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W&L Economist Comments on Potential Impact of Government Shutdown (Audio)

In her role as an economist who studies money and banking, Washington and Lee University professor Linda Hooks believes there are no easy answers to the economic questions posed by a potential shutdown of the federal government.

As she notes in the audio clip above, a shutdown of two or three days might have minimal impact on the economy. But a longer shutdown, three weeks or more, will have some effect, especially when next quarter’s Gross Domestic Product numbers come out.

“The government, and the people, want the economy to continue to grow, but, over the longer term, our federal government has some real budget issues that it has to address,” she said. “Here’s a chance for them to address those issues, but the question really is whether or not now is the right moment to address them, or are we doing this too quickly and too early.”

A member of the W&L faculty since 1993, Hooks was an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas from 1991 to 1993. She is the author of “Bank Failures and Deregulation in the 80s” (Garland Press, 1993). She earned her B.A. at Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge and her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles.

All About Interns

Today begins a three-day series of “dispatches from a busy summer” in which students in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications report on their internships.

What’s impressive is to consider the places where the W&L interns spent their time over the summer. Consider the range: CNN’s Washington bureau, The Tennessean in Nashville, the Northern Neck News in Warsaw, Va., William Morris in New York City, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship in Las Vegas.

The 16 students will make their reports beginning at 5 p.m. today and continuing at the same time on Tuesday and Wednesday in Reid Hall 111. It’s bound to be interesting. (The list is below.)

And speaking of internships, W&L senior Annelise Madison, whose experience has been on the homepage of the University’s website for the last week or so, was featured prominently in a Bloomberg News story last week.

The piece described how Annelise had completed three internships, from researching a book on an early U.S. president, to teaching in Ghana, and then, this past summer, working with the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution in Orange, Va.

Annelise told Bloomberg: “People are really utilizing their summers to gain experiences. Not only do they have more options in terms of people that will hire them, but they also know more what they want to do.”

The Bloomberg story got wide distribution nationally, including translation into Spanish for EXAME.com.

Dispatches from a Busy Summer

Monday, Sept. 30 — 5 p.m.

Laura Lindsay Tatum — CNN (Washington, D.C.)
Happy Carlock — US News (Washington, D.C.)
Andy Soergel — The Roanoke Times
Andrea Owen — The Chronicle Project (Austin, Texas)
Allison Swagler — Alabama Power Company (Birmingham, Ala.)
Virginia Terry — William Morris (New York City)

Tuesday, Oct. 1 — 5 p.m.

Logan Nardo — Davidson Media (Richmond, VA)
Margaret Voelzke — Northern Neck News (Warsaw, Va.)
Michael Gorman — The Richmond Times-Dispatch
Chelsea Gilman — Fingerprint PR (New York City)
Drew Carlos — Barkley Russell Agency (Fairburn, Ga.)

Wednesday, Oct. 2 — 4 p.m.

Sara Korash-Schiff — The Republican (Springfield, Mass.)
Kathleen Fitzgerald — Civic Entertainment (New York City)
Hailey Hartley — Ultimate Fighting Championship (Las Vegas)
Hamlet Fort — The Tennessean (Nashville)
Julia Lancaster — Porsche-North America (Atlanta)

Geology Alum In the News

When a 7.8 earthquake hit Pakistan earlier this week, and a new island was apparently formed because of the quake, media went to Washington and Lee alumnus Bill Barnhart for an explanation.

Bill, a member of the Class of 2008, is a USGC Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow with the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC), in Golden, Colo. He received his Ph.D. in geophysics from Cornell in January.

Devotees of The Weather Channel might have caught a glimpse of Bill explaining how the island was formed as part of that channel’s coverage. Or you might have read Bill’s analysis on the National Geographic website.

As Bill explained, the island in question was the result of a “mud volcano,” which was caused by the release of gases as the result of Tuesday’s quake. He also said that it’s likely to disappear within a couple of months. “It’s just a big pile of mud that was on the sea floor that got pushed up,” he said.

On his personal website, Bill says that his primary research interests “lie in observing the current motions of the earth’s surface. I use these measurements to better understand the forces that drive geologic hazards, such as earthquakes, the active growth of mountain belts, and aseismic deformation that occurs both at the boundaries and in the interiors of tectonic plates.”

Watch Bill’s explanation of the new island below:

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W&L Law Professors to Preview 2013 Supreme Court Term

Each year, Washington and Lee law school faculty take a look at some of the most important cases on the docket before the U.S. Supreme Court. This year, six members of the faculty will preview cases on topics ranging from recess appointments to ineffective counsel.

The 2013 Supreme Court Preview will be held Wednesday, Oct. 2 beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The event is free and open to the public.

Below are the faculty presenters along with information about the cases they will discuss.

Prof. David Bruck will discuss Burt v. Titlow, an Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) case dealing with ineffective assistance of counsel. The Court will examine such issues as whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit failed to give appropriate deference to a Michigan state court under the AEDPA in holding that defense counsel was constitutionally ineffective for allowing the respondent to maintain his claim of innocence.

Prof. Mark Drumbl will discuss Bond v. U.S., a case that relates to Congressional enforcement of treaties. The Court will determine whether the Constitution’s structural limits on federal authority impose any constraints on the scope of Congress’ authority to enact legislation to implement a valid treaty, at least in circumstances where the federal statute, as applied, goes far beyond the scope of the treaty, intrudes on traditional state prerogatives, and is concededly unnecessary to satisfy the government’s treaty obligations.

Prof. Ann Massie will discuss Town of Greece v. Galloway, a case about legislative prayer and the Establishment Clause. The Court must decide whether the court of appeals erred in holding that a legislative prayer practice violates the Establishment Clause notwithstanding the absence of discrimination in the selection of prayer-givers or forbidden exploitation of the prayer opportunity.

Prof. Russ Miller will discuss American Lung Assoc. V. EME Homer City Generation, a case involving an administrative law issue concerning EPA regulations. The Court will decide whether the statutory challenges to the EPA’s methodology for defining upwind states’ “significant contributions” were properly before the court, given the failure of anyone to raise these objections at all and also whether the court’s imposition of its own detailed methodology for implementing the Good Neighbor provision violated foundational principles governing judicial review of administrative decision-making.

Prof. Brian Murchison will discuss NLRB v. Noel Canning, a case concerning President Obama’s controversial recess appointments. The Court will decide such issues as whether the President’s recess-appointment power may be exercised during a recess that occurs within a session of the Senate, or is instead limited to recesses that occur between enumerated sessions of the Senate; and whether the President’s recess-appointment power may be exercised to fill vacancies that exist during a recess, or is instead limited to vacancies that first arose during that recess.

Prof. Chris Seaman will discuss McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which involves contribution limits. In this case, the Court must decide, among other related issues, whether the biennial limit on contributions to non-candidate committees is unconstitutional for lacking a constitutionally cognizable interest as applied to contributions to national party committees.

Case summaries courtesy of scotusblog.com, available by license.

Bondy Lectures on Staniar Gallery Exhibit

Barb Bondy will present a lecture on her Staniar Gallery exhibition of drawings and photographs at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 7, in Wilson Hall’s Concert Hall at Washington and Lee University.

Bondy’s exhibition, “Suspension,” will be on view from Oct. 2 to Oct. 31 in Staniar Gallery. It was one of two exhibits on display at W&L in October. The other is “Drawing Italy 2013,” a biannual exhibition featuring drawings and paintings by W&L art students, which will be exhibited on the second floor of Wilson Hall in the Lenfest Center at the same time.

Bondy’s exhibition presents drawings, photographs and works on paper that revolve around her extensive investigation into the act of sleeping. As a fundamental necessity for survival, sleep reflects what it means to be human while as the suspension of consciousness, the sleep state itself can share characteristics with art — mysterious, rejuvenating and unpredictable.

The artist uses a variety of methodologies to explore the relationship between art and sleep. Projects include an interdisciplinary piece created in collaboration with a geographic information specialist to create a topographical map of her bed and work. This was done during an intensive residency in which she spent 30 days and nights sleeping and working in a public art gallery.

Bondy is an associate professor of art at Auburn University. Her work has been included in numerous exhibitions throughout the United States and Canada and she was recently the recipient of a fellowship grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

During alternating spring terms, Kathleen Olson, professor of art, leads a class abroad in Italy to experience the vibrant artistic traditions of Italy. The Drawing Italy students paint and draw on location as they travel through Rome, Florence, Umbria and Tuscany. Over the course of the month, students create a body of work inspired by Italy’s light-drenched landscape and historical architecture.

There will be a reception for the student artists of “Drawing Italy” on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 4 p.m. The event in Wilson Hall’s Lykes Atrium will recognize the work of student artists Ebony Bailey, Brady Bates, Alee Johnson, Ryan Johnson, Sara King, Colton Klein, Emily Leventhal, Alexandra Minor and Will Travis.

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.

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W&L's Contact Committee Presents Journalist Lara Logan

Washington and Lee’s Contact Committee will present “An Evening with Lara Logan.” Logan will speak on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. in the Keller Theater in Lenfest Hall. The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and seating is first come, first serve.

Logan joined CBS in 2002 as a correspondent and a contributor to 60 Minutes II (2002-2004). She has been CBS News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent since February 2006; she became a correspondent for 60 Minutes the same year. She reports regularly for the CBS Evening News and periodically appears on The Early Show and Face the Nation in addition to her 60 Minutes duties.

Logan began her journalism career in South Africa when she was 17 years old. As a teenager compelled to expose the atrocities of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, Logan discovered her passion for seeking truth and justice in an increasingly connected globe.

Her reporting has brought her face to face with the day’s most diverse, relevant and intriguing issues, from 60 Minutes interviews with Jane Goodall, Mark Wahlberg and Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta, the first living soldier to win the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, to her coverage of the war on terror.

Most recently, Logan received the John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award from Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), followed immediately by her second Emmy award, this time for “Best Interview.”  She’s been the recipient of the prestigious Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting, the David Bloom Award for excellence in enterprise reporting in 2008 and the 2007 Association of International Broadcasters’ Best International News Story Award for her report on the Taliban. She has won an Overseas Press Club Award and twice received the RTDNA/Edward R. Murrow Award for her reporting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Logan offers a comprehensive behind-the-scenes look at foreign affairs in the media. Speaking candidly with audiences, she shares her experiences reporting from the front lines, both as a journalist and as a citizen.

New AP Assignment for W&L Alum

Only a few months after being part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative team at the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Washington and Lee alumnus John Dahlburg, of the Class of 1975, has been named the Benelux news editor for the Associated Press.

It’s another impressive stop in John’s career and takes him abroad again. He was previously posted in Paris, Moscow and New Delhi.

This latest move will mean that John is based in Brussels and leads the AP coverage for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, including the institutions based there — the European Union, NATO and the international criminal tribunals at The Hague. He’ll also help lead investigative reporting across Europe.

In its announcement of the appointment, AP’s Europe editor, Niko Price, said: “We’re looking forward to bringing John’s experience driving hard-hitting investigations to a European stage.”

John worked for the AP from 1981 to 1990 in Paris, New York, Moscow and Miami. He moved to the Los Angeles Times from 1990 to 2006. With the Times, he won both a George Polk Award for Environmental Reporting and the Overseas Press Club’s Hal Boyle Award for best newspaper or wire service reporting. The Pulitzer in Fort Lauderdale was for a series about speeding by off-duty police officers.

W&L Archaeology Students Discover Artifacts of Their Predecessors

Students in four different anthropology and history classes at Washington and Lee University had a chance to experience the thrill of discovery last week when they screened soil taken from the site of the renovation of Robinson Hall, one of the buildings on the University’s historic Colonnade, in a search for early 19th-century artifacts.

Buried in the soil were nails, pieces of glassware, shards of pottery, even a bone toothbrush head, most of which was left likely behind by their predecessors who had occupied Graham Hall, a classroom and dormitory that stood on the site from 1804 to 1835.

This summer when work began on the renovation of Robinson, Alison Bell, associate professor of archaeology, and her colleagues were shocked to find such a wealth of artifacts on the site, many very near the surface. But rather than dig the entire site, Bell worked with W&L Facilities Management to both protect one portion of the area for later digging and to preserve some of the topsoil in bags to provide a hands-on experience that would have particular meaning to W&L students.

Bell said that she and her team didn’t know how rich in material the particular bags the students were examining would be. “You never know, archaeologically, what is going to come up in any particular screen-full of soil,” she said. “But we do know that this part of the site was rich in artifacts.”

“We were talking earlier about how nobody really pays attention to all these little things we’re finding  that can tell you all about a culture or the time period that it’s from,” said first-year student Ciera Wilson, as she dug through the dirt.

“Pieces of glass, for example, can give you a whole different outlook on how people lived, their culture and what they experienced. I personally find that fascinating — looking at the different pieces and thinking that you could be touching something that was in the hands of Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson or just normal people.”

Bell leaned over and picked out what looked like a twig that the students had overlooked. “Nails often look like twigs,” she explained. “This one is probably a roofing nail because it has a wide head and a short shank. They would have used it to attach slate to the roof.”

Another student showed Bell a piece that looked like shale covered in dirt. “It’s slate,” replied Bell. “And this is probably writing slate because it’s a lot finer than roofing slate.”

Among the other items the students uncovered was a piece that looked like a rock. “I think this is very lightly fired clay,” said Bell, “and I think it’s more likely to be a piece of some sort of earthenware, like a milk pan. That’s excellent.”

