebook.
The purpose of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is to help ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering work force in the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in fields within NSF’s mission. The GRFP provides three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant achievements in science and engineering research.
New Yorker Cartoon Editor to Speak at W&L
Bob Mankoff, cartoonist and cartoon editor of The New Yorker magazine, will give a talk at Washington and Lee University, on Thursday, May 9, at 5 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater in Elrod Commons
The title of Mankoff’s talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Crowdsourcing Cartooning: The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest.”
Mankoff will discuss how The New Yorker magazine decides on a caption that is left to readers. He said, “On the back page of every issue of The New Yorker our readers receive these instructions: ‘Each week we provide a cartoon in need of a caption. You, the reader, submit the caption, we choose three finalists, and you vote for your favorite.’ “
Mankoff’s presentation is in connection with a W&L Spring Term course, “The Psychology of Humor.”
He will examine “the criteria used for the creation and selection of cartoons that are suitable for the contest, looking at data that enable us to distinguish variables within the image that are predictive of response rates and humor quality,” he said.
He will also discuss “the different strategies for humor production employed by the winning entrants, relating this material to theoretical concepts in the fields of humor and creativity, with the aim to investigate whether these theoretical concepts have a practical benefit as concerns the contest.
In his presentation Mankoff will address “the multi-tiered strategy, including evaluation crowdsourcing” that the New Yorker editorial staff uses to select three finalists each week. The goal, he said, is “to overcome sequencing and satiation variable that would make humor evaluation unreliable.”
Mankoff, also the founder of The Cartoon Bank, is the editor of “The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker,” which contains all 68,647 cartoons ever published in The New Yorker since its debut in 1925. He has edited dozens of cartoon books and published four of his own. More than 900 of his cartoons have been published in The New Yorker over the past 20 years.
Mankoff has created a special cartoon caption contest for the May 9 lecture and is seeking caption submissions from the W&L community for the cartoon below:
Caption entries may be submitted via email to email@example.com and should include the submitter’s full name and affiliation with Washington and Lee (i.e. student, faculty, staff, alumnus, parent). The deadline for entries is April 26, 2013. The winner will be announced during Mankoff’s talk and will receive a signed copy of his book, “The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker.”
Pulitzer Prize for W&L Alum John Dahlburg '75
A series of investigative stories edited by John Dahlburg, of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1975, in the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., won the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for public service journalism on Monday.
John is the editor in charge of the Sun Sentinel’s investigation unit, which produced the series, Above the Law: Speeding Cops. It resulted from a three-month investigation after an off-duty Miami police officer was pulled over for driving 120 mph.
An investigative reporter, Sally Kestin, and a database specialist, John Maines, gathered data from toll booths to calculate officers’ speeds. According to the Sun Sentinel’s story about the Pultizer, the two reporters “found nearly 800 officers who reached speeds of 90-130 mph, many of them while off duty. The accidents caused by officers driving at high speeds had caused at least 320 crashes since 2004, killing or maiming 21 people.”
The Pulitzer citation praised the newspaper’s “well documented investigation of off-duty police officers who recklessly speed and endanger the lives of citizens, leading to disciplinary action and other steps to curtail a deadly hazard.”
Talking about the series that he had edited, John said that the reporters “looked at something everybody here in South Florida knew was happening — chronic, often dangerous speeding by police officers both on and off duty — and crunched data from our local toll roads to show just how common it was, and which departments were the biggest offenders.”
He added: “Their investigative series and many follow-ups sparked a wave of internal reviews and disciplinary actions in area police departments, and most important — new toll data that Sally and John examined at the end of the year showed the police had slowed down.”
Fort Lauderdale is the latest stop on John’s career as a journalist, and the Pulitzer is his latest honor, too. As a reporter with the Los Angeles Times, he won a George Polk Award for Environmental Reporting in 1992 for reporting on unchecked disposal of radioactive material in the former Soviet Union. Then, in 1996, he won the Overseas Press Club’s Hal Boyle Award for best newspaper or wire service reporting from abroad for his series “Afghanistan: Legacy of Fear,” also in the LA Times, where he was a Pulitzer finalists for international reporting.
He’s also worked as a reporter and editor in Miami, Moscow, Paris and New Delhi. The Pulitzer, the ultimate honor in journalism, is the first for the Sun Sentinel.
W&L's Beverly Lorig on WMRA's “Virginia Insight”
Beverly Lorig, director of the Career Development Center at Washington and Lee University, joined two other career-placement experts to discuss the job prospects for college graduates on “Virginia Insight,” the call-in talk show on NPR affiliate WMRA, on Monday, April 15, 2013.
Beverly works with W&L students on their career plans and with employers who recruit the University’s students.
She was joined by André Luck, career services manager at Piedmont Virginia Community College, and Denise Rudolph, assistant director of employer relations and recruiting services at James Madison University, on the hour-long program.
Listen to an archive of the show below:
W&L Neuroscientist Sees Promise, Problems with Brain Mapping Initiative
When President Barack Obama announced a 10-year, $100-million project to map the human brain earlier this month, Tyler Lorig’s reaction was decidedly mixed.
Lorig is the Ruth Parmly Professor of Psychology and the chair of the Neuroscience Program at Washington and Lee University. Naturally, he welcomes the attention this new project will bring to his field. It is, Lorig said, “absolutely incredible advertising” for neuroscience.
Yet Lorig’s excitement comes with reservations.
In the first instance, he knows that while the $100-million price tag sounds like a lot, the money does not go nearly as far as people might imagine.
His other reservation, a bit more personal because of his own writing on the subject, concerns the language that is being used to describe this project.
“For everyone, including President Obama, the idea that we would ‘map’ the brain and go on this voyage of discovery and understanding of what different parts of the brain do what kinds of things sounds perfectly reasonable,” said Lorig, whose own research focuses on odor perception and the brain.
“For me, this leads to the idea that there are regions of the brain that are dedicated to certain kinds of functions. But the data don’t support that notion, and it makes the idea of mapping something extraordinarily difficult.”
Audio with Tyler Lorig:
Lorig believes that mapping is not the right way to describe the efforts being planned. He wants people to understand that the picture that will be developed is not going to be a map like a 19th-century phrenology map, but an image with newer, more sophisticated labels.
Instead, Lorig thinks an eventual map has to be understood as “shifting dynamic activity” that allows the brain to do certain things. He uses an orchestra as the analogy.
“If you’re listening to a particular piece of music that you know well, and it’s being played in a very different way, perhaps even by different instruments, you still recognize it,” he said. “Perhaps the arrangement is very different from the way you heard it last year with this symphony.
“That’s exactly what the brain is doing. It’s reorganizing itself to produce the same output but doing so with a completely different set of resources. Imagine how you would map those parts. It depends really on who’s playing, when they’re playing, and what the motivation is for playing as to how that mapping comes to be. It’s a four-dimensional problem.”
The very thought of this project, said Lorig, requires at least a little hubris from brain scientists to think they can even dent the massive amount that needs to be known about how the brain works.
There are, he explained, roughly 100 billion cells in the brain that trade information with each other, and that’s where “all of who we are comes from. To dip your toe in that water and say I’d love to know more about this, it’s a very, very hard thing to see big parts of that problem solved in one’s lifetime.”
Many have drawn comparisons between this new initiative, which is formally called Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN), with the Human Genome Project. Lorig does not believe that comparison is entirely apt.
The genome project, he noted, had a clear endpoint. The finish line was always in sight. That is not the case with BRAIN.
“We may never have an endpoint,” he said. “We’ll gain tremendous amounts of information. Hopefully that information will inform many, many things, including diseases of the nervous system from Parkinson’s to Alzheimers. It would be wonderful to find cures for those diseases, and it might be one of the outcomes of this project.”
Another potential outcome, Lorig said, could be understanding how the brain learns. This would have the potentially invaluable impact of improving education and could lead to new technologies that will assist in that effort. In Lorig’s view, the possibility that this research would help improve education could have the longest lasting and most significant effects “if we find that can improve our ways of doing education by learning about how the brain builds connections.
