W&L Alum Named Jefferson Fellow
Robert Foster, of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2007, has received a Jefferson Fellowship from the University of Virginia and will attend the Darden School of Business in the fall.
A physics-engineering major at W&L and captain of the Generals’ football team, Robert received his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Southern California.
He’s been in the Los Angeles area since graduation, working first as a systems engineer with Northrop Grumman on several different projects, and most recently with Booz Allen Hamilton as a senior consultant on the Advanced Extremely High Frequency Satellite.
Robert was among 21 students in the new class of Jefferson Fellows. He is the only winner this year who will be attending Darden. The awards are based on merit and provide full financial support. The selection process is rigorous and includes a four-day competition in Charlottesville.
Exploring Greek Life
TJ Fisher is a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2015 and a double major in theater and history, from Potomac, Md. Last August, we blogged about TJ’s unusual job running the Dentzel Carousel at Maryland’s Glen Echo Park. He had written an essay about the experience for the Washington Post.
This summer, TJ traveled to Greece as part of a special program that his social fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, runs to help its members better understand the history and philosophy of fraternal life. He wrote about his experience, what it meant to him as an individual, and what he believes it means about Greek life at a university like Washington and Lee.
Here is TJ’s essay:
My friends and family, and visitors to Washington and Lee, often have questions about Greek life. I know they’re thinking of “Animal House” and the other negative stereotypes of fraternity men and sorority women depicted in the media, or maybe of the real-life misconduct of these men and women reported in the news. They’re well aware that W&L has a significant Greek presence and want to know how this could possibly fit with the values we express and our aspirations to behave as gentlemen or ladies, based on what they think they know about Greek life.
I was fortunate to have a recent amazing experience, which I think makes very clear the ways in which Greek life can contribute positively to the life of the University, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share some reflections about that trip.
In February, at a regional leadership academy in Connecticut, I was extremely honored to be one of 16 undergraduate brothers that my fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, chose from around the country to embark on the Tragos Quest to Greece. It is a 10-day journey through that country in contemplation of the history and philosophy of fraternal life, and is the capstone to the leadership development programs the fraternity offered. It is funded for the chosen undergraduates by SigEp, thanks in large part to its namesake, Bill Tragos, who has been very involved in the fraternity since his graduation in 1956 from Washington University in St. Louis. After a busy Spring Term and start to my summer jobs, I was excited to have a week and a half off to spend with my brothers.
The trip was certainly anything but a rest, however. We were not given an itinerary but merely knew we would be embarking on activities relating to the ideals to which brothers aspire: sound mind and sound body. We 16 undergraduates, five adult mentors and a professor, all brothers, met each other for the first time in Chicago. There we were also introduced to such staples of the trip as our 6 a.m. wakeup call for a group workout; our morning and evening discussions to review the events of the day; our analysis of the two books and several plays and poems we’d been given before the trip; and our conversations about various subjects pertinent to the fraternity. The following day we flew into Athens, and the trip really began.
Each day brought exciting new experiences, many of which I believe are analogous to the ways in which Greek life can add spectacularly to W&L. Our lively discussions of the ancient Greek works we’d read reminded me of the regular dinner lectures I’ve organized for our chapter, in which professors or other important local figures speak to us about a topic of their interest and then engage us in discussion. The exchanges of information between brothers in similar fields reminded me of the potential for useful professional networking between undergraduate and alumni members of Greek organizations. The ability of all 22 of us to bond quickly and deeply despite diverse backgrounds and interests reminded me of the potential to learn from other members of a diverse chapter.
I was reminded most forcefully, however, of the potential of a fraternity or sorority to serve as a motivator and support system for its members. One of my favorite sights of the trip was the Palamidi Fortress, at the top of which was a beautiful view of the sea and the town below. We were separated by that view, however, by more than a thousand steep stone steps. Cardio endurance is not my strongest suit even in the best of conditions, and the midday sun was beating down more and more forcefully as our altitude increased, so I was struggling to keep up the quick pace set by the more active brothers. Had you asked me at the time, I’m sure I would’ve said I was struggling to cling to life itself as I dragged myself up the steps.
I did not want to miss out on sharing the view with the brothers, so I was fortunate that they were there to help me. One brother stayed behind with me for a moment while I caught my breath, and all of them encouraged me to finish strong with them. We all felt accomplished when we reached the top of the fortress and were rewarded by the great view. This is a great deal like my experience with our chapter. We never mock each other but are always there to remind each other to spend more time studying, to edit fellowship applications, to play a good game of racquetball for exercise, and so on. In a community as small as W&L, where everyone knows everyone else at least a bit, it’s a worthwhile proposition to get to know a smaller group of people very well and to be able to count on them.
The quest is just one example of what fraternity membership has added to my W&L education, and it is an excellent one. My time as a Greek has brought me more than parties and means much more to me than empty declarations. Any W&L student looking for the kind of Greek experience I have had can easily find it, and our University will continue to benefit as more students realize the great potential of their fraternities and sororities. I am so grateful to have an experience I will remember for the rest of my life, and I now have something very specific to point to when I am asked questions about the purpose and value of W&L’s Greek system. Our Greek traditions are part of what makes us the unique institution we are today, and I am excited to watch them continue to develop.
Suzanne Keen Named Dean of the College at W&L
Suzanne Keen, the Thomas H. Broadus Professor of English at Washington and Lee University, has been named dean of the College.
Daniel Wubah, W&L’s provost, announced Keen’s appointment, which is effective immediately. She had been serving as interim dean since last July.
“I’m very pleased that Professor Keen has accepted this invitation to make her deanship of the College permanent,” Wubah said. “After consulting with numerous members of the faculty and with senior administrators, I am certain that she is not only the best choice for this position but that her appointment will also permit us to continue the momentum that she has already created during the interim year.”
Prior to being named interim dean, Keen served as head of the Department of English and also on two major faculty committees — the Advisory Committee, which reviews tenure and promotion cases, and the Courses and Degrees Committee. As interim dean, she chaired the Courses and Degrees Committee during the 2012–13 academic year and also served on the Faculty Executive Committee. In addition, she launched a collaborative Digital Humanities Initiative, involving faculty, librarians and information technology professionals, and entered into a collaboration with Scholars’ Lab at the University of Virginia, supported with a grant from the Associated Colleges of the South.
Keen has been a member of the Washington and Lee faculty since 1995. She holds an A.B. in English literature and studio art and an A.M. in creative writing from Brown University, and an A.M. and Ph.D. in English language and literature from Harvard University. She taught at Yale from 1990 to 1995. She served on the faculty of Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English during the summers of 2003 through 2010.
A 2008 winner of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia, Keen is a narrative theorist and an internationally recognized authority on literary empathy.
Keen’s interdisciplinary interests combine a longtime devotion to the novel in English with recent neuroscience, developmental and social psychology, and emotion science. Her books include “Thomas Hardy’s Brains: Psychology, Neurology and Hardy’s Imagination,” “Theory and Interpretation of Narrative Series” (Ohio State, forthcoming in 2014), “Empathy and the Novel” (Oxford, 2007), “Narrative Form” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), “Romances of the Archive in Contemporary British Fiction” (Toronto, 2001), “Victorian Renovations of the Novel” (Cambridge, 1998) and a volume of poetry, “Milk Glass Mermaid” (Lewis-Clark, 2007).
In addition, she is U.S. co-editor of Contemporary Women’s Writing (an Oxford University Press journal) and guest edited a special double issue of Poetics Today on narrative and the emotions (Spring and Summer 2011, 32.1–2). She teaches the novel in English, postcolonial Anglophone literature and contemporary British fiction.
W&L Law Alumna Views Hearing Loss as an Opportunity
Melissa Pignatelli-O’Brien is many things: an attorney; a volunteer mediator; a former competitive diver; a resident of Park City, Utah; and a 1999 graduate of the Washington and Lee School of Law. She is also an advocate for people with hearing loss, talking about her own experience to help others.
Accordingly, Melissa is the subject of a profile in the Park City Park Record, “Local Lawyer Sees Hearing Loss as an Opportunity.” She told the reporter that because of her hearing loss, which was undiagnosed at the time, she found law school “a struggle. . . . could never find the right place to sit, where I could hear both the professors and students asking questions.” Once she began practicing law, the problem only magnified, and she found conference calls her “biggest fear.”
She and her father finally realized that a hearing disorder ran in the family. As you might imagine, after Melissa got hearing aids, her life changed for the better.
She met her husband, Marc O’Brien, at an Atlanta law firm. They have two sons, Ted and Cash. Her family has supported her every step of the way. “My boys don’t think there’s anything wrong with me, they just want me to hear them,” she said. “So they’ve learned how to communicate with me. They look me in the eye, they speak slowly and clearly and they don’t talk to me when my back is turned.”