Another find was a piece of whiteware that Bell described as post-1820s or -1830s and that could be part of a shaving compound jar that had been unearthed during the summer. She recalled that Ron Fuchs, curator of the Reeves Collection at W&L, tracked down the store in Philadelphia that sold the jar and also found an etching of the inside of the store where Washington College  students of the era bought their personal care items.

Bell credited Tom Kalasky, director of capital projects, and his team in Facilities Management for safeguarding the dirt so that it could be used as a teaching tool. “Throughout this whole process, Tom did his homework and implemented the best possible means of protecting the site during construction,” said Bell, who chairs the University’s Historic Preservation and Archaeological Conservation Advisory Committee. “This is great stewardship and a good example of how we can conserve the university’s cultural resources without impeding construction or renovation.”

Of all soil preserved from the summer, Bell estimated that they have examined approximately one quarter of the 400 bags to date. Key members of the W&L archaeology staff include W&L archaeologists Don Gaylord, Chelsea Dudley, Steven Lyle and Karen Lyle, as well as Joshua Ayers, a high-school student who volunteered throughout the summer.

W&L's Shepherd Program Receives Grant for AmeriCorps VISTA Project

The Corporation for National and Community Service has awarded Washington and Lee University’s Shepherd Poverty Program a grant to fund an AmeriCorps VISTA Project on the W&L campus and in the Lexington community.

The grant will fund the work and training of four AmeriCorps VISTA members who will be hosted at different Rockbridge County agencies for three years. The agencies:

The VISTA members, who will begin their service in February 2014, will be addressing access to health care, hunger relief, anti-poverty program development and assessment, and early childhood education. They will not only develop programming at their respective service sites, but will also create new learning opportunities for Washington and Lee students around poverty and community development.

Kelly Fujiwara, a member of the board of directors of the United Way of Rockbridge, said that the VISTA member assigned to United Way will be instrumental in implementing a new community impact initiative.

“Serving as a central point in outreach to assist our partners, assuming a key role in actual program delivery, and a member of the steering committee, the VISTA member will be representing the United Way in multiple ways,” Fujiwara said. “The VISTA person will be essential in growing the program and a key person in developing a database for our area resources.”

Noting that a 2012 Community Health Needs Assessment identified access to health services as the most significant public-health issue for low-income individuals in Rockbridge County, Laura Simpson, of the Valley Program for Aging Services, explained that the VISTA member assigned to VPAS will assist with the development of a comprehensive and versatile system of monitoring, evaluation and information exchange.

“By working with community partners through Rockbridge 2020 and VPAS-led service initiatives, the VISTA member will enable sustainable, coordinated evaluation of ongoing health access efforts throughout the Rockbridge community,” Simpson said.

Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee combats hunger and promotes nutrition by recovering and reusing food that would otherwise go to waste and using it to provide balanced meals for low-income members of the community in Rockbridge County. As of the spring of 2013, CKWL had served more than 131,000 meals, recovered more than 297,000 pounds of food and logged 23,653 volunteer hours. CKWL received a Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award from Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell in June.

The Community-Academic Research Alliance (CARA) supports research partnerships between Washington and Lee and non-profits in the Rockbridge area to address pressing community challenges. These partnerships aim simultaneously to mobilize the community for responsible social change, lay the foundation for a healthy community, and advance the education of W&L students.

Howard Pickett, director of the Shepherd Program, said that the VISTA project “embodies the collaboration and partnership” between the University and local community that characterizes the Shepherd Program.

“While the various projects promise to make a real difference in the lives of Rockbridge’s low-income population, those projects also promise to make a real difference in the lives of W&L students,” Pickett said. “By requiring significant amounts of service and supportive research over the next few years, this grant promises to provide our students with the opportunities for service, leadership and humane thinking at the heart of Washington and Lee’s mission.”

Pickett also praised the work of Marisa Frey, coordinator for student service leadership and research, and Jennifer Davidson, coordinator of student service learning, for their work on securing the grant.

AmeriCorps VISTA members make a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project at a nonprofit organization or public agency. In return, members receive a modest living allowance and health benefits and may opt to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or post-service stipend after completing their term. About 6,500 VISTAs are placed each year in more than 1,200 projects in low-income communities around the country.

Washington and Lee’s Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability integrates sustained, rigorous academic study and focused direct service to disadvantaged communities and persons. It supplements and enriches the education of W&L’s undergraduate and law students in all majors and career paths.

Sky is the Limit in W&L's IQ Center

Anyone who enters the new Integrative and Quantitative (IQ) Center at Washington and Lee University learns quickly what Helen I’Anson, professor of biology, means when she says that the sky is the limit in the new facility.

Opened this fall and supported with both private gifts and a portion of the University’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant, the 4,841-square-foot IQ Center houses the very latest in technology and offers undergraduates hands-on experience with equipment that ordinarily they might not see, let alone use, until they’re in graduate school.

Some of the treasures available in the center:

  • A stereo 3D lab with both portable flat screens to display to small groups and a large central screen.
  • A computer visualization lab, with eight high-performance work stations with dual monitors and dual ceiling-mounted projectors, for a seamless wall-to-wall image at the front of the room.
  • A Zeiss EVO 15 scanning electron microscope.
  • An Olympus IX51 laser scanning confocal microscope.
  • An Olympus BX 61 upright fluorescence microscope.
  • A light microscopy suite.
  • A physical/mechanical lab featuring high-speed recording capabilities, 3D inputs from laser scanners, and ceiling video feeds.
  • A ProJet 3D printer offering rapid 3D print in full color.

“Many universities may have one or the other of these spaces, but I am not aware of anything like this in one space that is available to undergraduates for teaching and research,” said I’Anson. “What we’re trying to do in the space is so new that our technology consultants have never actually built a space like this before, and it’s been a learning experience to them.”

Since the facility came online earlier this month, the buzz has not been limited to science students and faculty, said David Pfaff, the center’s director.

“What’s exciting for me is to see a faculty member come to look at the space and watch them begin to think of all the ways in which they might use it,” said Pfaff. “They’ve seen something that’s sparked their interest and decided to incorporate into their coursework. They knew the center was going to come online. But until they got in here and saw some of the equipment, it gave them ideas of things they are actually using in their courses today.”

The center has multiple goals that support the initiatives tied to the HHMI grant, according to I’Anson. On the one hand, it provides a space where scientists and their students can learn new technologies and apply those technologies to their learning. That will help increase retention in science and math careers.

The other important goal is to increase scientific literacy in students who are not going on to any kind of scientific career.

“On the one hand, we have the science students who are already enamored by sciences and for whom this space will be fantastic by helping them grapple with concepts they’re learning in their courses,” said I’Anson. “They’re already hooked, so this will further enhance their education.

“For those students who would prefer not to set foot in the Science Building, but are required to take some science and math courses, the gee-whiz core technology is going to draw them into science and math earlier and help them to see the utility of science and math in their lives. We need to create an informed citizenry when it comes to science and math.”

Among the many features of the facility that both I’Anson and Pfaff believe makes it uncommon is the ability for material to be examined in one of the microscopy suites. Then the images are streamed to the computer visualization lab down the hall, where a classroom of students can be examining the data in real time.

Then there is the stereo 3D lab, which has space for 36 students who can work in groups of three or nine for easier collaboration. They can share data on their laptops and project their work on the large screens.

“We have had biology faculty come into the stereo 3D lab and take one look at what a protein structure looks like in stereographic 3D and immediately want to teach that in a class,” said Pfaff. “When you see a complicated structure that really is three-dimensional pop at you, it’s much easier to visualize the structure.”

And if visualizing such a structure on the screens is not enough, the next step is to send that structure to the 3D printer across the hall. Then the students can hold that protein structure in their hands and examine it.

It would be one thing if the equipment in the center were hidden away behind locked doors of an individual’s lab. One of the key ideas behind the IQ Center, however, is accessibility for all the students.

“Typically, when a big piece of equipment like a confocal microscope is purchased, it goes into someone’s lab,” said Pfaff. “People don’t simply come across it. In this space, it’s in a central location where students see it, where other faculty see it. That accessibility is what is particularly exciting to me.”

In fact, students can sign up online to use the equipment, and several items in the IQ Center may be used not only by W&L students and faculty but also by colleagues from neighboring institutions, including Virginia Military Institute (in Lexington) and Mary Baldwin College (in Staunton).

In addition, local schoolchildren may visit the IQ Center as part of various outreach efforts by W&L students in the STEM areas. The student-led Women in the Sciences organization works with local middle-school girls who might lack confidence in their ability in the sciences, and W&L students will be able to show off the technology in the IQ Center as another way to maintain their interest in the subject and help build their confidence.

As the center was getting underway this fall, I’Anson knew quickly that it was going to be a hit with the science students and faculty. What has both pleased and surprised her is how much interest people outside the sciences have expressed.

“We have an English course taught in the computer visualization lab already. A classics course is being planned for the space,” said I’Anson. “Our new initiative in digital humanities fits perfectly with the concept for the center. The conversations about this facility that are starting with various departments and people across campus have been gratifying. For me, the bonuses keep coming now that the space is open.

“I think that the sky is the limit in what we can do in this space. We are limited only by the imagination of the folks who are having these conversations.”

German Law in Context Seminar Continues with Talks on Political Extremism, Criminal Law

Tufts political scientist David Art will address “Political Extremism in Germany” in a lecture on Friday, Jan. 27 at 4:00 p.m. in Lewis Hall Classroom D on the campus of Washington and Lee University.

Art’s talk is part of the annual German Law in Context Seminar, which this year focuses on Germany’s struggle against extremism. The Seminar is a collaboration amongst the German Law Journal, the W&L Law School, the W&L German and Russian Department, and the UVA Center for German Studies.

Prof. Art is an expert in comparative politics, with a regional focus on Europe. He is the author of Inside the Radical Right: The Development of Anti-Immigrant Parties in Western Europe and The Politics of the Nazi Past in Germany and Austria, both published by Cambridge University Press.

Up next in the seminar is a lecture by Marianne Wade of the University of Birmingham, England. She will speak on “German Criminal Law and Extremism” on Friday, Oct. 4 at 4:00 p.m. in Lewis Hall Classroom D. Prof. Wade researches and writes on European criminal law and criminal justice as well as prosecutors and terrorism. She is coeditor of The Prosecutor in Transnational Perspective, published by Oxford University Press.

In addition to regular seminar lectures and discussions of the German legal framework, the German Law in Context program includes a series of interdisciplinary guest lectures from historians, political scientists, and experts in German cultural studies. The program also includes a film series. Visit http://law.wlu.edu/germanlawseminar for a seminar schedule.

Past German Law in Context programs include: “Parliament’s Army: Lessons from Germany on Law and War,” “The Immigrant in German Law and Culture,” “The German Social State,” and “Germany’s 1968 and the Law.”

For more information, contact Prof. Russell Miller (millerra@wlu.edu).

W&L's Silwal Receives Nepalese Education Medal

In a ceremony on Sept. 8, in Kathmandu, Nepal, the family of Shikha Silwal, assistant professor of economics at Washington and Lee University, received a Nepalese education medal on her behalf.

The Vidya Bhushan medals have been conferred annually, beginning in the 1960s, to highlight the importance of education in Nepal. Silwal received an “A” class medal, the highest level, for achieving her doctorate. Other awards were given to top students for achieving master’s and undergraduate degrees. President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav conferred the medals on Nepal’s National Education Day and called on those attaining degrees to use their skills in nation building.

Silwal stressed that the award is purely for achievement in higher education and “not that I achieved something extraordinary other than finishing my Ph.D.”

Yet, Silwal said, in a country where 6 million people are illiterate and 8 percent of children are not receiving an education, the awards are a good way for the government to promote higher education. “It does give an incentive and the announcement is publicized in the newspapers, and it used to be shown on television,” she said. Nepal is among the poorest countries in the world, with a gross domestic product per capita of $1,300 in 2012. Few people have the opportunity to pursue a Ph.D.

“Here in the United States, I am surrounded by people with Ph.D.s, so in that sense it’s not a great honor. But when I was in Nepal this summer, using facilities at Kathmandu University, I realized that people with master’s degrees were teaching master’s-level classes. Even at the university level, there were very few Ph.D.s, so in that sense it was a great honor.”

Silwal pointed out that women in Nepal don’t usually receive the opportunities she did — coming from a middle-class family, attending private school and then studying in the United States. “So if I look at it from the perspective of the country as a whole, receiving this medal is both humbling and also an honor,” she said.

Silwal joined the Washington and Lee faculty in 2012. She received her B.A. in economics and mathematics from Simpson College and her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pittsburgh. She focuses her research on political economy, conflict studies, development economics and labor economics.

W&L Research Aims to Increase Parental Involvement at Maury River Middle School

Parents of students at Maury River Middle School will be offered more opportunities to increase their involvement in the school thanks to their participation in a survey conducted by Washington and Lee University senior Angelica Tillander.

The research was conducted through W&L’s Community-Academic Research Alliance (CARA), a community-based research initiative that supports research partnerships between W&L and non-profits in the Rockbridge area.

Marisa Frey, coordinator for student service leadership and research at W&L, described CARA as looking to meet community needs, benefit the student experience and create a wider campus culture of community connection. In the case of Tillander’s project, the research was requested by Paige Crawford, the NEXT coordinator who is employed by Rockbridge County Schools.