“We stepped into the genome project with a lot more money, a lot more commitment to the project and, frankly, the public understood the genome project far better than they understand a project about mapping the brain,” he said. “It’s up to people in neuroscience to explain the value of this initiative to the public.”
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Former W&L French Professor Russ Knudson Dies at 79
Russell C. Knudson, associate professor of Romance languages emeritus and a part-time member of the Admissions Office, died on Sunday, April 14, 2013, at his home in Lexington. He was 79.
A memorial service will be held at R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 19. The family will greet friends following the service in the Parish Hall.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to Rockbridge Area Hospice or R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church.
Knudson served on the faculty for 33 years. A year after his retirement in 1999, he joined admissions and spent the next dozen years interviewing prospective students and helping to guide them and their families through the process of applying to W&L.
“Russ was a wonderful member of the W&L community in many ways,” said Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio. “Generations of students knew him as a French teacher, but an entirely different generation got to know him during admissions interviews and information sessions. His impact on the University spans almost half a century, and we send our deepest sympathy to his family and many friends.”
A native of Illinois, Knudson grew up on a farm in Minooka, Ill., just outside Joliet. He received bachelor’s degrees in music and in French from Illinois State University, and an M.A. in French from the University of Illinois. He did additional graduate work at the University of Wisconsin.
At W&L, Knudson taught popular French courses in conversation and literature in translation. From 1969 to 1989, he directed the University’s language laboratory and helped update it, moving it from the era of reel-to-reel tapes in duPont Hall to new space in Tucker Hall where it eventually became the vastly more modern Tucker Multimedia Center.
Knudson brought to W&L what was at the time an innovative emphasis on learning through practical application. He was the principal author of “Reprise Grammaticale,” a computer-based interactive experience with French grammar principles, exercises, reviews and a complete testing program. He designed the program for individual study, thereby allowing class time for activities in which the students applied the grammar they were reviewing individually.
An accomplished musician, Knudson specialized in the cello while majoring in music at Illinois State. During a three-year stint in the U.S. Army, he played the oboe with the Fifth United States Army Band. In Lexington, he performed with the Rockbridge Symphony and was also a fan of opera.
Knudson is survived by his wife, Carolyn; their son, Jeffrey Knudson (senior technology architect at W&L); their daughter-in-law, Julie Knudson (director of academic technologies at W&L); their daughter, Christine Knudson Wood; and four grandchildren.
W&L's Markowitz Co-edits Book on American Indians in Movies
From cartoons featuring “redskins” to the often bizarre monosyllabic dialogue to sympathetic, if paternalistic, portrayals in silent films, the depiction of American Indians in cinema has ranged far and wide.
Now, a new anthology, “Seeing Red — Hollywood’s Pixeled Skins” (Michigan State University Press, 2013) features 36 critical reviews of films that have portrayed American Indians. Harvey Markowitz, assistant professor of anthropology at Washington and Lee University, is a co-editor of the volume.
Leanne Howe, professor of American Indian studies, English and theater at the University of Illinois and Denise Cummings, associate professor of critical media and cultural studies at Rollins College co-edited the book with Markowitz.
Markowitz and Howe originated the idea of asking people who are experts in various aspects of American Indian culture to act as critics of Hollywood movies featuring American Indians, from the silent era to the present. And in order to make the book accessible to mainstream audiences as well as academics, the editors asked contributors to make their reviews personal, intimate, autobiographic and humorous when appropriate.
“One of the key figures in many American Indian oral traditions is the ‘trickster,’ a character who critiques human weaknesses and social injustice through humor and funny incidents,” explained Markowitz. “LeAnne and I thought this book should take on the role of the trickster by approaching the subject in a humorous way, rather than through the usual polemics that people might be tired of hearing.”
Regardless of whether the reviewers are Indian or non-Indian, the editors wanted them to write about their experience of seeing these movies and how they influenced their views of Indians.
For example David Martinez, the reviewer of the 1953 Disney movie “Peter Pan” wrote: “My jaw hit the ground when I heard this song and saw these ‘redskins’ hopping around and making fools of themselves. Granted it was only a cartoon, but it was one in which the animators took the liberty of demeaning an entire race in the name of entertainment.” The first verse of the song the Indians were singing?
What made the Red Man red?
When did he first say “Ugh!”
When did he first say “Ugh!”
In the Injun book it say,
When the first brave married squaw
He gave out with a big ugh
When he saw his Mother-in-Law
Markowitz pointed out that American Indians have been represented in film in a way that has been shaped to fit the needs of mainstream American culture, but that often seem ridiculous and historically and culturally inaccurate to the Indians who are being portrayed.
One movie that Markowitz reviewed is the iconic 1970 film “A Man Called Horse,” starring Richard Harris as an English aristocrat who is captured by the Lakotas in 1825. He eventually becomes not only accepted by the tribe but elevated to their leader. “This movie is focused on the white person rather than the Indians,” said Markowitz. “What makes the story most ridiculous was how this British guy comes along and saves the Indians. Despite this, it is viewed as a revisionist movie, maybe because at the time it attempted a more realistic portrayal of Indians and their customs.”
The Indians in “A Man Called Horse,” who are all played by whites, talk in single syllables and point to get across their meaning. But according to Markowitz they employed language structures that no Lakota would use: “It’s not only inaccurate, it’s silly, and Lakotas who watched the movie laughed at the way their language was spoken. Also, many Indian communities like the Lakotas don’t point with their fingers but point with their lips to be polite. I think the movie is best when it recreates what camp life would have been like, since they used Lakotas from the Rosebud reservation as consultants, which was amazing for that time.”
Another movie known for its use of Indian language is “Dances with Wolves,” made in1990 and directed and produced by Kevin Costner, who also plays the lead role. It was ground breaking in terms of movies about Indians in that it took the language seriously and had the main characters attempt to speak Lakota and use sub-titles. But the way Pawnees, traditional enemies of the Lakotas, were presented in the movie as villains versus the saintly Lakotas didn’t appeal to the film’s reviewer, James Riding In, himself a Pawnee.
According to Markowitz, silent movies and early talkies often presented Indians in a very sympathetic though paternalistic way. Then over time a basic contrast emerged between the noble savage and the evil Indian; one was the friend of the white people and one wanted to kill white people. Although this portrayal improved over the years it was never rectified, and these kinds of Indians are seen throughout Hollywood movies. One of the more recent examples is the 1992 movie “The Last of the Mohicans.”
Markowitz described the director John Ford as “a genius with the camera, there’s no denying that, but I think the presentations of Indians in his movies approximate some kind of nadir. They are used as props and not taken seriously, and are only there to drive along the story about white people by frustrating homesteaders’ attempts to ‘civilize’ the west. ‘Drums along the Mohawk,’ ‘Fort Apache’ and ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’ are examples of really damaging views of American Indians.”
Ford’s 1956 movie “The Searchers,” stars John Wayne as a Civil War veteran who spends years searching for a young niece captured by Indians. His motivation becomes increasingly questionable and the film is probably one of the most controversial movies featuring American Indians. Markowitz acknowledged that the film’s reviewer, Susan Stebbins, a Mohawk Indian, wrote a complimentary review: “She finds that John Ford was trying to talk about miscegenation, not necessarily limited to Indians, but also whites and blacks, and that makes it a very strong movie.”
Markowitz conceded that, later in life, Ford tried to make amends for his early portrayal of Indians with the last western he directed, 1964’s “Cheyenne Autumn”, which was a very sympathetic portrayal of the Cheyenne Indians trying to escape federal captivity.
Rather than approach the subject of American Indians in Hollywood movies chronologically, the editors decided to arrange the reviews thematically. Beginning with reviews of two silent movies, the book covers Disney movies about Indians; mixed bloods; horror movies with Indians as the main characters; contemporary reservation life; younger Indians coming to grips with crises in their lives; and spaghetti Westerns.
