Feature Stories Campus Events

W&L Establishes Connolly Endowment for Shepherd Poverty Program

Washington and Lee University has established the J. Lawrence Connolly Endowment for the University’s Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability, thanks to a gift of $1 million from Leigh and Larry Connolly, of Atlanta. The endowment will support curricular and co-curricular programming.

“It’s a good investment. The program has come so far in such a relatively short period of time.  Tom Shepherd’s vision is becoming a reality,” said Larry Connolly, a member of the University’s Class of 1979.

He is the former CEO of Connolly L.L.C., a recovery audit accounting and consulting firm. Through a gift from Connolly earlier this fall, W&L named its entrepreneurship program the J. Lawrence Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship.

Tom Shepherd is the 1952 graduate of W&L who, along with his wife, Nancy, started the innovative program in poverty studies at the University.

“Larry has been incredibly generous to the Shepherd Program over the past few years, through his tireless work as a member of our alumni advisory board, through his active involvement in our internship program, and now through this remarkable gift,” said Howard Pickett, director of the program since July of this year. “We in the Shepherd Program can’t thank him enough.”

Connolly traces his interest in the Shepherd Program to the 20th-reunion gift that his class designated for the program in 1999. His classmate Robert Balentine, a W&L trustee, organized the gift. “I found it of interest,” he said of the Shepherd Program. “And then when we came back for the 25th reunion, we got an update. They showcased one of the students, which was a smart marketing move. And in five years, you could see how much had evolved. And then I started getting more involved.”

Since then, he’s forged a friendship with Harlan Beckley, the Fletcher Otey Thomas Professor of Religion at W&L, who stepped down as founding director of the Shepherd Program this past June. “He’s terrific about always reaching out,” he said of Beckley. “And I’ve gotten to know Howard Pickett and feel very good about him succeeding Harlan.”

Connolly has also set up the Connolly Family Foundation, which has childhood poverty as its focus. His gift to W&L, he said, “is consistent with the philosophical direction of the foundation.”

In 2010, Connolly, who also serves on W&L’s Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, and his wife, Leigh, established an endowment to support W&L interns working in Atlanta through the Shepherd Alliance, a summer internship program administered by the Shepherd Poverty Program.

At the end of each summer, Connolly treats the interns to dinner, where they tell him about their experiences. “I see the quality of the students,” he said. “The internship is having its desired effect. They are young and passionate and ready to conquer the world and solve its problems.”

Occasionally he has pegged a student as pursuing the internship more for how it would look on a résumé,  and less because of a genuine passion for the subject. He’s happy to be proven wrong, as when he recently learned that an intern whom he’d put in that former category had worked on poverty-related issues after graduation and before entering the business world. “It’s just a matter of time before she circles back,” he said, “and re-engages in some kind of philanthropic endeavor, for which she is now extremely well equipped.”

Along the same lines, Connolly sees an overlap between the Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship and the Shepherd Program. After all, Shepherd students who gain experience working for nonprofits may one day run such organizations. Pickett concurred: “I am especially excited about the ways Larry’s gift might deepen the growing partnership between our poverty studies program and the social entrepreneurship offerings here at W&L.”

Connolly draws another parallel between the two programs when he talks about the high quality of their students. “It always generates a strong feeling of hope given the kinds of graduates we’re producing,” he said. “We’re turning the future over to good hands.”


English Prof Takes on Zombies

Here’s a W&L Halloween tale for you: “Zombies stumble into my class all the time.” So writes Chris Gavaler, visiting assistant professor of English, in an essay published on Oct. 29 in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Well, it’s not really a horror story. Chris is both writing about his creative-writing students, and responding to another Chronicle essay, “No More Zombies!” In that piece, an English professor at Truman State University tells why he has, in his words, “banned alt-worlding from my advanced creative-writing workshop. Told my students that their fiction had to take place in real environments with real people.”