NEXT is an after-school program designed specifically for Maury River Middle School and funded for the past three years by a 21st Century federal grant that Rockbridge County Schools applied for in partnership with Washington and Lee and NEXT. The program aims to improve students’ experience in school as well as students’ performance across the board by offering a variety of after-school programs Monday through Thursday for sixth- to eighth-grade students. An average of 173 students participate in NEXT, and 50 W&L students volunteer as mentors to provide consistent positive role models and attention.

As successful as the NEXT program has been, Crawford wanted to find ways to engage parents more positively and proactively in activities, discover any barriers they may have to participation and solicit their ideas.

“Research shows a clear link between parental engagement and student success,” said Crawford. “We believe that schools, families and communities working together can create meaningful partnerships that ultimately lead to significant gains across the board in student achievement. So we wanted to find out how we can do a better job of welcoming and engaging parents throughout the year.”

Tillander’s research, funded by a W&L Johnson Opportunity Grant, concluded that many parents were unaware of the NEXT activities that are designed specifically for parents.

“I found that parents are really interested in being more involved with the school and the approval rating for the NEXT program is very high. But beyond a few specific initiatives, such as the end-of-year picnic and some open houses, they didn’t know they could come and volunteer at the workshops or that there are different classes designed for parents as well as family nights,” said Tillander.

Tillander’s report suggests taking a multi-tiered approach to contacting parents through phone calls, e-mails and sending letters home because “you’re almost guaranteed to get the information if it’s coming to you from different directions.”

Parents’ work schedules are also among barriers to parental participation. “I didn’t realize just how many barriers there are,” said Tillander. “Some parents have children in elementary school, middle school and high school, yet they still want to get involved with their kids’ schools. It’s amazing to me.”

The survey also asked for parents’ suggestions on potential workshops, opportunities for volunteering and whether they had a particular skill or talent they would like to share.

Tillander’s final paper combines national best practices on parental involvement in after-school programs with the results of her local research to make recommendations for parental involvement at Maury River Middle School and recruiting parent volunteers.

Tillander, a history and politics major with a minor in poverty studies, is interested in a career in education and has volunteered in local schools since she arrived at Washington and Lee. “Now that I’m a senior at W&L, I really wanted to do some kind of concrete research that would be helpful to the community and would continue to be a resource to people after I leave,” she said.

The Johnson Opportunity Grants are funded as part of the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity and are designed to help W&L students in their chosen fields of study as well as in their future careers.

Richardson Presents Redenbaugh Inaugural Lecture (Audio)

Is journalism dying? Does the teaching of journalism belong in a liberal arts setting? Does the survival of the academic canon depend on education in journalism and mass communications? Does the survival of journalism depend upon the academic canon? Is technology the salvation of teaching or its ruination?

Those were among the questions posed by Washington and Lee University journalism professor Brian Richardson, in his Sept. 24 lecture marking his appointment as the Harry E. and Mary Jane W. Redenbaugh Professor.

In his remarks, Richardson addressed the question of technology’s role in education by saying that “ur culture, particularly our political culture, seems to have become convinced that it is more important to teach a lot of people marginally and cheaply than to teach people well.

“The future of our democratic society lies in our continued embrace of the liberal arts,” he said. “There is no way to help people understand the complexities and interconnections of modern life with it.”

A 1973 graduate of W&L, Richardson received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Florida. He joined the faculty at his alma mater in 1990 and headed the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications from 2003 to 2010. Prior to teaching, he worked in television and radio news and was also a reporter and editor for The Tallahassee Democrat, The Miami Herald and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Harry E. and Mary Jane W. Redenbaugh Term Professorship, established in 2008 by Mary Jane Redenbaugh in honor and memory of Harry E. Redenbaugh, W&L Class of 1939, is awarded to a professor for a fixed term. Richardson was named the Redenbaugh Professor in May 2012.

Stanford Professor to Give Shannon-Clark Lecture at W&L

Blakey Vermeule, professor of English at Stanford University and American scholar of 18th-century British literature and theory of mind, will give the Shannon-Clark Lecture at Washington and Lee on Thursday, Sept. 26, at 8 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of her talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Some Belated Peasant: Notes on the Lateness of Consciousness.”

Vermeule has been a member of the faculty at Stanford since 2005. She is the author of “The Party of Humanity: Writing Moral Psychology in 18th-Century Britain” (2000) and “Why Do We Care About Literary Characters?” (2009), both from The Johns Hopkins University Press. She is currently writing a book about what science has discovered about the unconscious.

Her articles have appeared in “Critical Inquiry,” “Modern Language Quarterly,” “Modern Philology,” “Philosophy and Literature,” “Poetics Today,” “Qui Parle,” “Style,” and several edited collections on cognitive literary studies.

Her research interests are neuroaesthetics, cognitive and evolutionary approaches to art, philosophy and literature, British literature from 1660-1820, post-Colonial fiction, satire, and the history of the novel.

Vermeule received her B.A. in English from Yale University and her Ph.D. in English literature from the University of California at Berkeley.

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Map It!

Finding your way around Washington and Lee’s campus got a little easier this fall, with the launch of an interactive campus map that’s optimized for use on computers, tablets and smart phones — without needing to download an app.

W&L partnered with CampusTours.com on the project, which brings our illustrated campus map to life with descriptive text, related links, photos and GPS coordinates for every building on campus.

The new map is designed to help visitors find their destination in a number of ways. You can click or tap on a specific building on the map or find a building name on the locations list, which will highlight the building location for you. You can also select from map layers, which break down campus locations into categories, including a walking tour, academics, housing, dining, sports and recreation, history and parking.

And the launch of the map is just the beginning. “We consider this map an important first step in creating a truly interactive experience for our visitors,” said Jessica Willett, director of web communications. “We plan to add video clips for popular tour destinations, and have the capability of adding custom layers for events like reunions, Accepted Students Day and conferences, which will make this an incredibly useful tool for visitors of all kinds.”

You can check out the new map at http://campusmap.wlu.edu .

Senior Christina Lowry Wins Student Translation Award

Christina Lowry, a Washington and Lee University senior from Lexington, Va., was selected as the recipient of the 2013 American Translators Association (ATA) Student Translation Award.

Lowry will receive her award at the ATA national convention in San Antonio, Texas, in November. She won the award on her first try against student translators of all languages.

For an honors thesis her junior year, Lowry translated the German musical, “Elisabeth,” written by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay, into English. The musical is about the life of the beloved Austrian Empress Elisabeth (affectionally known as Sissi), wife of Franz Josef II.

Lowry, who grew up in Germany, always loved theater and jumped at the chance to see a friend’s brother in the production of “Elisabeth.”  She fell in love with the musical and realized that there had never been an English production of the show during its 21 years on the stage.

When she came to W&L and decided to major in German, the idea to translate the musical into English finally began to take shape.

Empress Elisabeth is well-known in Germany and Austria as a beloved folk-hero. A trio of semi-biographical films in the 1950s immortalized the Hapsburg empress as a romantic fairy-tale princess. These films are German classics and are shown every year at Christmas in Germany and Austria.

The 1992 Austrian musical “Elisabeth” that Lowry translated is in the most popular German-language musical of all time. “The macabre premise is balanced by a rock-opera score, the title character’s soaring solos and the cheeky sarcastic narrator Luigi Lucheni, Elisabeth’s assassin,” explained Lowry.

“This has been a fascinating introduction to the unique art of translation,” she said. “Given that I am not particularly musically gifted, the complexities of translating the lyrics of an almost entirely sung musical, with both its poetry and rhythms, have been by far the most challenging aspect.”

Lowry hopes to have her translation of “Elisabeth” eventually published and performed professionally but “for now I’m looking at a possible abridged performance of the music this winter. A DVD of the 2005 Vienna production is available in Leyburn Library, and I hope my translated text will be available soon.

“One of the most rewarding experiences in this project was seeing my fellow students discover passions for the music and characters as I worked on this translation last year,” said Lowry.

International Law, Immigration Experts Join W&L Law Faculty

Four new law professors have joined the permanent faculty at Washington and Lee University School of year this fall.

“We are so pleased to welcome this group of diverse, energetic, and innovative teachers and scholars to our faculty,” said Dean Nora V. Demleitner. “Each of them brings unique expertise and perspective to our educational program, but all share a commitment to cross-disciplinary work that is so crucial to an increasingly interdependent world.”

Prof. David Baluarte joins W&L from American University Washington College of Law, where he was Practitioner-in-Residence and Arbenz Fellow in the International Human Rights Law Clinic (IHRLC). Baluarte will direct the Immigrant Rights Clinic, a practical lawyering experience available to 3L students at W&L as part of the third-year curriculum. Through live representation of immigrant clients, Professor Baluarte will teach students substantive law and the lawyering skills, values, and knowledge necessary to succeed in the legal profession.

Baluarte’s past experience includes managing projects and consulting for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI). Before beginning his teaching career, Professor Baluarte served as a staff attorney in the Immigration Unit the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and as a staff attorney at the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL). He received his J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law.

Prof. Margaret Hu joins W&L from Duke University, where she was Visiting Assistant Professor of Law. Hu’s research interests include the intersection of immigration policy, national security, cyber surveillance, and civil rights. Previously, she served as senior policy advisor for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Hu also served as special policy counsel in the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), Civil Rights Division, U. S. Department of Justice, in Washington, D.C. As Special Policy Counsel, Professor Hu managed a team of attorneys and investigators in the enforcement of the anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and was responsible for federal immigration policy review and coordination for OSC. She received her J.D. from Duke Law School.

Prof. Victoria Shannon’s areas of teaching and scholarship include international arbitration, investment treaty arbitration, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), third-party funding of litigation and arbitration, ethics, civil procedure, and real estate transactions. Shannon served for five years as Deputy Director of Arbitration and ADR in North America for the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). In this capacity, she advised government attorneys, in-house counsel and law firm attorneys on all phases of arbitration, mediation and ADR, including negotiating and drafting dispute resolution clauses, selecting neutrals and enforcing arbitral awards. Shannon previously served as an Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law School.

Prior to joining the ICC, Shannon served as an associate with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, where she specialized in complex tax credit and municipal bond financing arrangements for affordable housing and community development real estate transactions, as well as matters involving American Indian tribes. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she traveled to New Orleans in January 2006 to assist the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Fair Housing Project with two housing discrimination claims. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Prof. Kish Vinayagamoorthy teaches International Business Transactions, Transnational Law, and Corporate Social Responsibility. Her research interests relate to cross-border issues confronted by international companies, including global production networks, business ethics, dispute resolution, and transnational regulation. Her current research explores ways to transmit costs and benefits of corporate social responsibility along transnational supply chains. She is also exploring the ways that small firms rely upon relational values to manage risks when they exchange with foreign parties.

Before joining W&L, Vinayagamoorthy was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Villanova University School of Law where she taught Contracts and International Arbitration. Prior to entering the legal academy, she served as an associate with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP where she practiced investment treaty arbitration and litigation. Professor Vinayagamoorthy specialized in international law with a Master of Philosophy in International Relations from the University of Cambridge, England and a LL.M. in International & Comparative Law from Duke Law School. She received her J.D. from Duke Law School.

New Historical Archaeological Collective Aims to Help Local Community

Archaeology at Washington and Lee University has provided services to local individuals and organizations on an ad hoc basis for many years, but a new initiative aims to both formalize and expand that role.

The Historical Archaeology Collective (HAC) was formed this summer and consists thus far of about 30 volunteers — faculty, students and staff — from both W&L and Virginia Military Institute, as well as community members who are interested in helping people with their questions about historic sites.

Those questions can vary from someone wanting to know about artifacts they found in their garden and advice on metal detecting, to wanting to know if the terracing on their land is prehistoric.

Crossing interdisciplinary boundaries, HAC includes experts from geology, engineering, history and chemistry.

For example, the collective’s first long term project, which began in June, is to map McDowell cemetery on Route 11 near Fairfield. The group is collaborating with the Historic Lexington Foundation and working with W&L geologists and VMI engineers to come up with a strategy to map stones that are not visible on the surface, possibly through the use of ground-penetrating radar. HAC will return to the cemetery October 19 and additional volunteers are encouraged to participate.

According to Alison Bell, associate professor of archaeology at W&L, scores of local citizens were buried in McDowell cemetery but few of the stones remain above the vegetation. “I think the briars and periwinkle really swallowed up a lot of these stones,” she said, “so now soil has accumulated on top and they’re not visible. We’re clearing off what vegetation we can and then we’ll use remote sensing so that we don’t actually have to dig in the cemetery.”

A similar mapping project is planned for the cemetery of freed slaves in Buffalo Forge. In the 19th century, William Weaver owned a large iron plantation near Glasgow and many former slaves continued working in the area  after emancipation. They had their own church and a cemetery that is now completely overgrown with very few stones visible.

A further project is helping the Civil War Trails program develop signage for the Australia Furnace in Allegheny County, which produced iron for the Confederate cause in the 1860s. “It’s a great example of what the collective is doing to try to use our skills in archaeology and history to help the community with projects of interest to them,” said Bell.

HAC is interested in talking to people about possible projects, but Bell stressed that the collective can only undertake about 10 projects a year. “We can’t do everything, given our resources and the time available, but we can teach people a little about archaeology and at the same time help property owners,” she said.

Metal detecting is one of the most requested areas of help from the community. Although it is very popular in the Shenandoah Valley because of its rich Civil War history, the practice has the potential to impact archaeological sites negatively.