The last chapter, “Workin’ for the Great White Father,” reviews movies where the main characters are working for the United States government. The most famous example of this kind of movie is “Windtalkers,” reviewed by Deborah Miranda, associate professor of English at Washington and Lee. Made in 2002, it stars Nicholas Cage as a U.S. Marine in WWII assigned to protect Navajo Marines who use their native language as an unbreakable radio cipher. “The movie typically focuses on Cage at the expense of its Navajo heroes—a constant throughout Hollywood movies,” said Markowitz. “Deborah’s review hilariously lampoons the mess Hollywood made of that story.”
To emphasize that the book is also a send-up of film criticism and the weakness of people who know nothing about Indians making films about Indians, the editors introduced a rating system. For example, “Four Feathers Up” denotes a really good movie whereas “Four Tomahawks Down” is for a very bad movie.
Not all the reviews are negative. The 1929 silent movie “Redskin” receives Four Feathers Up as an interesting portrayal of an American Indian taken out of his surroundings and brought to Jim Thorpe University (named after an American Indian) where he is treated abysmally. The reviewer, Christina Stanciu, thought it was a sensitive portrayal of an Indian trying to operate in a totally alien environment and at a time when Indians were mostly shown in movies as murderous savages.
The book is described by one reviewer as “Often funny, frequently touching, always insightful, the reviews in “Seeing Red” offer readers a unique entryway for reflecting on the U.S. film industry’s representation of American Indians. A must for high school and college classes dealing with race and ethnicity, Indian-white relations and the history of movies.”
Markowitz credited Elizabeth Teaff, assistant professor and access services librarian, and Brandon Bucy, senior academic technologist, in Washington and Lee’s James G. Leyburn Library for their work on the images in the book.
W&L Alums Reunite for Exhibit in Kamen Gallery
Washington and Lee’s Lenfest Center for the Arts is currently featuring work in the Kamen Gallery by W&L graduates Michael Kopald and Patrick Hinely, both of the Class of 1973. The exhibit, entitled “Recent Work by Two Guys Who Came Back and Stayed,” will continue through June 1.
The exhibit, in honor of the pair’s 40th class reunion, is a follow-up collaboration from the exhibit they made in honor of their 25th reunion, “Two Guys Who Came Back.” The current show presents both Kopald’s paintings and Hinely’s photography.
Kopald’s work has been presented in both the United States and in China. He studied under artist-in-residence Professor I-Hsiung Ju at W&L, who at that time taught all the major disciplines of Western studio art, but no Asian art. After graduating, Kopald moved back to Lexington in 1975, to continue his study and interest in Chinese painting. He helped form the Art Farm with Ju.
Since 1978, only five years following his graduation, Kopald has been exhibiting his paintings and giving lectures. He says this exhibit will display his paintings, which are, “no more or less the result of his continuing practice in Chinese Brush painting.”
Hinely, who majored in journalism at W&L, has worked more often for publication than exhibition, although he has shown his work in Germany and Canada as well as the U.S. Besides working as W&L’s university photographer since 1980, he has taught in the art and journalism departments.
Hinely is a founding contributor of the Rockbridge Advocate as well as a freelancer, in which capacity he has shot album covers for musicians such as Keith Jarrett and Robin and Linda Williams. He calls the images presented here, all digital color works, “souvenirs from far and near.”
The hours of the Kamen Gallery in the Lenfest Center for the Arts are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Exhibition “Portraits of Places” Open in Williams Gallery until May 25
“Portraits of Places,” paintings, photographs and drawings by artists Jan Knipe, Jim Knipe, Linda White and Bill White, are on exhibit in Williams Gallery in Huntley Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee University. Their artwork had previously been displayed in Williams Gallery and will be up until May 25.
The exhibit is free and open to the public.
These artists share a mutual concern for ”a sense of place,” as landscapes from various regions and countries including Virginia, Arizona, California and Italy are part of their art.
Bill White’s recent landscape paintings offer views of Roanoke, Va., as seen from high vantage points above the rooftops of downtown. These paintings, with their dramatic angles coupled with sophisticated color harmonies, sweep viewers through city spaces that reflect the new and the deep-rooted urban environment of today. This work was done with support from a GAP (Grant for Arts Programs) grant from the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge.
The color photographs by Jim Knipe trace the story of a culture through the remnants of architecture. The edifice of houses, churches and fast food restaurants represent faces from a past life. These nearly minimal images depict the intense light of the Southwestern region coupled with the vast space that holds isolated structures where color becomes time. They were done while Knipe was an artist in residence at the Museum of Northern Arizona.
Jan Knipe’s drawings are selected from work done in California and Virginia. The internal workings of these drawings are a cavalcade of forms, delicate elements juxtaposed against the suburban world of repeated structures. This cacophony of internal relationships invades the space fabricating a world of both logic and chaos. Knipe is the recipient of the Virginia Commission for the Arts Individual Artist Grant for Works on Paper.
Photographs of the Italian landscape by Linda White are embedded with a reverence for history and art. Cultural symbols bathed in light are immersed within the landscape, often engulfed by vegetation, suffused with a sense of suspended time. Icons from a previous era, whether they are architecture, sculpture or preserved spaces, emphasize tradition as a valuable part of our daily life, establishing for the viewer an unabashed romance between the past and the present.
The hours of Williams Gallery are Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Morgan '88 Meets the Needs with Nonprofit
When he graduated from Washington and Lee in 1988, Jim Morgan had a pretty clear plan. An economics major, he went from W&L to Wall Street, joining Merrill Lynch. From there he detoured to a job with a Georgia congressman, got an M.B.A. at the University of Chicago and then started consulting with Ernst and Young.
A dozen years ago he began a major detour — what he told the Tampa Tribune amounted to a “crisis of conscience.”
“I turned 30 years old and had done all the things I was supposed to do, but it’s not satisfying,” he said in a major feature story on Jim and Meet the Need, the organization he has established.
According to its website, Meet the Need is “a not-for-profit charity whose mission is to dramatically increase the impact churches and ministries have in their communities by mobilizing more people to love acts of service.”
Working primarily with and through churches, ministries and missionary organizations, Meet the Need uses software to connect these organizations with volunteer opportunities. To explain how Jim has harnessed the power of the Internet, the organization’s website offers several case studies. For instance, Meet the Need used its search engine, reports and reminders to coordinate more than 20,000 church volunteers from 23 churches in the Feed the Bay effort during Thanksgiving 2008.
“Our model is different because each church and ministry can use Meet The Need to manage all of its local missions activities and easily communicate needs internally or externally, taking a tremendous amount of work off staff,” Jim says. “We make all the software look just like each organization’s website and give them each complete control over the information posted and who can access it. Then we give all of this away. Because no one says ‘no,’ local churches and ministries in a city wind up on the same platform, connected seamlessly to serve those in need.”
W&L's Lambert Publishes Computer Science Textbook as an E-book
Kenneth A. Lambert, professor of computer science at Washington and Lee University, is an experienced author who has published 23 computer science textbooks over the last 16 years in four different programming languages. The books have been sold around the world by a major publisher.
But when it came to writing his latest textbook, “Easy GUI Programming in Python,” he decided to publish it as an e-book.
Lambert cited several reasons for this decision but said he was particularly attracted to the ability to use full color. Only one of Lambert’s previous textbooks used full color, and that was because it was a best-selling high school edition. His other textbooks, at the college level, were limited to two colors—black and one other color—which meant using grey scale or black and white images. “Color is very important with program code because you’ve got different elements in a program that you can highlight using color coding,” he explained.
A further reason for publishing an e-book was the cost to the reader. Lambert noted that the first book he published in 1996 cost $46 and that his most recent introductory text with the same publisher cost between $80 and $90, even though it is thinner and a paperback. On the other hand, his new e-book will cost the reader only $5.99.
While the ability to control fully the content of the book was a definite advantage, Lambert acknowledged that one negative aspect was that he had to do his own proofreading.
After Lambert developed sample computer programs, wrote the text and refined it, he spent time learning the ropes of e-publishing, which is a little different for each publisher.
“I started with a Microsoft Word document which had everything I wanted to include in the book, imported it into Apple’s Pages program and saved it as an e-pub document,” he said. “Then I put it on my iPad to make sure it looked okay and uploaded it to the vendors. It was very simple.”