Chris, on the other hand, holds that “all fiction writing is alt-worlding. There is no such thing as a work of fiction that takes place in the real world. Stories exist solely in words.” He just wants his students to write.

Read Chris’ entire essay at the link above; and check out his blog, “The Patron Saint of Superheroes,” where the self-described “mild-mannered professor” assumes “the powers of a novelist, teacher, playwright, and scholar.”

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Brian Eckert Named W&L's Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs

Washington and Lee University has named Brian H. Eckert as the executive director of communications and public affairs, effective Nov. 11. He comes to W&L after 14 years as director of media and public relations at the University of Richmond.

“We are pleased to welcome Brian Eckert to the University,” said Dennis Cross, vice president for advancement at W&L. “His varied expertise and sterling reputation make him a fine choice. We all look forward to working with him.”

“Everyone with a stake in Washington and Lee needs timely, accurate information about the University’s successes and challenges,” said Eckert. “I’m honored and excited to serve that need for the many people who care about W&L.”

Eckert brings extensive experience in public affairs, media relations and journalism to his new post. Prior to the University of Richmond, he served as executive consumer affairs representative for US Airways; director of public relations for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County (N.C.) schools; assistant vice president for public affairs and director of media relations for Wake Forest University; graduate intern and freelance reporter and technician, Voice of America, London; news and program director, production manager and anchor-producer at WHSP-TV/Silver King Broadcasting, Vineland, N.J.; anchor-producer for New Jersey Public Television; and news director at WJJZ radio, Mount Holly, N.J.

His editorial and reporting experience includes stints at Official Airline Guides Travel Magazines, TravelScene Magazine and the Burlington (N.J.) County Herald.

Eckert has received many honors for his work, including three awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and three from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).

Involved in several professional organizations, he recently completed four years on SPJ’s national board of directors and is a past president of the College Communicators Association of Virginia and the District of Columbia. He often gives presentations at CASE conferences.

Eckert has a B.A. in English from Wake Forest University and was a Reuters Fellow in international relations at the University of Oxford, attending on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship.

As executive director of communications and public affairs at W&L, Eckert will oversee an office that comprises web communications, news and media relations, publications and graphic design, alumni magazines, photography, videography, sports information and WLUR radio station.

Eckert succeeds Jeffery G. Hanna, who is retiring from the position and has been named to a new position as special assistant for strategic initiatives in the Office of University Advancement.


New Book by W&L's Kolman Explores History of American Wind Music

Barry Kolman’s new book, “The Origins and Early History of American Wind Music: Instrument Makers, Composers, Instructional Methods and Ensemble Performance,” (Edwin Mellen Press, Sept. 2013) is the first volume to examine the earliest musical beginnings of the tradition of community bands in America during the half century following the American Revolution.

Kolman has already been awarded the Adele Mellen Prize for his book’s distinguished contribution to scholarship in the field of American Music History. He is professor of music at Washington and Lee University, conducts the University-Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra (USSO) and is a frequent guest conductor of orchestras around the world.

Kolman noted that orchestra conductors study the history of music, such as from the baroque and romantic eras, when they prepare a piece to conduct and that he hopes that band conductors will now use his book to understand the origins of the music they are conducting. “As a clarinet player I’m very interested in wind music — for clarinet, flute and wind ensemble — and since band music is an important part of American culture, I wanted to find out how it took off and evolved into what it is now,” he said. “Some of this music is still performed now and then, and I would like readers to appreciate where this music came from and not take it for granted.”

According to Kolman, most existing studies of the history of music start around the 19th century and the Civil War but nobody has researched what happened to the music and the instruments after the Revolution, when the English musical influence was still dominant.

Music was a very popular form of entertainment before the Revolution and relatives, friends and neighbors gathered in homes to play musical instruments at evening musical soirées.  After the Revolution, interest in these soirées grew as a group of musicians, mostly from New England, began to provide instruction and music in the form of tutors — method books that gave diagrams, fingering charts, scales and exercises, as well as musical compositions in the back of the books.