Bell suggested that if someone is considering metal detecting that they contact W&L Archaeology.

“Particularly with the popularity of television shows glamorizing metal detecting and digging into archaeological sites, we are eager to communicate the importance of artifacts’ contexts and recording artifacts’ locations,” she said.

“We’ll be glad to talk about ways in which we can help that allow people to find something of interest but also safeguard the site and document where an artifact was found. In association with other objects or evidence of human activity, an artifact can provide a great deal of information about the people who used it.

“We have great mapping capabilities at W&L, so we could definitely help people record what they find. Archaeological sites are a non-renewable cultural resource and treating them with care protects their stories about the past that are of importance to many people, including future generations,” she added.

To better educate the community about the methods and ethics of metal detecting, W&L Archaeology will conduct a metal detecting workshop on Nov. 9 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the vicinity of Alone Mill on the upper Maury River.

Bell pointed out that professional archaeologists have an ethical obligation to enlist public support for the stewardship of the archaeological record, as well as to explain and promote the use of archaeological methods and techniques.

In addition, she cited the obligation that W&L President Ken Ruscio has acknowledged for W&L faculty, students and staff to extend their expertise and energies into the community in ways that benefit others. “We think that the Historical Archaeological Collective is central to what we are doing at W&L,” she said.

Anyone interested in participating in the McDowell Cemetery project or the metal detecting workshop should contact Alison Bell at bella@wlu.edu or Don Gaylord, staff archaeologist at W&L, at gaylordd@wlu.edu.

Richardson to Give His Inaugural Redenbaugh Professorship Lecture

Brian E. Richardson, professor of journalism and mass communications at Washington and Lee University, will give his inaugural lecture, marking his appointment as the Harry E. and Mary Jane W. Redenbaugh Professor, on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 5:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of his talk is “It Ain’t What You Tell ‘Em; It’s What They Hear: Or, You’d Think I’d Have Learned by Now.” The talk is free and open to the public.

“After spending my entire life since the age of 16 as a journalist and then a teacher of journalism, I am still so in awe of both callings that I feel inadequate to pontificate about either. But I am going to anyway,” Richardson said.

“Our culture, particularly our political culture, seems to have become convinced that it is more important to teach a lot of people marginally and cheaply than to teach people well,” Richardson continued. “For too many elected officials, good teaching means job training. But the future of our democratic society lies in our continued embrace of the liberal arts. There is no way to help people understand the complexities and interconnections of modern life without it.”

Richardson graduated from Washington and Lee in 1973 and received his M.A. in communications and Ph.D. in mass communications from the University of Florida. He joined the W&L faculty in 1990 after teaching at the University of Florida from 1986 to 1990. He served as department head from 2003 to 2010.

He worked for local television and radio news operations in Virginia and Florida and was a reporter and editor at The Tallahassee Democrat, The Miami Herald and The Philadelphia Inquirer for more than 10 years. During his reporting career he covered local government, courts, urban affairs and education. In 1996-97 he was a visiting research fellow at University College, Oxford, in Media and Culture, The Politics of Representation and Media and Citizenship.

Richardson is the author of the textbook “The Process of Writing News: From Information to Story,” (2012, 2nd ed.) He is the author of five articles and two book reviews. His research and scholarly interests include journalism ethics, the role of news media in subnational governance and new media.

The Harry E. and Mary Jayne W. Redenbaugh Term Professorship, established in 2008 by Mary Jayne Redenbaugh in honor and memory of Harry E. Redenbaugh, W&L Class of 1939A, is awarded to a professor for a fixed term. Richardson was named the Redenbaugh Professor in May 2012.

Inslee's Sketches Go to Campus

Heather Almond, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2017, is interested in a career in fashion, and one of her favorite fashion artists is Inslee Haynes, a member of W&L’s Class of 2008.

So when Heather arrived in Lexington from her home in Houston, she put two of Inslee’s sketches on the wall of her room, on the third floor of Graham-Lees. Coincidentally, W&L photographer Kevin Remington was prowling the halls, looking for move-in day photos. He snapped one of Heather and her father hanging one of Inslee’s sketches.

That photograph appeared in Scene on Campus, the popular photo gallery on W&L’s website.

A friend of Inslee’s brought it to her attention, which led to this tweet:

That tweet led to Inslee’s blog, where she wrote: “Omg! I’m so excited to see this picture on the Washington & Lee website of a girl hanging her Roman Memory print in her dorm room…A friend of mine just happened to stumble upon it while browsing the site. How wonderful is that?! My sketch gets to go back to my alma mater. What a glorious endorsement from the world of a bright young freshman. I remember how important it was that I select just the right things for the coveted space on my dorm walls when I arrived at W&L, so knowing that ‘Roman Memory’ made the cut for this girl’s room is quite a feather in her cap.”

Heather had been a fan of Inslee’s work for some time before she realized, over the summer, that she was headed to Inslee’s alma mater. “I had seen her sketches on Tumblr and other fashion blogs, and I wanted to learn more about the artist. I went onto her website and read her ‘About Me’ section. As soon as I saw that she’d gone to W&L, I sent her an e-mail letting her know that I was going to be a freshman there in the fall and how much I loved her work.

“She has been very sweet and helpful! She encouraged me to seek out internships in fashion from the beginning.”

In addition to “Roman Memory,” the sketch that Inslee spotted on Scene on Campus, Heather also ordered “Ankles.” Both are on the wall above Heather’s bed, “Roman Memory” on the left and “Ankles” on the right.

Bedford County Honors W&L Alum

Washington and Lee alumnus the Hon. Philip A. Wallace has received an honor from Bedford County, Va., which hung his portrait in the courthouse there.

Judge Wallace, who received his undergraduate degree in 1967 and his law degree from W&L in 1972, served as a judge in the 24th District from 1991 to 2009. Most of his service was in the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court, where his portrait was unveiled earlier this month.

During his tenure, Wallace participated in several statewide initiatives, including the Juvenile Justice Reform Task Force in 1995 and the forms committee of the Judicial Conference of Virginia for District Courts for several years.

Under his leadership, Bedford’s Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court received designation as a Best Practice Court for Foster Care and Adoption in 2002 and expanded use of mediation in abuse and neglect and foster-care cases to promote peaceful resolution.

In 1998, Wallace won the Ally Award for efforts on behalf of sexual assault victims in Virginia, and in 2000 he was named Judge of the Year by the Virginia Foster Care Association.

What Day Is It?

No, Hump Day is tomorrow. Today is Constitution Day, and Washington and Lee is observing the 226th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution with a variety of activities.

Leyburn Library is launching a student guide to the U.S. Constitution and also has a main floor display, “Are These the Best Books on the Constitution?”

At 1:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, students in “Madison,” the politics seminar on American political thought, taught by William Connelly Jr., the John K. Boardman Professor of Politics, will divide themselves into two opposing camps to enact a Federalist/anti-Federalist debate.

At 4 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Holt Merchant, emeritus professor of history, will offer the keynote address, “George Washington and the Constitution,” in which he will discuss Washington’s role in the drafting and ratification of the Constitution. Professor Merchant retired from the faculty in June after 43 years, but continues to teach part-time.

At 7:00 p.m. there will be a special Constitution Day screening of the Jimmy Stewart classic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” in Stackhouse Theater.

Follow the events during the day on Twitter, where @wluwilliams will be tweeting and using the hashtag #ConstitutionDay.

Constitution Day is observed each year on Sept. 17, the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution, in 1787. It is also a day that recognizes those who have become U.S. citizens.

Student Researchers Travel the World to Preserve Iconic Paintings

Three Washington and Lee University juniors —Victoria Andrews, Lindsay Burns and Sam Florescu — hopped between France, Norway and Denmark this summer with Erich Uffelman, W&L’s Cincinnati Professor of Chemistry. The mystery they sought to solve? To determine why certain pigments in Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” and other iconic paintings are fading, and to determine how to stop the process.

“The story with ‘The Scream,’ and also some Matisse paintings, is that cadmium sulfide was used,” said Florescu, who is majoring in history and chemistry. “We’re trying to figure out how and if the degradation can be stopped. You have a brilliant yellow turning white or brown.”

The team members began this project in Grenoble, France, where they worked with Dr. Jennifer Mass, head of conservation science at the Winterthur Museum, in Delaware. “Jennifer is the leader of an international project looking at cadmium sulfide degradation,” said Uffelman.

In Grenoble, the students analyzed samples taken from paintings by Henri Matisse, James Ensor and Adriaen Coorte. They worked in the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), a ring-shaped building that can accelerate electrons almost to the speed of light, a process that produces intense X-rays.

“The quality of the X-rays that are generated that you can look at a few atoms at a time as opposed to looking at hundreds of atoms at a time,” said Florescu. From these X-rays, art conservators and art conservation scientists can learn helpful details about the elements in the paint’s pigment.

The team thrilled at working collaboratively inside the synchrotron. “There were so many different types of scientists working together. There were the conservation scientists. The chemists. The beamline scientists. Physicists,” said Lindsay Burns, a biochemistry major. “There was just everyone collaborating together, and that’s not something you see at a lab during the school year.”

Their next stop was the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, home of the 1910 version of “The Scream.” One of four versions Munch painted, it was stolen in 2004 but recovered two years later.

To analyze “The Scream,” Uffelman used a handheld X-ray fluorescence spectrometer (XRF). An XRF analysis can reveal the elements present in the pigments in a painting. One of the key features of XRF analysis is that it is non-destructive and can be used without making contact with the painting.

While in Oslo, the team attended a Munch conference, which was held during the 150th anniversary celebration of Munch’s birth. The team then traveled with Mass to the Statens Museum for Kunst, in Copenhagen, Denmark, where they analyzed another Matisse painting.

The project then led Uffelman and his students back to the United States, where they traveled all the way to…Washington and Lee’s Reeves Center.

The Reeves Center is relevant to the project because of its collection of art by Louise Herreshoff. Most of her paintings contain cadmium sulfide, said Uffelman, and he wants to know whether or not they are undergoing cadmium yellow degradation. Their condition may prove useful to research by the Winterthur’s Mass into pigment degradation.

“Our Herreshoff paintings, because of the history of their storage, may be in an earlier state of the degradation process than some of these other paintings,” said Uffelman. “That may prove interesting in terms of exploring the degradation pathway.”

Exposure to light is an issue in pigment degration, and Uffelman noted that chloride may be part of the problem. Using information it gleaned this summer, the team hopes it can determine the original appearance of deteriorating paintings. Uffelman also wants to be able to recommend “more specific display conditions that will minimize the future degradation of these pigments.”

The students’ research was supported by various grants. Victoria Andrews and Lindsay Burns received funding from the Summer Scholars Program and obtained Johnson Opportunity Grants. Florescu’s research was supported by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). The Erik T. Woolley Fellowship provided additional student funding. Mass’ project was partially funded by the Lenfest Foundation.

“I just found it really great to be able to go behind the scenes,” said Andrews, who’s majoring in art history and biochemistry. “It was pretty breathtaking having the Matisse just sitting on the table. Or ‘The Scream.’ “

—Amy C. Balfour ’89,  ’93L

Enron, WorldCom Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Gonzalez to Deliver 2013 Tucker Lecture

The Hon. Arthur Gonzalez, retired Chief Judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, will deliver the 2013 Tucker Lecture at Washington and Lee University School of Law.

The lecture will take place Monday, September 23 at 12:00 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee. The title of Judge Gonzalez’s talk is “The US Auto Industry: ‘Too Big to Fail’ – Politically/Economically or Both.”
This event is free and open to the public.

Judge Gonzalez was appointed to the Bankruptcy Court in 1995 and named Chief Judge in 2010. During his tenure, Judge Gonzalez presided over many large and complex corporate bankruptcy proceedings, including those for Enron, WorldCom and Chrysler.

Judge Gonzalez received an undergraduate degree in accounting from Fordham University and a master’s degree in education from Brooklyn College in 1974. He received a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in 1982. He also received an LL.M. in taxation from New York University School of Law in 1990.

Judge Gonzalez was a staff attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service and earned the Chief Counsel’s Special Achievement Award for three consecutive years. He entered private practice following his post with the IRS.

Judge Gonzalez was appointed Assistant United States Trustee for the Southern District of New York in 1991 and served in that position until his appointment as United States Trustee for Region 2 (Second Circuit) in 1993. He served in that position until his appointment to the United States Bankruptcy Court. He retired from the Court in 2012.

Judge Gonzalez is currently a Senior Fellow at New York University Law School, where he teaches courses in bankruptcy law. Before his retirement from the Court, he taught at NYU as an adjunct professor. He also serves on the Character and Fitness Committee for the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department.

Prior to beginning his law career, Judge Gonzalez was a teacher in the New York City School System for 13 years.

The Tucker Lecture at Washington and Lee School of Law was first established by the W&L Board of Trustees in 1949 to mark the bicentennial of the University and the centennial of the Law School. It was named after John Randolph Tucker, hired in 1870 as the second teacher in legal education and named the first dean of the Washington and Law University School of Law in 1893.

W&L Honors Three with Distinguished Alumni Awards

Washington and Lee honored three alumni, who had distinguished careers serving on the faculty of their alma mater, by giving them Distinguished Alumni Awards during the University’s annual Five-Star Festival earlier this month.

The recipients:

  • Lewis G. John, of the Class of 1958, professor of politics emeritus;
  • Andrew W. McThenia Jr., Classes of 1958 and 1963L, professor of law emeritus;
  • Edgar W. Spencer, Class of 1953, professor of geology emeritus.