Lambert is publishing the e-book with three online publishers: Barnes and Noble for the Nook, Amazon for the Kindle and Apple iBooks for the iPad.
Another drawback to e-publishing, the lack of marketing, didn’t deter Lambert. His book is aimed at high school students, college students and professionals who want to learn how to program graphical interfaces and have a basic knowledge of Python programming. He reaches these groups by word of mouth, conferences, his website and Python programming user groups.
Lambert suggested that e-publishing may not be suitable for academics who need a process that includes peer review. “I’ve been peer-reviewed for many years,” he said, “so I feel I can experiment with this and I like not having to deal with a reviewer who might disagree with me on something. The only review this book had was by my colleagues and I trust their judgment. So I wouldn’t recommend it to an inexperienced author. You also need to have worked with a publisher first and know the various publishing processes—development, editing, proofing and marketing,” he said.
Lambert received his B.A. in philosophy from Bucknell University, his M.S. in computer science from Wright State University and his Ph.D. in philosophy from Rutgers University.
High-Flying Covers by University Photographer
Photographs by Washington and Lee University photographer Kevin Remington of W&L dance students are featured on the covers of two dance and theater journals.
While the two photos are different, they feature the same dancers hanging in midair — Ellie Hanson, of the Class of 2009, and Kenneth Hopkins, of the Class of 2010. Kevin took both during indoor rehearsals for the 2009 performance by W&L dance students on the side of Wilson Hall, one of the first performances of aerial dance by a college that was choreographed and performed by students.
The February issue of Nu Delta Alpha, the national honor society in dance, also includes an article by Jenefer Davies, assistant professor of dance and artistic director of the W&L Repertory Dance Company, “The Democratic Body: The Introduction of Aerial Dance into the University Classroom.”
The spring edition of Southern Theatre, the quarterly magazine of the Southeastern Theatre Conference, includes an interview with Davies, “Flying Effects in … Aerial Dance.” The article’s writer was inspired to interview Davies after seeing the W&L Repertory Dance Company perform aerial dance at the SETC conference in 2011.
Remington takes all the photos for the W&L dance program. Davies said that she and the students think of him as the “personal photographer” of the dance company. “This is a bit of a coup for Kevin, and they must have thought his photos are awesome to put them on the cover,” said Davies. “Plus, I feel that being recognized by national journals gives legitimacy to what we’re doing at W&L, because our aerial sets us apart from other universities, since there only one or two similar programs.”
The costs involved in staging an aerial dance limit such performances to once every four years. Davies plans a second performance this May, following a Spring Term course on aerial dance.
W&L Joins LEAP Employer-Educator Compact
Washington and Lee University has joined the LEAP Employer-Educator Compact, which unites colleges and universities with employers to provide students with more hands-on opportunities to connect their campus learning with real-world contexts and problems.
Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio recently signed the compact, which was developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and by employers working with AAC&U. W&L is a long-standing member of the national organization of colleges and universities.
Announcement of the compact came at the same time AAC&U released results of a survey that concluded that a job candidate’s major is far less important to prospective employers than the ability to think critically, communicate clearly and solve complex problems —skills emphasized by liberal arts colleges like W&L.
Ruscio, who is vice chair of AAC&U and also belongs to a special presidential leadership group within AAC&U, the LEAP Presidents’ Trust, was featured on a panel at the compact forum in Washington on Wednesday, when AAC&U introduced the initiative and released results of its national survey of business and non-profit leaders, “It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success.”
At the same time, four Washington and Lee alumni are among more than 150 signatories from the business and non-profit segments who have pledged their commitment to make high-quality college learning a shared priority. The W&L alumni participating in the compact are Christopher Williams, Class of 1985, managing director of Harris Williams & Co.; James R. Small, Class of 1981, president of Icon Petroleum; Martin E. (Hap) Stein Jr., Class of 1974, chairman and chief executive officer of Regency Centers; and Craig Owens, Class of 1976, senior vice president, chief financial officer and chief administrative officer of The Campbell Soup Company.
In his remarks at the forum, Ruscio cited three Washington and Lee programs — the Shepherd Poverty Program, the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics, and the Entrepreneurship Program — as representative of the types of innovative initiatives that help students make the important connections between their college learning and real-world problems.
“Through these programs, students have to get outside the classroom experience to talk the language of business or of the non-profit world,” he said. “Today’s college students, at Washington and Lee and elsewhere, need these kinds of opportunities to begin to understand what business means when it talks about the need for workers who can practice ‘integrative thinking.’
“As I think about these issues, I think it’s not just a matter of what we teach, but how we teach and how we begin to adjust in certain ways given the differences in today’s students.”
The newly-released AAC&U report revealed that, after reading a definition of liberal learning, three-quarters of business and non-profit leaders would recommend a 21st-century liberal education to a young person they know in order to prepare for long-term professional success in today’s global economy.
Other key findings:
- Nearly all employers surveyed (93 percent) said that “a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than undergraduate major.”
- Even more (95 percent) said they prioritize hiring college graduates with skills that will help them contribute to innovation in the workplace.
- About 95 percent of those surveyed also said it is important that those they hire demonstrate ethical judgment and integrity, intercultural skills and the capacity for continued new learning.
- More than 75 percent of those surveyed said they want more emphasis on five key areas: critical thinking, complex problem-solving, written and oral communication, and applied knowledge in real-world settings.
- 80 percent of employers agreed that, regardless of their major, every college student should acquire broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences.
Responding to the survey’s results and his participation in the compact, W&L alumnus Williams, whose Richmond-based company is a middle-market investment bank, cited his experience in hiring graduates with a variety of majors.
“While we certainly like to see some finance and accounting backgrounds, we have found it is far more important to possess the other values that cannot be defined by a ‘major’,” he said. “In our firm, which is probably as intense an environment for college grads as I can imagine, being able to get up to a learning curve quickly, work ethic, writing skills, teamwork, etc., are all skills that are incredibly important for their long-term success.”
Stein, whose company is based in Jacksonville, Fla., said that he supports the Employer-Educator Compact “because during my 37 years in business the critical importance of written and oral communication and sound judgment based upon a broad view of the world has been demonstrated time and again. One of the tried and true means for businessmen to develop communication skills and a comprehensive appreciation for the world in which we live is through a liberal arts education.”
All the individuals signing the LEAP Employer-Educator Compact have committed to:
- Helping Americans understand the rising demands of a global workplace and the need for every student to acquire liberal education outcomes
- Ensuring that all college students have access to experiences that help them develop the broad knowledge and intellectual skills needed for success
- Expanding and supporting new designs for hands-on learning, including such things as senior projects, undergraduate research and internship
- Advancing the dual mission for American higher education to prepare students both for successful careers and for civic responsibility
- Documenting progress in helping all students achieve key learning outcomes, including their ability to apply learning to complex problems.
The compact forum featured Martha Kanter, U.S. Under Secretary for Education, along with leaders of industry and higher education.
“Too many students believe that the key to economic success is completion of a major whose title seems to promise a job,” said AAC&U president Carol Geary Schneider. “What the compact and the research on employer priorities show is that, whatever the choice of major, employers say that career success will require broad liberal learning, strong 21st-century skills and real-world experience and savvy. We want to make sure that students and their families hear this message from employers themselves.”
AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises nearly 1,300 member institutions, including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities and comprehensive universities of every type and size.
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
W&L Junior Wins VFIC/Norfolk Southern Scholarship
Christian Martine, a Washington and Lee junior from Daniels, W.Va., has won a 2013 Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges/Norfolk Southern scholarship.
Christian, a double major in business administration and global politics, was selected in a statewide competition among first-semester, junior-year applicants from all of the VFIC’s 15 member colleges and universities, who are seeking degrees in economics, business, finance, accounting or related fields and are interested in careers in a corporate setting.
The prestigious award provides $10,000 in scholarship funding — $5,000 for each student’s junior year and an additional $5,000 for their senior year — contingent on continuing to meet or exceed the original scholarship requirements.