Cheap and plentiful, the tutors were sold in many places, including tobacco stores and on newspaper stands. People knew all the popular marches by ear already and now, for the first time, they learned to play them in small instrumental ensembles that marked the beginning of a long tradition of community bands in America.

These tutors were published by composers whom Kolman described as “the first generation of American composers who wanted to write for a new America, defining an American style, sound and cultural identity.”

There were many authors of these tutors and in his book Kolman focuses on seven of the more prolific and influential composers: Oliver Shaw, Joseph Herrick, Ezekiel Goodale, William Whiteley, Henry Moore and Samuel Holyoke, who was probably the most important of these pioneers. The book includes a history of each composer.

These composers published both original marches and arrangements of marches for various combinations of instruments and for duets, trios and octets. Because they composed for whatever instruments they knew people in the community possessed, including woodwinds, brasses, strings, percussion and piano, Kolman said this resulted in some unusual combinations, including one piece for clarinet, flute, trumpet and a snare drum.

Kolman said that it took him 35 years to write the book, which began as his doctoral thesis, and he encountered many difficulties in tracking down primary source material. “I wanted to find the major composers of this type of music and hold what they wrote in my hands,” he said. “But it was a really tough challenge to find music that was written 200 years ago. I thought it had been destroyed, but I actually found the original copies signed by the composers through a lot of legwork going to libraries and was able to include copies of those scores in the book.”

Kolman also looked for the instruments of the period or at least pictures or descriptions of them. The book describes each instrument in detail, including original fingering charts and insight into the instructional methods at the time.

“I looked for anything I could get my hands on to figure out what instruments they were playing. For example, what did a bassoon look like? And one instrument, the serpent — a bass instrument with a strange configuration — is rarely played today,” he added.

Kolman also found the original tutors. “They were written in old fashioned English and the advice that some of these composers gave was a little humorous by today’s standards. A lot of things have changed in 200 years, probably because the instruments became better built, and we don’t have to do some of the funky things that the early teachers made their students do,” he said.

Kolman received his B.Mus. in music education from the Crane School of Music, his M.Mus. in clarinet performance from Illinois State University and his Doctor of Arts degree in conducting from the University of Northern Colorado where he was awarded the Dean’s Citation for Excellence for his graduate research.

“The Origins and Early History of American Wind Music: Instrument Makers, Composers, Instructional Methods and Ensemble Performance,” is available at the University Store and through its website at http://bookstore.wlu.edu.

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W&L's Kolman Publishes Spanish Edition on How to Read, Write Music

Barry Kolman, professor of music at Washington and Lee University, has published a Spanish language version of his acclaimed book “The Language of Music Revealed” (Universal Publishers, 2012).

According to Kolman, “El Languaje de la Música, al Descubierto”(Editorial Seleer, Spain, 2013) is the first book published in Spanish on the fundamentals of how to read and write music.

Critics have praised “The Language of Music Revealed” for “moving musical theory and practical application into a new and engaging realm,” and hundreds of teachers have adopted the book as their standard student text.

“Unlike most music theory books, Kolman has worked hard to ensure that the book is fun, engaging and develops a deeper understanding and appreciation of the subject,” wrote one critic.

Kolman hopes the success of the English version will be repeated in the Hispanic community with the Spanish language edition.

“This was a labor love,” said Kolman. “I was appalled that there were no books written in Spanish on music fundamentals for the average person. Spanish universities told me that they translated whatever books they found into Spanish and also used a lot of British books. But there were no books written in Spanish.”

Like the English version, the book includes graphics, a cartoon character and jokes to guide the reader through music theory. “The jokes didn’t quite translate into Spanish,” said Kolman, “so the translator and I made up jokes that would work in Spanish.”

He credited Washington and Lee University for providing the funds to hire the translator, who needed to know about music since musical terms don’t translate verbatim.