The awards came as part of the three-day festival during which alumni who graduated prior to 1963 returned to campus. The 60th (Class of 1953) and 55th (Class of 1958) reunion classes had special celebrations within the festival.

Following his graduation from Washington and Lee, Lewis G. John served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve, studied as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Edinburgh, and earned his master’s degree as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Princeton. He received a Ph.D. from Syracuse. He worked in the Admissions Office at W&L for a time and, in 1968, began a 21-year tenure as dean of students. He began teaching politics full time in 1991 and served the University for more than 40 years. W&L recognized him for “a lifetime of skillful senior administration leadership, classroom teaching, community contributions, and his support of Washington and Lee.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree from W&L in 1958, Andrew W. (Uncas) McThenia graduated in 1963 from the School of Law, where he belonged to the Order of the Coif and served as editor in chief of the Washington and Lee Law Review. He worked in private practice before embarking on a 35-year career teaching in the Law School. He taught 29 different courses and led W&L’s clinical programs for women inmates at the Federal Prison in Alderson, W.Va., and with black lung victims in southern West Virginia. He is the author of three books and dozens of articles, received an honorary doctorate from Virginia Theological Seminary, and was named an Outstanding Faculty Member by the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia. W&L recognized him for “a lifetime of achievements in law, teaching, and for his singular contributions to those less fortunate.”

Edgar Spencer received a B.S. from W&L and a Ph.D. in structural geology from Columbia University. He returned to teach geology at his alma mater in 1957 and, over his 54-year tenure, was known as “Dr. Rock” to generations of students. He is the author of several college textbooks on geology, earth science, environmental systems and map interpretation. His fields of specialization include mountain belts, environmental geology and fresh-water conservation. In retirement, he has continued to work with local organizations, including the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council (RACC). W&L recognized him for “a lifetime of achievements in academic, teaching, community contributions, and his support of and impact on Washington and Lee.”

More than 120 alumni participated in the Five-Star Festival, which was held on the same weekend that the W&L Athletic Hall of Fame inducted new members.

At Home on the Range

Becca Bolton, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2012, spent the past five months roaming around Yellowstone National Park, observing the increasing population of bison.

She is a biological technician working on a research project that is a collaborative effort among W&L biology professor Bill Hamilton and colleagues Douglas Frank (Syracuse University) and Rick Wallen (head of the Yellowstone Bison Management Program).

“We have six different field sites located in the northeast section of Yellowstone,” writes Becca. “Fortunately, this area is the most beautiful part of Yellowstone, and I get to see bison, wolves, bears, pronghorns, and wonderful scenery while at work.”

As Becca explains, Yellowstone is one of the last areas with a free-ranging population of wild bison, which has increased in the past few years. That growth has led managers to become concerned about the impact of grazing intensity on grassland processes.

The goal of the project is to “examine the effects of an increased bison population on grassland production, nitrogen cycling, and species composition.”

There are two different grazing experiments. One is a “clipping” study that is done in a large permanent “exclosure” (an area from which unwanted animals are excluded). The bison are unable to enter this area, which contains 28 1.5-by-1.5-meter plots. “We simulate bison grazing by clipping different plots at grazing intensities ranging from 0 to 90 percent. We then measure aboveground production, soil moisture, and nitrogen levels,” writes Becca.

The second experiment is a natural grazing study in which small exclosures are constructed at each site, and the bison can graze around each exclosure. “We measure production, soil moisture, and nitrogen levels inside the exclosure as well as outside in order to determine if there are differences between the grazed and the ungrazed grassland,” she writes.

This field study will end in October, and Becca will head back east to the lab at Syracuse, where she’ll test the collection of five months’ worth of grass clippings.

A double major in biology and environmental science, Becca also starred on the Generals basketball team and holds several scoring records, including the single-game record of 39 points against Lynchburg in 2011.

Student-Designed Web App Helps W&L Students Plan Course Schedules

Thanks to some of their classmates, Washington and Lee University students have a new web application designed to make their schedule planning easier. Corsola: Scheduling Your Life allows students to choose their preferred courses and view potential schedule conflicts.

The application was designed during the 2013 spring term course Software Engineering via Web Applications by four students under the guidance of Sara Sprenkle, associate professor of computer science at W&L.

According to Sprenkle, it can be hard for students to see if courses conflict, for example only during lab time or only once a week. Corsola is designed so that students can select the courses they are interested in, see which courses conflict with each other and import that information into their calendar application. “You can’t put this information into Web Adviser (the University’s on-line registration program), but it’s a good way to plan your schedule then go to Web Advisor and actually register for the courses,” said Sprenkle.

Richard Marmostein, a senior computer science and economics major, worked on the application during his junior year and said that he definitely plans to use it himself every day. “It was nice working on something that I think people will use and appreciate,” he said. “It would have been nice to have had this application during my first year when I had a lot more choices and I was filling in the gaps, so I think it will be especially useful for first-year students.”

Of the four students who created Corsola, two were seniors who knew they would never benefit from the web application.  Phil Lisovicz, who graduated as a business and computer science major in 2013, explained that he felt the available schedule system was not very intuitive for students and that Corsola is easier to visualize and very intuitive. “It was definitely fun to build,” he said.

Sprenkle said that the web application was “a lot fancier than I expected. I gave the students the initial idea and they just ran with it and made up their own requirements of what they wanted it to do. For example, if you want to take one of three humanities classes, the program will show which one will fit into your schedule. I wasn’t expecting it to be able to do that and I expect that further features will be added in the future.”

Alexander Baca ’14 and Alicia Barger ’13 also worked on the Corsola project.

A simplified version of Corsola can be used as a Chrome extension: http://cs.wlu.edu/~marmorsteinr/utilities/corsola.html

Newspaper Publisher H. Brandt Ayers to Talk on Covering the South

H. Brandt Ayers, author, journalist and publisher of the Anniston (Ala.) Star, will give a talk at Washington and Lee University on Monday, Sept. 16, at 5:30 p.m. in Leyburn Library’s Northen Auditorium. It is sponsored by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

The title of his talk is “Covering the South Made Me a Liberal” and the event is free and open to the public. Ayers memoir, titled “In Love with Defeat: The Making of a Southern Liberal,” was published early this year; a book signing will follow the lecture.

Ayers served as Washington correspondent for the Raleigh News and Observer and covered Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department for a news bureau serving newspapers in the South and Southwest.

Time Magazine twice named The Anniston Star one of the “best small newspapers in the United States” and has described Ayers one of the top newspaper publishers in America.

The Anniston Star is known for taking strong editorial stances against social injustices, most famously for its opposition to segregation during the civil rights movement of the 1960s — an unpopular position at the time for a small-town newspaper in the South. All of that was pushed by Ayers in his role as publisher of The Star and five other community newspapers in east-central Alabama

In addition to his distinguished career as a publisher, Ayers is an accomplished journalism scholar, having served both as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and as a Gannett Fellow at Columbia University. He has lectured at numerous universities, including Harvard and Princeton in the U.S. and several universities in Africa. He was awarded the Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1996.

Ayers has written articles and commentary for The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, NPR and The International Herald Tribune, among others.

Ayers is a former trustee of the American Committee of the International Press Institute based in Austria; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations based in New York; a trustee of the Southern Center for International Studies; and a member of the advisory board of the The Ditchley Foundation in England, an organization that brings world leaders together for conferences related to international affairs.

Glasgow Endowment and VMI present Steve Scafidi

Washington and Lee’s Glasgow Endowment will co-sponsor with VMI a public reading by poet Steve Scafidi on Wednesday, Sept. 18, at 7:45 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.  During his visit to Lexington, Scafidi also will speak to two classes at VMI.

Scafidi’s reading is free and is open to the public and will be followed by a book signing. The reading is co-sponsored by VMI’s Department of English, Rhetoric and Humanistic Studies.

Scafidi won the 2013 Miller Williams Poetry Prize from the University of Arkansas Press, which will publish his third book, “The Bramble and the Briar,” next spring.  The collection is an extended sequence of poems about Abraham Lincoln.

Scafidi’s previous books are “Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer” and “For Love of Common Words.” R. T. Smith, editor of “Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee Review,” says of Scafidi’s works “He is by turns dramatic, elegiac and comic. His poems are always surprising, linguistically exciting and sometimes alarming. His is not the staid academic or bewildering puzzle poetry of current fad. To my mind, he’s right at the heart of the topics and tactics that have always mattered most to lovers of the written word.”

Born and raised in Virginia, Scafidi holds a M.F.A. in creative writing from Arizona State University and works as a cabinet maker in Summit, W.Va. He occasionally teaches at Johns Hopkins University and has received the James Boatwright Prize from “Shenandoah,” as well as the Larry Levis Reading Prize from Virginia Commonwealth University’s English Department. His poems have also appeared in “Blackbird,” “Southern Review” and “Virginia Quarterly Review.”

About the future of poetry, Scafidi said in an interview with “The Writer’s Chronicle,”  “It will involve magic and reality and suffering. It will be a thing of power and reckoning that sustains us. It will be beautiful.”

For further information, contact Lesley Wheeler at (540) 458-8758.

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It's the Real Thing: Alum Pens Coca-Cola Thriller

Murder, blackmail, vengeance, sex and intrigue. Got your attention?

They are elements of a new novel by Washington and Lee alumnus Jim Gabler, of the Classes of 1953 and 1955 Law.

We last blogged about Jim’s writing in January 2012. At that time, he had just published two e-books — a guide to wine and a historical novel about the first American pope.

Now he’s back with a thriller, “The Secret Formula.” The formula in question is one of the world’s most closely guarded secrets — that of Coca-Cola. As Jim wrote in an e-mail about his new novel, his attitude is “the heck with The Coca-Cola Company.”

Jim was a civil trial lawyer for 40 years, practicing in the courts of Maryland and the District of Columbia. During his practice, he became interested in wine, and he wrote his first books on that subject, including the 1995 volume “Passions: The Wines and Travels of Thomas Jefferson,” which won the prestigious Veuve Clicquot Wine Book of the Year award.

His first novel, “God’s Devil,” was published in 2011. Now he’s back with “The Secret Formula,” which is available as an e-book and in paperback from Amazon and in paperback from Barnes & Noble.

W&L Sophomore Studies in Azerbaijan

For Jack Anderson, a Washington and Lee University sophomore, from Babylon, N.Y., the chance to spend eight weeks of intensive language study in Azerbaijan was an ideal way to pursue his interest in developing an independent major in geopolitics and international affairs.

Anderson received a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) and was one of seven CLS students who studied at Azerbaijan University of Languages, in Baku, the nation’s capital.

“We covered an entire academic year of Azerbaijani during two months of intensive instruction,” said Anderson. “We had two amazing teachers, Sabina Aliyeva and Fiala Abdullayeva, who worked diligently with us all summer long.”

Azerbaijani, a language closely related to Turkish, is the official language of Azerbaijan and is also spoken by millions of ethnic Azerbaijanis living in other nations, including Iran and Russia. The CLS Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

“Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic, has emerged as a regional leader in the Caucasus and an important energy exporter to Europe,” said Anderson. “The Caucasus region is fascinating to me because of its unique geopolitical circumstances. I hope that having Azerbaijani language skills will enable me to study abroad again in the Caucasus region.”

In addition to the intensive language instruction, Anderson and his fellow students were immersed in Azerbaijani culture — “especially the great cuisine,” he noted. “Azerbaijani food always has great fruits, breads and pastries.

“We had classes for at least four hours a day, Monday through Friday, all summer long,” Anderson continued. “On most days we would have additional classes or cultural excursions. We visited museums across the country, archeological sites such as Gobustan, and saw an Azerbaijani opera called ‘Shah Ishmayil.’ We also had lessons in traditional Azeri dances, which were incredibly difficult and intricate. Sometimes we would go to the university’s kitchens and learn how to cook traditional Azeri dishes such as plov, gutab and shekerbura. We also had lectures on Azerbaijani politics, history, religions and gender issues from Azeri professors.”

One of the highlights for Anderson was a lecture by Samad Seyidov, the rector of the university and a member of the Azerbaijani Parliament, on Azerbaijani foreign policy, in which he explained why developing ties with the West is so important to Azerbaijan.

On weekends, the students traveled either independently or in groups to locations across Azerbaijan. “We visited Ganja and Sheki as a group, which are beautiful ancient cities,” Anderson said. “I also visited Lahij, which is a small, medieval village isolated deep within the Caucasus mountains.”

Anderson said that he would recommend CLS to any student interested in learning a challenging foreign language in an immersive experience. CLS offers more than a dozen languages in locations stretching from Morocco to Japan.

“I would especially recommend CLS to students who plan on using their language skills extensively in the future,” he said. “Participating in CLS was a fantastic way to represent the U.S. abroad and to learn a new language. Hopefully I can return to Baku next summer and put my language skills to use.”

A program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program offers intensive summer language institutes in 13 critical foreign languages. The selection process is administered by American Councils for International Education, with awards approved by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The CLS Program is administered by American Councils and The Ohio State University/Ohio University.

Anderson is the second W&L student to win a CLS scholarship in the past three years. Isaac Webb, a 2013 graduate, studied Russian in Ufa, Russia, during the summer of 2011.