The profile is worth a read, with more details about her career and family. You might also take note of the name of one of her favorite authors in the “Vital Statistics” list at the end.
W&L Law Prof. Michelle Drumbl Discusses IRS Sequester Cuts in Federal Times
A recent Freedom of Information act request from the “Federal Times” turned up an IRS planning document that predicts sequester-related budget cuts will result in billions of lost revenue.
The IRS predicts that the $600 million cut to the agency’s $11 billion budget will result in decreased enforcement and fraud detection, costing the government billions. In addition, the “Federal Times” reported that the planning document predicts reduced availability in both pre-filing taxpayer assistance and education services as well as “degraded” telephone service.
W&L Law professor and tax clinic director Michelle Drumbl told the paper that she is especially concerned about the decrease in tax payers services.
“If people can’t get answers before they file, that could lead to more complications that will cost more time for the IRS to resolve,” she said.
Many of the clients in the law school’s tax clinic are low-income parents who can’t afford to stay on hold on the telephone for an hour or more trying to get a question answered, Drumbl said.
Ashford '82 Wins Raves for “Macbeth”
Director Rob Ashford, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1982, has just finished a new project across the Atlantic — in Manchester, England, to be exact. For the Manchester International Festival, he co-directed “Macbeth” with none other than Kenneth Branagh, who also played the iconic role.
And it was a production with a twist. Rather than staging it in a theater, Rob and Branagh put the cast through their paces in a deconsecrated church. According to this laudatory review in the New York Times, the floor was dirt and the seats were wooden benches, and the action took place practically in your lap.
Rob’s production won rave reviews from British critics as well, and from his leading man. Here’s what Branagh said in a Q&A for the Guardian: “Rob Ashford made the profound difference, as co-director and good friend. He made a lionish contribution and let me concentrate on my performance at all the right times.”
Lucky movie-goers in the United Kingdom and Ireland got to watch a live broadcast of the production this past Saturday, July 20. Movie theaters in the U.S. will screen it starting this fall. Keep an eye on the National Theatre Live website for more information on dates and places.
National Leaders to Address Shepherd Poverty Symposium
Three prominent national experts on issues of poverty in America will address the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty’s 2013 Symposium, which will be hosted by Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute on Aug. 6 in Lexington.
The symposium comes at the conclusion of the SHECP summer internships that have involved almost 90 college and law school students from 17 colleges and universities around the country. The students spent eight weeks working with non-profit organizations in a variety of settings and will complete the program with a series of presentations and panel discussions during the Frueauff Closing Conference on Monday, Aug. 5, in Lewis Hall, at the W&L School of Law.
On Tuesday, Aug. 6, the teaching symposium will feature Kathryn Edin, professor of public policy and management of the Harvard Kennedy School; Ron Haskins, senior fellow and co-director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution; and Kristen Lodal, CEO and co-founder of LIFT.
Edin will speak at 8:30 a.m. followed by Haskins at 9:30 a.m. The two will then have a conversation at 10:45 a.m. followed by Lodal’s remarks at 11:10 a.m. and then an exchange featuring all three speakers. The presentations, which are all open to the public, will be in Gillis Theater at VMI’s Center for Leadership and Ethics.
“We are fortunate to have three such distinguished individuals for our symposium,” said Harlan Beckley, the Fletcher Otey Thomas Professor of Religion at W&L who founded and directs SCHEP. “This is the second time that we have convened this group of institutions for a symposium that includes both faculty and students from the consortium. These speakers will challenge all of the participants to think in different ways about the issues that the students have seen first-hand during the past several weeks.”
The first symposium was held last August in Little Rock, Ark., at the Clinton School of Public Service.
Kathryn Edin is one of the nation’s leading poverty researchers. She focuses on direct, in-depth observations of the lives of low-income women and men and their families. She is particularly interested in questions about the urban poor that have not been fully answered by quantitative work. Her most recent of six books is “Doing the Best I Can: Fathering in the Inner City,” which was co-written with Timothy Nelson and published in May 2013 by the University of California Press. Edin and Nelson lived in Camden, NJ, for a time and interviewed many non-custodial fathers in Camden and Philadephia. She is chair of Harvard’s Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy.
Ron Haskins, co-director of the Brookings Institution Center on Children and Families and former senior adviser to the president for welfare policy in 2002, spent 14 years on the staff of the House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee. In that capacity, he was the principal staff person for the Republican Party in forging agreement with the Clinton Administration on welfare reform in 1996. Haskins, a senior editor of “The Future of Children,” will, like Edin, speak on families, children, and poverty.
Kirsten Lodal co-founded LIFT in 1998 as a sophomore at Yale University and has devoted herself to guiding the development of LIFT’s innovative program model. LIFT currently runs centers staffed by trained volunteers in six major U.S. cities to serve low-income individuals and families. Lodal plays a leadership role in numerous poverty-related policy initiatives, including Opportunity Nation. She is the chairman of the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project, a powerful model for restoring childhood to children living in shelters. Lodal, a practitioner leading efforts to provide access to integrated resources for persons in need of them, will address the innovative ways in which LIFT and other organizations are reducing barriers for families to flourish in society. The SHECP interns are working for LIFT this summer.
The Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty comprises Baylor University, Berea College, Centre College, the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, the College of Wooster, Elon University, Furman University, Hendrix College, John Carroll University, Lynchburg College, Marymount University, Middlebury College, Millsaps College, Niagara University, Spelman College, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of Notre Dame, Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University and four additional institutions considering or seeking membership will be represented at the conferences in August.
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Things Go Better with W&L Alumni
Here’s a story about how Washington and Lee alumni seem to turn up everywhere, and how Colonnade Connections helps alumni make those valuable connections.
Wyatt Heaton, a member of the Class of 2009, is pursuing both a J.D. and a master’s in accounting from George State University, in Atlanta. This summer, he participated in the 2013 Summer Legal Intern program at The Coca-Cola Company.
Before he started at Coke, Wyatt checked Colonnade Connections to determine if he could find any alumni who might also be working there.
His search led him to Vail Thorne, of the Class of 1980, the senior environmental, health and safety counsel (EHS) at Coca-Cola. Vail currently focuses on the company’s EHS and sustainability issues worldwide and advises on the rules governing green, or environmental, marketing.
During his internship, Wyatt mentioned his alma mater to another lawyer there and discovered Paul Hourigan, of the Class of 1999. Paul is Coca-Cola’s primary legal counsel for all professional sports sponsorship deals for North America. Paul’s work involves the company’s league sponsorship of the NBA and its official marketing partner relationship with the PGA Tour, as well as individual team deals.
When the three of them were scheduled to get together for lunch, Vail mentioned a fourth W&L alum on the premises in Atlanta — Ted Ghiz, of the Class of 1978, a senior tax counsel who deals with legislative, planning and controversy matters related to all state and local taxes. He’s worked for Coca-Cola for almost 20 years.
So the four got together at company headquarters in Atlanta for a photo (above) — W&L alumni representing a three-decade span at Coke.
Now that the internship is behind him, Wyatt will be working this fall as an extern for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He hopes to practice mergers and acquisitions law, tax law or securities law when he finishes at Georgia State.
And he highly recommends Colonnade Connections.
Campus Kitchen at W&L Feature on WVTF
WVTF, the Roanoke-based public radio station, featured Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee in a segment that ran on July 24, 2013.
Titled “W&L’s Campus Kitchen Feeds Minds and Bellies,” the piece by WVTF’s Beverly Amsler included in an interview with Jenny Davidson, coordinator of Campus Kitchen and advisor to Volunteer Venture and Nabors Service League.
CKWL was the winner of a Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award earlier this year.
It’s not your typical, run of the mill soup kitchen. Instead of the homeless coming to them, the Campus Kitchen Project at Washington & Lee University travels throughout Rockbridge County. Volunteers take about 2,000 home cooked meals to those in the community including homebound seniors and the Magnolia Center, a day support program for adults with intellectual disabilities.
Listen to the audio and read the story at http://myw.lu/11e8vsV
76 Months, 2,184 Miles
Hayne Hipp’s email about his latest accomplishment came with the following headline: “Hipp Becomes First Member of W&L Class of 1962 to Complete Appalachian Trial.”
And the lead paragraph said: “Hayne Hipp attributes this phenomenal, six-year accomplishment primarily to the commitment to hard work he learned during his four years at Washington and Lee University.”
That’s all true enough. But to understand the magnitude of the accomplishment, some additional details are required, and a feature story in the Greenville Journal supplies plenty of those.
Hayne, an emeritus trustee of W&L and formerly CEO of Liberty Corp. in Greenville, began his 2,184-mile trek on March 6, 2007. He was 67 at the time and, as he mentioned to the Journal, “I had told too many people I was going to do it and just couldn’t back out.”