Kolman introduced the book and played clarinet to a Hispanic audience at the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 10th Annual Hispanic Gala in October. He has also been invited to work with various schools in Chicago, Ill., talking about the book and giving mini lessons on how to read music.

Kolman conducts the University-Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra (USSO), along with teaching music fundamentals, introduction to music, applied clarinet, and conducting. He is a frequent guest conductor of orchestras around the world.

He received his B.Mus. in music education from the Crane School of Music, his M. Mus. in clarinet performance from Illinois State University and his Doctor of Arts degree in conducting from the University of Northern Colorado.

“El Languaje de la Música, al Descubierto” is available at bookstores and online.

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W&L Law's Russ Miller Discusses German Reaction to NSA Spying (Audio)

The recent revelations by Edward Snowden of the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance program in Europe has created a furor overseas, especially in Germany, where it is alleged that the NSA went so far as to listen in on the cell phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In this audio, Washington and Lee law professor Russell Miller, an expert in German Constitutional Law who has researched both U.S. and European national security issues, explains the different reactions to this news in the U.S. and Germany and why Americans seem less alarmed by the NSA program.

Miller recently gave an interview on this topic to the Germany’s “Verfassungsblog,” which covers constitutional law issues in Germany. In the interview he observed that a “common explanation is that American comfort with these and other recent security measures reflects the still-open wound and insecurity left by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which can be compared with Germany’s recent very negative experiences with state security institutions during the National Socialist period and in the GDR. I’m interested in another possible explanation, which involves a more nuanced understanding of Americans’ traditional suspicion of government and of the state.

“I think there might be evidence that Americans have traditionally embraced state power in a realm I might refer to as the core role of government. In that realm there is a deeply accepted, but very narrow, range of purposes for which Americans think government is essential. It is only outside of that narrow, core range that the American suspicion of the state surfaces. Security would have to be one of these core state functions with which Americans are much less troubled.”

The full interview is available online.

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Michael Ignatieff Presents Inaugural Lecture for W&L's Mudd Center for Ethics

What role should democratic deliberation play in decisions about whether or not to engage in human-rights interventions?

In the inaugural lecture of Washington and Lee University’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics on Thursday, Oct. 31, Michael Ignatieff, a renowned author, academic and former Canadian politician, posed that question with respect to the reluctance of the United States to use force in Syria’s civil war.

“We all know that interventions can turn out very badly,” Ignatieff said. “But after Syria, we know that doing nothing turns out badly, too. There is an important difference. When we intervene, at least some of the consequences are borne by us, whereas when we don’t, the consequences are borne exclusively by those we failed to assist.”

Ignatieff’s lecture was the first event sponsored by the new center, established through a gift to Washington and Lee by its alumnus Roger Mudd, the award-winning journalist and a member of the Class of 1950. Mudd attended the opening event; introduced by Angela Smith, the center’s director and the Roger Mudd Professor of Ethics, he received warm, sustained applause from the Lee Chapel audience.

Named in 2005 by Foreign Policy and Prospect Magazine as one of the world’s 100 leading public intellectuals, Ignatieff was among a group that prepared the report “The Responsibility to Protect” for the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. The report examined the role of international involvement in Kosovo and Rwanda.

In discussing the recent controversy raised by the debate over United States involvement in Syria, Ignatieff said that he and others like him who believe in “the responsibility of states to protect citizens in other nations when their own state is unwilling or unable to do so” have arrived at a moment of truth. They must determine how far to push “the priority of responsibility over the requirement of democratic consent,” he said.

“I don’t think we have honestly addressed the fact that the practical exercise of responsibility in the international order has depended on discretionary exercises of authority by the president of the United States,” Ignatieff said. “Without those exercises of authority, no alliance of democratic states to protect victims has ever been credible. The entire future of intervention depends on the will of the American people, in my judgment.”