News Contact:
Julie Cline
News Writer

Matthew Bailey Named W&L's Digital Humanities Scholar of the Month

Matthew Bailey, professor of Spanish at Washington and Lee University, has been named W&L’s “Digital Humanities Scholar of the Month” for September for creating websites that serve as educational tools for students and professors in his field of medieval Spanish literature.

The Digital Humanities Scholar of the Month is named by the Digital Humanities Working Group, which consists of faculty and staff from various departments at Washington and Lee interested in exploring new ways to use technology in the University’s humanities disciplines to enhance both teaching and learning for liberal arts students.

Bailey explained that his motivation for creating the websites arose from his frustration at standing in front of his class reading from classic medieval Spanish texts, for example “El Cid,” and telling students that the real essence of the text was oral, not written. “It never really worked for me,” he said. “I wanted to give students a sense that for hundreds of years the original audiences probably didn’t read. Yet for two hundred years scholarship has treated it as a written text and since my students can read medieval Spanish fairly easily, there’s no way they can imagine this is an oral text.”

“Once I realized that digital media could give students access to an oral version of these texts, it was a green light for me,” he added. “So in a sense the technology inspired these websites.”

He has since created two websites on Spanish medieval texts and is working on a third website for an anthology of Spanish medieval literature.

Bailey created the first website, “El Cid,” in 2000 with the assistance of a colleague in the field who provided the oral rendition. He pointed out that the text is early 13th century Castilian, which of course is  no longer spoken, but has been recreated through the scholarship in Spanish historical linguistic. More than 60 pages of commentary guide students through the text.

“It’s a powerful tool to have the capability to click on the text or download the recording onto an MP3 file and listen to it without the written text at all, which is probably how most people in medieval times engaged with the text,” he said. “The oral medium is so much more authentic.”

The website is freely accessible to anyone and professors and students around the world have used it in classes. “People also use it simply to have access to the texts and to read expert commentaries about the texts,” said Bailey, “but most importantly, these oral renditions are not available anywhere else. Nobody teaches this text the same way they did before they had access to the website.”

While creating the website, “El Cid,” Bailey also gathered the content, including audio from a colleague in the field, for a second website on the lesser known medieval Spanish text “Mocedades de Rodrigo” or “The Youthful Deeds of Rodrigo” who would later earn the sobriquet El Cid.

Bailey created the second website with the assistance of Brandon Bucy, senior academic technologist in Information Technology Services (ITS) at W&L. “Working with people in ITS has been an eye opener for me because, even though they are not experts in the text or the field I teach, they are expert in presenting digital material,” he said.

“The presentation of the material is so much more professional than I would have been able to do on my own.  It is the appearance of the text that makes it much more appealing for students and, of course, they are also very in tune with this type of media and respond to it well.”

Bailey is currently working on the third website—an anthology of medieval Spanish literature—with the help of Alston Brake Cobourn, assistant professor and digital scholarship librarian at W&L. The site will include written texts and audio recordings of short stories and poems from Bailey’s colleagues at different universities, especially people who are well known in connection with a particular text and have published scholarship on that text. Since the anthology will include texts from all over Spain, not just 13th century Castile, Bailey plans to include a variety of voices, including people with different regional Spanish accents.

“To me, the exciting part is getting other people to collaborate,” said Bailey, “and I’m really excited that the library and Suzanne Keen, dean of the college at W&L, are supportive of this initiative.” The website will be ready for when Bailey teaches the relevant course during the 2014/15 academic year.

To learn about Digital Humanities initiatives at W&L, go to the website http://digitalhumanities.wlu.edu/.

The “El Cid” website is at http://www.laits.utexas.edu/cid/  and the “Youthful Deeds of Rodrigo” can be found at http://mocedades.academic.wlu.edu/.

Merchant to Present Constitution Day Lecture at W&L

J. Holt Merchant, professor of history emeritus at Washington and Lee University, will present the 2013 Constitution Day Lecture at the University on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 4 p.m., in Northen Auditorium of Leyburn Library.

Merchant’s lecture is titled “George Washington and the Constitution.” It is open to the public at no charge.

Merchant retired from the faculty in June following 43 years at W&L but continues to teach part time.

A 1961 graduate of W&L, where he majored in history, Merchant received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. He joined the W&L faculty after serving in the U.S. Army from 1961 to 1967. During his tenure at the University, he taught more than 25 different courses, served as chair of the History Department from 1998 to 2007, and was University marshal and chair of the Committee on Public Functions for 10 years.

Merchant is the author of “Laurence M. Keitt: South Carolina Fire-eater,” University of South Carolina Press (forthcoming 2014) and co-editor of “Finishing with a Flourish” (2008). He has been a reviewer of books for newspapers and professional journals as well as a referee of articles for professional journals and has been a participant and advisor on films about Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution and is observed on Sept. 17, the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787. The federal observance also recognizes those who have become U.S. citizens.

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Commemorating 9/11

Twelve years ago today, on Sept. 11, 2001, Washington and Lee music professor Terry Vosbein was in Oxford, England, where he was spending a sabbatical as a visiting fellow at University College. He got a call from a friend in Paris telling him, “Your country has just been attacked.”

After a week of self-described “numbness,” Terry composed “A Prayer for Peace,” which you can listen to above. It was his response to the tragedy that had unfolded back home. He has described the composition as his personal prayer for a peaceful world — “a world where there is no place for hatred or violence… a world in which religions recognize the overwhelming similarities that far overshadow their minor differences.”

We offer “A Prayer for Peace” today, on the 12th anniversary of 9/11. As you listen, we invite you to remember all those whose lives were lost that day and to remember especially two members of the Washington and Lee family — Rob Schlegel, of the Class of 1985, who died in the Pentagon, and James Gadiel, of the Class of 2000, who died in the World Trade Center.

Rob was on the staff of the chief of naval operations at the Pentagon and had been promoted to commander just weeks prior to the attack. James worked in the equities department of Cantor Fitzgerald, on the 103rd floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center.

On the campus this morning, the Lee Chapel bells tolled at 8:46 a.m., inviting the W&L community to pause and reflect.

American Welfare State Topic of Hendricks Law and History Lecture

On Thursday, September 19, Michele Landis Dauber of Stanford Law School will deliver the 2013 Hendricks Lecture in Law and History. The title of Prof. Dauber’s talk is “The Sympathetic State: Disaster Relief and the Origins of the American Welfare State.”

The lecture will begin at 3:00 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The event is free and open to the public.

In “The Sympathetic State,” Prof. Dauber will trace the roots of the modern American welfare state beyond the New Deal and the Progressive Era back to the earliest days of the republic when relief was forthcoming for the victims of wars, fires, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. While most accounts of this period presume that the 19th century was dominated by a laissez-faire ideology in which the constitution prevented the federal government from aiding the poor, Prof. Dauber shows that in the case of disaster relief the federal government spent freely. This spending was hotly contested by Washington and Lee’s John Randolph Tucker, and later by his son, who feared the implications of increased federal power on the south.

A law professor and a sociologist, Prof. Dauber has focused her scholarship on aspects of the history of the New Deal and the fate of the legal doctrines and policies it created. She has also written about such varied topics as abortion clinic conflict, social security privatization, affirmative action, and the early history of administrative law during the War of 1812.

In addition to her scholarly work, Prof. Dauber is an officer and director of Building a Better Legal Profession, which was founded by Stanford Law students in 2007. The organization uses innovative data advocacy and Web-based social entrepreneurship strategies to mobilize market pressure for workplace reforms in large law firms, including better working conditions, work-life policies, and increased racial and gender diversity.

Winner of the 2006 Walter J. Gores Award, Prof. Dauber is only the second law professor to receive the highest teaching honor at Stanford University. Before joining the Stanford Law School faculty in 2001, she was a clerk to Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The Law and History lecture series at W&L was endowed by alumnus Pete Hendricks (’66A, ’69L), who has a private practice in Atlanta specializing in land use zoning and government permitting. A history major himself, Hendricks also endowed the Ollie Crenshaw Prize in History at the University several years ago in honor of his favorite professor.

W&L Professor Weighs Winners, Losers in Syria Crisis (Audio)

Washington and Lee University politics professor Mark Rush believes that while Russia is a short-term winner in this week’s dramatic events regarding Syria’s chemical weapons, the Russians now stand to lose in the longer term if they cannot deliver by getting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to turn over its weapons.

Rush, the Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law at W&L, noted that a solution about the chemical weapons will not end the conflict, “but it turns it into a different sort, where certain norms of international law are observed. Skeptics will say that it’s a marginal improvement at best. Nevertheless, by stepping in, the Russians have momentarily defused a potentially huge situation.”

Rush said that, at the moment, President Obama and America’s allies are also winners now that there is a potential diplomatic solution.

“The big winners are the Russians. They come out looking like the true peacekeepers, the quintessential diplomats and the ones who are going to put an end to the use of chemical weapons in the Middle East,” said Rush. “The next winners are the president, America in general and the allies, because it wasn’t clear what they were going to be able to do to defuse this situation with limited military maneuvers. It was clear, as well, that the president didn’t have much in the way of a strong popular or congressional basis on which to act. He has saved face by being able to pull back and say, ‘I’m not going to do anything now’.”

But, Rush added, the Russians are taking the risk now and stand to lose if they are unable to exert the influence over Syria and defuse the situation.

“The Russians need to demonstrate, publicly, that they’ve taken possession of the chemical weapons and attest that they’ve got them all,” Rush said. “If they don’t, or if it appears that they don’t, it will look as if they don’t have any influence over the Assad regime or, worse, they’ve been duped. The Russians now need to stand and deliver.”

The issue of chemical weapons aside, Rush believes the war in Syria is not going to end soon. It is not, he said, the perpetuation of the so-called Arab Spring but is “a radically different conflict.

“What you have in Syria is a full-scale civil war, akin to what we saw in Libya,” said Rush. “Syria is such a divided country, with battle lines among several groups, that this conflict could go on for a very long time.”

W&L Alum Leads Sons of Italy Commission

Carlo Carlozzi Jr., a 1980 graduate of Washington and Lee, is the new president of the Sons of Italy’s anti-defamation branch.

Carl, a sales representative for Liberty Mutual Insurance, in Farmington, Conn., will be leading the Order of Sons of Italy in America (OSIA) Commission for Social Justice. The OSIA is the oldest and largest national organization for men and women of Italian heritage. Carl was elected during the organization’s 53rd Biennial National Convention, in Philadelphia in August.

The Commission for Social Justice (CSJ) fights the stereotyping of Italian Americans by the U.S. entertainment, advertising and media industries. It also collaborates with other groups to ensure that people of all races, religions and cultures are treated with dignity and respect. Through its Positive Image Program, the CSJ regularly informs the media and general public about Italian American achievements, contributions, history and culture.

An economics and politics major at W&L, Carl is also active in local politics, most recently serving as alderman on the New Britain (Conn.) Common Council.

W&L Alumnus Honored by ODK

Joe Landry, a 2013 graduate of Washington and Lee, is one of 20 winners of Omicron Delta Kappa’s 2013 Foundation Scholarships.

Now in his first year at Columbia Law School, Joe was a summa cum laude graduate in history. In addition to ODK, he belonged to Phi Beta Kappa.

Joe spent this past summer after graduation in Boston, working as a legislative and political intern with the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

“Everyone in the Alpha Circle is proud that Joe has been selected for this honor,” said Linda Hooks, professor of economics at W&L and faculty advisor to ODK. “It’s a very competitive award, and Joe is certainly a deserving recipient. He was vice president of the Alpha Circle and organized the initiation ceremonies with style.”

Earlier ODK named one of Joe’s 2013 classmates, Wayde Marsh, as its National Leader of the Year.

The Alpha Circle also won recognition from the national organization this year as one of a dozen college chapters to win a Superior classification in the Circle Recognition Awards.

ODK, the national leadership honor society that was founded at W&L, is now headquartered in Lexington. It is preparing to observe its 100th anniversary in 2014.

Seamus Heaney — An Appreciation

by R.T. Smith
Writer-in-Residence and Editor of Shenandoah
Washington and Lee University

(This piece appeared first in The Richmond Times-Dispatch on Sept. 7, 2013, and is reprinted here with permission.)

The morning I learned from the radio that Seamus Heaney had died, I was driving through fog on a snaky Blue Ridge road, and I had to pull onto the shoulder to catch my breath.  Heaney has been for me over three decades one reliable touchstone in the whole community of contemporary poets, the one I could always count on for sustenance and stimulation.

From the early poems steeped in nature and rural life to the meditations on mortality in “Human Chain” (2010), Heaney “expend himself in shape and music,” as he wrote in the sixties of the blacksmith in “The Forge.”

He was a brilliant and generous man whose poetry is visual, visceral, ethical and spiritual, whose imagination ranged from the historical to the mythic and anthropological but who was unafraid of the immediate tragedies — a boy killed in a motoring accident, a girl driven to kill her illegitimate child, a neighbor killed by shrapnel on the edges of a bomb blast.

He saw the eternal in the local, as well as the reverse, and he had the great gift of being earthy and worldly at once.  If his ethical and rhetorical models included Sophocles, Dante, Yeats and the “Beowulf” poet, his eye was ever-trained on the immediate and solid, the contoured and tactile and practical — a tinsmith’s meal scoop, a spade, turf and thatch and the whirring spokes of a bicycle — all of them collected and deployed in consequential fashion.