Things started well enough in Georgia until, on the second night, he slipped descending Blood Mountain and severed a quad tendon in his knee.
The injury kept him off the trail for more than a year, but it didn’t diminish his desire to conquer the A.T. As the Greenville Journal explains, he became a “section hiker,” completing the journey in multiple trips over a period of years. Most of those, he said, were four to seven days, covering eight to 22 miles.
Hayne has multiple stories to go with those multiple trips — like the time his boots caught fire and left him hiking in borrowed sandals for a short while. That’s why his trail nickname became “Reboot.” Or there was that time in Tennessee when he happened upon a female hiker sunbathing in the nude.
What he started in March 2007, he completed he finished on July 15 at 11:35 a.m. when, accompanied by his wife, Anna Kate, he connected the north from Springer Mountain sections with the south from Mount Katahdin, Maine, sections at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy headquarters in Harpers Ferry, Va.
Washington and Lee Named a 2013 Great College to Work For
A survey conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education has recognized Washington and Lee University as one of its 2013 Great Colleges to Work For.
The results, released in the Chronicle’s sixth annual report on the academic workplace, are based on a survey of more than 44,688 employees at 300 colleges and universities.
In all, only 97 of the 300 institutions, including 76 four-year institutions, achieved recognition as a Great College to Work For, for specific best practices and policies. Results are reported for small, medium and large institutions, with Washington and Lee included among the small universities with 2,999 or fewer students.
Washington and Lee won awards in three categories:
- Compensation and Benefits
- Facilities, Workspace and Security
- Job Satisfaction
The survey results are based on a two-part assessment: an institutional audit that captured demographics and workplace policies from each institution, and a survey administered randomly to members of the University community. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received recognition was the employee feedback.
The survey was given to a random group of 400 faculty, administrators and staff, and the overall response rate was 37 percent.
“Washington and Lee’s people make the University the distinctive place it is, and we are pleased to have been recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education in this way,” said Steve McAllister, vice president for finance and treasurer at W&L.
Amy Diamond Barnes, executive director of human resources at W&L, said that she was particularly pleased that the Chronicle has begun to survey the entire population of employees as part of the Great Colleges to Work For program.
“Since we have been committed to surveying all segments of the University community at least every third year, we have consistently requested that the Chronicle expand its survey to include all work groups,” she said. “We are delighted, therefore, to be recognized in these three categories as part of a more complete survey of workplace satisfaction.”
The Chronicle worked with ModernThink L.L.C., a strategic human capital consulting firm that has conducted numerous Best Places to Work programs, surveying hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide.
“In light of increasing public concern about the cost of higher education, the Chronicle is focused more than ever on providing the necessary information that helps our readers make informed choices,” said Liz McMillen, editor of the Chronicle. “What we find year after year in the Great Colleges survey is that many educators and administrators are also thinking more critically about how to improve the cost-effectiveness and workplace efficiency of their institutions. The Great Colleges Program is our way of highlighting their efforts.”
Great Colleges to Work For is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country. For more information and to view all the results of the survey, visit the Chronicle’s website at http://chronicle.com/academicworkplace
Live from Lexington
As part of our effort to expand Washington and Lee’s commitment to lifelong learning, we are increasing the availability of live webcasts campus events throughout the year.
This summer, keynote lectures from the University’s award-winning Alumni College have been offered for the first time, providing viewers around the world a chance to share at least a small part of the experience.
The fifth and final Alumni College lectures was shown live on Tuesday, July 23, when Mark Stoler, editor of the Marshall Papers, addresses “George C. Marshall: The Education of a General.”
If you can’t watch these events live, most of the presentations are archived for later viewing. That includes many of the major University events from throughout the year — convocations and commencements, as well as such special events such as the annual Lessons and Carols from Lee Chapel and a State of the University conversation with President Ken Ruscio.
To see the schedule of upcoming events and to watch archives, bookmark our Livestream page: http://go.wlu.edu/live/
Our commitment to live webcasts includes the Generals’ athletics. In partnership with First Team Broadcasting, we are pleased to present a full schedule of men’s and women’s events. The season begins on Aug. 30 when field hockey hosts Johns Hopkins. For the First Team schedule, bookmark http://go.wlu.edu/firstteam.
Finally, the School of Law often has live webcasts of its events and maintains a significant presence on YouTube where many of those presentations reside. The YouTube channel is at http://www.youtube.com/wlulaw.
Since we want to provide the programming that our viewers want, please fill out a survey that will allow us to continue to improve our live offerings. Take the survey below:
W&L's Archer Exhibits Work in Los Angeles
A drawing by Clover Archer, director of Washington and Lee’s Staniar Gallery, is included in a group exhibit now on display at Gallery Luisotti, in Los Angeles.
Clover’s work is part of a group exhibit titled “The Way We Live Now,” which offers different visions of the world in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008. The title of the exhibit derives from Anthony Trollope’s 1875 satiric novel about the excesses of human behavior that arise during peaks of economic prosperity.
The works of the eight artists in the show “suggest the impending dusk awaiting the end of every golden age.”
Clover’s piece is titled “Periphery: For Every Given Focus.” It is a drawing of New York Times broadsheets printed on Dec. 21, 2008 — an especially bad day, when the headlines included the Senate’s vote to abandon the auto bailout, deep cuts in the New York City job market, and a cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe.
The piece “is a reminder as much as a discomforting repetition of the stories of economic woes and an endless war that is very much with us today.”
Clover joined W&L in 2008 as director of the Staniar Gallery and visiting instructor of photography. She received her B.F.A. with a concentration in photography from the University of New Hampshire and her M.F.A. in studio art from New York University.
The exhibit continues through Sept. 7. Gallery Luisotti is at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica.
Amanda Bower Named to New Holbrook Professorship
Amanda Bower, professor of business administration at Washington and Lee University, has been named the inaugural holder of the Charles C. Holbrook Jr. ’72 Professorship.
Larry C. Peppers, Crawford Family Dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, announced the appointment.
The Holbrook Professorship honors the memory of a 1972 graduate of W&L who died in 1994. It supports “an exceptional undergraduate teacher and a distinguished scholar at Washington and Lee.” Holbrook was a history major who received his M.B.A. from the College of William and Mary. At the time of his death, he was general manager of Club Los Lagos in Hermosillo, Mexico.
The professorship was created with a gift from William H. Miller III, who was Holbrook’s friend and classmate. He is chairman of Legg Mason Capital Management and the portfolio manager for the Legg Mason Capital Management Opportunity Trust mutual fund and related strategies.
Bower joined the W&L faculty in 2002 as assistant professor and was promoted to full professor in 2012. An expert on marketing and advertising, she teaches the popular Ad Class, which draws students from all majors to form an advertising agency and to create an advertising campaign as part of the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition.
In 2011 Bower established an annual conference called AdLib, which stands for liberal arts in advertising. She draws back to campus Washington and Lee alumni who are working in advertising and marketing to share their experiences with current students. One of the aims of the conference is to demonstrate to students the value of a liberal arts education for a career in advertising, marketing and related fields such as digital media, social media and mobile technology.
“Her students have described Professor Bower’s teaching as passionate, energetic, enthusiastic and inspiring,” said Peppers. “Her colleagues in business administration praised the way that she has embraced teaching marketing in a liberal arts environment along with her innovations in the classroom.
Bower is widely recognized as an expert in marketing, and her research has been published in the leading journals in her field, including the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Advertising, and Psychology & Marketing. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Advertising.
A graduate of the University of Richmond, Bower received her Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina.
W&L currently has 45 endowed full professorships and 10 term professorships, which recognize worthy teachers who have made meaningful contributions to Washington and Lee but are not yet eligible for a full professorship. The term professorships rotate among faculty.
The University has added 18 of the named professorships and all 10 of the term professorships as part of the University’s $500 million campaign, Honor Our Past, Build Our Future.
W&L Alum Wins Legal Fellowship
Rich Cleary, a 2009 graduate of Washington and Lee and a second-year student at Columbia Law School, has received the 2013 Honorable Charles L. Brieant, Jr., Fellowship from the New York Bar Foundation.
Under the $5,000 fellowship, Rich is working this summer under the supervision of the Hon. Loretta A. Preska, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He is researching and writing about issues facing the court as a whole.
In a news release announcing the fellowship, Rich said: “It is an honor to have been selected as the Brieant fellow. I am grateful for the financial contribution to my legal education. The opportunity to intern for Chief Judge Preska in this capacity is particularly meaningful.”