Christian is a resident adviser and a member of W&L Student Consulting. He participated in the University’s Washington Term last year and interned in the office of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. He was hired as a staff assistant in the senator’s office following the internship.
A member of Kappa Sigma fraternity, he graduated from Shady Spring High School in Shady Spring, W.Va.
As Tax Deadline Looms, W&L Tax Clinic Readies for the Aftermath
While the stress of tax season will end for most people on April 15, students in the Tax Clinic at Washington and Lee School of Law will be gearing up to deal with taxpayer mistakes and other issues related to the filing deadline.
Launched in 2008, the W&L Tax Clinic represents low income individuals who have a tax controversy or some related dispute with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the Virginia Department of Taxation. The Clinic is not involved in routine tax preparation, but the law students do help with one of the most dreaded outcomes of tax filing—the audit.
Many audits are triggered automatically by IRS software when people file in March and April. Tax Clinic director Michelle Drumbl says the worst thing a taxpayer can do is to ignore the examination notice from the IRS, or simply pay the proposed amount without question.
“People are, perhaps understandably, terrified by audits,” says Drumbl. “Most of the audit process is conducted through letters and the procedures involved are confusing at best. We can help taxpayers understand why the IRS thinks something has been misreported and guide them through the steps to substantiate or correct the problem, hopefully in the taxpayer’s favor.”
Drumbl speaks from experience. She once received a notice when the IRS thought she had made a math error on her return. Not surprisingly, the IRS was wrong about the error, but even Drumbl, a tax professor and former staff attorney for the IRS, concedes that receiving the letter made her nervous.
“What people need to know is the IRS is actually very reasonable when it comes to resolving these issues, especially when you deal with them quickly and honestly,” adds Drumbl. “And when these negotiations fail for some reason, we may be able to challenge the outcome in the U.S. Tax Court, which is another option of which most taxpayers are unaware.”
The Tax Clinic serves the entire state of Virginia and generally helps anyone whose income does not exceed 250% of Federal Poverty Guidelines. For example, a family of four making less than $57,625 per year is eligible to use the Tax Clinic’s services.
The students in the Clinic also help with a broad array of collections issues, providing relief for taxpayers facing a forcible seizure of assets, such as having their paycheck levied or funds drawn directly from their bank account. This can happen when a person has not filed a return in a number of years and the IRS creates a substitute return. After notification attempts fail, the IRS will apply a levy to satisfy the tax debt.
Shane Vandenberg, who works in the Tax Clinic, says the first step in such cases is to determine whether the taxpayer even owes the stated amount, which they often do not.
“The IRS makes certain assumptions about a person’s income without taking into account deductions or other issues,” says Vandenberg, a third-year law student from Charlottesville. “With documentation from the taxpayer, we can reconstruct returns to show that the taxpayer owes less, or in some cases is even owed a refund.”
And in situations where taxpayers do owe the IRS back taxes, the Clinic can help them reach an agreement with the IRS that stops or reduces the levy and sets up a schedule to repay the tax debt. This allows the taxpayer to function in society without falling further into poverty.
“For someone struggling financially, a levy sends everything off the rails and makes recovery impossible,” adds Vandenberg. “This is not in the interest of the IRS because then the tax debt might not ever be paid.”
The Tax Clinic, which provides services free of charge, is funded in part by an annual grant administered by the Taxpayer Advocate’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic program (LITC), a program that addresses the increasing complexity of the tax code and its effect on underrepresented populations. While tax debts can be burdensome, the cost to pay a lawyer to help can often far exceed the actual IRS penalty.
This is opportune for W&L Law since a key component of its innovative third-year curriculum is the requirement that all students have actual practice experience and client interaction before they can graduate. For Vandenberg, the experience has been eye-opening.
“It’s amazing how many people live right on that edge,” he says. “They may be very compliant taxpayers and all of the sudden life gets in the way. The IRS can be very understanding about these issues, but sometimes they are not. It helps to have us there to navigate the system.”
Paintings from Cheech Marin's Collection at Staniar Gallery
A selection of paintings from comedian, actor, director and art collector Cheech Marin’s collection of Chicano art is on display at Washington and Lee University’s Staniar Gallery through May 24.
The exhibition, “Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection,” showcases 65 paintings by 26 painters represented in Marin’s personal collection of Chicano art.
Marin discussed his renowned collection in a public lecture on Monday, April 22, and that presentation can be viewed on W&L’s livestream site.
The Cheech Marin collection is notable for classic examples of Chicano art produced from the inception of the Chicano movement to the present, with a concentration in painting from the 1980s and ’90s. Many Chicano artists during this time were political activists, creating posters, graphics and murals in the monumental tradition of Diego Rivera.
Others convey Chicano experience through scenes of daily life in the barrio, expressive portraiture, and surrealist-influenced dreamscapes with a keen psychological edge. Marin has been acquiring art for more than 20 years, amassing arguably the most renowned collection of Chicano art in private hands.
As Chicano artists garnered public attention and respect, their works have moved from the peripheries of the art world to more traditional museum and gallery spaces while continuing to embrace themes of heritage, legacy and community.
“Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection” features paintings by both emerging and established artists.
Asked by the Houston Chronicle about how he began to collect art, Marin said: “I was raised Catholic and went to Mass all the time. That stoked it. You’d go and look at church walls and think, ‘Why’s that guy in robes?’ ‘Why does that angel’s wings look that way?’ ‘What’s that devil doing there?’ I’d do that instead of paying attention to the Mass. You know, ‘Why’s this guy getting grilled?’ It took over. Liturgical art was art. So I studied that. I studied da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli.”
In addition to his public lecture, Marin will meet with students at W&L during his visit to the campus.
Staniar Gallery is located on the second floor of Wilson Hall, in Washington and Lee University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please call 540-458-8861.
Former Justice and International Criminal Prosecutor Richard Goldstone to Lecture at W&L Law
On Tuesday, April 16, the Honorable Richard Goldstone, retired Justice of the Constitutional Court of South African and former chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, will give a public lecture at Washington and Lee University School of Law.
The title of Justice Goldstone’s lecture is “Legacies of the Ad Hoc Tribunals.” During the talk, Justice Goldstone will speak about his experiences as chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, as well as the legacy of ad hoc tribunals in the international criminal regime. His talk will be followed by a Q&A session.
The lecture is scheduled to begin at noon in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall. This event is free and open to the public.
Justice Goldstone was a judge in South Africa for 23 years, the last nine as a justice of the Constitutional Court. From August 1994 to September 1996, he was the chief prosecutor of the U.N. International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. He was a member of the committee appointed by the secretary-general of the United Nations to investigate allegations regarding the Iraq Oil for Food Program. In 2009, he led the U.N. Fact Finding Mission on Gaza.
In May 2009, Goldstone received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Award for International Justice. He is a foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honorary bencher of the Inner Temple, London, and an honorary fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge. He is also the honorary president of the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute.
Since retiring from the bench, he has taught as a visiting professor in a number of U.S. law schools. He is currently a visiting faculty member at the University of Virginia School of Law.
Shenandoah Announces Three Annual Prizes
Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review has announced its annual prizes for the best short story, essay and poem.
The James Boatwright Prize for Poetry went to Corrie Williamson for “The Evolution of Nightmare,” which asks “how to tell the guest / from the ghost / wearing the same sweet husk.” Williamson grew up in Botetourt County, Va., and is completing her M.F.A. at the University of Arkansas. Her poems have also appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, The Southeast Review and Rattle.
The Carter Prize for Nonfiction was awarded to Roberta Bienvenu, a recently retired writing and literature professor at Johnson State University in Johnson, Vt. Her essay “Bartleby on Wall Street” is an exploration of the Occupy Movement (which began in New York City) in relation to 19th-century literary landmarks by Melville, Thoreau and Emerson. She is working on a memoir entitled “It Must Give Pleasure.”
The Shenandoah Prize for Fiction went to Michael Devens for “The Last Poolfish of Ash Meadows,” a story of love and taxidermy in the backwaters of southeast Asia. Devens holds an M.A. in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago and teaches in the Chicago area. His short fiction has also appeared in 580 Split.