I heard Heaney read and speak often and met him a few times, mostly in the west of Ireland, where we once toasted our mutual birthdate of April 13, but I was always initially intimidated — call it “starstruck” — by his quickness and gravity, yet soon was simply spellbound again by Heaney’s zest and grace, the intrepid leaps of his mind.  Not to mention his obvious delight in company and conversation.  I’ll never forget him saying, after a quick drink in a Sligo pub, “You’ll have another, so.”  When I objected that I shouldn’t, as I was driving, he gave me that great joyous smile and said, “The bird never flew on the one wing, you know.”

But what pierced me more deeply than his personality was the character of his poetry, which never took easy stances and confirmed Fitzgerald’s remark that one measure of intelligence is the ability to hold conflicting opinions without being immobilized.  Never a polemicist nor a partisan, Heaney showed how hard and necessary it is to see matters from opposing perspectives, though he was sometimes faulted for this by those who wanted propaganda, rather than haunted astonishment.

As an Irishman of his time (a northern Catholic nationalist who chose to live in the Republic), he was deeply distressed by the Troubles but also saw them as larger than immediate politics, as another manifestation of man’s inhumanity to man.  In his benchmark “North” (1975), he wrote of bog burials, victims of ritual torture preserved for centuries by the peat.  Though his ostensible subjects are anonymous and ancient, his additional abiding concern is with the casualties of sectarian violence in his homeland and other torn territories.  The language, his bardic “word-hoard,” in its stern reserve and severe beauty, did take my breath away, but eventually gave it back, altered and enriched.

In “Bog Queen,” Heaney acts as medium for one victim, decayed by “the seeps of winter” but still bearing witness to her own demise:

My diadem grew carious,
gemstone dropped
in the peat floe
like the bearings of history.

My sash was a black glacier
wrinkling, dyed weaves
and Phoenician stitchwork
rhetted on my breasts’
soft moraines.

I knew winter cold
like the nuzzle of fjords
at my thighs –
the soaked fledge, the heavy
swaddle of hides.

This is daring, sensual language, intricate but not cryptic, and full of pathos as its melody is shaped by what Robert Penn Warren called “the tangled glitter of syllables,” its sorrowful implications given an ironic twist and torque, what Scots-Irish dialect would call thrawn.  But clarity was his aim, and his lyrics can ring as sharp and fresh as the brightest spring risen through rock, uisce beatha in Irish, “the water of life.”  For these qualities he received many awards, including the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, but his weave of candor and artifice, humility and fierceness tempered by mirth will continue to win him readers and champions.

In “The Second Coming,” Yeats complained that “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity,” but that earlier Irish Nobel laureate would surely look at the body of Heaney’s work and admit that every now and then one of the gifted will also possess an uncanny intensity and responsible discipline, which provide both the lifeblood of poetry and our reason not to give up celebration and hope.

R.T. Smith is writer-in-residence at Washington and Lee University, editor of W&L’s literary journal, “Shenandoah,” and author of a dozen books of poetry. He is the winner of the 2013 Carole Weinstein Prize for Poetry, which is awarded each year to a poet with strong connections to the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

Back to the Beltway for W&L Alumna

Sarah Feinberg, of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1999, is on her way back to the Beltway after a stint with Facebook.

Sarah has been named chief of staff at the Department of Transportation under new Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, former mayor of Charlotte. A politics major at W&L, Sarah is scheduled to begin that assignment in mid-September and returns with high expectations based on her previous work in the administration.

A POLITICO notice of the appointment began: “Secretary Foxx may be a recent addition to the Beltway’s power arc, but his selection of Sarah Feinberg as his chief of staff means he’ll have a top-flight lieutenant who understands what makes Washington tick.”

Sarah’s experience includes having served as special assistant to President Barack Obama and senior adviser to former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. She was Emanuel’s liaison to the Obama economic team and press and communications departments. During her time at the White House, Sarah helped coordinate the Obama administration’s responses to the country’s fiscal and economic crisis, the H1N1 flu pandemic and the 2009 mine disaster in her native state of West Virginia.

Earlier in her career, Sarah was communications director for House Democratic Caucus and press secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. She was also press secretary to former Sen. Tom Daschle when he was minority leader.

In its report on the appointment, POLITICO quoted from a statement from Emanuel that read, in part: “From working with Sarah on the Hill and in the White House, I know she is a dedicated public servant and a talented, shrewd strategist, and I congratulate her on this new role.”

After leaving the White House, Sarah had worked at Bloomberg LP before joining Facebook in the summer of 2011, serving as the spokeswoman on a wide variety of issues. For instance, you can watch her explaining how to use Facebook’s tool to become an organ donor in this video on ABC News.

W&L Law PAD Chapter Wins Recognition for Charity Auction

The Washington and Lee University chapter of Phi Alpha Delta (PAD), a law service fraternity, won the Outstanding Community Service award presented by the PAD international organization. W&L received the award based on the success of the group’s annual charity auction, which last year raised over $28,000 for local charities.

During the PAD auction, students bid on items donated by Law School faculty, staff and students, including meals and outings with professors and bar prep course tuition vouchers. The auction has raised nearly $130,000 for local charities and other initiatives with the last eight auctions.

The proceeds from last year’s auction were split amongst several organizations, including HoofBeats Therapeutic Riding Center, Meals for Shut-Ins, and the Rockbridge Area Free Clinic. Other local organizations to benefit from the auction in the past include the Yellow Brick Road Early Learning Center and Project Horizon, a shelter for victims of domestic abuse. Some of the auction proceeds also go to help provide scholarships for W&L law students working in public interest positions.

Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International is the largest professional law fraternity in the world. Established in 1902, Phi Alpha Delta was the first law fraternity to open membership to all genders, races, creeds and national origins and, the first to establish a Pre-Law Program to assist undergraduate students interested in the law.

Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship Named at Washington and Lee

Washington and Lee University announces that its Entrepreneurship Program has been named the J. Lawrence Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship, thanks to a $2.5 million gift from Leigh and Larry Connolly, of Atlanta.

“I’m excited to be part of this program,” said Larry Connolly, a member of the University’s Class of 1979. “It gives an opportunity to have a real impact in a positive way on students, both short term and long term.”

Connolly is the former CEO of Connolly Inc., a recovery audit accounting and consulting firm. He serves on the University’s Entrepreneurship Advisory Board and on the Alumni Advisory Committee of W&L’s Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability.

The Entrepreneurship Program at Washington and Lee got underway in 2009. Part of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, it is headed by Jeffrey P. Shay, the Johnson Professor of Entrepreneurship and Leadership. The program comprises coursework, the student-run Venture Club, the alumni-judged Business Plan Competition, and the annual Entrepreneurship Summit, all supported by the Entrepreneurship Advisory Board.

“Larry Connolly’s magnificent gift for the Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship is transformational,” said Larry Peppers, Crawford Family Dean of the Williams School. “Building upon the great work of Johnson Professor Jeff Shay, and given the immediate student and alumni interest in entrepreneurship which has already developed, the Connolly gift will allow Professor Shay and his colleagues to be even more aggressive in setting up initiatives to support students, and in bringing alumni and students together in events such as the forthcoming Entrepreneurship Summit, in October.”

Upon graduation from W&L in 1979, Connolly joined the company of the same name, which his father had founded that same year. “We are performance based,” said Connolly, who proceeded to earn enough in a year and a half to fund his subsequent studies for an M.B.A., which he obtained in 1982 from Tulane University. He went on to a career at Coopers & Lybrand before returning to the family fold in 1986. “I’d seen the benefits of working for yourself,” he said. “Nothing against corporate America, but I found it much more enjoyable to work in an entrepreneurial environment.”

With his sister, Libby Connolly Alexander, as the COO, they grew the company from 30 employees to more than 1,250. It has made frequent appearances on Inc. 5000’s list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

In 2012, he and Alexander sold the company to Advent International, and he stepped down as CEO. With that decision, and with his children, Catherine and Jay, now in their early 20s, he is positioned “to spend more time outside the business,” as he put it.

He’s already served as a judge of the W&L Business Plan Competition. “I really liked what I saw—the caliber of students, the passion for these businesses,” Connolly said. “Obviously, not all of them are going to become entrepreneurs, but I bet some of them will. I think the quality of their work, the building blocks they are assembling, are going to help them regardless of where they end up.” He also predicted that the fundamental understanding the students gain about how a small organization works will benefit those who land at large organizations during their various careers.

His earlier involvement with the University’s Shepherd Program, where students approach the subject of poverty from many directions, paved the way for this gift.

“I saw the same opportunity for the Entrepreneurship Program,” Connolly said, “when you have somebody like Jeff Shay leading the charge.” He especially admires the combination of a Williams School education, with its emphasis on business studies, with what he calls “the beauty of a liberal arts education. They’re totally complementary.”

“I think the world has always admired entrepreneurs,” said Connolly. “My hope is that the program helps foster a number of successful entrepreneurs, and hopefully they too will be in a position to give back when it comes their time.”

W&L Mini-Reunion in Afghanistan

Dave Shugart and Paul Schlimm first met when both were freshmen at Washington and Lee in 1983. Both were members of W&L’s ROTC program.

Four years later, when they graduated as members of the Class of 1987, David and Paul were commissioned together.

Over the next quarter century as both of them rose to their current rank of colonel, David and Paul found themselves reunited on a couple of occasions. In the mid-1990s, they served together at Fort Bragg, N.C. A decade or so later, in 2011, they were both assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division Artillery Headquarters, Republic of Korea.

Then, just last year, they were together again, this time with the NATO Training Mission at Camp Eggers in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In May, Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, a 1969 W&L alumnus, paid a visit to Camp Eggers. The chief of staff for the NATO Training Mission noticed on the congressman’s bio that he had attended W&L. So he asked Rep. Wilson if he’d like to meet some fellow W&L alumni. That led to the photograph above of the three together in Kabul. Rep. Wilson retired as a colonel in the South Carolina National Guard.

Since that photo was taken, Dave and Paul have both returned stateside. Paul is now assigned to Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; Dave is at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.

In an email, David wrote: “Considering the number of Army active units and the 20-plus or so fellow W&L cadets commissioned in 1987, plus the fact Paul and I are in two different basic branches — Paul a logistician and me a field artilleryman — to be assigned to the same unit after 25 years after we graduated and were commissioned is pretty amazing.”

W&L Students Reminded 'What You Do Matters'

As a newly minted college graduate in the late 1980s, Alston Parker Watt took her first job, with the humanitarian organization CARE, in Haiti. Between the time she boarded a plane in Miami and landed in Port au Prince to begin her assignment, a military coup had begun there.

Speaking to students at Fall Convocation at Washington and Lee University, her alma mater, on Thursday, Sept. 5, Watt related that story as an awakening to the reality of the challenges that exist for those who want to make a difference in the world.

The Fall Convocation at W&L is the occasion on which the University formally launches the academic year. It marks the beginning of the final year of instruction for both undergraduate seniors and third-year law students, who march in the procession. It also serves as a formal welcome to the entering students, this year’s Class of 2017. The convocation opened W&L’s 264th academic year and the 164th year of the School of Law.

Watt, a 1989 graduate and a member of the first coeducational class at W&L, encouraged students to use their time here wisely and to determine how they can make the experience count. Her message was that students must have a deep belief in the worth of their efforts to better the world around them.

“I left Haiti nearly two years after landing there in the middle of that military coup,” Watt told the gathering on the lawn in front of Lee Chapel. “My audacious idealism — that I could actually make a dent in the entrenched poverty — might have been slightly dimmed by understanding the realities of systemic political corruption; however, I know that I was personally able to make a difference in the lives of others.”

During her time in Haiti, Watt noted, she served as a volunteer United Nations observer during the election in 1990. She described witnessing Haitians — “young, old, many disabled and barely able to walk, some being carried, some literally dying” — who waited for hours in the heat to vote for the first time.

“The turnout was stunning — extended hours of polling resulted. Never before in their lifetime or in Haiti’s long history as a nation had the people been able to participate freely in this democratic opportunity,” Watt said. “They had never been encouraged to believe that what they did was important — but they understood this and wanted their vote to count.  I witnessed on that day a group of people who clearly recognized and believed what you do matters.”

“I believe that if you hold passionately to the idea that what you do matters, each of you can help to sustain what contributes to the common wealth and to change for the better the place in the world where you find yourself — your business, profession and workplace; the schools that your children attend, your place of worship, and the towns in which you live,” said Watt, executive director of The Williams Family Foundation of Georgia.

There is, she added, no better place than Washington and Lee to learn the lessons of integrity and honor that the students will find critically important to their lives.

Concluded Watt: “No matter if this is your first or last year as a student to walk down this magnificent Colonnade, with its worn bricks and majestic white columns, my hope for you is that you embrace every opportunity placed in front of you by this world-class faculty dedicated to your scholarship; by the administration, who have been entrusted (along with you) to protect and further the ideals of honor, trust and civility on which all our University traditions are based; by the coaches and advisors who are devoted to developing your mind, body and spirit; and by the staff who make this place hum.

“As you prepare for your own journey of life-long learning; personal achievement; responsible leadership; service to others; and engaged citizenship in our global and diverse society, remember that what you do matters, and make it count.”

Video and Audio:

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

A Summer to Remember for Shepherd Consortium Interns

After spending eight weeks of their summer assisting impoverished communities and individuals around the country, the interns from the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty came away with valuable lessons about the multiple dimensions of poverty in the United States.