After graduating from W&L, where he was president of the Executive Committee of the Student Body, Rich earned an M. Phil. from Trinity College of the University of Cambridge in international relations. Prior to entering law school at Columbia, he worked as a research assistant for the American Enterprise Institute.
At Columbia, he’s a James Kent Scholar, which recognizes academic distinction in each of the three law school classes, a member of the Law Review, and co-president of the Federalist Society.
The president of the New York Bar Foundation, Cristine Cioffi, said: “The Foundation is pleased to recognize Richard Cleary with the Charles L. Brieant, Jr. Fellowship. He is an accomplished young man with a bright future ahead of him. We expect that this fellowship will be the first of his many career accomplishments.”
Wheeler's Book Nominated for Science Fiction Poetry Prize
Congratulations to Lesley Wheeler, the Henry S. Fox Professor of English. Her well-reviewed recent book, “The Receptionist and Other Tales,” has won even more acclaim: a nomination for the Elgin Award from the Science Fiction Poetry Association.
As we described the book upon its publication last fall, it’s “a novella written in verse . . . a category of literature known as speculative fiction, an umbrella term for genre fiction encompassing fantasy, science fiction and horror.”
Lesley told us then that “more than any other book that I’ve ever written, . . . this one was written entirely to please myself. I’ve always loved fantasy and science fiction.”
In March, the title poem, “The Receptionist”” also made the Tiptree Award Honor List for 2012 for its “splendidly drawn characters and pitch-perfect language.” The list is a feature of the James Tiptree Jr. Literary Award Council, and we blogged about it at the time.
The Elgin Awards honor two categories, chapbooks (10 to 39 pages of poetry) and books (40 or more pages of poetry). Only members of the Science Fiction Poetry Association may nominate and vote on books. The deadline is Aug. 15, so if any members of the W&L community belong to the association . . .
W&L's Civitarese Participates in Umbra Institute
Albert Civitarese of Bridgeville, Pa., a member of the Washington and Lee University Class of 2015, is studying abroad in Perugia, Italy, this summer through the Umbra Institute, an American study abroad program located in the central Italian city of Perugia.
As a biology major at W&L and the starting goalkeeper on the Generals’ soccer team, Civitarese would have had difficulty fitting a study abroad opportunity — or a chance to study Italian — into his packed schedule.
“This was my only chance to expand on the Italian language while still maintaining my pre-med track,” he explained. “And it’s my only chance to study abroad. It’s been a great experience.”
During the six-week program, Civitarese participated in the Institute’s “Tandem” language exchange, an informal social gathering between Umbra students and Italian students from local universities who serve as language partners. The last of three such exchanges was held a July 4 barbecue celebrating America’s Independence Day.
The barbecue was the third such language exchange, one of many co-curricular events organized for the summer program. Designed to teach Italian language through cultural exposure, the program’s other activities include walking tours, art history lectures and concerts during Perugia’s well-known Umbria Jazz Festival.
Created and directed by Dr. Robert Proctor, professor of Italian at Connecticut College, the program is taught entirely in Italian. Students experience about 100 contact hours in the classroom. Civitarese is an advanced speaker in Italian.
“(We) give students an intensive experience of the Italian language and at the same time something that’s very dear to my heart, the liberal arts tradition,” Proctor explained. “We strive to give them language learning in the context of a deep intellectual and cultural experience here in Italy.”
“I feel comfortable going into any situation,” Civitarese said. “When I arrived, I hadn’t studied Italian for almost a year, and since I’ve been here, it’s improved exponentially which has allowed me to immerse myself into the culture here in Perugia.”
Often called a “big university town in a small Italian city,” Perugia is considered an ideal setting to study abroad in Italy, with fine arts, business and liberal arts courses. Students agree that the program fosters growth on and beyond a linguistic level.
Civitarese, a graduate of Sewickley Academy, was named to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference second team after recording a W&L record-tying eight shutouts last fall. Earlier this week he wasone of the Washington and Lee student-athletes named to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference’s 2012-13 Academic All-Conference team.
New Play by W&L's Radulescu Honored
A play by Domnica Radulescu, the Edwin A. Morris Professor of Romance Languages at Washington and Lee University, has been named a runner-up in the prestigious Jane Chambers Playwriting Contest of the Association for Theater in Higher Education (ATHE).
“The Town with Very Nice People: A Strident Operetta” is the latest of Radulescu’s several plays. Her first one, “Naturalized Woman,” received a staged reading at Nora’s Playhouse in New York City in October 2010. It was chosen as one of 20 plays out of 240 entries performed as a full production at the Thespis Theater Festival; it was directed by Kimberly Jew, associate professor of theater at W&L.
Two other of Radulescu’s plays had staged readings in 2012 — “The Romanian Reunion: A Country That Devours Its Own” at the Comparative Drama Conference in Baltimore, and “No Hay Luz and the Search for Red Bougainvilleas” at The Playwright Center in Minneapolis.
“The Town with Very Nice People,” which has not yet been produced, is described in the ATHE award notice as “eaturing 12 tableaux that draw on epic, festival storytelling, music and innovative use of monologues” and tracing “the transformation of a small bigoted Southern town in America into a utopian town of vibrant diversity.”
Continues the ATHE description, “The play’s explicit, sometimes irreverent exploration of feminist themes and the play’s striking, distinctive main character — an émigré writer who has lived in the town for decades and suffered many inequities at the hands of the towns’ people — make this play both innovative and daring. The wit, music, and cross-cultural perspective of this play invite experimental stagings and transformations.”
Radulescu also is the author of two best-selling novels, “Black Sea Twilight” (Doubleday, 2010) and “Train to Trieste” (Knopf, 2008), which won the Library of Virginia Fiction Award in 2009. A member of the W&L faculty since 1992, Radulescu founded the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Washington and Lee in 2001 and chaired it for nine years. She currently directs the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program at W&L. She won the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia in 2011.
The Jane Chambers Award recognizes feminist plays and performance texts created by women writers that present significant opportunities for female performers. First given in 1984, the award is sponsored by the Women and Theater Program (WTP) with generous support from ATHE, private donors and university friends.
W&L's Selig Moving Monarchs Forward
To say that Washington and Lee alumnus Wood Selig has been making his mark on the athletic program at Old Dominion University would be an understatement — at least based on the profile of Wood in the Virginian-Pilot earlier this month.
Wood, a member of the Class of 1983, was named the athletic director at ODU in 2010, as we reported in a blog at the time. He was succeeding a man, Jim Jarret, who had been in the job for 40 years. In the three years that he has been back in his hometown (Wood grew up a half-mile from the ODU campus), he’s definitely shaken things up.
As the profile in the Virginia Pilot notes, Wood “has overseen a period of change that rival any in the school’s athletic history.” He’s hired nine head coaches and has taken a year-old varsity football program to the point of transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision this season when they play East Carolina, Maryland, Pittsburgh and North Carolina. The Monarchs also left the Colonial Athletic Conference to join Conference USA.
A psychology major at W&L, Wood got his master’s in sports management at Ohio University and held positions in the athletic departments at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia before becoming the athletic director at Western Kentucky University. He spent 11 years there before being lured back home.
Here’s one of the best descriptions of his work as ODU’s athletic director from the Pilot article: “His professional metabolism runs faster. Forget working a room. At games, Selig is more likely to work a whole stadium or arena, chatting up fans here, schmoozing potential donors there. Affable and approachable, he seems to have time for everyone.”
Alum Rings NASDAQ Opening Bell
Bill Wreaks, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1985, opened the NASDAQ OMX market on June 25.
Bill is chief executive officer of the Gramercy Institute, a group of marketers and related professionals from the world’s leading financial institutions. The organization is dedicated to upholding the highest level of professionalism and integrity–and to focusing leading financial marketers on new and innovative practices for the benefit of financial consumers and the industry at large.
In remarks prior to his bell ringing, Bill said that “marketing has never mattered more than it does today to the success of major financial firms around the world.”
After receiving his B.A. from W&L, Bill earned an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, where he focused on international business.
Bill was an early pioneer and advocate of digital media. In 2003 and 2004, he served as president of the Financial Communications Society, a non-profit, 225-member organization based in New York and founded in 1967.
Bill is a frequent interview subject on the marketing and media circuit. An interview with him and five other leading publishing executives was recently featured in Folio Magazine.
The Gramercy Institute produces approximately 25 forums, conferences and summits in the financial services marketing space each year in eight financial market hubs around the world. In addition, the institute produces the Gramercy Institute Financial Media Strategy Awards and Twenty Rising Stars in Financial Marketing. It also publishes the digital Journal of Financial Advertising & Marketing on matters of interest to senior marketers from major financial firms.
Covering the Courts 'A Calling,' Says W&L Professor (Audio)
It’s hard to turn on TV news without running into a story about the current trial of the century.