The prizes are $1,000 each and are selected by the staff from all the work published in Shenandoah during a given volume year. The above three appeared in Shenandoah’s volume 62, number 2.
Editor R.T. Smith says, “We are especially pleased to highlight these three pieces, but they’re only a portion of the excellent writing we’ve featured this year.” Shenandoah is online at shenandoahliterary.org.
Two W&L Juniors Win Goldwater Scholarships
Two Washington and Lee University juniors — Kathryn E. Driest, of Davidson, N.C., and Andrew Seredinski, of Flourtown, Pa. — have received the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.
Driest and Seredinksi were among 271 Goldwater Scholars selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,107 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.
The Goldwater is the nation’s premier scholarship for undergraduates studying math, natural sciences and engineering.
“I am thrilled that both Katie and Andrew have been recognized for their impressive achievements,” said Jeffrey Rahl, associate professor of geology and W&L’s faculty representative to the Goldwater program. “Both have excelled not only in the classroom but also in their research pursuits, and the foundation was right to acknowledge their potential for leadership within science.”
Driest is a biochemistry major with a minor in mathematics. She competes on the cross country and track and field teams, does peer tutoring and works in the Math Center.
“It’s a real honor for me to receive this award,” said Driest, who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biochemistry with the goal of teaching and conducting research on the university level. “I have had some great advisers and appreciate all that they did for me throughout the process.”
Driest has spent the past two summers working with Fred LaRiviere, associate professor of chemistry, on research in ribosome assembly and destruction. Her Goldwater proposal was an extension of that work on RNA degradation pathways, specifically exploring what the cell does when mutations of the ribosome occur.
She will join LaRiviere and W&L senior Jessie R. Ykimoff to present their research at the 245th American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition in New Orleans on Sunday, April 7. The title of their paper is “Microarray analysis of nonfunctional ribosomal RNA decay in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.”
“Katie shows tremendous promise as a research scientist. Her faculty enthusiastically praise her natural talent, drive and accomplishments,” said Rahl. “Through the Goldwater nomination process, I have gotten a firsthand glimpse of the natural talent, thoughtfulness and determination that my colleagues have seen in her. Katie is an extraordinary student with a tremendous future in science.”
Seredinksi is a triple major in physics, philosophy and mathematics, with a minor in German. In addition, he serves as a resident advisor for first-year students, is president of Sigma Phi Epsilon, and sings in both the University Singers and the a cappella group General Admission.
“I had explored the Goldwater Scholarship during my sophomore year but concluded I wasn’t qualified,” said Seredinski. “Then one of my professors, Jonathan Erickson (assistant professor of engineering), suggested that I apply. The Goldwater means a lot to me. It’s nice to be recognized for putting the hard work in.”
Seredinski plans a career in research after pursuing a Ph.D. in physics or applied physics.
He based his Goldwater proposal on research that he conducted last summer with W&L professors Irina Mazilu and Dan Mazilu in the Thin Film Lab.
“We created a particle deposition model on a graph called a Cayley tree to model how particles adhere to a surface in a process we use to make thin films,” Seredinski said. “My Goldwater proposal looks into applying our particle deposition model to dendrimers, which have the structure of a Cayley tree.”
Along with both Irina Mazilu, associate professor of physics and engineering, and Dan Mazilu, assistant professor of physics, Seredinski and three of his classmates presented their research at the 2013 March Meeting of the American Physical Society in Baltimore. They also published a paper on the research, which appeared last year in the Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment.
“Andrew is a remarkable student and has chosen to pursue an especially challenging course of study to gain problem-solving skills from different perspectives,” Rahl said. “He has worked on both theoretical and experimental aspects of anti-reflection coatings, and his contributions to this project have been exceptional. Like Katie, I think Andrew is extremely deserving of this award.”
The scholarship gives each student up to $7,500 a year for tuition, fees, books, and room and board. Established in1986, the scholarship program honoring the late U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater is designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Smithson Receives Stull Memorial Award at W&L
William Connor Smithson, of Cary, N.C., is the latest recipient of the Captain Jay W. Stull Memorial Award at Washington and Lee University.
The Jay W. Stull Memorial Award was established in 1968 in memory of Captain Jay W. Stull, Class of 1960, who gave his life for his country in Vietnam.
The award is made upon the recommendation of the United States Marine Corps in the fall of each year to that Washington and Lee member of the Senior Marine Platoon Leaders Class who attains the highest ranking during the preceding summer camp training school.
“I am truly honored to receive a scholarship in memory of a W&L graduate who served as a Marine Captain and gave his life for our country,” said Smithson.
Immediately after graduating in May 2013, Smithson will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He plans to attend flight school in Pensacola, Fla., after six months of training at The Basic School in Quantico, Va.
Smithson has spent the past two summers at Marine Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Quantico, Va.
“OCS consisted of two six-week sessions that tested me physically, mentally, and academically, and helped me to develop leadership skills I can use in all areas of my life. It was by far the most challenging, yet the most fulfilling experience of my life. After graduation, I will be on active duty,” said Smithson.
Smithson became interested in joined the military after the tragic events of 9/11.
“I have been very blessed to grow up in the United States of America. I feel the need to give back to my country for all the opportunities that my country has afforded me. I wanted to join the Marine Corps,” said Smithson, a business administration major.
As a student of W&L, Smithson has been active in numerous organizations and activities. He has served as president of Phi Kappa Psi social fraternity and is a member of both the varsity wrestling and varsity lacrosse teams. He was named General of the Month for February.
— by Sara Korash-Schiff ’15
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
W&L's Smitka Cited in Christian Science Monitor
Michael Smitka, professor of economics at Washington and Lee, is quoted in the April 4 edition of the Christian Science Monitor in a story titled “What would a Korean war cost? Gauging the economic turmoil.”
Smitka, who specializes in the economies of Japan and China as well as the auto industry, said a conflict with North Korea could result in major disruptions that would have far-reaching impact on the U.S. economy.
“…the fallout in any disruption for the rest of Asia would be quite large,” he said.
W&L Seniors Alicia Bishop, Scott Diamond Named Generals of the Month for April
Washington and Lee University seniors Alicia Bishop and Scott Diamond were recognized as the Generals of the Month for April during a presentation on Thursday, April 4, in the Marketplace in Elrod Commons.
Bishop, of Jacksonville, Fla., is majoring in music with a philosophy minor. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, W&L Hillel, Concert Guild, International Clarinet Association, Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority and the National Association for Music Education.
A graduate of The Bolles School, Bishop was awarded the W&L Class of ’58 Lew and Annette John Honor Scholarship and a Robert E. Lee Scholarship and has been named to the Dean’s List and Honor Roll. She is co-president of the Washington and Lee Singers, president of W&L’s American Choral Director Association Student Chapter and president of W&L’s Virginia Music Educators Association Student Chapter.
She is a second principal clarinet for the University-Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra, first chair clarinet for the University Wind Ensemble, member of the Washington and Lee Singers and member of Cantatrici. Bishop also is the student conductor for Cantatrici and the Men’s Glee Club.
Diamond, of Warminster, Pa., is a double major in economics and business administration. He received the Mosbacher Scholarship, is the treasurer of Sigma Nu Fraternity, is driver, dispatcher and monitor for Traveller Safe Ride System and committee member of Lifestyle Information for Everyone.
A graduate of Archbishop Wood Catholic High School, Diamond is the assistant to the coordinator of W&L Elrod Commons and was a student affairs intern. He has been named to the Dean’s List and has participated in three Nabors Service League mission trips to New Orleans, Houston and Shreveport.
Diamond also is a financial institution specialist with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and is engaged in a corporate University training program performing off-site reviews of medium-risk financial institutions.
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.
Bishop and Diamond 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.
The last CSS presentation of the 2012-2013 academic year will be held during lunch in the Marketplace in the Elrod Commons on May 2.
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Greeks in Service Locally
Although all of Washington and Lee’s fraternities and sororities participate in service projects during the year through their respective national organizations, members of the Greek organization banded together recently to bring their service activities closer to home.