The 92 interns represented 17 of the consortium member institutions. They worked alongside individuals who are seeking to improve their communities. The agencies are located in urban and rural sites in the U.S. and focus on education, health care, legal services, housing, hunger, social and economic needs, and community-building efforts.

The interns taught in classrooms from New York to St. Anne’s Mission to the Navajo Nation in Arizona; helped clients obtain employment in Washington and Boston; worked in legal clinics in Helena, Ark., and Fredericksburg, Va.; and assisted in health-care facilities in Richmond, Va., and Camden, N.J., among many assignments.

SCECP was established in 2011 and is an outgrowth of W&L’s Shepherd Poverty Program. Member institutions are 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.

W&L Among Top Teach For America Producers

Washington and Lee is one of the top producers of graduates participating in the Teach For America program this year.

This is the first year the University has been on the top contributors list for Teach for America. A dozen members of W&L’s Class of 2013 joined the Teach For America corps, placing the University among the top 20 small schools (2,999 or fewer students) for participants. W&L is tied for No. 11 on the list with Barnard, Colby and Franklin & Marshall. Throughout Teach For America’s 23-year history, 73 W&L alumni have taught as corps members.

“Our graduates are an excellent match for Teach For America,” said Beverly Lorig, director of the Career Development Center. “Teach For America is looking for students with great leadership potential and with commitment and drive. Our candidates have always demonstrated those qualities along with their poise and compassion.”

Lorig said Teach For America is an excellent first job, especially for high-achieving students who are not certain what direction they might want to take. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding individuals from all academic disciplines to spend two years teaching in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. This fall, more than 11,000 corps members will be teaching in 48 urban and rural regions across the country, while nearly 32,000 alumni are working across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education.

“Our students who have participated report that the experience has a major impact on them and on their future direction,” said Lorig. “I also think that part of our success this year can be attributed to the preparation that we’re providing them in the Career Development Center through individual coaching and a videotaped interview that they do. In addition, our teacher education program has been a resource to students before they get to the in-person/teach-a-class experience. W&L alumni of Teach For American have also been generous in helping guide students through a very competitive process.”

Eric Hamscher, a member of the class of 2011 and an alumnus of the Teach For America program, received the organization’s Lincoln Financial Fellowship for 2012-13. Eric was a middle school math teacher at Antonia Pantoja Charter School in Philadelphia. As a Lincoln Financial Fellow, Eric worked with Lincoln Financial employees in the Greater Philadelphia area on special activities to support student learning, including the establishment of a Lincoln Pen Pal program.

Eric began graduate school in education at the University of Pennsylvania this month. When Eric won the award, Tre Johnson, executive director of Teach For America in Greater Philadelphia said, “Eric exemplifies the tireless commitment to educational excellence and unflagging effort that corps members strive to bring to their classrooms day in and day out.”

Painting Exhibition Opens Staniar Gallery’s New Season

To begin its 2013-14 season, Washington and Lee’s Staniar Gallery will present paintings by California artist Gina Werfel. The exhibition will be on view from Sept. 4 through Sept. 27.

An artist’s talk will be on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 5:30 p.m. in Wilson Hall’s Concert Hall. The lecture will be followed by a reception for the artist in Lykes Atrium, which is adjacent to Staniar Gallery.

Gina Werfel’s colorful, dynamic compositions are informed by her history as a plein air painter but she also references a variety of other inspirations in her paintings, such as her son’s drawings or objects in her studio. “Mixing up sources is the most exciting part of painting for me, a universe that incorporates the seen world as well as fragmentary gestures from memory,” Werfel said.

Poised between chaos and structure, abstraction and representation, Werfel’s canvases combine a focused mastery of her craft with an exuberant spontaneity. Werfel, who is a professor of art at the University of California Davis, has recently been featured in solo shows at Google Headquarters (Mountain View, Calif.) and Prince Street Gallery (New York City).

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.

W&L Law Alumna Featured in Roanoke Times

The Hon. Jacqueline Talevi, chief judge of the Roanoke County General District Court, has pioneered a program that provides sentencing alternatives for individuals diagnosed with serious mental illnesses who have committed misdemeanors.

The court’s mental health therapeutic docket was the subject of a feature story in The Roanoke Times last month.

Judge Talevin, a 1983 graduate of the Washington and Lee School of Law, told the Times that she was seeing people with particular issues come before her and that neither punishment nor the threat of more punishment was changing their behavior.

“It wasn’t working,” she said. “To try to make a different in people’s lives and to protect the public, the drug court model seemed successful to me — using a lot of court intervention. Why couldn’t it work for the mental health population?”

She added: “I think it has.”

Working with Blue Ridge Behavioral Health Care, about 10 people have successfully completed, or graduated, from the program in the 18 months since Judge Talevi began to implement the docket.

Once they finish the program, the judge gives each participate a certificate of completion, a rose and the book, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.”

She told the Times: “It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, to see people grow from a very dark place to graduating from this program,” She added, “They’ve grown in confidence, knowing even though they have a mental health issue, they are making a valuable contribution to our community.”

Read the complete feature story.

Midnight Madness

When he played high school football in Montana, Shane Lynch always looked forward to that first practice of the year because it was held a minute after midnight since rules dictated that practice could not begin until three weeks before classes started.

“This was always one of the best practices of the years — we turned on the field lights, put on our game uniforms and scrimmaged even though we didn’t really know anything our team yet,” recalls Lynch. “It was one of the moments and memories that have shaped me as a person, and it is always something I will remember.”

So the question is: will members of Washington and Lee’s University Singers have similar memories of their Midnight Madness event?

Lynch is director of choral activities and assistant professor of music at W&L.

When he realized that the University Singers would be on the program for Fall Convocation on Thursday, he decided he, and they, needed all the time they could get for rehearsal.

They gathered on the stroke of midnight Sunday/Monday for the first rehearsal of the year.

Reactions from the singers themselves indicated that some initial skepticism gave way to enthusiasm

“At first when I heard about the midnight rehearsal, I thought I was going to be exhausted and not really ready to sing,” said junior Sara Korash-Schiff. “But when I got there I knew my initial reaction was wrong. There’s something about singing with a group of people you consider family that is indescribable. I think the whole experience helped bond us further.”

Added senior Sarah Williams: “I’m typically a morning person, so this is a little bit late for me. But it’s fun to see everyone again.”

As he wrote in his “invitation” to the midnight rehearsal, “We will take a chance and come in, tired from moving, anxious for the start of a new year, frustrated because I am taking away an hour from O-week socializing . . . and begin to make music together, letting our voices ring out as only choirs can. It should be the stuff of choir legends you can bore people with when you are old like me.”

You can listen to the University Singers on Thursday during the live webcast of Fall Convocation.

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W&L Research Team Examines Smallmouth Bass Behavior

To help ensure that Virginia’s James River continues as a exceptional resource for sport fishing, Washington and Lee University biologist Robert Humston and undergraduates in his lab are using the chemical fingerprint found in the otoliths, or ear stones, of smallmouth bass.

During the past two years, Humston’s team has been collecting smallmouth bass (SMBs) from the James and its tributaries to determine the movement ecology of the fish in order to manage and develop the fishing opportunities. He wants to know not only where a fish was born — a tributary or the main stem — but also how often it has moved between the rivers during its life.

“The practical implications have to do with conserving smallmouth bass as a resource,” said Humston. “They are an incredibly popular sport fish with significant economic value to the state and to local communities along the rivers in which they are found. The vast majority of sport anglers are targeting bass (either smallmouth or largemouth, collectively called black bass) when they fish in freshwaters. In Virginia, nearly a third of this sport fishing is by anglers visiting from other states, hence their economic input includes substantial travel expenditures.”

A recent report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that fishing by both in-state and out-of-state residents brought $1.1 billion into the Virginia economy in 2011.

The James is a highly popular SMB fishery in Virginia, added Humston, noting that some would call it a “flagship” fishery because it is managed for trophy fish using a “protected slot limit.” That means that if a fish is between 14 and 22 inches in length, it must be released. Per day, anglers can keep up to five smaller fish and one trophy fish over 22 inches.

“This method allows medium-sized fish a better chance to grow to large trophy fish, while still preserving good reproductive potential in the population and allowing anglers to take the more abundant small fish for the dinner table,” Humston said. “But all the tributaries of the James are managed differently. There are no size restrictions on these rivers, only daily limits of five fish. This means that if these valuable, protected fish in the James routinely move into the tributaries during the year —  perhaps annual spawning migrations in the spring, for example — then they are vulnerable to capture and harvest, and this could undermine management of the trophy fishery in the James.”

That is why understanding both how often and why the fish move between rivers is important, Humston said.

Most studies of smallmouth bass have used traditional methods such as marking and then recapturing them to track movement. The best information comes from lakes rather than rivers. Humston said that recent research with advanced radio telemetry is demonstrating that SMBs move great distances under certain conditions, and that they may move extensively among the network of tributaries in a river basin.

Because such large-scale movements are hard to capture with traditional methods, Humston and his students are examining the otoliths, which operate as a natural tag of the fish’s past river residence. The otolith accumulates calcium carbonate and trace metals from the surrounding water and serves as a tiny chronological recording device of ambient conditions, much like the information that tree rings capture.

“Provided the chemical fingerprint of a river is consistent and doesn’t vary between seasons or between years and is consistently captured as the fish grows, we can use the otoliths to reconstruct the movement history of these fish by analyzing the chemical composition of the otolith at different points along its axis of growth,” Humston explained.

After originally attempting to examine smallmouth bass from the Maury River, Humston determined that the chemical fingerprint of the Maury varies by season and by year. That meant it was possible to determine reliably only in which river the fish was born. He eventually discovered that the tributaries in the Blue Ridge and Piedmont regions were much different from the James than the Maury. Using strontium isotopes, he can indeed determine a fish’s birthplace and its movement patterns.

Humston credits one of his former student researchers, Sasha Doss, of the Class of 2012, with a breakthrough at the end of her summer project in 2012.

“Sasha knew that we can determine a fish’s age based on the number of rings in its otolith, and she had also read that you can use the distance between rings as an indicator of how much the fish grew in any given year,” said Humston. “So she asked whether or not we could couple this retrospective analysis of growth history with our reconstruction of movement history — that is, could we simultaneously look at where a fish was and how much it grew over the course of the year.”

Doss and Dave Dennis, a 2011 graduate, did preliminary work to lay the foundations for the analysis. Then current junior Matthew Moore spent last year developing a different methodology for measuring otolith size that provides faster analysis and better correlations with body size.

“One interesting thing we observed was that one particularly popular measure of otolith size — the medial radius — was poorly correlated to growth in the first year,” said Humston. He and the student researchers — Doss, Dennis, Moore and senior Caroline Wass — have just submitted a paper on that topic.

Other W&L students who have been working on the research are seniors Forrest Behne, Julie Sorenson and Mark Faubion and junior Garrett Muckleroy.

“This is the critical foundation to what we intend to describe in a subsequent paper that will explore to what extent both movement behavior and river residency influence growth in the smallmouth bass,” said Humston.

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

Lecture on Extremism Kicks Off 2013 German Law in Context Seminar at W&L

On Sept. 5, a lecture by one of the world’s leading theorists of political extremism will launch the 2013 edition of Washington and University’s annual German Law in Context Seminar. Prof. Cas Mudde from the University of Georgia’s Department of International Affairs will speak on “A Theory of Extremism” at 5:00 pm in Classroom E, Sydney Lewis Hall.

Prof. Mudde is author and editor of a number of prize-winning books on the subject of political extremism, including SAGE Publishing’s four-volume Political Extremism and the book Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe (Cambridge Press). He is the founder of the ECPR Standing Group on Extremism & Democracy and the Routledge Studies in Extremism & Democracy book series.

The German Law in Context Seminar, now in its fifth year, is an annual research seminar led by W&L Law Professor Russell Miller and Prof. Paul Youngman of W&L’s German and Russian Department. The seminar involves W&L law and undergraduate students in an interdisciplinary examination of German legal issues by exploring how history, politics, social institutions, the economy, and culture help illuminate and explain German law and legal doctrine. Many of the law students participating in the Seminar are associated with the work of the German Law Journal, which is based at W&L.

As Mudde’s lecture suggests, this year’s seminar focuses on Germany’s struggle against extremism. “Germany has had a unique experience with extremism and it has equally distinctive processes for combating and responding to extremism,” said Prof. Miller. For example, Germany is considering a ban on the far-rightwing National Democratic Party of Germany, and the surviving member of the murderous National Socialist Underground is currently on trial.

“Most communities have found it necessary to combat extremism, not only by advancing the normative order but also by limiting and impeding those who would destroy it,” explained Prof. Youngman. “Germany serves as a valuable case-study in part because its methods and institutions will seem both familiar and vividly different when compared with American responses to extremism, including the United States’ rapacious surveillance programs, which have created a furor overseas.”

The Seminar is a collaboration between the German Law Journal, the W&L Law School, the W&L German and Russian Department, and the UVA Center for German Studies. Alongside regular seminar discussions of the relevant legal framework, a series of interdisciplinary events is planned, including guest lectures from historians, political scientists, and experts in German cultural studies. The program also includes a film series. Visit http://law.wlu.edu/germanlawseminar for a seminar schedule.

Past German Law in Context programs include: “Parliament’s Army: Lessons from Germany on Law and War,” “The Immigrant in German Law and Culture,” “The German Social State,” and “Germany’s 1968 and the Law.”

For more information, contact Prof. Russell Miller (millerra@wlu.edu).