Last month it was the Jody Arias murder trial in Arizona. Now it’s either George Zimmerman’s trial in a Florida courtroom for the death of Trayvon Martin, or the case of accused Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. Next up in February will be the trial of accused Colorado mass murderer James Holmes.
Toni Locy is an associate professor of journalism at Washington and Lee University. She spent 25 years covering courts for various news outlets before joining the W&L faculty in 2008, and she published a textbook, “Covering America’s Courts: A Clash of Rights,” earlier this year.
Although Locy sees a proliferation of these high-profile cases, she is quick to note that the concept is not new. The list of celebrity trials goes way back, and Locy even teaches a course titled Covering Great Trials in History.
“There’s nothing new about cases with a circus atmosphere,” said Locy. “What is new is the technology — instantaneous communication and 24-7 cable coverage.” That, she says, has catapulted trials that wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much attention 20 years ago into the national limelight, not just local or regional.
The changing nature of coverage notwithstanding, Locy is convinced that covering courts “is the most important beat a news organization has.”
“I always believed that when I covered trials, and I think it even more so now that I’ve had a little distance,” said Locy. “News organizations owe it to the public. It’s their duty to make sure that they assign good, ethical reporters to the courts. You’re talking about an entire branch of government. Of the three branches, the judiciary is the one that receives the least coverage and, in my judgment, the least quality coverage.”
Locy believes it is incumbent upon reporters who cover the courts to be aggressive, ethical and skeptical.
“The judiciary is where the rubber meets the road,” she said. “People can lose their freedom; they can lose their lives if it’s a capital case. You can’t get higher stakes than that.
“In my opinion, Covering the courts and covering them well — aggressively, ethically, with skepticism — that is a calling. It is a public service to do it well.”
Tom Wolfe '51 Talks to Costco
The pages of The Costco Connection, “a lifestyle magazine for Costco members,” might seem an unlikely place to spot an interview with author Tom Wolfe. Nevertheless, you will find an enjoyable read, “A Genius in Wolfe’s Clothing,” in the July issue.
The 1951 graduate of Washington and Lee met at his New York home with the author, Matthew Robb. Among other subjects, Tom discussed his short-lived baseball career; his newspapering stints at the Washington Post and the New York Herald Tribune; his donning of the trademark white suit; and his thoughts about blogging.
He also tells how his four years of Spanish, presumably at W&L, came in handy in 1959, when the Washington Post wanted someone to cover Fidel Castro and Cuba. “I didn’t dare tell them that, in those four years, we had no conversational Spanish. The whole idea was to eventually read Don Quixote in the original.”
If you want to know whether he shops at Costco, you’ll have to read the piece for yourself.
W&L Economist Joins International Team Studying Anti-Discrimination Policies in India
Washington and Lee University economist Niels-Hugo Blunch belongs to an international team that has received a major grant to examine the economic and behavioral impacts of anti-discrimination policies in the context of India’s caste system.
The grant from the Danish Council of Independent Research is for 3,478,625 DKK, or about $626,000. Aarhus University, in Denmark, is the hosting institution. One of the principal investigators is Nabanita Data Gupta, professor of economics at Aarhus, who was the Griffith Family Visiting International Scholar at Washington and Lee last winter.
In addition to W&L and Aarhus, the University of Connecticut and Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, will send scholars to participate.
“This is a very significant grant and an important project,” said Blunch. “I’m excited to be a member of this team. These are thorny issues that we’re going to be tackling.”
According to Blunch, the project aims to understand how anti-discrimination policies in India effect socioeconomic outcomes across the life cycle. The research will be examining both education and labor markets by using a combination of methods, including traditional econometrics and randomized controlled trials.
As currently planned, the researchers will use both an information campaign and financial incentives to see whether or not they can have an impact on test scores among students. They will target teachers and parents with the information campaigns about stereotypes and discrimination and will use financial incentives with teachers to determine whether or not a reward based on student improvement can make a difference.
Among the issues that the study will explore is how to minimize stigma and stereotyping with such anti-discrimination policies, whether or not the policy creates any disincentives for the development of skills, if there are optimum ages for the policies to be effective, and what impact the policies have on the majority.
“India has attempted to overcome a caste system with anti-discrimination policies that reserve positions, or create quotas, for members of the lower castes for new jobs, political seats and slots in higher educational institutions,” Blunch said. “What we want to understand is whether or not these policies have resulted in the desired outcome. Have the lower-caste individuals for whom these programs were established fared better than they would have in the absence of these programs?”
Blunch noted that they will center much of their work in rural areas of India, where the caste system remains ingrained. “Caste does not dichotomize people as much in urban areas, which are more westernized and where these ancient institutions are less significant,” he said.
Even though the work is in India, Bunch said that the outcomes will provide insights to anti-discrimination policies in other countries. The work will begin next spring with baseline research.
Blunch, who received his B.A. and M.A. from Aarhus, has been a member of the Washington and Lee faculty since 2006. He came to W&L from the World Bank Headquarters, where he had been a consultant. He teaches courses in statistics, econometrics and health economics in developing countries.
W&L Alum Named President of Louisiana Insurance Brokers
R. Parke Ellis, a member of the Washington and Lee Class of 1981, is the new president of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Louisiana.
As incoming president, Parke is the chief volunteer officer of the organization, which provides legislative liaison, resources and information for independent insurance agents across the state.
Parke has been with Gillis, Ellis & Baker Inc. (GEB) since his graduation from W&L. His client list includes commercial lines, personal lines and benefits. He has been president of both the Independent Insurance Agents of New Orleans and the Associated Risk Managers of Louisiana.
In June, Rough Notes Magazine, which covers the insurance industry, named Gillis, Ellis & Baker its Agency of the Year after earlier naming it Agency of the Month. The article announcing the award cited, in particular, the work that Parke’s agency did in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As the story notes, the entire staff had to work out of a trailer in Baton Rouge after Katrina, and they had to settle 3,000 claims as quickly as possible even as 27 of the 37 employees had either lost their homes completely or were facing severe destruction.
“The aftermath of the storm provided ample evidence of the efficacy of the GEB Advantage Plan approach,” the article notes, “as 148 of the agency’s 150 largest clients were back in business after the storm.”
Parke discussed the impact that Katrina had on the insurance industry, saying, “It’s unfortunate that it took one of our country’s worst natural disasters for people here to recognize just what a great industry this is.”
Gillis, Ellis & Baker Inc. has provided insurance and risk management for families and businesses in greater New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast for four generations. According to a company news release, its goal is to lower the client’s total cost of risk by addressing all aspects of the client’s operation and exposure to potential loss. GEB has doubled in size twice since 2001.
W&L's Jasmin Darznik Featured in Citizenship Stories
Jasmin Darznik, assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee, was among 78 new Americans who took the oath of citizenship at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello on July 4, 2013.
The Daily Progress led its story with quotes from her, and she also appeared in a segment on the TODAY Show.
The Daily Progress: http://myw.lu/13DhiYR
The TODAY Show: http://myw.lu/13nV7pH
WDBJ-TV: For High School students: No English? No problem
WDBJ-TV reports on the Governor’s Language Academies being held at Washington and Lee this summer.
“Right now, the Washington and Lee campus sounds a little different….If you just listen you might think you were in Germany, Spain or France.”
Watch the report: http://myw.lu/12pz5LQ
W&L's Michaels No. 21 on List of All-Time Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Plain Dealer is counting down the 100 best all-time players for the Cleveland Browns, and Washington and Lee alumnus Walt Michaels comes in at No. 21.
Walt, a member of the Class of 1951, belongs to W&L’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He played on the 1950 W&L team, which was the first (and only) squad to represent the University in a post-season bowl game — a loss to Wyoming in the 1951 Gator Bowl. Walt missed that game because of an appendectomy. The 1950 team won the Southern Conference and finished 8-2.
A fullback and linebacker from little Swoyersville, Pa., Walt was drafted by the Browns in the seventh round of the NFL draft. But Cleveland traded him to Green Bay in the preseason, and he spent his first pro season as the Packers’ starting right linebacker. The Packers sent him back to Cleveland after the one season. He became a Pro Bowl player and was a key to the Browns’ NFL championships in 1954 and 1955.
The Plain Dealer writes: “Aggressive, athletic and a sure tackler, Michaels had a great sense for the game and would call the Browns’ defensive signals for years.”
Walt retired at 32 and became an NFL coach. He was the New York Jets’ defensive coordinator when the Jets stunned Baltimore to win Super Bowl III in 1969. (Walt’s brother, Lou Michaels, was the Colts’ kicker in that game.) Walt served as head coach of the Jets from 1977 to 1982.