More than 100 new members of W&L’s Greek organizations participated in the first of what the student organizers hope will be an annual coed day of service in the Lexington and Rockbridge County community on Saturday, March 30. The event was sponsored by the Panhellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council (IFC).
According to Anne Stafford, a W&L junior from Johnson City, Tenn., and president of the Panhellenic Council, the goal was to share the students’ “philanthropic spirit with the local community.”
“We divided them into small groups and sent them to work at various locations in the community,” she said. “They seemed to have a lot of fun working with their friends while serving the community. Harper Coulson (IFC president) and I were very pleased with the turn out, and we hope to make this an annual event.”
In addition to Boxerwood, the students worked with Campus Kitchen, the Mayflower assisted living facility, the Rockbridge Area Relief Association, and Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center, among others.
Emily Walters '13L Wins Environmental Op-Ed Competition
Washington and Lee Law student Emily Walters’s editorial submission on the impact of sequester cuts won the 2013 Robert R. Merhige, Jr. Environmental Op-Ed Competition.
The competition is sponsored by the University of Richmond School of Law and judged by professors from Richmond and environmental lawyers from the Virginia State Bar. Students from law schools across Virginia made submissions this year focusing on some environmental, energy or natural resource issue.
Walters, a third year law student from Austin, TX, wrote about the impact of the federal sequestration on Virginia’s natural resources. In her piece, which was published in The Roanoke Times, Walters highlighted the fact that sequester cuts will result in the loss of $3 million in environmental funding and close to $1 million in fish and wildlife protection grants for Virginia. In analyzing the impact, Walters wrote:
“Environmental funding cuts force National Park Service workers to take furloughs, which means delayed spring opening times, fewer park hours and reduced maintenance of trails. This is a problem for Virginia, which has 22 national parks and enjoys more than 23 million visitors who, in 2011, brought in $541 million to the state. Additionally, cuts to fish and wildlife protection grants will impact the commonwealth’s economy; recreational fishing alone brought in $816 million, according to a 2006 survey. Cuts to these grants will decrease the bodies of water stocked with fish, which will cause fewer visitors to buy goods in Virginia.”
The entire op-ed, titled “Sequester places Virginia’s natural treasures at risk,” is available online at Roanoke.com.
W&L Senior eInterns in Namibia
Before she began her senior year at Washington and Lee last September, Johanna Cho was searching for an internship to complement her global studies major.
So she became an eIntern. No, that’s not a misspelling, no matter how many times spell check tries to correct it.
eInterns (American students working virtually) are an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Virtual Student Foreign Service. The goal, according to the State Department website, is “to harness technology and a commitment to global service among young people to facilitate new forms of diplomatic engagement.” The eInterns work from their own campuses in the U.S. and are partnered with our U.S. diplomatic posts and other organizations on “digital diplomacy.” The program began in 2011
After discovering the program, Johanna applied for an eInternship with Namibia. “With my experiences in Tanzania for the Shepherd Poverty internship and my Spring Term abroad in Ghana with Professor (Tyler) Dickovick, along with my personal interest in marketing, public relations and communications, I decided that the Namibia internship was the best fit.”
Throughout the year, Johanna has been e-mailing with two Namibian businesswomen to assist them with social media to publicize their small businesses.
“I have two clients,” Johanna explained. “Anna Mafwila is the owner of Katu Tours, which is a bike-tour business in the capital, Windhoek. Anne Gebhardt is the leader of an organization called House of Women that provides business-training seminars and conferences for Namibian businesswomen. Both are new to the concept of utilizing social media sites as a tool for publicity and community engagement. Windhoek is fairly developed and there are a good deal of social media users. However, most of the social media work is to publicize their businesses to visitors of the country.”
Johanna coordinates with the economic and commercial officer at the U.S. Embassy in Namibia. She says technological barriers have slowed things down, but “it has been a learning experience, and the challenges go to show that there is more work to be done in promoting local business in Windhoek as well as supporting U.S.-Namibian relations.”
Johanna’s work, along with that of two other Namibia eInterns, was cited in a recent story in All Africa Global Media.
W&L Alum Recounts His Life in Ballooning
In May 1984 Washington and Lee alumnus Kingswood Sprott launched a hot-air balloon from the University’s Front Lawn as photographers snapped the cover photo for the alumni magazine that would feature King’s avocation.
Lifting up between the Colonnade and Lee Chapel made for dramatic photos. But in comparison to most of King’s more memorable flights, it was quite tame.
As the alumni magazine story, “A King of the Skies,” related, King had already set three world altitude records in balloons, had completed the first balloon crossing of the Andes Mountains and had received the Montgolfier Diploma from the World Congress of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, the top award in internationally ballooning.
“Some people like to fish,” King said then. “Personally, fishing bores me. I like to fly balloons.”
King, a member of the Classes of 1956 and 1958L, has now set down the stories of his ballooning in an e-book, “Nine Lives: A Memoir of Extreme Ballooning.” He describes the book on his website as “a personal recounting of flights and challenges that were never conceived to be death-inviting derring-do, but became so nevertheless.”
Whenever one of his ballooning deeds was chronicled in the local newspapers in Lakeland, Fla., where he practiced law, the story almost always began “Prominent Lakeland attorney Kingswood Sprott…” That prompted his fellow attorney to refer to him as “prominent Lakeland attorney.”
Among the many stories that King can tell about his ballooning is one that was included in a November 1999 article in “Balloon Life.” It was on the state of ballooning in Florida and, naturally, King was a key character.
As the story was told, King had left Lake Wales and was headed toward Winter Haven when he landed in a lot next to a house, disturbing the home owner. “I introduced myself and she said, ‘I’ve got your ring,'” Sprott told the magazine.
The woman went inside and retrieved a W&L class ring with ”Kingswood Sprott” engraved on it. Sprott lost the ring in a lake in the ’60s, and the woman had stepped on it while swimming there. As coincidences go, that landing may be as improbable as the Andes crossing.
2,620 Miles and Counting
When he was a junior at Washington and Lee, Billy Webster, of the Class of 1979, ran in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.
As it turns out, he was just getting warmed up.
A story in Billy’s hometown newspaper, the Spartanburg Herald Journal, last Saturday chronicles his career as a marathon runner over the past 35 years and notes that when he runs in the Paris Marathon on April 7, it will be his 100th race.
When he finishes Paris, Billy will have raced 2,620 miles or, as the Herald Journal writer figures, one-tenth of a trip around the globe. And that, of course, does not count the miles and miles of training.
Billy, a member of the W&L Board of Trustees, told the newspaper: “There’s something sort of natural about running. It’s one of the original activities. It feels like something you’re supposed to do. The great thing about it is that anyone who has the desire can do it.”
He’s run the Boston Marathon about a dozen times, averages about 3 marathons a year, and said the Big Sur International Marathon in Monterrey, Calif., is his favorite.
Currently chairman of the board of the Greenville (S.C.) Health System, Billy said he has no plans to slow down: “I’m going to run until I can’t do it anymore, and after that I guess I’ll still walk.”
UPDATE (Apr. 3, 2013): When Billy Webster runs in the Paris Marathon, he will be joined by two other Washington and Lee alumni: Rob George, a member of the Class of 2011 from New York, and Matt Gossett, of the Class of 2012 from Atlanta.
Delaware Supreme Court Justice to Give Public Lecture at W&L Law
The Hon. Randy J. Holland, Justice for the Supreme Court of Delaware, will give a public lecture at Washington and Lee University School of Law this week. The title of his talk is “Why Delaware? Its Influence on Corporation Law In the United States and Abroad.”
The lecture is scheduled for Thursday, April 4 at 12 noon in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
Justice Holland is the youngest person to serve on the Delaware Supreme Court, having been recommended to the Governor by a bipartisan merit selection committee. Prior to his appointment and confirmation in 1986, Justice Holland was in private practice as a partner at Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell. In March 2011, he was reappointed by Delware Governor Markell and unanimously confirmed by the Senate for an unprecedented third twelve-year term.