Ignatieff said that citizens may simply disagree about the use of force in cases where the justice of a cause may seem obvious to some but not to all. “In a democracy, the justice of the cause has to be sufficiently self-evident to a majority for it to become the kind of cause that young men and women can be asked to die for,” he said.

The moral heart of a democracy, he added, is the process of “adversarial justification,” in which competing principles are addressed in an effort to “show the people the cause is just.”

The Mudd Center for Ethics at W&L is committed to fostering serious inquiry into, and thoughtful conversation about, important ethical issues in public and professional life. It seeks to advance dialogue, teaching and research about these issues across the University. The Mudd Center also aims to encourage a multidisciplinary perspective on ethics informed by both theory and practice.


W&L Law Symposium on Roe v Wade Strives for Balance

On Nov. 7-8, Washington and Lee University School of Law will host a symposium exploring Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Forty years have passed since the Court decided the case, yet the issue of abortion continues to split society along seemingly intractable lines.

One of the goals of the W&L symposium , says faculty organizer Assoc. Dean Sam Calhoun, is to address this divide by creating a balanced forum that provides varying perspectives on abortion.

“Encouraging a civil and comprehensive discussion of abortion has long been an interest of mine,” says Calhoun. “I’ve tried to accomplish this in my Abortion Controversy Seminar, and I have written about the challenges involved in pulling this off.”

Indeed, the W&L event is not the first to explore the Roe decision during this anniversary year, but Calhoun observes that most of these other events have been one-sided, typically dominated by the pro-choice perspective. Calhoun and his student partners from the W&L Law Review, Thomas Short and Lara Gass, worked hard to bring a balance of perspectives to the event.

“This is reflected in both the presentations and in our event sponsors,” says Calhoun. “Also, we will have two keynote speakers, one by a pro-choice advocate and the other by a pro-life advocate.”

One of the keynotes will be delivered by Caitlin Borgmann, Professor of Law at CUNY School of Law. Her scholarship focuses on the respective roles and authority of the courts and the legislatures in protecting constitutional rights, and on the role and judicial treatment of fact-finding in constitutional rights cases. She has also written extensively about reproductive rights.

The other keynote will be delivered by Michael Paulsen, Distinguished University Chair and Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. Paulsen is among the nation’s leading scholars of constitutional interpretation.

Sponsors for the event include the ACLU of Virginia, the Frances Lewis Law Center of Washington and Lee University, the Provost’s Office of Washington and Lee University, University Faculty for Life, Virginia NOW, and the Washington and Lee Law Review. A full list of participants and presentation schedule can be seen online at law.wlu.edu/roeat40.

By focusing on balanced perspectives, symposium organizers do not mean to suggest that advocates should give up their principled stances or that abortion is an issue for which compromise can be readily accomplished. Rather, Calhoun says the motivating concept is that an academic conference should encourage a free and full exchange of views and that this goal is possible even for an issue as contentious as abortion.

“I don’t expect any of the participants to change their views,” says Calhoun. “But hopefully they will at least better understand the opposing side, laying the groundwork for continued productive dialogue in the future.”

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Annual W&L Law and Literature Seminar to Explore Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars

On Nov.1-2, Washington and Lee University will host the 21st annual Law and Literature Seminar. Sponsored with the W&L Alumni College program, the Law and Literature Seminar is the longest running program of its kind in the country.

The seminar will be held in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall. The program will again be led by Villanova Law professor Dave Caudill and W&L English professor Marc Conner. W&L Law faculty members Brian Murchison and Margaret Hu will also participate in the discussion. CLE credit is available.

This year’s seminar will focus on the prize-winning contemporary American novel, Snow Falling on Cedars. Within the framework of a courtroom drama, David Guterson’s novel explores a variety of themes: memory and guilt, racism, justice and betrayal, and small-town relationships. Set in the Puget Sound area of Washington during the 1950s, Snow Falling on Cedars follows the trial of Kabuo Miyamoto, a Japanese-American, accused of the murder of a neighbor in a small, close-knit fishing community.

Complicating the case is the deep antipathy toward the Japanese that followed World War II—Miyamoto’s family, along with all citizens of Japanese extraction in the region, had been incarcerated in California internment camps during the war. The trial is narrated by the editor of the local newspaper, himself a wounded veteran of the Pacific War.

Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award, the novel is praised by the New York Times Book Review as “finely wrought, flawlessly written.”

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Clearing a Path for Ethics in the 21st Century

The following opinion piece by Roger Mudd ’50 appeared in the Oct. 30, 2013, edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and is reprinted here by permission.

Clearing a Path for Ethics in the 21st Century

by
Roger Mudd ’50

What is it about the word “ethics” that is so difficult for many Americans to understand?

Pick up the paper on any morning of the week and read the headlines: Virginia governor accepts $150,000 in gifts and money; Detroit mayor sentenced to 28 years for bribery and extortion; race-fixing scandal hangs over NASCAR; U.S. Navy rocked by bribery scandal; JP Morgan Chase fined $13 billion for mortgage practices; and two former governors, Don Siegelman, of Alabama, and Rod Blagojevich, of Illinois, are currently serving prison sentences for corruption.

What motivates such transgressions? Is it pure greed? The ease of becoming corrupt? The pleasure of not being caught? The very laxness of the laws? Or a combination of all four?

Even though corrupt politicians have been with us from the beginning, most citizens observe unspoken ethical standards and do so without shaming their name and or their profession.

But given the recent and dramatic shifts in our society, perhaps we have ceased to hold a place in the 21st century for a code of conduct acceptable to all levels of the population.

In a provocative column entitled “Reinventing Ethics,” Professor Howard Gardner, of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, writes in The New York Times that “citizens in complex, modern democratic societies regularly confront situations in which traditional morality provides little if any guidance.”

“The professional,” he writes, “deals every day with issues that cannot possibly be decided by simply consulting the Bible or some other traditional moral code.”

Our culture has become “infinitely malleable,” writes the British journalist Jeremy Campbell, and our society too complex “for it to survive by always telling the truth.”

What better role for the newly christened Roger Mudd Center for Ethics at Washington and Lee University than to assemble leaders of the professions to update or recast their ethical standards so that they are relevant to our changed society?

Take, for instance, my former profession — journalism.

It may come as a surprise to many that the press does have a code of ethics. But the codes are obscure, voluntary and almost toothless.

A reporter in the Richmond, Va., bureau of the Associated Press was recently fired, along with his two editors, for an innocent but sloppy, and briefly damaging mistake involving the Democratic candidate for governor. AP quickly corrected the mistake, but most journalists found the firing excessively harsh.

The press does have a generally agreed-upon set of standards: we do not make up stories; we do not fabricate quotations; we attribute information that is not self-evident; we do not publish or broadcast offensive pictures; we do not use obscene words, unless we write for The New Yorker or talk on cable television; and we acknowledge that every individual has a right to privacy.

But reporters and editors remain divided on how large the zone of privacy should be and to whom it should apply. And they are unsettled on whether material on the Internet is in the public domain.

Do we photograph without permission? It depends. Do we go through the garbage of public figures? It depends. Do we entrap? It depends. Do we lie about our identity in order to penetrate someone’s privacy? It depends.

And what it depends on, of course, is whether the story is worth the ethical compromise it requires and whether the competition is on to the story.

Washington and Lee has long prided itself on producing graduates with a fine sense of honor, the willingness to ask the tough questions, and the ability to see clearly and quickly what is fair, decent and generous.

The university and its new Center for Ethics have a matchless opportunity to offer a current generation of our students, and others, the tools and resources necessary to think critically and humanely about the complex ethical issues they will confront in the world today.

Award-winning journalist Roger Mudd is a 1950 graduate of Washington and Lee University in Lexington where the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics will be inaugurated on Thursday, Oct. 31.