The Plain Dealer included the clip below from the 1952 championship game, when the Browns lost to Detroit. Walt is No. 34 on opening kickoff coverage and then at left linebacker.
W&L Law Prof Tim Jost 'One to Watch' on Health Care Implementation
Washington and Lee law professor Tim Jost appears on a recent list put together by congressional newspaper “The Hill” dubbed “10 to watch on ObamaCare rollout.” The paper calls the policy makers and health care professionals included on the list “key players to watch as the law is implemented.”
Jost has been a frequent commentator in the print and broadcast media since the beginning of the health reform debate and has continued to provide in-depth analysis as implementation efforts and legal challenges have progressed. He has been especially busy the last few days following the announcement that the employer mandate, which requires businesses with more than 50 employees to provide affordable insurance or pay a per-employee penalty, won’t be enforced until 2015.
As the news broke last week, Jost spoke with reporters from outlets across the country, including “The Washington Post” and the “Seattle Times“. While the delay was seen by some as setback for the administration, Jost says that the delay will ultimately make the law easier to implement by accommodating the needs of the business community to adapt to the reporting guidelines.
The Hill describes Jost as a “veteran law professor has become a nationally recognized expert on the ACA in the three years since its passage. His blog posts for the journal Health Affairs are considered must-reads in Washington because of their clarity and up-to-the-minute analysis.”
Jost’s most recent post on Health Affairs digs in deep on the issues surrounding the employer mandate and the reasons for the delay. The post will no doubt join many of Jost’s other writings as the most-read on the site. His past posts on developments with the Affordable Care Act captured three spots on both the 2012 and 2011 Health Affairs Most-Read List.
An archive of Jost’s Health Affairs posts can be found online here.
Lucas Morel Named Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics
Lucas Morel, a politics professor and a preeminent Abraham Lincoln scholar, has been named the first Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics at Washington and Lee University.
“I am extremely gratified and humbled by this appointment,” said Morel, who joined the University’s Politics Department in 1999 and most recently served as the Lewis G. John Term Professor. “I am thankful to the Class of 1960 for continuing to think about W&L and what they think is most important about their W&L experience, which is the concept of honor. As the new professor of ethics, this is clearly an honor for me.”
The professorship, which the Class of 1960 established at its 50th reunion, stems from the Institute for Honor, which the class inaugurated for its 40th reunion. As the holder of a term professorship, Morel will have the position for an initial three-year term.
“We are excited to begin the next phase in the life of the Institute for Honor with the appointment of Prof. Lucas Morel,” said Ray Wooldridge ’60. “He appears to be uniquely qualified with his knowledge of Lincoln and Lee and the era in which our Honor System came to life. All of us in our class feel that the Honor System and what it stands for were hallmarks of our W&L experience. We look forward to the future as Prof. Morel sets a high bar for the program and the professors to come after him.”
Morel’s teaching and scholarship explore American government, political philosophy, black American politics, Abraham Lincoln and Ralph Ellison. As the Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics, he will undertake projects exploring ethics, honor, integrity and character as they relate to W&L’s Honor System and to the mission of the Institute for Honor.
” hope that the work that I continue to do both in the classroom, and in terms of conferences and lectures that we’ll be sponsoring on campus, will reflect well on the Class of 1960’s intention to make honor an abiding theme of what we do here,” said Morel.
“I can’t think of a better or more appropriate person than Lucas Morel to be appointed as the first Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics,” said Lewis G. John ’58, professor of politics emeritus. “Lucas has had a most distinguished career here. He has served as a faculty moderator for the Institute for Honor’s annual symposium, and he will work well with that program and its advisory board in devising events in keeping with its mission of the promotion of honor at Washington and Lee, as well as the examination of ethical issues and conduct throughout society.”
“Not only does the professorship give the Institute for Honor a continuing presence on campus that it has never had before, but it does so through a person who enjoys high respect among faculty and students and who is committed both professionally and personally to the understanding and advancement of the concepts underlying the W&L Honor System,” said Bob Feagin ’60. “Interim Provost Bob Strong, with input from an advisory board that includes members of our class, has made a great choice in appointing Lucas Morel. We look forward to working with him as he leads us forward in fulfilling the mission of the institute.”
“The appointment fulfills a major initiative established at a seminar facilitated by the Aspen Institute for the Institute for Honor in 2007,” said Frank Surface ’60, W&L’s rector from 1997 to 2003. “W&L graduates and their friends from other colleges and universities participated in discussions which focused generally on the concept of integrity and trust in public life and specifically on the impact of honor systems on group behavior. The establishment of an ethics professor to lead the Institute for Honor programs was the number-one priority recommended by the group.”
Continued Surface, “The recent addition to the Advisory Board of younger alums and the sitting president of the Executive Committee assures that the institute will stay current in its mission to promote the understanding and practice of honesty as an indispensable element of society. Our class members and the seminar participants thank President Ken Ruscio, Interim Provost Bob Strong and Vice President for University Advancement Dennis Cross for their creative thinking and support in bringing to fruition this important milestone in the life of the institute. Prof. Morel is a great choice to be the first professor to hold this position, and we are confident that the institute programs will flourish under his leadership.”
For more than a decade, the Institute for Honor has sponsored an annual symposium featuring such distinguished speakers as David McCullough, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian; Donald McCabe, a national expert on academic integrity; the late Richard Holbrooke, the two-time assistant secretary of state; and Bob Woodward, the journalist of Watergate fame. Rob Fure and the staff of Special Programs administer the symposium.
“Over the years, the institute has made possible creative opportunities for W&L alumni to return to campus for serious conversation and intellectual stimulation,” said Strong, the William Lyne Professor of Politics, who just finished a stint as interim provost. “The institute has consistently challenged its guest speakers and alumni audiences, along with current students and faculty, to think about how issues of integrity and character influence our lives. The annual symposiums have raised profound questions about honesty in human affairs and about the relationship between principles and practice throughout our lives.”
Morel holds a B.A. in government from Claremont McKenna College and an M.A. in politics and a Ph.D. in political science from the Claremont Graduate School. Before arriving at W&L, he taught at Azusa Pacific University, the University of Arkansas and John Brown University.
He is the author of “Lincoln’s Sacred Effort: Defining Religion’s Role in American Self-Government” (2000) and the editor of “Ralph Ellison and the Raft of Hope: A Political Companion to Invisible Man” (2004). He is working on two other books, “Lincoln, Race, and the Fragile American Republic” and ‘The Political Thought of Ralph Ellison,” and has an edited volume called “Lincoln for the Ages: Lessons for the 21st Century” under review. He has contributed chapters to several books, and articles and reviews to many journals.
Morel, who is head of the Politics Department, serves as a pre-law advisor to W&L undergraduates. He is the past president of the Abraham Lincoln Institute, a trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society and a board member of the Abraham Lincoln Association.
W&L Anthropologist Weighs Johnny Depp's Tonto (Audio)
As co-editor of an anthology reviewing movies that portray American Indians, Washington and Lee University anthropologist Harvey Markowitz had low expectations for Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Tonto in Disney’s just-released “The Lone Ranger.”
The steady stream of bad reviews that have greeted the film only added to his apprehension that Hollywood was surely going to get it wrong again.
On balance, however, and despite many critics’ views to the contrary, Markowitz thinks that Depp’s Tonto is a remarkably different and rather more accurate portrayal of the American Indian than past movies. It contained, he said, many more subtleties about Indian ways of thinking and believing than has often been the case.
“The portrayals of American Indians have run the gamut, but they are always white images of Indians,” said Markowitz, co-editor of “Seeing Red: Hollywood’s Pixeled Skins” (Michigan State University Press, 2013). “It always starts from white assumptions about the nature of American Indians. So even though you have a wide range of portrayals in the movies, the key is that they come from a pool of assumptions that have been created by non-Indians.”
Markowitz argues that it is fraudulent to say that these portrayals have improved over time. Even when it comes to images of “good” or “noble” Indians, he notes that the characterization inevitably includes paternalism.
“Until very recently, you didn’t see Indians as main characters in movies,” Markowitz said. “You see them as satellites to stories that basically involve non-Indians, usually white people. That’s even true of supposedly the most revisionist of movies, ‘Dances with Wolves.’ That story is all about a non-Indian who is helping this group of Indians see the greatness of their tradition. But it’s the non-Indian’s story.”
In contrast, Markowitz said, Depp’s Tonto and the movie’s general portrayal of Indians stand apart from past films in important ways. Although Tonto is stoic, which is, in Markowitz’s view, a typically “non-Indian way” of presenting Indians, he is also very funny — “a stealth bomber with his humor, which is very subtle and dry and quite in keeping.”
“You also get something in this movie that the original Lone Ranger series on television would never, ever have portrayed, and this is the spirituality,” Markowitz said. “You get Tonto’s life centered around spirituality. The way he thinks and his actions come out of spirituality rather than western assumptions about how one thinks and believes one ought to act, both toward the environment and toward other humans. Respect and reciprocity are shown over and over again in Tonto’s action, and this is a very important element.”
Markowitz also thinks that the way the movie is framed—having an elderly Tonto tell his story to a young boy—illustrates the importance of the Indian oral tradition, which places morality at its center. The point of such storytelling, he said, is to guide young people and to reaffirm values that are important to the group. “I don’t know whether or not this was intentional, but I thought it was an excellent device,” he said.
Though his review of the movie is basically positive, Markowitz readily concedes the movie is hardly flawless. For instance, some of the slapstick scenes come straight out of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series in which Depp starred. Then there was the matter of the Comanches discussing “wendigos” — cannibal spirits that entered human beings and caused them to crave human flesh.
“Wendigos are an Algonquian belief, which is way north of Comanches,” Markowitz said. The Comanches live in the West and Southwest; Algonquians live farther east and north, and up into Canada . “It’s hard to understand how Comanches would be talking about wendigos. That surprised me. By and large, I thought it was a pretty smart movie, but it did have its stupid moments.”
Markowitz, a member of the W&L faculty since 2003, studies interrelationships among American Indian religions, landscapes, cultures, histories and identities. In addition to “Seeing Red,” which he co-edited with Leanne Howe, of the University of Illinois, and Denise Cummings, of Rollins College, he has recently written about the ways in which Lakota Sioux adapted to elements of Catholicism based on their interactions with missionaries.
Remembering Fred Perry at W&L
Andy Murray’s stunning victory at Wimbledon on Sunday sent us scurrying to our archives. His straight-set triumph over top-seeded Novak Djokovic marked the first time in 77 years that a British player had won the men’s singles at the All England Club. As the commentators kept exclaiming, the last person to achieve such a victory was Fred Perry, who won Wimbledon three times in succession from 1934 to 1936. What they didn’t mention is that Perry served as the men’s tennis coach at Washington and Lee in the 1940s.
Murray’s victory has led to several Perry retrospectives in the sports press. ESPN has “Remembering Fred Perry,” and the BBC Magazine’s piece is titled “Who is Fred Perry?” Most are as apt to know Perry for the laurel wreath that adorned his line of tennis attire as they are to know that he once won a world table-tennis championship.
What’s missing from these stories is any mention of the brief W&L portion of Perry’s storied tennis career, or of the honorary doctor of laws degree that the University awarded him in 1987. That citation read, in part: “Fred Perry exemplifies this world as no one else can and though his formal residence here was not long, he nonetheless will remain forever a vital element in our athletic heritage and a continuing inspiration for generations of Washington and Lee’s amateur athletes.”
As we noted on Twitter and Facebook on Sunday, Fred Perry was the men’s tennis coach at Washington and Lee in the 1940s. The more we investigated his tenure, the more confusing it became.
In our athletic record books, he is listed as coach of only the 1948 team. But the 1942 Calyx reports that he actually arrived midway through the 1941 season, took over a team that had lost five straight matches, and led it to victories in six of its next seven. He was set to return for the following season but developed elbow problems and cancelled that stint.
Then World War II intervened. Perry, who had left England for the U.S. after turning professional in 1937, was drafted into the U.S. Air Force.
Upon his return from the service, he had planned to resume his coaching career with the Generals in 1946. Instead, he came back in 1947, not 1948 as was originally thought, and he was here for only part of that season, leaving to participate in a nationwide tennis tour to combat juvenile delinquency, according to the Ring-tum Phi. In addition to coaching, Perry gave lessons to members of the faculty and staff, and he played several exhibition matches on the old clay courts beneath the footbridge. His opponents included Vinnie Richards and John March.
As we looked through our archives, though, what really grabbed our attention was a short mention in a 1946 edition of the alumni magazine. The story recounts Perry’s interview with a reporter for WRVA, a Richmond radio station. He was playing in the National Professional Clay Court Championships at the Country Club of Virginia, and the reporter asked him about coaching tennis at W&L. Here is his intriguing answer in full:
Some years ago I was asked if I would like to go there and coach at Washington and Lee, so I did. Actually it was for the months of April and May and again in September. Now we at Washington and Lee have not gone in for the big name tennis players in trying to get a tennis team that can beat everyone else in the country. The way we felt about it at the time was that we had one of the finest schools in the country and if anyone wanted to go to a great school to get a great education then. . . . While I was there I took the same things. We have 12 courts, 6 of them are down in the gully of clay, and then we have 6 up above on the hilltop of a hard court material. The plan was that if we had 600 or 700 students we would far rather have 600 or 700 people playing tennis for fun and learning something about the game than have 6 men or 4 or 5 men who might comprise one of the finest tennis teams in the country. We felt that by giving everybody a chance it would be much better for us in the long run. And that’s exactly what we did. So I get on my horse — Traveler, that is — and travel from court to court and if anyone is interested enough to want to learn, I take as much time as I can with each individual. From these “interested” lads we draw our varsity team to compete in intercollegiate competition.
A New Citizen
Jasmin Darznik was among 79 new Americans who took the citizenship oath at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello on Independence Day.
Jasmin, assistant professor of English at W&L, came to the United States from Iran when she was five.
“It’s stupendous, but also a little bit tinged with sadness, because you’re leaving behind your love for another place,” Jasmin told the Charlottesville Daily Progress.
In an interview on the “TODAY” show on Thursday, Jasmin had said that every year, she and her family hoped that they could go back to Iran.
During that interview, she added: “I have such a keen sense of the struggles people around the world endure to acquire human rights and social justice. It seemed to me important to acquire a public voice in America.”
The Monticello ceremony is the oldest continuous ceremony in the U.S. outside of a courtroom. Charlottesville-based musician Dave Matthews, who was born in South Africa and naturalized in 1980, was the featured speaker at the event, and Jasmin also spoke briefly to those in attendance.
An award-winning author whose memoir, “The Good Daughter,” was a New York Times bestseller, Jasmin won a 2013 Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
Watch her interview as part of the “TODAY” segment from Thursday: http://myw.lu/13nV7pH
Happy 4th of July
W&L Alumna Makes Top Arkansas Business List
Mary Elizabeth Whipple Eldridge, a 2000 graduate of Washington and Lee, is profiled in Arkansas Business newspaper as one of the year’s “Arkansas Business 40 Under 40” for her leadership of the nonprofit Ross Foundation. The organization, housed in Arkadelphia, Ark., “manages timberlands held for conservation purposes” and “administers a philanthropic grants program” for the citizens of Clark County, Ark., says its website. Mary Elizabeth serves as the director of programs and sits on the board of trustees.
One signature initiative, near and dear to Mary Elizabeth’s heart, is the Arkadelphia Promise, which provides college scholarships to students from the community.
“The nonprofits that we are fortunate to partner with are doing all they can to really make a difference in our community,” she told the paper, “and I just consider myself lucky to get to work with them.”
A history major at W&L, Mary Elizabeth also has a law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law. She has worked for the Ross Foundation since 2004. Her sister, Emily, is a member of the W&L Class of 2010.
Her other community service includes service on the Arkansas Forestry Commission and the boards of the Arkansas Community Foundation and the Arkansas Forestry Association.
John Tombarge Named University Librarian at W&L
John W. Tombarge has been named University librarian at Washington and Lee University.
Tombarge, whose appointment is effective July 1, has been a member of the faculty at W&L’s Leyburn Library since 1996, serving most recently as associate University librarian for digital services and strategies.
“John brings broad professional experience and an intimate knowledge of Washington and Lee to his new duties,” said Robert Strong, interim provost, who made the appointment. “He has been a leader in the complicated process of integrating new digital technology with traditional library services and understands the potential and pitfalls in the revolutionary changes that are taking place in information storage, retrieval, and utilization. He brings superb qualifications to his new position.”
Tombarge, who will also hold the rank of professor at W&L, first joined Leyburn Library as reference librarian and head of circulation services. He was appointed head of public services in 2003 and served as interim University librarian from in 2010-11.
Prior to coming to Washington and Lee, he had worked in several capacities in the University Libraries at Virginia Tech for five years.
Tombarge has participated in the Association of College and Research Libraries/Harvard Leadership Institute, the Frye Leadership Institute, and the Snowbird Leadership Institute. He is a past winner of the Yankee Book Peddler Award from the Virginia Library Association and is a member of Beta Phi Mu International Library and Information Science Honor Society.
A member of both the American Library Association and the Association of College and Research Librarians, he is the author of numerous articles in professional journals and co-author of a book chapter on using the Internet to teach library literacy skills.
Tombarge received both bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees from Virginia Tech and a master of library science degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
W&L Alum Assumes Roanoke Judgeship
David Carson, a 1988 graduate of the Washington and Lee School of Law, took the bench in Roanoke this week as a judge on the 23rd District Court. He was appointed by the Virginia General Assembly last April.
According to a story in the RoanokeStar.com, David will be involved with three “courts-within-the-court” — Juvenile and Domestic Relations, the General District Court and the Circuit Court.
In order to accept the judgeship, David had to step down as chair of the Roanoke City School Board, a post he had held since 2006. His eight years on the board, including seven as chair, were challenging. A profile in the Roanoke Times last month cited the slowing dropout rate and improvements in on-time graduate rates as notable achievements in recent years. David wrote about his experience with the school board in this op-ed that appeared in the Roanoke Times.
A partner with the Roanoke firm Johnson Ayers & Matthews, David clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Jackson L. Kiser after his graduation from W&L. His areas of practice included alternative dispute resolution, civil litigation, corporate and commercial insurance, personal injury and professional liability. He is listed in Virginia Super Lawyers, Civil Litigation Defense and The Best Lawyers in America.
In his new role, David will preside over trials in Roanoke City, Roanoke County and the City of Salem.
W&L Law Prof Russell Miller Named KoRSE Fellow at the University of Freiburg
If, as they say, timing is everything, then W&L Law Professor Russell Miller has hit upon something very special with his recent receipt of a KoRSE Fellowship at the University of Freiburg in Germany.
With the media still buzzing over the news of Edmund Snowden’s evasion of an American warrant after he leaked confidential documents that chronicle the American government’s extensive PRISM surveillance program and other secret surveillance activities, Miller has been invited to serve as a Fellow in the University of Freiburg’s “Network for the Law of Civil Security in Europe.” The fellowship will allow him to research and collaborate with leading scholars on the issues of security and liberty who are based at the University of Freiburg’s Center for Civil Security as well as the program’s partners at Bucerius Law School (Hamburg), the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law (Freiburg), and the German Federal Police Academy.
Miller will be in residence in Freiburg on several occasions in the 2013/2014 academic year, beginning with a three-week stay in July, 2013.
“I’m thrilled about the opportunity to work closely with dynamic scholars on these issues at one of Germany’s most impressive law faculties,” Miller said. He noted that the University of Frieburg is the academic home of two of the German Constitutional Court’s justices, including the Court’s President, Prof. Andreas Vosskuhle.
“The KoRSE program is especially exciting,” Miller explained, “because it deliberately seeks to embed discussions of this inherently transnational issue in a global research context.”
During his time in Freiburg Professor Miller will pursue several projects. First, he will deliver a lecture on July 10, drawing on his 2008 book (Routledge Press). The book reflected on the 1970s Senate Select Committee that undertook an extensive investigation of U.S. national security activities.
Known as the “Church Committee” (for its Chair, Idaho Senator Frank Church), the Senate Select Committee’s reports remain one of the most detailed accountings of the American intelligence community and the reports served as the basis for reforms that now make-up the legal and oversight framework for American intelligence programs. This, of course, is the very framework implicated by Snowden’s leaks and the PRISIM program. Miller’s lecture will detail, for a foreign audience unfamiliar with this important piece of American history, the background of the Church Committee while raising the broader questions of how a society best achieves the twin goals of providing security while ensuring liberty.
Second, Prof. Miller will begin planning-in close collaboration with other researchers in Freiburg-for the fall 2013 “German Law in Context Program,” which will involve a number W&L law and undergraduate students in an intensive, interdisciplinary survey of Germany’s efforts to balance security and liberty in its unique struggle with extremism and threats to democracy. The German Law in Context Program is an annual seminar that enjoys the support of the German Law Journal, which Prof. Miller and a number of students edit at W&L. It is also one of the law school’s most visible collaborations with W&L’s undergraduate college, as faculty from the German/Russian Department, the History Department, and the Williams School’s Political Science Faculty contribute their expertise to events and programming in significant ways.
Third, Prof. Miller will use his time in Freiburg to lay a research foundation for and to facilitate his in-person observations of the German Federal Constitutional Court’s imminent review of applications to ban a political party (the right-wing NPD). This is a once-in-a-generation procedure that implicates German history, society and politics in remarkable ways. In this effort, Prof. Miller will be building on the work that led to the recent publication of his book (Duke Press).
While thousands of people descend on Gettysburg, Pa., this week to observe the 150th anniversary of the pivotal Civil War battle, Washington and Lee’s award-winning Alumni College will be examining elements of the battle and the larger context of the Civil War in two separate sessions.
And here’s the good news: even if you aren’t on the W&L campus for the events, you can participate by watching the keynote addresses by two eminent scholars.
On Tuesday, July 2, at 10:35 a.m. (EST), historian James I. (Bud) Robertson will present “The Loss of Jackson and the Battle of Gettysburg.” Bud is Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Virginia Tech. He taught Civil War history there for 44 years. The film “Gods and Generals” is based on his 1997 biography of Stonewall Jackson. His latest work, “The Untold Civil War: Exploring the Human Side of War,” was published by the National Geographic Society.
You can watch Bud Robertson’s lecture live on Tuesday at this link. It will also be archived for later viewing.
On Friday, July 5, also at 10:35 a.m., Washington and Lee politics professor Lucas Morel will present “Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address.” Lucas, currently the Lewis G. John Term Professor and head of the Department of Politics at W&L, is a renowned Lincoln scholar. He is past president of the Abraham Lincoln Institute and a board member of the Abraham Lincoln Association. He is the author of “Lincoln’s Sacred Effort: Defining Religion’s Role in American Self-Government” and is writing a book entitled “Lincoln, Race, and the Fragile American Republic.”
Lucas’s lecture will be available live on Friday at this link. It, too, will be available for later viewing in the archive.
W&L Alumna Christine Luby Wins USTA Fellowship
Washington and Lee University 2013 graduate Christine Luby, from Gresham, Oregon, has been awarded a U.S. Teaching Assistantship (USTA) fellowship in Austria for the 2013-2014 academic year.
A German language major, Luby became interested in travel, volunteering abroad and teaching English when she started working with the organization Josiah Venture in Kranj, Slovenia, during the summers of 2006 to 2011.
Luby volunteered and taught at the Billrothstrasse Bundesgymnasium, a type of high school, in Vienna, Austria, as part of an internship during her senior year with IES (International Education of Students) Abroad. “The USTA fellowship is the perfect opportunity to give back to a country that has been so welcoming and hospitable to me,” Luby said.
“For decades this program has provided college graduates from the United States with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to work as secondary school teaching assistants in communities all over Austria,” according to the USTA website.
“In addition to serving as valuable linguistic models in classroom English instruction, U.S. teaching assistants are also valuable resources for first-hand information about the ‘American way of life’ and informal representatives of the United States. In this capacity, they contribute substantially to the promotion of mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States of America and the Republic of Austria.”
“This is a wonderful accomplishment,” said Debra Prager, associate professor of German. “Christine has gone from learning how to say ‘my name is Christine’ on the first day of German class at W&L, to receiving this highly competitive fellowship to work in Austria.
“I know she will create relationships with her Austrian students that she and they will not forget. Christine knows that for some of her students she will be the first American they meet. That is a formidable responsibility, and she has the experience, maturity and passion to meet it.”
For the year before she began at W&L, her “gap” year, Luby lived in Friedrichshafen, Germany, for seven months volunteering as a teaching assistant at a high school. She then finished out the year by living for four months in Carnforth, England.
During Spring Term of her junior year, Luby spent four weeks in intensive language and culture studies with a partner program at the University of Bonn, the Bonn and Beyond trip. She lived with host families and participated in cultural tours of the Rhineland and a special program to establish German-American relations with students in Nordrhein-Westfalen.
While at W&L, Luby was chosen to participate in the 2010 Sophomore Women’s Leadership Conference. She tutored math, reading and writing at Waddell Elementary School in Lexington, Va.
She volunteered with Young Life Rockbridge County, Virginia, as a mentor for students at local middle schools and was a member of the college leadership staff at Trinity United Methodist Church in Lexington. She wrote for the online Rockbridge Report in journalism classes and had freelance pieces published in The Lexington News-Gazette.
During the summers from 2008 to 2012, Luby worked as assistant to the financial officer and development director and assistant to the comptroller at Portland, Oregon, Christian Schools. During winter, 2012, she was responsible for press releases and news pieces for the Portland Christian Schools that appeared in Portland area publications.
“Teaching in a school, learning from my Austrian colleagues and spending hours in the classsroom with students is a perfect way for a true exchange of cultures to take place,” Luby said. “I’m so excited to start this next part of my life.”