Justice Holland is the past national President of the American Inns of Court Foundation. He chaired the national Advisory Committee to the American Judicature Society’s Center for Judicial Ethics. He also chaired the American Bar Association National Joint Committee on Lawyer Regulation. Justice Holland has also served on the ABA Presidential Commission on Fair and Impartial Courts, the Appellate Judges Conference’s Executive committee, the Standing Committee on Client Protection and the Judicial Division’s Ethics and Professionalism Committee. Justice Holland is a member of the American Law Institute. He serves on the American Judicature Society’s Board of Directors.
Justice Holland has received numerous awards, including the 1992 Judge of the Year Award from the National Child Support Enforcement Association, the 2011 Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence, the 2009 James Wilson Award from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, the 2003 American Judicature Society’s Herbert Harley Award and the 2007 American Inns of Court Christensen Award. In 2004, he was elected to be an Honorable Master of the Bench by Lincoln’s Inn in London. Chief Justices Rehnquist and Roberts appointed Justice Holland as the state judge member of the Federal Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules.
Justice Holland has published several books, including Delaware Corporation Law, Selected Cases. He is co-author of a law school casebook, Appellate Practice and Procedure (West 2005). He has also published several law review articles, primarily dealing with judicial ethics and legal history.
A graduate of Swarthmore College, Justice Holland received his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he received the Loughlin Award for legal ethics. He also holds an LL.M. from the University of Virginia.
W&L Senior Max Chapnick Awarded Fulbright Grant
Washington and Lee University senior Max Chapnick of White Plains, N.Y., has received a Creative Writing/Arts Fulbright grant to New Zealand and to the International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, following his graduation in May.
Chapnick is double majoring in physics and English with a minor in creative writing. His Fulbright project is “Finding Truth in New Zealand’s Verses and Equations.”
Chapnick said he chose New Zealand for a number of reasons. After learning of Professor Lesley Wheeler’s Fulbright grant to the IIML in 2010-2011 to study communities of poets in New Zealand, “the project fell together as if by some invisible force,” he said.
He discovered the beginnings of a project that paired New Zealand’s most distinguished physicists and writers for a year of collaboration resulting in a book “Are Angels OK? The Parallel Universes of New Zealand’s Writers and Scientists.” Bill Manhire, who co-edited the book, agreed to support Chapnick’s application and admission to IIML’s master’s program. While working on his master’s there, Chapnick “plans on interviewing as many of the contributors to ‘Are Angels OK?’ as I can and writing, in a similar style, a manuscript of poems about physics and poetry.”
He also has been invited to audit graduate and post-graduate physics courses from John Spencer, the head of the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences at Victoria University. Chapnick said, “Science and art, and physics and poetry, complement each other; one fulfills our need for certified measurements, the other for subjective perspectives.”
“Max is the quintessential liberal arts student, enthusiastic about learning across major disciplinary divides,” said Wheeler. “His project involves the intersections of poetry and science, and he’s exceptionally well prepared to undertake it. I love his adventurous spirit, his hunger for serious conversation and his sense of humor. He’s an extraordinary human being and he’ll be a great ambassador in the Fulbright tradition.”
While at W&L, Chapnick has been a member of the Wind Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Pit Band and University-Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra (French horn); W&L’s Hillel; and Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. He tutors at The Writing Center and was co-editor of a feature on New Zealand poetry for the February 2013 Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review.
Chapnick said, “I have always wanted to combine my love of writing with my love of physics. This Fulbright is an unbelievable opportunity that will allow me to study both at once: to write about physics. I have also always wanted to travel after college, and though I have never been there, I am sure Wellington will be a fantastic place to spend a year.”
Sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program.
Celebrating a Special Bowl
As a supplement to its story about the yard-sale bowl that fetched its owners more than 700,000 times what they had paid for it, The New York Times invited its readers to submit their favorite bowls last week.
One of the contributors was Washington and Lee alumnus Hal Higginbotham, of the Class of 1968. He wrote about the chawan, a bowl used in a Japanese tea ceremony, that he and his wife had given earlier this year to Washington and Lee’s Senshin’an Japanese Tea Room. The bowl is part of a set of commissioned chawan and other tea objects and is by Phil Rogers, a contemporary Welsh potter.
Hal’s description of the bowl in The Times included his view of its particular value as an object used by students at W&L. He wrote:
This chawan displays a beautiful use of hakeme decoration along with a small series of iron brush strokes. The classic form and simple decoration highlight this potter’s extraordinary skills in letting the very essence of the work and the kiln’s magic tell the story. What I like best about this piece is the knowledge that this object of singular beauty lives in a setting where it will be used by students in perfecting their own mastery of the tea ceremony. In that sense, it is not just a museum object on a shelf, worthy though it is of that, but also an object of sincere utility.
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Girl with autism fights bullying with music
Barry Kolman, professor of music at Washington and Lee University, and his wife, Grace, are the authors of an op-ed that appears in the April 1, 2013, edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The Kolmans write about the experience of their autistic daughter, Mano, for whom the clarinet has become a lifeline and has helped battle the bullying that she was experiencing in school.
As they write in the concluding paragraph:
“What happened to Mano because of music is far-reaching. School administrators take note! We see our daughter as one with a bright and positive future. The bullies may still be there — but so is the band.”
Read the op-ed at http://myw.lu/10hMEib
Renovations on First-Year Housing at W&L Begin in May
Work will begin this May on renovations to Gaines Hall on the Washington and Lee campus as part of an 19-month project to upgrade the University’s first-year housing. The $22.5 million project will also involve a major renovation of Graham-Lees Hall.
According to Tom Kalasky, director of capital projects, plans had originally called for a 24-month process that would begin with Graham-Lees, an older building that lacks air conditioning and an elevator and will require more attention than Gaines.
“But when we were selecting a construction manager, the company we chose, Taylor & Parrish Construction of Richmond, suggested we consider an alternate phasing plan that began with Gaines,” said Kalasky. “As a result, we are going to be able to complete the project five months earlier than we had thought, which will not only mean some cost savings t but will also reduce the inconvenience to the residents.”
When construction begins on Gaines Hall, two-thirds of that building will be taken off line, while one-third will continue in service until December 2013. That means that participants in the University’s popular summer programs will be housed in the one-third of Gaines that is operable, as will members of the Class of 2017 when they arrive for the fall term of 2013.
Once the first phase of Gaines Hall is completed, students will be moved from the one-third of the building that was not under construction to the completed section.
In May 2014, renovation to Graham-Lees will begin with the first half completed in time for first-year students to occupy the renovated section when they arrive that fall. Work on the second half of Graham-Lees will be completed by December 2014.
“Renewing these two buildings was always going to have many logistical challenges,” said Kalasky. “The way we are now approaching it will minimize those challenges, since we have removed one of the student shuffles, when they would have to move from one side Graham-Lees to the other.”
One of the advantages to the revised phasing is that preparations for many of the major changes to Graham-Lees — the HVAC system and the elevator — can begin well before the actual construction starts.
“Gaines is an easier building to renovate,” said Kalasky. “So we will now have more time to do additional investigative research on the best ways to deal with Graham-Lees. In Graham-Lees, we will be shoehorning modern mechanical and electrical systems into a historical structure. We’ve gotten quite a bit of experience on that during the last few years through our work on the Colonnade.”
Gaines Hall, which was built in 1986 and featured suites along a long hallway, will have 21 additional spaces when the remodeling is completed. Graham-Lees is a combination of two buildings — Lees Hall, built in 1904, and Graham Hall, built in 1920. They were connected in the 1940s and last renovated in 1982. There will be 16 fewer spaces in Graham-Lees as a result of the project.
The architectural and planning firm Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas and Co., of Norfolk, Va., has developed the plans for the renovations.
Meantime, the University’s Board of Trustees continues to analyze and consider proposals from its Residential Life Task Force for additional on-campus housing options for upper-class students. The scope, design, and financing of any potential new facilities are being carefully studied. While there is no set timetable for the Board’s decisions, those studies will not be taken up until at least the fall of the 2013-14 academic year.
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs